French, not only they like to talk (and sometimes very hard to stop they talking), and love to debate (there’s no such thing as win-win solution, if I win, that means you lose dude), they master l’art de vivre and that sometimes means : as much as I love my work, I like having coffee more! I don’t like something, then I will protest. As the freedom is speech is protected under the law, you can see in the streets, groups of people protesting of something. Almost everyday.
The government plan to reform the retirement age plan from 60 to 62 (minimum), surely it doesn’t go in line with what people like and want. In the new reformed plan, Government tries to save some euros in order to save national deficit and thus make people have to work longer and those workers will have their pension fund when they get 67.
This, provoked people’s rage, and workers and trade unions, they all allied to rally on national manifestations in the whole country, but biggest of course, happens in Paris. Thousands of people (or millions? I never count), in the city alone, marched from Avenue de la Republique to Place de Bastille, causing the traffic jam and paralysing the city with all the public transportation en grève or demonstration.
The most important thing to do before you go every morning : check the weather (www.meteo.fr), or check the public transportation news (www.ratp.fr), some demonstration already checked with the authorities and if it affected some routes you could see the warning there. But sometimes you just don’t get lucky and left unnoticed. I went through it many times, suddenly i see the electronic announcement in the bus shelter saying the bus is not in service, or just a piece of paper attached to the pole. If that shit happens, that means I have to run fast as I could to catch the next metro and scream “mer**”!
The big manifestations against Government retirement reform plan started last year, and keeps on going this year, with bigger and bigger crowd. Unlike the demonstration in Jakarta that crept me because they used paid crowd, the french one usually goes smoothly (still make other people in the bus and car frustrated though), and when it finishes, looks like more a after party of a festival with the giant balloons, high-powered sound playing I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas, and half naked men giving away some pamphlets to audiences.
Je ne veux pas travailler, je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l’oublier, et puis je fume
(i don’t want to work, i don’t want to have lunch)
(I just want to forget about it, and then..I smoke)
PS : the senate already approved the reform this November 2010