50 Cent, Gas, Bastille Day and Poker

Musically speaking this week began with rapper 50 Cent in concert at the famed Olympia Hall.
He’s pretty much nuts and other than having a guy in his entourage spray water on the crowd (and consequently on the photographers), he put on an entertaining show. My favorite part was seeing all the French pseudo-gangsters in attendance. Comical.

But basically this week was all about gas. For no particular reason, the gas in my apartment was cut off last weekend. Gas heats the water in my apartment, particularly in my shower. After repeated calls to the gas company, I learned that there really isn’t a gas company anymore per se. As of July 1, France “liberalized” their gas market, making the gas company just a distributor of gas. If you need service, the gas company now has to contact another organization to ask for service. But I’m free to choose whichever gas company I’d like to have now. What a ridiculously fraudulent concept – as if people where clamoring for more gas choices. Those of us from the US should remember the whole Enron fiasco where the government said they were doing us a favor by giving a choice of electricity. We know how well that worked out.

So after 7 days without hot water, I went to the gas company boutique in the Marais. I was extremely lucky to find an old-timer who was willing to try and help me. He called the service department and was told someone could come out in 3 weeks to turn on my gas again. Mercifully he found that unacceptable and decided to call an old buddy of his who happened to be the chief of the gas company in Paris. After about an hour of sparring, I got an appointment … for next Friday. Turns out that the day after the July 1 “liberalization” the gas company received 140,000 service complaints and has been receiving about 50,000 per day since. So I guess next Friday is not so bad.

Robin Wright Penn made an appearance in Paris in conjunction with Paris Cinema, a local international film festival where they have screenings in 20 different movie theatres in every arrondissement (district) of Paris, with free access to some showings or a reduced price of 4 € per ticket to others.

After talking about it for about 5 years, I finally organized my first French poker night. There were six of us – two Frenchman, two Italians and two Americans. It was good fun and despite having to teach the rules to a couple of the guys, I managed to lose 10 euros.

And finally, this last weekend was Bastille Day, the closest French of equivalent of our Fourth of July. I managed to get onto the Champs-Elysees to photograph the big military parade. The President of France is always at the head of the parade and just through good fortune, Sarkozy made an unplanned stop to get out of the jeep and shake a few hands … right next to me. So I managed to get a few nice shots of Monsieur Le President.


To see more Bastille Day images, click on this link:

Bastille Day Parade – Favorites

A few photos of the week …

New rickshaw-style taxis on the streets of Paris

Olives on rue Mouffetard

Concert crowd at Olympia Hall

Rainbow over a factory

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by david on July 16, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Funny how the rainbow contradicts with the smoke coming out of the factory!!

    Reply

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