New Year, New Car, New Hero & New Pessimism …

I decided to brave the crowds and cold and go out to the Eiffel Tower with some friends to bring in the new year. I seem to do that every 10 years; the last time was for the millennium celebration. There were no official fireworks at the Tower this year but plenty of unofficial ones. Instead there was a laser light show on the tower itself, which included the same light show they have been doing for a few months plus a special performance. I have to say I wasn’t overwhelmed; the highlight was probably when they turned the Tower into a giant Christmas tree:

Eiffel Tower becomes a giant Christmas tree for the new year

We ended up on the Champs-Elysee with lots of other revelers. It was quite beautiful with no cars being allowed on it that evening. To see a short video of the Champs-Elysees (with the obligatory crazy people), CLICK HERE.

That time of year again for one of the oddest French “rituals” – car burning. This New Year’s Eve, vandals burnt 1,137 cars in France, falling just short of last year’s record of 1,147. If I knew it was going to be that close to a record I might have lit a dozen cars on fire myself.

I have a new hero. His name is Rémi Gaillard and he’s a French prankster extraordinaire. He first became known here in France in 2002 after he managed to get past security at the 2002 Coupe de France football final match and joined the winning team’s celebration, spraying champagne, giving interviews and later, even being greeted by the then president of France Jacques Chirac.

Gaillard’s motto is “C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on devient n’importe qui” in translation: “It’s by doing whatever that you become whoever”.

He does all sorts of pretty hilarious stunts but here’s one I quite like, especially the ending:

I recommend the next time you’re bored that you CLICK HERE and watch some of this guy’s lunacy. Another one of my favorites is under the “Funny Videos” section and is called “LE TOUR DE N’IMPORTE QUI”, where he tricks bicyclists out for a Sunday ride into thinking they just won a Tour de France-like race.

A new Harris poll asked people in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US to assess their prospects for the next 10 years in a number of areas. The poll is striking for the degree of gloom that it showed in France. Some 44 percent of the French said their standard of living was worse now than in 2000, more than in any other nation polled.

Champions of Pessimism or Realism?

Ironically, France has suffered a less severe recession than every other large developed economy in 2009.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, prosperous and healthy 2010.

Some photos of the week …

I Survived 2009 T-Shirt

Flipping Elves

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by The Second Baseman on January 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Remi has become my hero as well…I think he is great and could be playing pro soccer…Good fun but maybe not for all…See you soon…

    Reply

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