Cars, Sting, Nuit Blanche, Infelatio & Free …

The big Paris Motor Show is currently going on in Paris. I’m not really a car guy but still it’s pretty cool seeing the latest and greatest vehicles, especially the concept cars that likely will never come to market. Many new vehicles boasted about fuel efficiency, zero emissions and iPhone compatibility. The people that make the SMART cars introduced a new SMART electric scooter, as did Mini. But for me, the star of the show was the Jaguar C-X75, an extended-range electric supercar. The C-X75 has a range of 560 miles, a top speed of 205 miles per hour and goes 0-62 (100kmh) in just 3.4 seconds. Too bad it’s only a concept car or else I’d be tempted to own a car again.

Jaguar C-X75



Sting came to town to perform a concert with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Through all these years, I don’t think his voice has changed at all. He still sounds really good and can even hit the same notes singing “Roxanne”. And as someone who shoots many concerts and is getting more and more peeved with how late they start – it’s not unusual for an 8pm performance to start at 9:15pm – I loved the fact that Sting was onstage and singing at 8:15pm for an 8pm scheduled start. I appreciated a bit of the “old-school” respect for the audience.

Sting performs in concert with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra



Saturday marked the annual Nuit Blanche (French for “White Night” or “Sleepless Night”) where the city itself is turned into an open art gallery, with funky installations, live performances and some general mayhem.

Nuit Blanche 2010



This idea, which I believe originated in Paris, now has U.S. counterparts in LA (Santa Monica) and for the first time this year, New York. It’s kind of nice to walk around and see some unique lighting but most of the “art” is very modern and contemporary, in the worst sense of those words. I look at the installations and say “that’s moderately interesting but why did someone do this?”. The exhibit of vacuum cleaners set in reverse and attached to harmonicas illustrate what I’m talking about. That said, we got lucky and had perfect weather and I headed back home when the crowds got too big, as they inevitably do here.

Hotel de Ville (City Hall) - Nuit Blanche 2010



Great comedy on the French political scene this week. The former French Justice minister Rachida Dati was being interviewed about the economy and had a serious slip of the tongue. Basically, she meant to use the word “inflation” but accidentally said “fellation” … and the interview was in French, NOT English! To see the video of the gaffe, CLICK HERE. It’s in French, but at the 0:13 second mark, you can hear her say ” … un fellation, quasi-nul” instead of “inflation, quasi-nul”.

I quite frequently mention customer service-related things that go wrong here in Paris. So it’s only fair that I mention a (rare) positive customer service encounter that I experienced this week. In my apartment, I have a “Freebox”. It’s the best deal in France and possibly the universe. For 30 euros per month, I get high-speed internet, 300 TV channels and unlimited FREE domestic and international calling to most countries on earth. Put that in your Verizon/Cox/Comcast pipes and smoke it. The system has been very reliable, causing me almost no trouble at all over the last 3.5 years. But recently my internet speed has dropped, roughly in half. It all still works fine but I’m pretty demanding with my internet connection so I called up Free, the progressive company that offers the Freebox, and they agreed to send out a technician.

Freebox Technician



The technician came over right on schedule and really took the time to explain what he was doing, what he was testing and taught me a lot about how things worked here. He showed me how to find out how far away I am from my phone company’s switching station, the size of the pipeline that is bringing me my internet and ways to monitor the current state of my connection – all important factors for internet speed. And best of all, he was patient, passionate about his job and the company he works for and didn’t break anything. No bad smells or disturbing visible butt crack either. This customer service experience made up for my experience this week with a rude bastard working in the Maubert Mutualite metro station but that’s a story for another time (maybe).

Some photos of the week …

Rolls-Royce Phantom



Sting performs in concert with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra



Light & Music Installation on Pont Saint Louis - Nuit Blanche 2010



Italian Food Shop - Rue du Bac

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