Paris under pressure

I just returned from a lengthier visit to Paris (thanks to some very generous friends), and oh, what a time! This experience was more of an eye-opener than a vacation, as I timed my visit perfectly to the massive rail transport strike, civil servant strike, student protests, and a few riots in the outskirts of the city. A cloud seems to hang over one of the world's most beautiful cities--one that seems to appear, historically, quite often.

Is it possible for a nation to be bipolar? I'm not as up on French history as British, but France's political pendulum seems to swing pretty wildly for a country that coined the term "joie de vivre." It's a very serious country, and apparently now is a very serious time. It's interesting to realize that the French people's fiery feelings tend to gut the country from time to time, so I hope that the nation is past its "off with their heads!" period ("Off with their heads! No, off with THEIR heads! No, off with THEIR heads!" back and forth and so on), because it feels a bit like it's heading in that direction once again. The French are known for being passionate people, and I hope that, rather than being politically passionate against each other, they can get back to amour...

It's unfortunate that the shadow over the city darkened my vacation as well, but I was able to escape my own life for a while, which was wonderful. Paris is still a wonderful city with many wonderful people and places, and I'm sure she'll survive whatever's headed her way--she always has, albeit not always in such innocent ways.

Coney Island