Wednesday, December 8, 2010
White and Wild
A friend invited us to a presentation she was making at a conference today and I told her that, failing a snowstorm or George Clooney calling for a date, we'd be there. Well, George didn't call, but Paris was hit by an enormous snowstorm, dropping about 4 inches of the white stuff and causing pandemonium.
We actually did go out to the bus stop in an attempt to get to the conference site, only to find that the bus service had been canceled. The metro looked like it was a mess and even if there had been a free taxi we wouldn't have been able to tell since the roof lights on all the ones we saw were covered with snow.
Realizing the better part of valor was to retreat to the apartment, we slipped and slid through the slush and stayed in for the rest of the day. Watching the news tonight, we learned that there was a 300 km-long traffic jam around Paris today as a result of the storm.
It's been snowing off and on for the last few days, but nothing major, just big fat snowflakes, at least an inch in diameter, landing and promptly melting. It's made walking on the sidewalks a bit tricky, but not too bad. Today was different. Cars creeping along, few pedestrians, lonely shopkeepers standing not very hopefully behind their shop windows, wondering about their Christmas shopping profits.
And speaking of store windows, the only major ones I've seen so far this season are at le Bon Marché, the upscale department store in the 6th arrondissement, and they're pretty bizarre. The theme seems to be aliens, visitors not just from other countries, but from other galaxies.
Pulsating ovoid balloons form and reform hills and valleys while the colors of the lights change and odd pointy things pop up as if looking around.
And then, if you look quickly, a tiny glass globe with tiny figures appears and then disappears. Who are they? What are they doing? Va savoir.