Sunday, July 29, 2007

Traveling again

My sister in law just emailed me, wondering if I've made plans about our October trip. I've made inquiries on the Internet. The net is just great when it works, I went on Air France's site, their multiple destination site didn't work so well, so I couldn't get information about breaking up our journey on our return leg. I want to stop in France for a week on the way back from Sicily. I also know I can take the TGV train from Roissy airport (CDG) straight to Lyon without going into Paris first. France is great in this way, their infrastructure is so terrific, it's amazing. So I found the schedule on the TGV on the Internet. I've purchased French rail tickets before on the Internet. I remember going online, not realising I could translate the page to English, I did it in French. When I was done, I found out I could have done it in English. Duh. I think I have to call a life person on Air France to get more information. Well, it's not till October, I have time. I read the most disparaging book on Sicily yesterday, written in the 60's by some French guy. He went in the summer and in the early 60's. I presume Sicily must have improved because it is nothing like he described. Of course, maybe the politics is still very much the same, the Mafia is still active but you don't see it as a tourist, maybe you see a lot of ugly and unfinished buildings. I presume in summer, if the mafia does not do the job of removing trash, it is going to stink up the place. That is what is happening in Naples, there was a state department warning for tourists going to Naples, there hasn't been any trash pickup for months. The place is stinking and it is unhealthy. I don't know if they have cleaned up their act. I read in the Wall Street Journal last week, the farmers are having trouble with the mafia in Sicily. The government have given land owned by convicted mafia to some private cooperatives. The mafia clans people have been sabotaging the farmers' efforts by stealing tractors and generators and all kinds of shenanigans to prevent the farmers from getting a harvest. Europe, while being very beautiful, has their share of domestic problems. I was at a PowerPoint class yesterday, my instructor is French, he tells of a France without enough jobs for their young people, of a country full of archaic and medieval laws, of how hard and impossible it is for French people without the right pedigree to get ahead. He'll never go back to live in France. France lost, USA won, they've lost a great guy. He's a great teacher. Thanks, Thierry.

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