When you have the chance of coming from Italy by air, before landing at Marignane (the Marseille’s airport) the captain warns you that the plane will fly over the Phocean city, which effectively appears suddenly on the right side of the plane trajectory. As I don’t often take planes, specially coming from that provenance I putted my IPhone on Plane mode ( a mandatory, highly important precaution for not disturbing the navigation devices on board) and took the pictures of Marseille I have the pleasure to share below. Enjoy the breathtaking view!
I woke up early this morning a 3:30 AM with the intention to go northerly by train.
Though it is useless to stipulate your direction when you plan to leave the southern suburbs of Marseille because the only one direction that is possible to take is precisely the North since the South and the West are occupied by the Mediterranean sea and the bay of Marseille and the East is blocked by the Calanques which are as you may not know, a desert of rocks absolutely deprived of any road, not to mention railway.
So as I said, I woke up early to go to the North by train and more accurately by TGV a.k.a. Train à Grande Vitesse (which can be translated in High Speed Train).
The TGV represents in France the equivalent of what the plane represents in the USA: the easiest way to travel across the country; be it fo visiting family or for work. This early morning of May the 22nd my destination was a professional meeting in the northern suburb of Paris called “La plaine Saint Denis”. For that purpose I stepped down in the subway station Rond Point du Prado at 5:00 AM precisely in the southern suburb of Marseille. A moment later, comfortably seated in a TGV first class wagon I was glazing at a screen indicating the speed: the numbers oscillated between 260 and 301 kilometres per hour (i.e. 161 and 187 miles per hour). 3 hours and 20 minutes later after my departure I stood on the pier of the railways station called “Gare de Lyon” which, as its name does not indicate, is precisely located in Paris (French are not always logical persons). Like Marseille’s ones, the railways stations of Paris are in dead ends (trains have to go back to were they come from). But for different reasons: Marseille is at an extremity of the land route while Paris is the rail network centre. After a chat with my colleagues and a lunch I am now on my way home, coming back, crossing at 300 kilometres per hour speed the green landscape of France. If all goes well I would enjoy the diner in my place of abode next my beloved wife in Marseille around half past eight.
So it is not an exaggeration to say that, with the TGV, Paris nears Marseille more than it has ever done before. Indeed I have made the journey Marseille Paris and back in less than 15 hours, this time including a working session and a lunch. Never the less, despite this miracle of the technology, why have I the fuzzy feeling of having just wasting my time? Would it be because the wisdom teaches us that “the goal is the way”? ; For sure, 300 kilometres per hour might be a speed too high to enjoy mindfully the way.
- Assignment #4: Pictorial description of FRENCH railway (cis428fidelmichael.wordpress.com)
- Scenes from a train ride through the French countryside (expatedna.com)
- Veggie Pride in Marseille (aixcentric.com)
- Marseille – Calanques and a Celebration of Pastis (aixcentric.com)
Dr OG is a Marseilles French Doctor who published a letter to our president N. Sarkozy. But his activity is not only literacy but also very concrete: he managed to make the population of his suburb to dispose a brand new defibrillator. It’s only from recent times in France that we were aware of the risk of sudden death in a public place. In the English world it’s a common thing to worry how to reanimate someone who falls in the street, victim of a heart attack, since many years. Given the public spend cuts now at work in all the European countries, Dr OG, on his own personal initiative, asked privates sponsors to contribute to the project. So next Wednesday if you are passing by the Phocean city you’re heartily invited to celebrate the first defibrillator dedicated to people’s use in a public place in Marseilles.
Congratulation Dr OG
- Can you defibrillate yourself? (mycpr.info)
- Fort Worth Man Thrown A Rope Thanks To A LifeVest (dfw.cbslocal.com)
A Christmas Sciatica
During the night of December 24th I incurred a terrific backache which made me to experience the efficacy of the emergencies services in Marseilles. The pain was so intense that I asked my wife to dial the 15 (emergency phone number across all the France’s territory). They sent me (at five o clock in the morning of December 25th, Christmas day) a Doctor who injected me Bi-prophenid and Myolastan). After his departure, the pain increasing higher and higher and my left leg becoming insensitive I took myself the phone, dialled the 15 and asked to the physician regulator to send me an ambulance to transport me to the emergency room on the basis of neurological symptoms. A crew of firemen of Marseilles arrived in about 10 minutes of time and transported me in a chair down my apartment (I was totally unable to walk) in to their fire department vehicle and to the neuro surgical emergency of the Timone university hospital. I had in emergency an MRI (very sophisticated magnetic imagery, better than scanner). I was examined by an intern in neurosurgery. Pain was released by perfusion of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (thanks to Big Pharma) during the day and the following night and no longer than the next day I was examined in my public hospital bed by the Professor Fuentes a Key Opinion Leader in Neuro surgery who diagnosed a 3/6 paresis of my left foot but no need of surgical intervention if no aggravation occurs in the following 24 hours. I discharged from the hospital December 27th and was bring back home by a light sanitary vehicle. My sentiment after this event is: yes we have the best health care system in the world, but also the best health insurance system in the world (I had absolutely nor bill neither fee to pay). And I’m proud of it. Perhaps France is indebted but if it is for such results in term of care (same thing in term of child’s education or public transports), the money we have borrowed was not spend in vain. For now on I am on work loss with income compensation benefits. I still have difficulties to stand up or to sit down for long periods or to walk for a distance. If my employer read this post I want him to know that I wrote it lying in my sofa with my laptop computer;-)
- You: Patients With Sore Backs Find Minimal Surgery Is Not A Pain – NY1 (brooklyn.ny1.com)
- 6 Back Pain Remedies (foxnews.com)
- What is Back Pain? (greenzblog.com)
- US study certifies yoga does ease backache (news.bioscholar.com)
An interesting study has been published by the the French Agency CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) addressing the ethnic profiling operated by the French Police in Paris ( district Les Halles). The report, written in French, is accessible on the CNRS web site.
This study has been funded by the Georges Soros foundation named Open Society Foundations. The survey was directed by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a branch of the Open Society Foundation, which has already published two interesting reports:
Muslims in Marseille; An at Home in Europe Project
Addressing Ethnic Profiling by Police; A Report on the Strategies for Effective Police Stop and Search Project.
The Soros foundation also adress issues in the public health field in its Public Health Program.
I love this song and the woman who sings it!
She was in Marseilles in November 7th, 2011, in the concert hall which is called “le silo” but I missed her. From our special correspondent in Arles (who is in the same time my cousin): “She spent the day in Arles on tuesday, doing 2 readings and a great concert in the evening, in a small venue with 350 people : it was absolutely amazing : one of the best concerts in my life!!!”. Thank you cousin for having given me such a good news from one of my most beloved artist.
When I listen to her music the same charm operates more than Thirty years after:
- Patti Smith, Camera Solo – Susan Talbot, Yale University Press (musicofourheart.wordpress.com)
- Patti Smith’s Exhibtion, Camera Solo at the Wadsworth Atheneum (musicofourheart.wordpress.com)