Smoke-Free France

So I was sitting in a Parisian cafe with Rick the other day and this woman lights up at the table. Now France just celebrated its one-year anniversary of interior public spaces being smoke-free, so I would have assumed people would have gotten the message by now. But apparently this lady hasn’t been out much since, and thought the absence of an ashtray was non-consequential!

La Grève Française

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So, french people know how to strike (they should – it happens all the time). But their strikes aren’t crippling like American or Italian strikes; instead, a part of the workforce will alert the government to their intentions with a few days’ notice, and quietly take to the streets to make a mark against a change in their working conditions, or way of life.

When I was walking down the street in Paris the other day, I noticed this call to protest the conversion to the Euro, and chuckled with slight envy at this country in which I live – only here would someone have the balls to say they hated building the largest and most powerful monetary union in the world and think about leaving!

Edit Dec 4, 2014: Perhaps this strike wasn’t the worst idea after all!

Mickey D’s in HKG

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So I woke up hungry in Hong Kong and the only thing open at 7 a.m. was McDonald’s so I decided to have my familiar Egg McMuffin road breakfast. But I stumbled upon an asian take on the morning meal, and ate with a smile on my face. Noodles in broth, an egg, a ham patty, hash browns, and coffee got me going for the day. Yum!

The Brown Card

Well, in the name of consistency, I have to give Australian airport security a thumbs up.

The last time I flew into and within the merry ol’ land of Oz, I was stopped twice for “randomly selected” pat downs and bag swipes, while my (much whiter) friends never happened to get so lucky.

Well, I was in luck again this time around! I got to read an Australian Government blurb about my rights as an air passenger and consent to additional random screening. Such fun it was.

It’s funny to me that profiling techniques can only work against someone in the realm of “increasing international security.” I mean, I was wearing new business casual Lacoste and carrying a pair of nice bags, but clearly I scored no points against having recently darkened skin, black hair, and traveling alone.

But my time in Australia has always been a gem, so perhaps I should just resign myself to the luck of the draw as a consequence of visiting a good land and a good people. Off to Hong Kong today; highlights to come.