Sunday, 6 May 2012

Caught In A Moment

My next destination was in the south of France but hitching out of Paris turned out to be pretty difficult.  I gave up trying because of my time constraint of meeting my host in the south the following day.  After a train journey to Bordeaux and one hitching ride from there, I made it to Toulouse.

I went into the nearest bakery to ask when it closed.  Well, I didn't ask in words, my lack of languages got in the way of that.  I communicated with actions, as always.  She said they closed in an hour.  I asked if there was anything she would be throwing away.  Click!  She understood what I was saying.
"J'ai je be je be jai?"  Or something along those lines.
"Oui" I said.
One minute later I was saying thankyou and walking out with three free pies in a bag.

I walked down to the square in the centre of the town and got talking to a man with a huge smile on his face who reminded me that the results of the election vote would be announced in half an hour.  I sat down in the square, gobbling up the first bit of food I had eaten all day, whilst watching the crowds form.

I took a few videos to capture how the next hour or so went.
The hundreds of people in front of me went crazy when they found out the had a new president; François Hollande.

(The video is pretty somber compared to what was really going on)

Now why on Earth would I write a whole blog post about France getting a new president?!  Because this one is pretty different; he's a socialist.

That night the Euro fell quite considerably.  Socialism satisfies needs and demands; it provides more jobs and services all for use instead of private profit.  It cares much less than Capitalism about the "almighty economy".

All of this means massive change for the people of France.  It was so exciting to see so many people come together and use their power to change their country's future.

"1st, 2nd, 3rd generation of children all exploited."
"Open your heart and your eyes and your heart will follow."

People were out in the streets with their entire families with all types of flags and banners.

It seemed as though every single car was beeping its horn to the same tune.  Just as I thought the beeping had stopped, someone somewhere would start again then within seconds the whole of the town was roaring.

Nobody could take the smile off their faces.  Not even me.  I know hardly anything about French politics but if any country in the world overturns capitalism then my cheeks must surrender to the pain of smiling too much.

I settled in the train station hoping that I could sleep there for the night.  Yet again there were so many homeless around; all with the same hope as me for that night.  The station closed at 1am and the guards threw everyone out.  I thought I was on the same route out as all the others, but then a young family and I were shown a warm room in the back where we could sleep for the night.  Being the model citizen that I am I gave my sleeping bag to the mum so she could wrap her two kids up.  She snored through the night.  As did her husband; twice as loud.  Four hours later I was rolling up my sleeping bag... which was accompanied with two huge patches of wee (well that teaches me for trying to be a good person!)... and I was heading back to the main station again for opening.

I don't know where all the homeless went for that four hours but sure enough they were back on the same seats they had left behind earlier that night.  I bought myself a 20c coffee and sat down.  Then my guilt built up so much that I splurged another 20c for a drink for the man sat on my right.  Apparently, all the homeless in Toulouse can speak English.  I got talking to another man who was testing out the city as a place to stay.
"Yeah I really like it here. It's warmer than Paris and the people are nicer."
Everybody kept moving around changing seats, so for a while I was sat next to a lady who was eating a kebab and who couldn't stop laughing.
"She's loopy." The first guy said. "...On crack I think."

My day and night had merged into one.  They had been so long I could hardly think straight anymore.  I was so taken the night before at the joy of the new president and the morning later I was sat talking to a bunch of people who, rightly so, couldn't give a sh*t about all that because all their positivity had probably been shattered a long time ago.  What can François Hollande do for them?  What can he do for anybody, everybody?  I'm optimistic.  And from the moment I got caught up in, it seems that most of the French are too.

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