Monday, May 7, 2012

Viva la France!

View of Paris from Sacre Coeur

I finally took some time off from my life. I headed to the French capital for a week of foreign food and fun April 16. I started the week with my husband and ended it with a close friend.

When I am in Germany, I sometimes feel suffocated by all the rules and regulations. You can't just throw away your garbage. I have a container for all the packaging on the things I own, paper, food and other biodegradable items, and garbage. If my neighbors don't get me, the government will. In Paris, I missed the order. People walk down the sidewalk in random herds. There are rarely any signs for anything or to anyplace. But all is forgiven when you look around at the art around you.

The architecture, the streetscapes, the museums, the fashion, the food, the music magnificently mix in Paris.

Platform of the Cluny-Sorbonne subway station.

Street near my hotel in the Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood.

The careful preparation of a crepe with
ham and eggs at Bastille market.

Market day at Bastille.

In the late 1700s until the middle of the 1800s,
French authorities stowed the bones of
6 million people underground.
Skulls and leg bones are stacked artfully
in front of piles of the remaining bones.

Election Day

Yesterday, the people of my home state, Schleswig-Holstein, went to the polls. I am kind of sad because the political posters will disappear. There are no televised political ads here, just posters.

Posters for the conservative party, the CSU/CDU are hard to find. He strikes this Jesus-like pose with one cupped hand reaching out to you and one on the stomach area of his dark suit. Yawn.

The more liberal SPD candidate grins at you while modeling a nice Mr. Rogers cardigan.

The even more liberal Linke candidate is a beautiful headshot.

My favorites. The Pirate Party, as the name would imply, are irreverent politicians. They want more transparent government. They are supposed to be more liberal than others. However, the most conservative German has nothing on your household variety American conservative. Right now, the CSU is promoting the idea of giving 150 euros a month to parents who care for their children at home. The government gives money to parents to help pay for day care. The new proposal is supposed to help parents who watch over their own kids. This is not exactly the way of Cut Down Big Government conservatives in the U.S., so the difference between the Pirate Party and the CSU is not so great to me. However, to people here it is a canyon.

German elections, like elections in most of Europe, are for a party, not a person. There are relatively few posters. You really need one to represent one party. However, the Pirates have several wacky ones that have been tickling me for the last month. They will soon be gone.

Your future. My responsibility. Our Country.

For our favorite state.

Free Life - Vote Social.

Now with more substance.
Earlier, many accused the Pirates of being more flash
than substance. Apparently, they are not
just the the party of hipsters.

I want to live as I am. For Freedom and Self-Determination, Vote Pirate.

We are romantics. Gentle agriculture, instead of industrial mass production.

In spite of or because of these ads, the Pirates got a little more than 8 percent of the vote and thereby seats in the state legislature. With the votes still being counted, the SPD and the CSU are separated by 1 or 2 percentage points.