Home > Everyday Life > At the Car Wash, yeah, ohhh, yeah yeah!

At the Car Wash, yeah, ohhh, yeah yeah!

Of course I am going to have to follow-up from my last blog. I left you hanging a bit and I am sure you are anxious to hear how the week went.  It all came out a little unsatisfying.

Starting Position

Starting Position

In reference to the national strike, I was only affected minimally. I breezed through my commute to work and back even though there were a few more cars on the road, but not enough to create an abnormal back up.  The news station I listen to on the radio during my commute did participate in the strike so they just played random music all day long without any commentary.  The urban bus lines were not running but I was surprised to see the regional lines that would take me to work were still in operation.  The airport was mysteriously quiet and my co-worker had relatives heading home that day but clearly they were postponed to another departure date.  Paris felt the brunt of this strike compared to other regions in France.

Notice the water sprays underneath the car; notice the black round brushes that cleaned the hub caps perfectly

Notice the water sprays underneath the car; notice the black round brushes in front that cleaned the hub caps perfectly

The manifestations were in large numbers all around the country.  Sarkozy has not moved on his position on the issue of retirement, the core reason for the strikes.  The unions are already calling for another one later this month.  Everyone clearly sees the problem (lack of funds for the future), it is just a matter of finding the right solution.  Plus the matter is not purely financial, the young generation fresh out of university is getting more frustrated.  That age range has an enormous unemployment rate and literally sitting on their degrees and doing nothing with it.  They don’t want these older workers in the jobs any longer than needed.  The sooner the older ones can retire, the sooner the young can get the job and start contributing.  We’ll continue to watch as this key legislation moves to the French SénatYou also review my colleague’s blog for further reaction.

Then later at the big staff briefing at Amadeus this week, things were not better. As a new employee I got a lot out of the morning long session.  Mostly I was appreciative of the background information presented.  I now understand better who Amadeus is and our competition.  We are doing incredibly well financially in making profits but at the same time we do have debts due to the IPO that happened this spring.  Our IPO went so well we are considered a flagship model for our industry; a text-book perfect example.  So this information is comforting in that we have job security for the short-term and no one will really attempt to buy us out (a risk of the IPO process).  Amadeus is actively hiring even in this gloomy economy.  On the morale landscape, the meeting was not good.  There was clearly defensive posturing from the CEO and VP’s on stage presenting.  There was a Q&A session at the end and the unions did formally ask a question but of course the management danced around the IPO payment disparity issue.  I won’t go into detail here on the Internet publicly.  If you are really curious, just e-mail me directly or set up a phone call.  Everyone left the session in silence with the stereotypical French frown on their faces.

Metal beam going across air dried the car, perfectly following the shape of the car.

Metal beam going across air dried the car, perfectly following the shape of the car.

So let us wash out this bad taste! I went to the car wash on Friday after work that is right next to my building.  I can sit on my terrace and actually hear the machine being used on a regular basis.  Now I have experienced it myself.  I was amazed at this feat of French engineering.  I am use to the American model which is that you drag the car through the car wash as it was cleaned.   Consequently there is minimal movement (if at all) of the machinery.  Here, I witnessed the car remain parked and all the mechanics of the car wash move around the car.  I was amazed of how this car wash immediately identify the key places of my Twingo and adapt to its shape.  For example there were these black round brushes that came out to do my hub caps and it knew exactly where there were located.  Now mind you, I did not have to enter my car model into the machine, it figured out the size and shape of my car automatically.  Some of you may laugh at my intrigue but I guess after 10 years of being carless in Philadelphia, I forgot about these simple pleasures.

At the pool with the city of Cannes and the bay in the background.

At the pool with the city of Cannes and the bay in the background.

I did end the week with an incredible Saturday. A friend invited me to a small private pool party at a villa that overlooks Cannes.  The weather was absolutely perfect and we could see the entire bay below.  We closed the evening with a pleasant meal at a restaurant named after a famous Jane Fonda movie, Barbarbella.

Categories: Everyday Life
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