Friday, April 21, 2017

Hard not to think about Paris this Morning

After the events of last night, it is hard not to think that we were in Paris not so very long ago and were so aware of the Police and military presence. Also hard not to remember how such a show of force began to feel like oppression. In some ways, we wonder if filling the streets, particularly in high profile areas, might become a provocation to the disenfranchised, disillusioned or...

We certainly know it didn't make us feel safer when four soldiers with automatic weapons and camouflage gear (really? in the city?) moved through in front of Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, or Sacre Coeur -- their presence at the religious sites actually felt disrespectful... And there they were again, at the Gare de Lyon on the morning we left, in their box formation, with their menacing, slow, rotating walk. Police minibuses are constantly moving about the city filled with cops.The police patrol in threes.

Paris has dealt with the threat unlike any other city we have seen. (And yes, we understand that they may be facing a threat unlike any we have seen. There are warnings on travel sites, and tourists are encouraged to download the official government emergency warning app for their phones.)

We were right by that Marks & Spencer, where the event last night took place. When we were there, we could see police snipers on the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Gord, at the Arc de Triumphe. But look more closely... 

There were Two or Three of Them

Zoom, zoom: Police with Spotting Scopes and Rifles
There are so many people on the street along the Champs d'Elysees day and night and I am not sure why. Most of then can't afford to shop in the high end stores or rent a Ferrari for a 20 minute drive.

When it was time to go after our brief visit, we struggled to get to our train at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Metro Station. The marathon had been run that morning, and the after-crush was almost unbearable. At the time, it was hard not to think what could happen in a crowd like that....

We are glad to be in Spain.

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