Discussed in this Episode
- Umbrella strolers are not easy to find in France
- Buying baby formula and diapers in France
- What to do when changing tables are hard to find
Thank you Patrons!
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This week I published an episode of the French History Brief about a surprising French woman who was totally fearless: Alexandra David-Néel. In my opinion she was an incredible trailblazer and I can’t fathom why her story isn’t better known.
French Tip of the Week
Il est aux petits oignons. Have you ever heard that expression? Être aux petits oignons. Or Être traité aux petits oignons. The litteral translation is nonsensical: to be treated like you’re a small onion or a pearl onion. Say whaat? Lorsque je suis en vacances, j’aime être aux petits oignons. J’aime être traitée aux petits oignons. Can you guess ?
It means to give someone the royal treatment, to pamper someone, to wait on someone hand and foot. I guess it’s because pearl onions are delicate and need pampering? That’s strange because they grow wild in my garden and I’m always pulling them up from the strangest places. But at any rate, if someone is “aux petits oignons” it means that they are waiting on you hand and foot. Which doesn’t make that much sense either. Remember: Etre aux petits oignons.
This Week in French News
There’s been a big push to increase the rate of vaccination in France. Last week I told you we had finally reached 5% of French people having a first dose of the vaccine (it took us 2 months to get there) and by the time you hear this we’ll probably be at 7% already.
Messages from the health minister and prime minister is let’s all get vaccinated whereas just a few weeks ago it was still we must make sure the folks with priority get vaccinated first. So, that’s a big improvement. But we still have 2.6 million doses that have been received and not injected, I hope they continue to push for faster vaccination. There is no reason to have doses of these vaccines in freezers. Get them in people’s arms already!
ICU beds are getting scarce in several parts of France again, this includes the Paris area and cities like Dunkerque and Nice. I worry they’re going to get locked into their homes again, which is horrible.
We can’t go back to normal life until most of us are vaccinated, and not just people in rich countries, everyone! It’s obvious by now that there are vast disparities between the rates of vaccination in the world. Top vaccinators are the US, the UK, Israel, middle tear is the rest of Europe and Canada. But there are lots of countries where vaccination hasn’t started at all and that has to change.
We’ve been very lucky in France our government has spent a lot of cash all along to keep businesses afloat, but they can’t go on like this, so they are considering ways they could re-open safely.
Denmark is seriously thinking about introducing a vaccine passport meant to allow foreign visitors to come back and restore tourism to Copenhagen. This raises serious issues because it’s not like we’re all equal when it comes to access to vaccines. Some are denouncing unequal treatment and explain why that’s not fair. Some even say this will lead to employment discrimination. You’re vaccinated? I’ll hire you. Not vaccinated? Forget it.
I can already tell you that France is going to go to vaccination passports kicking and screaming because this goes against our acute sense of fairness. You can’t say “only people who are vaccinated can be allowed in” when it’s so difficult to get a vaccine. But at the same time, it would be smart to let Americans and UK visitors back in because that would restart our tourism industry. What is our President going to decide? I can’t tell you, but he doesn’t want to get voters mad about unfair treatment because it’s a huge deal culturally here.
TousAntiCovid in France
In France they’re really hoping to reopen restaurants and movie theaters and large shopping malls, etc. Not for visitors, for us who live here. They’re adding a feature to an App called TousAntiCovid where everyone who enters a restaurant or a cinema displays a QR code meant to help identify NOT if you’ve been vaccinated but if you’ve dined in close proximity to someone who is later diagnosed as having covid-19. That’s still the logic of tracking and isolating. It hasn’t worked great in the past, so I don’t know why they think it might in the future. Maybe people will install the App if it means they can go out to eat and meet friends?
Annie’s Electric Bike
Now a quick update on my electric bike and doing videos for patrons. My rear end is getting used to riding, I can do 20 minutes no problem, 30 minutes I start feeling sore. But it’s progress and I’ll keep at it because biking is fun!
It turned out that my brilliant idea of putting the gimbal on the handlebars and recording with my phone was not as genius as I thought it would be. Handlebars move A LOT. My bike actually has shock absorbers on the front tire and even then, it’s up and down a lot. Even with the gimbal it was too shaky. So, forget recording with the iPhone.
Testing the DJ Osmo Action
I decided to try something like a Go Pro. But Go Pros are super expensive and come with bells and whistles I’m never going to use. So, I went with a little DJI Osmo action camera instead. A little cheaper and doesn’t do the sort of fisheye thing you get with a Go Pro. This little DJI Osmo does 4K video and has a RockSteady feature that stabilizes the image really well without a gimbal. The images are bright without being overly saturated, even the photo are pretty descent, but I’ll be using it for video mostly.
At first, I tried it with the camera mounted on my bike helmet. That was great but as soon as I turn my head for the person watching the video it feels like you’re on a roller coaster and I can’t ride with my head locked straight ahead, that would be unnatural and dangerous. So, I tried it with the camera strapped to my chest and that’s a LOT better, it might be a good solution. I’ll keep testing things and will start sharing videos with my patrons before the end of March.
Annie’s Personal Update
Today (Sat March 13) we’re supposed to be moving our daughter’s stuff home but they’ve announced a demonstration in Toulouse and since she’s right in the center of the city I’m not sure if we’ll be able to drive on her street, they often close streets off during demonstrations, so wait and see, I’ll let you know next week.
Let’s end on a great note: Elyse has had her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, so we’ll soon resume recording in person which makes us both very happy and will sound a lot better for the podcast.