Monday, 25 April 2011

Soviet France II

This was too beautiful for words. Mrs. F, the Fingernails and I went off to Jardin des Plantes this afternoon to enjoy the rest of a deliciously warm Easter Monday. As soon as we got into the park I was seized by a terrible urge to pee, so off we went to the public loo located next to one of the cafés. There seemed to be a little queue, but I waited my turn and then headed off to the handicapped cubicle, all of our urinals being cordoned off with red and white tape. 'No, Monsieur, you can't go there, you'll have to wait for the men's cubicle' bellowed a town hall employee, cigarette in the corner of her mouth (despite us being inside a public building). I looked round and saw the door to said cubicle opening. A man came out, leaving the way free for me. There was no lavatory seat, no paper and nowhere to either wash nor dry your hands. Still, there was a little tray by the door with a few coins in it, labelled MERCI. I would rather have chewed on my own vomit than put even a single centime in that dish.

The last time I saw that level of public inconvenience was in Moscow, twenty-odd years ago. No door, no paper, no sink, no soap, yet a very vocal dyezhurnaya, reminding me of appropriate behaviour. I had to wait until 2011 to experience it again, and that in one of the richest cities of a G8 nation.

There will be more 'Spot The Differences', because there are many more examples. Baby, I've not even started...

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