Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bal de la Bastille

The night before 14 Juillet, the Place de la Bastille closed down for a giant public concert

Bal d'Europe, Place de la Bastille, originally uploaded by david_stirling.

My daily "commute" from the apartment to downtown and back usually takes me through Place de la Bastille (except when I take a wrong turn and end up two miles north of it instead). It can be a somewhat intimidating experience--a roundabout with four lanes of traffic. So it was cool to see it completely closed off to traffic last night for a huge public concert that filled the roundabout all the way to the steps of the Opéra Bastille.

Interestingly, of the four groups that performed, none were from France. Try that on July 3 in the United States. There were bands from Denmark, Germany, England, and my favorite, from Spain, called Amparanoia. If I had to sum them up in one word I'd call them Iberoska: party music with touches of flameno, rhumba, ska, North African, and more. I highly recommend checking them out, though the 30 second samples on iTunes don't do them justice.


On an unrelated topic, I gave the finger to my first European of the summer today. But he was Italian, so it's OK. As far as I'm concerned, all Italians deserve the finger by default; they must campaign individually for the right not to receive the finger. This guy had the nerve to step out in front of my bike against a Don't Walk sign, then curse me in Italian when I needed to brake and swerve to avoid him. I presented him with the finger and asked him if he knew what that meant; I wanted to make sure my message got across. This enraged him, which was very satisfying to me.

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