Letting Up on Locking Down
I took the TGV to Nice yesterday, armed with my “attestation” to attend a “copropriété” (homeowner association) meeting this afternoon. I mentioned in last Monday’s Nouvellettre® that the “Syndic” (trustee/manager) of our building was calling a special meeting. He’s been our volunteer for 28 years—a rather thankless job, although we all have greatly appreciated him. The meeting is important because he has sold his apartment and we’ll be voting on his proposed replacement, the buyer of his apartment, who happens to be the son-in-law of the neighbors who live below me. That means their family will have a lot of power in our building…26 “tantièmes” (or 26 percent of the building) total compared to my 4.5 percent.
I am not happy, but voting against him is not to my advantage, either. We must become friendly, even though they have been my foes for many years regarding the issue of my “sanibroyeur” or grinder toilet…which is way more my problem than it is theirs! Their family is the bread and I’m the filling in this “sandwich,” soon to transpire with the parents living below me and their offspring above me, squeezing the middle with the hopes I’ll pop out and leave them to take control over the whole building. They aren’t getting rid of me that easily, however…so they just better get used it!
Nice is not its usual self, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions. My street is a main pedestrian shopping street, punctuated by tons of restaurants. I jokingly call it the “parade route” as there is normally a constant stream of people and activity. Not now. The shops are closed and the restaurants are shut tight except for a few vendors of take-out. Fortunately the pharmacies are open as are the supermarkets.
Just a block away, running perpendicular to rue Masséna is rue Maccarani. (No, not rue “macaroni,” but that’s an easy way to remember it and we often call it that.) On one block of this noodley street, there is everything any normal human being needs to stay alive: a pharmacy, two supermarkets, two bakeries, a wine shop, an hotel, a restaurant, a take-out sushi shop, a tobacco shop, an athletic shoe shop, a sportswear and equipment shop, a chocolate shop, a cheese shop, a bank, a parking lot and a Picard food dispensary. So, the first thing I normally do after arrival is grab a shopping bag and head down to rue Maccarani. There was a bit of life there, but not as much as normal. Otherwise, rue Masséna was a ghost town.
Picard is the American answer to Thanksgiving, having had a stack of whole stuffed turkeys in the freezer just waiting to be defrosted and baked with no fuss. I grabbed one along with other frozen food goodies as we will not be dining out, at least not for a while.
Last night, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to lay out his three-stage plan to ending France’s lockdown, all beginning Saturday with the re-opening of non-essential shops (until 9 p.m.). The three stages are: 1) Saturday, November 28th, 2) December 15th, 3) January 20th. This comes as a result of having passed the peak of the second wave of the pandemic and the numbers falling, showing promise.
As of Saturday, we’ll be able to go up to 20 kilometers from home and for up to three hours, without special permission, although we’ll still need to produce our “attestations” for every movement outside the home. Still, they want us to stay as close to home as possible, although schools are in session and religious services will be allowed…with social distancing.
December 15th is the next stage, that is if it all goes well. He wants the new cases to drop below the 5,000 per day mark and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care to drop below 3,000. That’s when attestations will go away and we can travel between regions within France. Meeting our families and friends will be allowed just in time for Christmas, but no large public gatherings will be allowed and even private ones are to remain small. The curfew will still be in place…9 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day except on December 24th and 31st! Cinemas, theatres and museums will reopen with strict health controls in place.
The next phase begins on January 20th, again, if all goes well. Meanwhile, bars, cafés and restaurants are to remain closed until at least that date. Guess I’ll be cooking for myself for a while, or visiting Picard more often. Fortunately, my favorite local restaurant here in Nice, Il Vicoletto (6, rue de France), is doing take-out. I placed my order for lunch today: Cabillaud (cod) with vegetables…so I’ll pass by and pick it up for at least a tiny taste of my usual habit.
Monsieur Macron didn’t mention international travel, but as an American, I can travel to the U.S. and will be doing that for Christmas. For now, I’m in Nice until mid December. I intend to take a walk by the sea today while the sun is shining, pick up lunch at Il Vicoletto and attend my homeowner association meeting later this afternoon. Otherwise, I’m staying inside my sunny apartment and not minding it one little bit.
Happy Thanksgiving regardless of where you are, who you’re with and what you’re eating!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. Special note to Apple users: If you are tempted to install the new Apple operating system, Big Sur, DON’T DO IT! Apple says, “MacOS Big Sur elevates the most advanced desktop operating system in the world to a new level of power and beauty. Experience Mac to the fullest with a refined new design. Enjoy the biggest Safari update ever. Discover new features for Maps and Messages. And get even more transparency around your privacy.” Instead, it will eat your Apple computer alive. It did mine and it did others I know! Believe it or not, my technician spent 7 hours stripping it off my MacBook Pro and restoring the operating system, the applications and the documents. That wasn’t fun and it was an expensive reset. So, DON’T DO IT! Wait until Apple has the worked bugs out!