Friday, August 6, 2010

Bizarre events in Paris

In August, many regular residents of Paris go away on vacation, and the city is left to tourists. For a month, the banks of the Seine have been transformed into a vast beach, thanks to a fleet of trucks that dumped 1350 tons of sand on the macadam.

On the water, as at any self-respecting beach resort, there are canoes, kayaks, yachts, row boats and pedalos. But no swimmers, because the quality of the water is not yet fit for that… in spite of the promise made in 1977 by Jacques Chirac, when he was mayor of the capital.

This summer, the Seine has been the scene for two mysterious happenings. First, at the start of a warm evening, an empty Austrian tourist bus plunged spontaneously (or so it appears) into the river and disappeared from view. The next day, the carcass of the vehicle was dragged up into shallow water.

More recently, a big barge full of 355 tons of gravel (similar to the one you see, out in the middle of the river, in the following photo) suddenly sank in the same vicinity where the tourist bus had taken a bath.

Before the barge could be refloated, the gravel had to be removed. For the moment, I don't know whether or not this material has been used to extend the artificial Paris beach in a way that would no doubt appeal to English visitors (accustomed to gravel beaches).

Theories are arising concerning the possible existence of some kind of mysterious Bermuda Triangle effect in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower. In particular, Paris authorities are worried (although they won't admit it publicly) that the celebrated landmark tower might decide to topple over spontaneously and take a dip in the river. In Seine…

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