Charlotte , NC, thursday mai 1 st 2014,
The Cavaliers de Lafayette are back again to the US! This time in North Carolina for an 8 day’s spring ride.
Contrary to the summer ride which usually attracts 35 riders, the spring ride is limited to a mere 6 or 7 riders, which makes it much easier to organize. Last year we toured around Aveyron, a very scenic department in the south of France, and this year we are in a part of the US which promises to be very pretty and perfect in terms of weather at this time of the year, which would certainly not be the case in the summer time.
Charlotte is a medium size city, but impressive skyscrapers dominate the city center. Here like everywhere in America-except NYC- one is impressed by the sort of quietness in the streets, giving a feeling that everything is well organized and runs smoothly. Part of it is due to the fact that the traffic is light and that cars run with powerful 6 cylinders gas engines, as opposed to France where all cars run with the horribly noisy Diesel engines.
Speaking of France I made a funny observation today: as I was walking downtown to a bike store I ran into a noisy demonstration right in front of the headquarters of Duke, a big energy company that provides electricity in the southwest of the US , partly from burning coal. They recently dumped coal ashes in a river nearby – at least this is what a demonstrator told me-, polluting the entire region. As I was asking one of the demonstrator about the issue at stake, he asked me where I was from, and when I told him France he immediately exclaimed: ” oh you guys have the 35 hours week, six weeks vacation and a 15 $ per hour minimum wage! ” which is true, but it pisses me off each time I realize that my country is seen here in America as a paradise of slackers , philanderers, cheese eaters, wine drinkers, always on strike and on vacation. I guess we French have to live with this image…