We’ve had a few very nice spring days. Like everyone else, we wanted to spend it outside, in the park. I really hadn’t seen the park this full before, but it was still nice. We had a sandwich on the stairs of the arena and watched a few kids practise parkour on an empty fountain. Within minutes we were asked to move a little further up the stairs, so the lower stairs could be used for jumping practise by a couple of inline skaters.

When we walked through the park a little later I saw a group of boys playing cricket, a family playing football, people playing badminton and a whole lot of picknicks. I was really surprised nobody played petanque. It’s the first thing I notice when the weather is nice: ever flat surface is used to play it. Instead I spotted two games of what Gergö thinks is Kubb, apparently also known as Scandinavian chess.

The arena has been really busy this last couple of weeks as well. There was a weekend with three Drake concerts. Every time I walked past the arena someone tried to either sell me a ticket or buy one from me. Twice I got a “say no to drugs” leaflet. I’m currently rocking the librarian look, with the cardigans and the knee length skirts over opaque tights. I really don’t understand why they have me down as a high risk group.

The crowds are always huge and the traffic jam is enormous. That there has been a building site in the street for months doesn’t help with the traffic either. There’s usually police around and lots of people in yellow vests yelling that you should walk towards the “ballon allumé”. I didn’t understand what they meant, until I saw one of the security people carrying a large white lighted balloon on a frame behin them.

This weekend there was a political rally in the arena. Quite a different crowd from the Drake audience. Less police, too. When we got home from the market we saw that the rally had taken over the park as well. It was just a video screen of what was going on inside, though: music and applause.

I’m getting used to the commute – most days I manage to climb into the first métro that arrives. In Saint Lazare I already know that if I arrive early, the homeless person on the way to the 13 will have plastic bags around his shoes and will stand in a puddle while using the tap next to the stairs. If I’m running late he will be finished and chatting with commuters on top of the stairs.

For the last weeks there have been stationary bicycles in St Lazare station. You can ride them to show your support for Paris bid for the olympics. Almost every day I think I want to get out and take a picture of the mysterious white cave with elaborate doors at Liège. So far I haven’t.

The all seeing eye of Saint Lazare métro station.

During lunch break, I explored the park next to the church at Garibaldi métro stop.

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