Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Marseille, Old harbour

My journey back to London was more eventful than initially thought. I had to catch a plane from Marseille airport, which is quite far from my small village on the Mediterranean. The traffic was of course terrible, but, me being me, I was more than two hours in advance anyway.
Once arrived at the airport, we sat down to grab a bite and started eating. I remember thinking that the airport looked empty compared to Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted.
Then, suddenly, when we were almost finished, we were given a paper saying that the staff at the restaurant was not happy with their salaries. My daughter asked me what the paper was about, and I tried to explain it to her.
A few minutes later, we head loud whistles and people tooting. A group has entered the airport: it was the staff of the restaurant, and they were starting a strike. There and then, before our very eyes.

The paper That Started It All

My daughter was bewildered. I explained to her that striking was a national sport in France, and that on top of this Marseille was probably the unofficial capital of strikes. After all, Marseille had experienced spectacular bin men strikes. The city was stinking for weeks on end, and huge rats were crossing the streets as a result. The situation was so unbearable that local residents started burning the rubbish on the streets. I am not sure that my little one felt reassured by my explanations. I was just trying to illustrate my point.
Shortly afterwards, the security teams started to follow the protesters. The police joined them eventually, and a chase ensued all over the arrival hall. I felt like I was in the middle of the action. It was hilarious. The group of strikers kept going outside and coming back, and every time they ended up running one after another and running around.

Things calmed down eventually. We went upstairs to board our plane. In London, everything was quiet and uneventful, which was nice. You have to give it us: nobody strikes like the French. Nobody.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London