Travel Advisory: Avoid Europe
You don’t want to be traveling in or to Europe these days. In Germany, Lufthansa’s pilots went on strike this morning, grounding 3200 planes. “The largest strike in the history of German aviation” ( Die Welt) paralyzed German air traffic, and caused jams on the ground as travelers switched from planes to trains and automobiles.
Meanwhile next door in France, a nation is running out of gas. Workers at the six refineries owned by the country’s biggest oil group, Total, have been striking for more than a month. The work stoppage threatens to spread “to the two French oil refineries owned by US group Exxon Mobil, where strikes are planned for Tuesday,” reports the BBC.
“The government will take measures to ensure that France will not be locked down,” Industry Minister Christian Estrosi said in a radio interview, without elaborating on how they will do that.
Setting the law of supply and demand on its head, the strike in France is being blamed for the fact that “oil prices topped 80 dollars a barrel on Monday as a strike at French energy giant Total rattled the market,” AFP says. Ah, there are also “concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.”
Let’s just hope that striking refinery workers in France will not resort to the ancient tradition to blow up their factory. It could really be – inflammatory.
You know, despite all the talk about Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys, the French apparently will fight for their livelihoods in a way that, eg, Americans or Canadian ("Sigh, guess my job's done gone. Better see if Walmart's hiring") never seem to. Good for them. The rank-and-file middle class aren't the ones that flushed their respective economies down the tubes, so why are they expected to a) socialize the losses of those who are responsible and b) join the race to the bottom.
Please let the strike last until June or July. I really want to have an excuse to avoid taking the wife to Europe.
> Tell her that all the European vacations you can find detour through Sweden, then I will send you an email with pictures of my female Swedish relative and her friends (who, without exception, fall someone on the scale from stunning to jawdropping). Vacation cancelled. On a different note, French employers had better start asking their employees to show up for work shoeless, just to be on the safe side.