France: Virus Update

The Mediterranean

“The computer does not know we have no more vaccine.”

Huh? This was the response I received when I showed up for my vaccination appointment last week. I received not one, but two emails reminding me of the appointment. Granted, several days prior I received a phone call advising me that my appointment had been canceled because they ran out of vaccine. Since I later received the emails, I wrongly assumed that a new vaccine shipment had arrived. 

That response was baffling. They could not delete those emails? Send ones notifying of cancelation?

Menton on a wintry day

I am no longer enamored of France, at least not on vaccine roll outs. It’s a mess. Prior to my fiasco, Bob’s appointment was canceled by phone, but he received no emails. Since I received the two emails, I figured all was back on track. No way. What lies ahead? Who knows? France, at least in our area, has no more vaccine. Apparently the shortages are prevalent throughout the EU which screwed up on ordering. France, however, lags behind other European countries.

It is aggravating, especially since I have good news from family and friends in the US and the UK – most have been vaccinated. 

BREAKING NEWS: We got lucky and received the first vaccination a few days ago. My apologies to France. It is tough everywhere.

So, we wait. Life goes on with fear of the dreaded virus. France is not under lockdown, although a 6 p.m. curfew has been enforced for weeks. If the UK variant now circulating in the country surges out of control, another lockdown, number three, is likely.

Restaurants and bars, as well as theaters, have been closed since the end of October – with no opening in sight. It’s been a good year for snow in the Alps, but French ski resorts remain closed. 

Seaside socializing and eating

Masks are de rigueur. Social distancing – yes and no. It was impossible on a recent sunny Sunday in nearby Menton. Crowds of happy folk enjoyed good food and socializing seaside. It seemed like a celebration. “It’s wonderful to see all these people. It’s like being let out of prison,” remarked a friend. 

Noses and mouths were covered with masks when not eating – but eating is what this is all about.

Restos sur le pouce” (restaurants on the go) is sponsored by the city of Menton which offers restaurants the opportunity to serve take-out food at stands set up along the shore. The stands are Christmas market type chalets. Participating restaurants, fifteen serving a variety of cuisines, pay a small fee to use the chalets. Proceeds benefit restaurants in the nearby Roya Valley which were devastated by Storm Alex, an extratropical cyclone, last October. Extensive flooding destroyed homes and swept away roads, leaving at least 12 dead.

It was a festive ambience that sunny Sunday, especially relished since nothing like it had happened in too many months. We met our friend Thomas and sat along a wall adjacent to the Mediterranean savoring our food, sun and camaraderie. We all had tasty Indian specials.

Restos sur le pouce is scheduled to continue throughout February. If real restaurants are still closed, we hope it will be extended.

Although we have not had much sun recently, it is not that cold. Daytime temperatures are usually in the mid teens (Celsius), mid 50s (Fahrenheit). Bob and I have been back to the delightful Restos many times during the week. No crowds, but delicious food. We have tried oysters on the half shell, moules frites, galettes, burgers, eggplant parmigiana. We will return. There are more goodies to try: Russian, Moroccan, Armenian. Last time Bob befriended a hungry seagull. The bird was a master at catching french fries in mid air.

Bob and Thomas

Impeachment: The house managers were outstanding. I was so impressed with, and proud of, their diligent work and masterful presentations. They proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump incited the insurrection and did nothing to stop it. Even House minority leader Mitch McConnell agreed, ending the trial with a powerful condemnation of the former president in a politically calculated speech. Sadly only seven Republicans showed courage. It’s all about politics. Trump still controls the GOP. Forty-three senators fear his wrath, losing their jobs – to them more important than the country. It’s disgraceful, tragic. What does this say to the rest of the world about the United States, long considered the beacon of democracy? How can the majority of Republican leaders continue to support this corrupt and immoral leader who tried to stamp out democracy?

January 6 was a black day for the nation. This cannot be America. This cannot happen again.

Bagan, Myanmar

Myanmar: Bob and I visited this fascinating country in 2014.  After almost 50 years under a repressive and abusive military regime, it was at last on the path to democracy. In 2015 Aung San Suu Kyi was elected, sharing power as state councilor (prime minister) with the military. Sadly she failed to stand up to their brutal treatment of the country’s Muslim minority, the Rohingya, which has been labeled genocide. Although she won a decisive victory in the November 2020 election, just weeks ago the military staged a coup.  She is under house arrest. Massive pro democracy demonstrations are underway throughout the country, but the military is cracking down even harder. It is tragic and very sad. I think about all the kind and loving people we met, people who were working hard to make a life in the country’s budding tourist industry.  Can they overcome? 

For details of our experiences in Myanmar, do a search on “Myanmar” column upper right.

Following are some random photos taken on walks in the area and from our balcony.

In early January, snow covered the tops of the Maritime Alps seen from our balcony.
Massive cliffs above Menton on the border with Italy,
Belated Valentines greetings. Bob is recovering from an injured shoulder, hence the sling.

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18 thoughts on “France: Virus Update”

  1. Since President Biden has taken over the pandemic response has been an improvement. Vaccinations are available and
    cases and deaths on the decline. San Francisco we are about to enter a new tier opening museums and indoor dining.
    Nothing more important in the new year than ending covid. For everyone stay healthy and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand your frustration but it’s so so so not just France! Here in Portugal (where we’re in absolute total strict lockdown, which is a good thing), they’re still vaccinating essential workers. My age group (75) won’t be called until late April or May or … You get the idea. So you’re not alone. It does make me a bit angry that so many of my American friends are vaccinated. Happy for them of course, but the fact that the U.S. Canada and a few other countries were able to gobble up the meager supplies does not bode well for the health of the world and the situation with emerging variants. Meanwhile, being patient is a full-time job. This feels harder than it did a few months ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I realize that France is not alone. I updated the post: Miracle. We received shot #! on Thur. Hang in there. You will get yours. It is tough. We are all fed up with this lifestyle and long for a bit of normalcy,


  3. Sorry to hear about the difficulties in getting the vaccine. In our Maryland county, there have been many delays and cancellations, but fortunately I was able to get my second shot yesterday. Loved the gorgeous views in your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. From snowy Port Townsend. Well now it’s just a bit of slush. We manage to walk the dogs daily. On sunny days we sometimes go ato a winery or beachside beer garden. Heaters help. But good to be out with friends. The state just decided to allow 25 % indoor restaurant usage. Lots of businesses gave up in our little town. We don’t go to the Costco. We get what we can locally. Let Safeway assemble our groceries, and let usps deliver other supplies we find on line. Bob is 78 and got vaccinated at the hospital. My age group is stalled since they did not receive vaccine for over a month. With months to plan, a computer system to centralize vaccine appointments never happened. Thanks to pence, kushner, etc. Many states failed also. Finding vaccines has been like the hunger games. No wait lists. Seatching multiple site daily or hourly. Jeesh. I have an appointment at the grocery store tomorrow. What a silly mess. Stay safe! Sad to know Buddhists get violent. The impeachment was entertaining, but predictable. Sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your news, Helen. Apparently vaccine shortages are almost everywhere, yet some places are far worse than others. Patience. Many Buddhists are hypocrites… as members of many other religions. Sad. At least the impeachment was great TV….


  5. Thank you for all the beautiful photos with lots of blue–very uplifting. Hope you get your vax very soon. No telling when we’ll be able to get ours here in St. Remy but hopefully next month. Stay safe, well, and hopeful! Gayle

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So lovely to see your smiles. I am frustrated for you over not receiving your shots. We are in the midst of a winter storm here. No strolling near a sunny beach for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. HI Leah, I couldn’t make a comment on your page. How frustrating for you re the vaccine. We had vaccine arrive today. After testing it will become available for front line workers. I’ll be near the top as I’m over 70 (- We have a trip planned in our caravan leaving Saturday. It will be our first trip since March. However we are in a snap lockdown which is due to finish on Wednesday 23.59. We opened up the caravan yesterday and have the fridge running. I’m hopeful. We are staying in Victoria…going to the King Valley in northern Victoria. We need some wine. Here they specialise in Italian grapes. There are also cheese and mustard producers. I’m optimistic and can get us ready in time for Saturday. Dog supplies are sorted and meat. Hopefully we will be able to go to the market on Friday for final stocks. My dog club rooms (FOMDAC) were renovated by council last year. We had our opening on 30th January. It was a big success. We even have a dog bath, which both Felix and Inge have used…so much easier. I wanted to send you photos but they are on my phone. I’ll send them later. Felix will be 14 on Wednesday. He’s quite deaf, snores and his eyes are glazed but he’s doing OK for an old boy. I am still President of the ALP Manningham, Secretary of FOMDAC (Friends of Manningham Dogs and Cats) and now Vice President of the Airedale Terrier Club Victoria. I’m off to bed now. Greetings from Downunder. I’ve watched the carry on with Trump with amusement. Love, Meg

    Meg Downie 0428 502 839 03 9874 5021 Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I failed to master the comment link, but bravo to you for figuring out how to comment. My trusty guru and friend David has fixed it. Tales and Travel would not exist without him. Thanks for your news. I hope your trip is a go and that the snap lockdown is brief. This virus is wicked. Thanks for your news and the photos of the renovated dog club — gorgeous.


  8. 👏🎯 Good one, Leah. I passed it on to Claudine, too. Best wishes to you and Bob from frosty Darmstadt. Claudine is getting her second jab in Paris this week, and I finally get my first one here (hopefully, if they don’t run out of vaccines). Coincidentally, my shot is scheduled for my 85th birthday 😀

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

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