Friday, May 21, 2010

Day Ten - Friday

My friends and I walked to the American Pavilion this morning instead of taking the bus (a twenty minute walk or so), and it was beautiful. The sidewalk goes along the beach and I watched the boats glide along and the waves roll into the sand as we leisurely strolled along.

It was kinda funny though-- I guess I forgot that the beaches here are nude beaches. Today was the first time I'd walked the beach on a legitimately warm day (warm enough to lounge around in a swimsuit), and let me tell you, the boobies were out to soak up the sun. It's pretty amusing, because most of the time, its the fifty-year-old ladies who don't wear their tops (and not the younger ones). I think its probably because they've gotten past the point where they receive cat calls and stares, so they are more comfortable baring it all.

When we walked toward the Palais, I noticed that there seemed to be quite a few police cars and policemen walking about. The vehicles, full of men in uniform, lined the entire stretch of sidewalk in front of the Palais, bumper to bumper (about three blocks). Some of the policemen (at least half) were also wearing riot suits-- shoulder pads, arm & leg guards, and thick vests. They kinda reminded me of Batman's suit.

We found out later that the intense increase in security today is because the festival is playing a film about French colonization of Algeria (negatively portraying France and their history), and there are a number of people who aren't happy about the film. As a result, there was a protest here at 10:30am that the police had to ensure stayed peaceful.

I haven't heard of any other riots or protests occurring since then, but the policemen are still out and in full force. They extra check you when you enter buildings, using wand metal detectors at every door now, and they look in all bags at all doors (instead of just at important events in the theaters). And while I was walking back to the pavilion from the restrooms (they are way too far away to be convenient), I noticed three men in all black standing on top of the roof of the Majestic, a hotel right across the street from the red carpet. It's all a bit intimidating, but I'm glad to know that there isn't a likely chance that things will get out of hand, thanks to the hovering Batmen on the rooftop terrace.

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