Strikes and general admin failure

My attempts to be a good citizen and pay my hospital bill today failed. I intended to go via the post office, where I apparently have An Exciting Package waiting for me, and then on into Nice to argue with the hospital that they really shouldn't be charging me at all.

Aware that this would be challenging, at best, I dressed up in my best French outfit (it's the best dress ever, black and white with French stripey bits at the top) and dug out my heels and set off into town. First stop: Post Office. There's a strike on today, so La Poste is closed. Come back tomorrow.

Undaunted, I continue up to the bus stop, where the tourists have formed an orderly queue. I briefly considered joining it, but decided my dress made me French enough to wander to the front, where I stood with all the real French people marvelling at the queue. The woman at the front of the queue went to great pains to point out to the guy standing next to me that this was a queue, and he should join the end of it. Once I'd translated for him, he looked incredulously at me, and smiled and nodded at her, ignoring her completely. She got more and more agitated, and he was more and more bewildered.

He let her get on the bus first, since it was obviously important to her, and she said to the bus driver, "This man is pushing in!" as if it were a crime worse than death.

He looked, confused, at the man next to me, who shrugged and said "Elle est bizarre, cette dame."

And she was, very odd. The nice English tourists behind her looked at me and the guy, burst out laughing and said "Do go ahead, we don't mind." We talked about the boat - it came from Southhampton, and was going around the Mediterranean. It actually sounds like a fairly pleasant way to spend time, if you don't end up having to deal with women like the one at The Front Of The Queue.

Arriving, eventually, in Nice, I made my way back to the hospital, going in the front entrance this time. It's got a lovely atrium inside, all sunlight and trees and things, rather fabulous. Following the signs for the Acceuil d'Urgences (A&E reception), I got as far as the Urgences department, then got lost and ended up wandering around with patients. A nice doctor opened a secret door for me and showed me where I ought to be going. I reckon my dress helped me not get shouted at. The woman behind the counter, however, just shrugged at me when I said I'd come to pay, and said "Les computeurs sont en panne. On ne peut pas prendre les paiements aujourd'hui." (The computers are broken, we can't take payments today.) She then told me to come back another day, or to just wait, I'd be sent a reminder eventually. Haphazard system, this...

Given the total failure to achieve anything I'd planned today, I decided to stop for a haircut. This is something I've been meaning to do for ages. And as I was wondering whether I ought to bother or just wait til I'm back in the UK, I saw a hairdressers advertising a walk-in service. (Is that what you call it in English? Where you don't need an appointment?) And they were that bored, they were practising on each other. So, in I went. For 35 euros, I now have a shorter, more grown up, more French hair cut and have found a hairdressers where they don't laugh at my complete inability to communicate hair terms, because they put it down to a language failure. I shall go back, sans aucun doute! (Ines B, 11 rue de l'Hotel des Postes, Tel: 04 93 13 85 85 if you're in Nice and desperately searching for a hairdresser.)

Fran –   – (24 June 2010 at 18:44)  

You will like the interesting package! I won't reveal what it is, but I'm sure you can guess! Though I would say take a big bag, as it is quite heavy!!! That is in case the interesting package is from me. If its not from me, then it really will be interesting haha :) xx

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