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Bastille Day July 15, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in Fireworks, France, Marseille.
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Marseille did a lot better than last year. Actually, it was a whole day, starting with a parade (including impossible-to-photograph-because-they-were-moving-so-fast-fighter-jets) to the fireworks at the end.


Also, the pulled up a anti-submarine boat from their civil defense force. It was parked right outside my window:


What was even cooler is they allowed tours. So I got on board and stole all the high-tech French secrets I could for the homeland. Actually, not. But I did get to see the boat. And I got a bunch of pictures from the outside:

Pictures were allowed – but not very many people took the pictures. And, funnily enough, I didn’t feel comfortable taking them. I know, odd for me. The technology inside was a mis-mash of stuff that looks like it was straight out of the old NASA control rooms (you should have seen the radar scopes) and modern PC’s (well, running Windows 2000). In the operations center, where they collect all the radar information (and they have a lot) I expected the controls to be fairly uniform. You know – to reduce mistakes when under pressure. But that wasn’t the case. The equipment was festooned with small switches and controls – if you weren’t looking I don’t see how you could have felt your way to the right switch. Fascinating stuff, none-the-less.

And the night was topped off by, of course, fireworks. These were not as big as the ones I saw last year (more bang, less light?). But still they had some pretty spectacular ones. My favorite were these arcing ones shot from water level that got closer and closer together. The picture below is a static one, so it doesn’t give the full effect (the sound was important part of it too).


I’ve uploaded a mess of pictures for anyone that wants to look. It was one hot hot hot day. I spent the middle half of it working from home, but when the sun started coming in the window I had to give up!

UPDATE: Forgot a link to pictures!