Luxemburg is one of the most mixed cities in the world – 65% are not of Luxemburgish origin! Does that make the people more tolerant? Interesting interview about what meetings between people from different countries mean in one of the most international environments of Europe.
Yes, the moment had come – we had to buy a GPS. And take some time to breath. The nice female voice on the GPS helped us out of Luxemburg but when we wanted to find the street of a hotel where we thought we could stay, she was lost. Entering the beautiful city of Lyon, we therefore stopped a Lyonnais asking him to help us. He turned out to be very nice and even start drawing a map for us. While we explained about the journey and started an interesting interview, another car stopped. Initially the two men in it were waiting for us to leave the parking lot but eventually they came out and engaged in the conversation. We ended up with two very rinterviews/discussions around meetings between people and quite a good idea of the Lyon spirit. “I just cannot answer to why some are afraid of meetings between people of different origins because I just don’t understand it” said the first one whereas the other two said that it was all a question of solidarity and of being able to put oneself in the position of the other. They maintained that rich people are generally more egoistic and narrow-minded. All of them said that Lyon was bourgeois city and that people therefore were less open. “It is completely different to Marseille” they said and we all felt very excited to arrive to the city we had heard so much about.
As we had been talking about human meetings and solidarity the two Algerians/French in the car probably felt that they just couldn’t leave us erring around in Lyon in the search of a hotel. So they drove in in front of us about one before they had us end up in the cheapest hotel in Lyon – Formel 1. Located in a quite shady backyard in the outskirts of Lyon. it made us wonder where we had been brought. But the hotel was very clean and when the initial kind-of-fear and deception over the plastic bag tortellini/24 hours old takeaway Chinese food passed, we met a range of interesting people. Actually the hotel was full of people of different origins and the reception was so small that it was impossible not to meet. We were warmly welcomed by the Senegalese receptionist who was very helpful and with whom we also made a thoughtful interview. “I don’t say it is racism – maybe it is me – but sometimes I feel that I could maybe have a better job with two master degrees”. At the Formel 1 hotel people glanced abit suspiciously at the Sousou and Maher Cissoko flyers that we left on the tables. Maher started playing kora in the entry and was accompanied by a Congolese drum player. However, this one just returned from a night of drinking and got quite menacing towards the Ivorian receptionist who asked him to stop. “You’re just a white man trapped in a black man’s body”. He even said he would kill him which resulted in four police officer turning up at the reception half an hour later. We also interviewed some Algerian gymnastic trainers visiting Lyon.
The conclusion of the day: with a GPS we would never have made all these unexpected meetings. Nothing goes up to handmade maps and discussions with real people!