Unspun was in Toulouse last week for Airbus’s Technical Press Briefing. Its an annual event where Airbus gets journalists (and their PR flacks, like moi) to the southern French city to make us knowledgeable about things like vortex factors, composites, alternative fuels and other aeronautical stuff that go into the construction of the A380 and other planes (aeronautical buffs go here. It’s a blog run by Jon Ostrower whom Unspun met over dinner before The Hail, but after the fourth glass of red wine. The non-aeronautically inclined who are more interested in The Hail and Toulouse can remain here).
Anyway, The Hail. As we hacks and flacks gathered in a restaurant somewhere in downtown Toulouse for a dinner on the second day of the briefing we began to hear loud noises outside. Then someone pointed to the window and we all rushed to it. And there, in the middle of Spring, were all these hailstones about half the size of golfballs raining down on the streets.
It was so heavy that within half an hour or so all Toulouse’s streets were covered with white ice or with ice and leaves torn by it from chestnut trees lining the streets. It was fun and different but walking home on the slippery and melting ice was no picnic. There was a stretch before the hotel where the melting ice and slurry caused calf deep flooding. A long time Toulousian resident said that she had not seen the likes of such heavy hail in Spring all her life.
We all ruminated about global warming and thoughts of the weather gone crazy. Good thing that the discussion at the Airbus briefing the day before was all about how the plane maker was conscious about reducing its emissions and impact to the environment and had devised innovative ways to reduce emissions, noise and other pollutants through its plane recycling program the day before.
Other than those to days the weather in Toulouse was superb, sunny and hovering in the 20s. There were lots of women to watch, parks to stroll and museums to visit. Things that made Unspun glad was an open-air photographic exhibition about satellite images on the park by the Garonne River, sculptures at the Musee des Augustins and just the change of scene in Toulouse. (and yes, Unspun did partake of the Toulousian specialty, foie gras). Here are some images to share with you (they are not usual Unspun quality because he was too lazy to bring the 40D and used a Lumix FX12 instead).