After returning to Toulouse, I headed to the old town city center to find a cafe for dinner and do some blogging. I was waylayed a bit by a small protest march. I had no idea what it was about, but was pleased to see no sign that they were protesting against the US!
As I was standing there watching the parade pass, a younger Indian guy next to me asked (in English) what it was all about. I said that I had no idea. He said that he recognized me from my talk at the conference a couple of days ago and we started chatting. It turned out that he works for IBM Research Laboratories in Zurich and he had gotten his Ph.D at Iowa State (his name is Abu). We ended up grabbing a nearby cafe for an excellent dinner and had a long interesting conversation about technology, politics, and all sorts of subjects (there are no short dinners in France!!). Amongst others things, I was fascinated to learn that his family is part of a very small Indian Christian church that dates back to the days of St. Thomas and that he is heading to Lourdes tomorrow. It always impresses me at how well informed on both US politics and world affairs that international professionals like Abu are!
By the way, we later asked the waitress what the protest was about and she explained that it was one of the leftist parties that supported Emmanuel Macron in the recent French Presidential elections and they were now upset at his centrist politics (who could have guessed that would happen? 🙂