Friday, May 22, 2009

Tea's Top 10: Random Things about France

I could talk for another week about France, but I'll wrap it up today lest I bore you to death. Here's a Tea's Top 10 random things I wanted to note about my recent trip to France.

Ok, it's 11... sorry.

11. When we were in the airport in France the voiceover was in English with a thick Indian accent and it would say "XX airline is paging Mr. Smith. You are delaying the flight. Please report to XX flight. If you don't, we will proceed to offboard your luggage."

I'm sorry, that's funny as all get out!!!

Comparing France to Spain

10. The main similarities I saw between France and Spain were the size of the streets. Very narrow and the cars were small and narrow. In old Aix En Provence (where most of the restaurants and shops are) cars drove through the same streets people walked in. In Bilbao in the old section with super narrow streets, it was just foot traffic.

9. In Spain everyone lives in an apartment, like NYC. The homes costs a stupid amount of money to buy (figuratively and literally), so the wealthy own apartments, not homes. I noticed a great deal of homes in France, so maybe the cost of living is cheaper there than in Spain.

8. The dollar is weak. Oh, it's so irritating. At the airport I got 65 Euros for $100. In France I got about 73 Euros $100. I didn't do any shopping ['cause I didn't budget for a shopping type of a trip] but if I had, I'd be sick about it.

Remaining Tangents

7. There were street markets everyday. Books, fresh food, clothes, jewelry, olive oil, jellie and jams, etc, etc. My items at the street markets were [what appeared to be handblown] glass and lots of woodwork. I don't know if there's a surplus of wood or something over there, but they incorporated wood into a LOT of jewelry and trinkets (think cedar boxes and wooden frames, etc). Again, I didn't really buy anything, but it was nice to look at.

6. Everyone everywhere wants to learn how to speak English if they don't know it already. I don't speak any French, but could understand some writing since I speak Spanish. Thummyb took French in high school, but has never been immersed in French speaking culture to become fluent. Kismet has learned enough since she's been in France, but is studying history, not language, so there was a bit of a barrier.

The biggest problem is that when people notice your American accent trying to speak French they AUTOMATICALLY start speaking English. It's kind of cool to know you speak the premier language, but it definitely makes me want to step by language game up. At any moment, the premier language could change and it may not be to English or Spanish. Chinese anyone?

5. They put mayonaisse on fries. I was at a restaurant and he asked if I wanted mayo or ketchup and I said yes. So thummyb is like you want both and I'm like, I guess. I didn't want to take the time to try to figure out how to tell him I actually only wanted ketchup. I tried to eat the mayo on those fries. EW. It tastes like hot gah-bage.

4. I had a French guidebook that said Aix in Provence is unashamedly bourgeois. Go figure.

3. We took a day trip to Marseille and it's the big city. Aix En Provence is like Chicago's Oak Park or Manhattan's Brooklyn. It stands on it's own, but the big city is really Marseille. It was much more diverse than Aix, which was a relief. In Aix, there seemed to just be a lot of different shades of white with a few black sprinkles, in Marseille there were people of all different shades of white, black and brown. There were also a decent amount of fully covered Muslim women (I'm assuming the full garb indicates they were Muslim).

2. We spent a great deal of time walking and lounging. We spent a lot of time on a main Avenue called Mirabeau (or something like that) in Aix. We called it the catwalk because it was where everyone came to stunt. Oh, the messes we spotted watching people on the catwalk. We also saw a lot of superfly cars driving down the catwalk. Unlike in America, where guys try to act like they don't notice you looking, the French dudes were looking side to side like "You see me?... YEAH... You see me!" LOL!

1. Speaking of walking, Kismet went to get some work done one day, so thummyb and I were left to our own devices for the majority afternoon. We ate lunch, explored the neighborhood, took tons of pics and did a great deal of window shopping. We'd also set my travel clock to the wrong hour, so we were essentially an hour early at the meeting spot waiting for Kismet. Sitting on a quiet bench in a foreign country with my best friend, on a warm windy day, with a water fountain in front of me and a restaurant behind me, I-an always alert city girl-heard nothing but the sound of serenity and fell asleep on the street. That's how great this trip was.

On that note, I'll end the recap. Hope you enjoyed it!


Product Junkie Diva said...

thanks for the info on France. I just had to say your comment about Solange on BGG's blog cracked me up today. You just posted that comment and ended it nuff
Have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

You make me wanna visit France immediately!!!

ThummyB said...

That was great! I didn't even realize that you fell asleep on that bench too. I was knocked out. Thank God we were in a safe place!