Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bonjour Paris

I slept more fitfully than expected. Too many thoughts were buzzing around in my mind like demented bees. My experiences of the past month, logistics ahead, Tuesday’s challenges; all demanded attention but I was tired. I still am.

The evening had been spent in very convivial company. Annarita invited two friends over for dinner, Frederic and Damien. There was plenty of conversation of which I probably understood 30-40%. I recognise many words and phrases now but there are still a lot of gaps between the words I don’t know and they are important. So I can identify the subject of the discussions but not much content or context yet. It’s very frustrating but I listen to the sounds and tune my ears as best I can. Not speaking or hearing French during most of the past 4 weeks has certainly held back my language development. Still, I have my new qualification and now time to plunge into new mini-adventures. I hear from Pascal from time to time which is great. I hope that will continue. I also plan to keep in touch with my fellow students from the course.

Dinner last night consisted of three courses. The first was melon (popular in Brittany at the moment), fried aubergine, a sliced sausage, some cured meat sliced very thin and some marinated peppers with garlic, I think, accompanied by bread, no butter.

The second course was pork like a stew but not cooked that way plus a mixture of vegetables, followed by a tossed green salad with my favourite vinaigrette. Salads are served after the main course but part of it. Dessert was Breton strawberries and fromage blanc. It looks like cream or creme fraiche, but it isn’t. It’s a liquid cheese I think. The meal was accompanied by a red wine from Bordeaux and a rose from California, plus sparkling mineral water. So far I’ve seen no-one over-eat or drink too much though I did give some Panadol to someone who shall remain nameless lol.

The TGV from St Brieuc to Paris took 3 hours and along the way somewhere La Bretagne changed to Ile de France. I’ve settled into Veronique’s apartment in the 13th Arrondissement. Already I have let myself loose. I took my camera and just walked. This way I get to see the real Paris, not the touristy bits. I found my way to the Jardin des Plants in south Paris, not that far from the Sorbonne. It’s a beautiful facility for Parisiens. I really enjoyed the leafy corridors, so cool and relaxing despite the crowds and noisy children. Yes, it’s a beautiful place. Not all buildings are beautiful. I came across some hideously ugly ones built in the later part of the twentieth century.

By the way, Paris is not covered in doggy-doo (I only saw one example of that) and there’s no such thing as rich meals with creamy sauces. Apparently that died out many years ago. Meals seem to be simple, uncluttered, healthy. I’m getting used to olive oil and goat cheese and I’m definitely not putting on weight.

Veronique and I may be going out somewhere tonight where young people and writers hang out. That should be interesting, and tomorrow I’ll explore south west Paris where the Eiffel Tour is situated.


Defogger said...

You have made it. You are in Paris. Enjoy!

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