Wednesday, January 17, 2007
( 7:25 AM ) teahouse
I See Paris, I See France
I'm back from l'Europe!
It was a lovely time. Paris is a beautiful city, with lots of lovely things to see and a great history.
Overall, I had a really great experience, and enjoyed interacting with the Parisians.
But there were also a few appalling situations that really left me taken aback.
Just to give you some background: I took French for 13 years, starting from age 6 (how many Americans can say they've studied a foreign language since they were 6 years old?). I thought I was well prepared for this trip.
But I was wrong!!
I wish that Madame Landry, Madame Barry, Madame Mouton, Dr. Wood and Monsieur Navarro (all of my French teachers through the years) had prepared me better for day-to-day Parisian situations.
Here are some things that I wish they'd taught me how to say. Actual situations that arose, through which I had to bumble my way in broken French:
1. "I don't understand how the coat check at the Louvre could have lost my coat! Are you sure you didn't accidentally give it to someone else?"
2. "It is unfair that you and your 5 friends cut in front of us in line. We have been standing here for 2 hours and what you are doing is despicable. We both know martial arts, and if you steal our tickets we will be forced to thrash you."
3. "Give back the money that you just snatched out of my hand, Mr. Waiter. I'm still trying to calculate your tip so could you please not hover over my table and grab the bills?"
4. "If the sign says the museum closes at 6, why are you blocking all of the exhibits and shooing us out now, when it's only 5:15, Mr. Security Guard?"
5. "I am trying to request a wakeup call for tomorrow. Why does nobody answer the hotel's front desk after 10 p.m.?"
6. "Why are you telling me to spend 300 Euros on another flight when you admitted that it's your fault I missed the plane? And why are you yelling at me?"
Other than those few incidents, I had a really nice time.
I especially loved the tv channels available in my room. One night it was a broadcast of violinist Gil Shaham playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto. That was followed by 4 straight hours of hard core porn.
I'll post pictures soon. Of the trip, I mean. Not the porn. #