Friday, June 29, 2007

Jour 1

You know you are in Paris when there's a baguette sitting next to you on the Metro.

This, mon cher lecteurs, is the school where I'm learning French. Mangez votre coeur out (eat your hearts out, for all you Cromagnons who don't speak le Francais)!
In fact, they are very clever at La Sorbonne, because they make you go here first and get you all excited and then they send you to the ugly part. But by the time you get to the ugly part, you're in love.
Two petit brushes with French bureaucracy:
1. The passport line at Charles De Gaulle is worse than the one in Mexico City. Meaning, there seems to be a certain sadistic pleasure vis a vis the incoming tourists in the way we are made to squeeze into one thin, gridlocked line, where there is clearly plenty of space for the hordes of tourists to form several lines, but I guess each country has its own way of torturing the visitors. Ever since 9/11, those coming to the US and those leaving are treated like potential terrorists all, so don't get me wrong.
2. Trying to buy tickets at the metro. Huge line of people for one of the automated machines. This being France there are 2 machines. One for the tickets and one that only works to refill their equivalent of the metrocard. Why that machine cannot dispense new metrocards to all is and will remain a mystery.
Two employees manning the booth decide it's time to close it, despite huge line of people. Then automated machine breaks down. French female asks the employees for help. Then the fun starts. With a dramatic, Gallic roll of the eyes, the long beleaguered employee says he is coming. Then nothing happens for a while until another citizen of the republic, this time a male, asks again, a bit more menacingly. Then the employee finally leaves his booth with the most hilarious display of unwillingness and chagrin, as if all of us were importuning him way beyond the call of duty. Look what I have to go through to make an honest living, his demeanor seems to say, I fucking have to help the passengers get on the metro. WTF, in French.
Then a very interesting dinner, to be described in the next post, as I have to run to my exam where they are going to tell me how badly I speak French.

No comments:

Post a Comment