(Le mot de la fin)
by Mad Dog
I didn't see French cut string beans, French
kissing, or French postcards (not that kind, anyway).
|| The two months is
over. It went quickly. Too quickly. Too bad the 29-hour Full Moon Travel Trip From Hell
out of there wasnt as quick. How was I to know there would be a partial railway
strike when I got to Paris which would make me miss my flight? I mean, whoever heard of
something as ridiculous as the French going on strike?
didnt get to do as many things during my stay as I would have liked. Or go to as
many places. I kept waiting for your big fat check to arrive in the mail but it never did.
Thanks a lot. But I cant bitch; it was a great experience. Though there are some
loose ends to wrap up.
THINGS I DIDNT SEE WHILE IN FRANCE: French toast, French manicured
fingernails, French cut bathing suits (okay, it was March and April in northwestern
France), women wearing anything other than black hose (except that one who was being
chased out of town by a mob carrying torches and brandishing baguettes, but I strongly
suspect she was English), French cut string beans, French kissing (Im not sure
holding hands in pubic is even legal), Anatole France, Franco-American spaghetti, French
postcards (not that kind, anyway), greeting cards that say "Thanks for getting
those pesky Germans out of our country", or museums other than the Louvre (the Musée
DOrsay was closed on the Monday I tried to go and I didnt get to stop at
the Musée de Huitre (Oyster Museum) or the Musée Noces DAntan
(Museum of old time weddings) which I passed near Cancale.
I won't miss laundromats that charge 22F (almost
$4) for a small load of wash, people who forgot how to smile, or the dog shit.
||THINGS I WONT SEE NOW THAT
IVE LEFT FRANCE: The new Smart cars, designed by Swatch and cooler than the new
VW Beetles could ever hope to be; dogs and cats in restaurants; the obelisk at Cap
Fréhel which overlooks the English Channel and looks like its giving the finger
to the British; road signs in French and Breton; a telephone repairman bringing his son
along and making him work; cafés filled with that dense blue smoky haze.
THINGS ILL MISS: Cheap wine, cheese, and pastry; notepads that
have little blue gridlines on them (either the French have horrible penmanship or they
love to play Battleship); small appliances that are beautifully designed but dont
last; the food; keychains that have a skeleton key for the front door of the stone house
next to a remote door opener for the car; toothpaste salesmen in drag for their bachelor
party who sit down at your table in a restaurant on a dare; Paul and Mirèn dancing in the
living room to Cajun music; the French versions of Main Street and Martin Luther King
Boulevard, which are rue de la République and rue Charles de Gaulle.
THINGS I WONT MISS: Laundromats that charge 22F (almost
$4) for a small load of wash; people who forgot how to smile; the Mont St. Michel souvenir
coin trays, snow globes, cigarette lighters, and desk calendars; having almost every city
named after a saint, and wondering who all those saints were; dog shit.
How can you fault a company that puts pop rocks
inside a candy bar like the new Crunchie Explosion?
||HOW TO TELL IF YOURE EATING IN
PARIS OR LONDON: In France they dont wash the vegetables before they sell them.
The carrots are covered in dirt and the mushrooms have the root part still on it. The
English, on the other hand, not only clean them, they cook them for four or five days
before eating them just to make sure theyre sterilized. And unrecognizable. When
theyve reached the point that they cant remember what vegetable it started out
as, they mash it up. The French, on the other hand, like things so pure they dont
cook their meat, well, not that youd notice. Steak Tartare is common. You can get it
in England too only they call it "Live Cow".
In Paris they serve glace,
which is ice cream that makes Ben & Jerrys taste like ice milk. In England
Cadburys sells soft ice cream which is cold lard that was once on the same continent
as a bottle of vanilla extract. They also use this for lubricating their bicycle chains,
keeping infants regular, and proving that a nation full of people without teeth can still
enjoy food. As long as you define the term food loosely.
Its amazing that Cadbury makes this. They do, after all, make the best mass
market candy bar in the world: Crunchie. Sweet honeycomb inside and chocolate outside, you
can get them at every candy machine in the Underground. Well, any one thats working.
Besides, how can you fault a company that puts pop rocks inside a candy bar like the new
Crunchie Explosion, which incidentally made me a local hero when I found some
(theyre new and hard to find) and bought ten of them for friends to eat after a long
night of clubbing.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: I didnt learn as much French as I would have liked. I
also didnt get to use a lot of the French I already know. I never once got to use
the phrase ménage a trois during my stay. Cest la vie!
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