Interesting France Trip Report

Jul 8th, 2003, 05:47 AM
  #21  
 
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lol, Trav1--reminds me of the movie Home for the Holidays. Celine, I didn't take a tour; we just wandered around on our own (there may have been a brochure). I agree on the bad taste of tap ice, so have my reverse osmosis whatsis hooked up to my icemaker. But when I am really warm, I swear a big glass of ice water cools me off from the inside. I say as I look out at the thermometer on the patio that reads 80 at 6:30am. S'posed to hit 110 today. Pass the ice, please.

Klondike, I love the story of the mayors. Reminds me of a French grad student guest in an American's home. The mom asked him if he wanted milk; he replied thank you, literally translating Merci (non understood), and was shocked when she poured him a big glass.

Or the French gal who thought her new neighbor was angry with her because he knocked on her open apartment door with his fist palm toward the door instead of with the back of his knuckles.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 07:10 AM
  #22  
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it's great to hear all the different stories about different peoples experiences in France and America.

It reminded me of the last week i was in France i was sitting at a nice restaurant with my correspondant and his grandparents. His grandparents live in Paris and are very "upper class." They asked me if i could drive, and i explaned that the driving age was much younger in america and that yes, in fact, i could drive. They asked me if i had to go to driving school. And so (in French) i explaned that everyone now is required to drive for at least 9 hours in the car with a professional driver or driving instructor. (this is the rule in Georgia, i am not sure about other states). They looked at me shocked. So i went on, i said that the first time i was in the car it was a little bit weird but after a while i got the hang of it. They asked what my parents thought of it (still with a shocked expression) and i said, oh they thought it was a great idea, and it's not expensive. Well it was at this point that my correspondant (Tristan) broke in and helped me out a little. He couldnt stop lauging long enough to explain it to me that great but what he ended up saying was that when i had said i spent 9 hours in the car with a professional, that a professional was a prostitute. And i had just told his grandparents that i was required to spend 9 hours in the car with a prostitute, and that my parents thought it was a great idea. And it was weird at first but i got the hang of it after some practice.
So yes i had many experiences like that!
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Jul 8th, 2003, 08:26 AM
  #23  
 
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Great story, yesmar! Thanks for my morning laugh!
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Jul 8th, 2003, 09:30 AM
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Great reports, yesmar! I do hope that you kept a journal of your experiences while you were in France. Or if not, it's not too late, write them all down now while it's still fresh in your mind! I get lots of enjoyment out of reading my old travel journals, it's almost like taking the trip all over again : )
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Jul 8th, 2003, 09:58 AM
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I'm loving this!!

I was wondering if they were trying to be extremely hospitable by having Coke on hand when you arrived & serving it to you. I imagine that Coke is still sitting in their house somewhere!! : )
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Jul 8th, 2003, 02:06 PM
  #26  
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Well, i did keep a travel journal. I wrote in it every day, and thank God too. I have to keep looking back in it to remind myself a few things. But yes, it is like taking the trip over again.
And yes i would imagine they have coke sitting around their house. And tons of it because they never drink it. EVER!!
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Jul 9th, 2003, 05:23 AM
  #27  
 
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Trav1, I guess the bad teeth is a 75% true stereotype... but they are not very bad, just no super good ! Kids tend to have braces at a very early age, it helps a bit I guess

yesmar: love the driving story...



Celine
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Jul 9th, 2003, 06:40 AM
  #28  
gb
 
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I was in France at the same time, and it was INCREDIBLY hot. Apparently, the hottest June in 250 years. (In fact, yesterday in Denver it was 100, and I was not as uncomfortable as I was at any time during the three weeks in June in Europe. Occasionally, we had a place with air conditioning, but not many.What was a surprise to me was that so many residents were wearing heavy slacks, and not necessarily cotton. Whenever I tried to blend in with a pair of pants, I would sweat buckets and gave in to wearing shorts (I had brought only one skirt). In fact, we had time scheduled in the mountains as well, and it was so hot that we sent all of our heavier clothes back home.
Like you, I found everyone polite in the countryside. (In the city, people were more distant like any city anywhere). But, when we met local residents, there was lots of questions about Colorado (our home). Many only know of Aspen.
As for eating, we struggled with the late eating time the Europeans chose. Our stomachs were always ready to eat at 6:30, so we did find ourselves eating more often than we might eat at home.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 06:43 AM
  #29  
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PS, I actually got used to having drinks with no ice and it didn't bother me after awhile. But, when I did get home, I piled in the ice.
Friends of ours in Belgium told me that they were surprised at the openess of American kitchens.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 07:21 AM
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yesmar - Thank you so much for posting your experiences...I loved your story about the "professional" misunderstanding. I also studied abroad (Paris) and encountered my share of misunderstandings and stereotypes.

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Jul 9th, 2003, 08:53 AM
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Gb: Where all in France were you? And i noticed the same thing with the pants. My friends there would tell me they had to go to tennis practice, and then put on pants. I tried to do the same thing one day like you and i about died. When i got home and asked for a drink they all looked at me funny because it wasnt meal time and i wanted to drink!
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Jul 9th, 2003, 10:03 AM
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At my rental home in Italy, I was really tired and thirsty one day and just grabbed a large coffee cup and filled it with water, my Italian guests were amazed that I drank water from a coffee cup, they said "but that cup is for coffee".
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Jul 9th, 2003, 10:44 AM
  #33  
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Hey Natalia,

Would you serve coffee from a wine glass?
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Jul 9th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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No, but I wasn't serving the water, I just grabbed a drink for myself and stood in the kitchen drinking it, when they came in and were astounded.

But...I have served desserts in wine glasses, would you partake?
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Jul 9th, 2003, 01:26 PM
  #35  
gb
 
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We spent a couple of nights along the coast in Palavas les Flots, then, a week in Dordogne area, followed by a few days in Belgium, and back to Paris for 5 days. By the time we got to Paris it had cooled down a bit, and I was able to wear pants most of the day, just switching to shorts during the afternoon. Got to see the start of the La Tour. I expected the city to be very crowded for the La Tour, especially along the parade route, but it was only 2 person deep watching the parade. Where were you? We also were in Austria and Italy during the second week of June. People were riding bikes in long pants and shirts and I was sweating non stop in shorts. Even the hotel (in Austria we had air conditioning) was hot with the air on. Thank goodness for the air in the car.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 01:39 PM
  #36  
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gb: i was in Paris the last few days in June and the first few in July, and i was suprised how cool it was. I had to wear a sweatshirt in the evenings. The afternoons were fine, but at night it was actually cold
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Jul 9th, 2003, 01:40 PM
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Yesmar, I get more impressed with your report and your experiences the more I read of them (I had to skip to the end after half way through this thread as I have to catch a train). You write honestly, factually and truthfully and I find that refreshing for one your age. Well done ! I hope that your experiences and pleasures increase as you continue to discover the wonders this world and the people who live in it have to offer.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 06:14 PM
  #38  
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thanks for the compliment. It's always nice to hear from people who say nice things instead of saying "your Stereotypical ". Don't get me wrong, it's always good to get everyones opinions which could possibly make me realize that yes indeed, i am Stereotypical. However, i do my best not to be.
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Jul 10th, 2003, 09:37 AM
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Yesmar,

Not having finished reading your posts yesterday, I came back to them during my lunch break today and my comments to you are unchanged. I am enjoying your post very much. When I was 9 (I'm now 4 times that !) I went to Europe for the first time with my family and spent a month living with a family in Switzerland, followed by a week in Venice. My experiences and observations of the everyday customs and lifestyles of the locals were very much like yours and are something that remain with me to this day. From the way milk and orange juice were delivered freshly in jugs that were put into little locked cubby holes in the wall beside the front door of the house, to the way mail was delivered in person. We never had such things where I lived at the time. I would race downstairs twice a day to collect the mail that would mysteriously appear in the little slot. Fascinating for a 9 year-old ! My hostess even wrote and mailed me a little note one day so that I would receive a little surprise. Imagine my excitement when I did. Point is, it was the simple ordinary things, different from what youe were used to, that will remain with you and take you right back to the time and place (like a familiar song) when you unexpectedly encounter them again years later. For me, this is especially true of the scents and aromas of foreign cooking, cedar wood (for the house we lived in had a lot of it) and the smoke of Muratti cigarettes (thanks to the host). By the way, eating the previous day's leftovers is a custom (and a very economical and waste-not one at that) practiced the world over. In many parts of India for example, lunching on a drier version of the previous day's dinner curry, with either rice or flat bread and some pickled vegetables or salted fish is a rural tradition. Same goes for Africa and South America.
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Jul 10th, 2003, 10:15 AM
  #40  
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Yesmar

I really enjoyed your postings. We have been to France several times and I can picture some of the things you say. We have been to Paris, the Normandy area, the south, Chamonix, Beaune and many others and have enjoyed meeting friendly folks. On our first trip, we stayed an extra night in Germany due to reports of unfriendly French. It was a mistake, we have yet to meet an unfriendly french person or someone with an unkind word.

Regarding Ice -My sister-in-law always drinks ice in her beer, this is a problem for her in Europe.We were told that they do not use ice because it is a costly waste of energy

Regarding the shower thing, the only place we have ever noticed a consistent problem (as opposed to an isolated occurrence) was in eastern Europe.

Coke is usually very expensive in Europe. I do like it but usually do not drink it there, water, beer or wine is generally less expensive.

We generally travel in Sept, have spent time in Northern France in August but temperature has always been pleasant.

Hopefully this is just your first trip of many as well as a long friendship with the family you visited.
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