Why is it when you actually have cash to spend there's nothing in a whole city to buy?
After waiting for my french bank card to arrive in the post for the past 2 weeks, I realised that I had to go in to collect it. Right enough, on one of the 20 letters they've sent me for who-knows-what reason, it says right there in french: something to do with inviting me to come and 'retirer' it. Next time read the letters, using a dictionary if necessary.
What it didn't say on the letter (and I checked this) was that before they let you into the bank you have to be identified: standing between the outer and inner doors via intercom someone speaks to you and you give your account number/name/secret password, then they buzz you in. I pushed the button for 'appel' ('call', well done me) and then completely failed the rest; Bonjour! ...je ne comprende pas! Je ne parle pas francais! Pardon? Euh, je n'ai pas mon account number... She gave up, let me in and gave me my card- in english. Obviously not a security threat me, just incapable.
So, debit card in hand I headed to Rue de Rivoli where the high street shops are, my budget not stretching to the posher parts. Zara, Mango, H&M, Gap, all the usual suspects, and nothing. Tired myself out walking, mainly when I went the wrong direction down Boulevard de Sebastopol, just when I was thinking I had a good grip on my usually unreliable sense of direction...
The difficult thing is not knowing what shops are normal french equivalents of nice normal shops, and which are the crappy 'Internacional' types- the usual signs don't translate; decor, type of clothes, type of customer- I don't know who's cool and who's not! Same with bars, the usual set of factors you'd use to choose where to go don't work. You could think you're going into a funky nightclub, jazz bar or live music pub and end up in les Indigo Rooms.*
So after drinking my birthday wine next to a nice fountain the other night, Laura (my friend!) and I went to investigate beer pricings in a dark, dingy looking pub which turned out to sell pretty cheap wine, have a very good-looking barman AND have a multi-roomed club downstairs, like a very mini version of Glasgow's Arches! A good find I think, likely to be revisited again this weekend.
Work-wise, all is fine. I forgave the 3 year old for biting me on the ear (Sunday, on the metro, because I picked him up to stop him running around and potentially falling onto the tracks) and we were friends again today. Learning to distract him from the daily 'But I don't like this soup' by telling him it's made of whichever vegetable (of the same colour) he likes that day. Today it was not courgette, it was pea, honest. I have twice accidentally called him my little brother's name, which just popped out of nowhere. Christopher (the brother) was his age when I was 11 so "Stop It Christopher you're being Silly" must just have been etched into my brain somewhere!
Tomorrow and the next day I have off, thinking of visiting the Orangerie and seeing some art, attempting the shopping trip again, and I also need to make my way to the parks- Jardin de Luxemburg and the Jardin des Plantes are nearby and I should take advantage of the still-warm and sunny weather to do some wandering. That is after buying myself a good book or two from Shakespeare & Co, a pretty famously quirky english-language bookshop just down the road. Been in a number of times already but there's too much choice, I always come out with nothing.
I was about to write 'that's me off to re-watch another Mad Men', and remembered I finished what I have on disk last night! Noo! Any gifts of downloaded tv series would be gratefully received, I also particularly like Gossip Girl, Ugly Betty, Glee, BBC period dramas, and Neighbours.
A bientot! x
* For those who don't know, Indigo Rooms is Galashiels's finest nightclub (although this is debatable since contender 'Move' opened.) Galashiels is a small town in the Scottish Borders. In Scotland. (Just in case.) Indigo Rooms is legendary, but not necessarily for coolness. Small, sweaty, sleazy, and until recently, bright orange.