Sunday, March 30, 2008

the sarkos get friendly with the royals

Why Sarko wanted to be president – to hobnob with royalty
Why Sarkozette wanted to marry him – to be with someone who hobnobs with royalty (and let’s not forget the all important possession of nuclear power).

See photos of the royal hobnobbing
here and read some snippets here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

almost parisian

I’m back online after a long Easter weekend during which the tourist invasion started. The boyfriend was here and everywhere we went there seemed to be as many (or more) English speakers as French people. While tourists are sometimes irritating (e.g. when loud and obnoxious) they can also be a source of amusement.

During dinner at one of our favorite and always busy restaurants, the boyfriend and I were seated next to an English speaking couple and we ended up play a game of “Guess the accent”. Normally we can pick them out right away, but this time due to background noise and the couple speaking very softly we were thrown for a loop. At first I thought they were Australian and then I realized the lady sounded Irish. The boyfriend said the man sounded like and Aussie who had lived in England for a long time.

Shortly before they left, the woman whined to her husband that the waitress kept speaking to them in English (even though the wife attempted to communicate in French). The boyfriend and I spoke with each other in English and with the waitress in French. She replied only in French despite hearing us converse in English. I must admit that when I heard the wife’s complaint I thought happily and with a smirk – “that’s because you’re a tourist whereas we are NOT”. It was one of those moments when I figured that I’d escaped being noticed as an American abroad and was just another (faux) Parisian enjoying dinner.

gotta love technology

I planned on posting last night after the long Easter weekend but Free’s internet connection was out in my “zone”. Will post tonight assuming the technology gremlins obey.

Monday, March 17, 2008

sarko’s party takes a hit


Sarkozy’s party, the UMP, didn’t do very well in the recent local elections. The Socialists (party of Sarko’s former opponent, Segolene Royal) won in several cities. It seems that the French are sending Sarko a message and it’s not a friendly one. Even though Sarko was able to reduce benefits for functionaires , his approval rating has declined since taking office. I don’t think his divorce and almost immediate marriage to a model he’d known only a few months went over too well either. I’ve overheard French people say that they’re disappointed in him and he’s been too focused on being a celebrity instead of running the country. Today someone actually called him a clown president. I chuckled and the person knew what I was thinking because he followed up his comment by saying “But he still has a long way to go to match Bush.”

Read about Sarko and the elections here, here and here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

commute conversations

During the commute home, a woman of a certain age spent the entire bus ride on her mobile phone. I didn’t think anything of it until another passenger asked phone-woman if she was going to continue to annoy us by talking on the phone. Then she said something about the lack of “politesse”. Phone-woman didn’t respond, she either didn’t hear the comments or chose to ignore them and continue with her conversation. A minute after the comment-woman made her feelings known, another passenger’s mobile rang and she started a phone conversation which I thought probably annoyed comment-woman even more (I thought it was amusing). The first phone-women didn’t bother me since they kept their voices to a reasonable volume. Would comment-woman have been disturbed if phone-woman had a conversation with another passenger? What irritates me much more than a discreet phone conversation is someone speaking loudly or being able to hear the music someone is listening to on an mp3 player. Are our different reactions due to cultural difference? Generational? Personality? I don’t know, but I hope I don’t get a call while on the bus with comment-woman…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

england

This past weekend I had a little reunion with some friends from grad school. We met in England because the majority (2 couples, 1 with a young child) of us live there and it’s also the most central. As I’ve stated before, I’m not a fan of the parts of England I’ve seen so far. And now, traveling to England via Eurostar is losing its charm. French immigration has never been a hassle for me, but getting through British immigration has gone from being a hassle to being a pain in the butt. I feel like getting a t-shirt with pre-printed answers to all of their %$@$#@!! questions (purpose of visit, how long will you stay, occupation, employer etc.) along with a general statement along the lines of: “I don’t like England and have no desire to stay beyond this trip much less indefinitely. I am THE LAST person you have to worry about remaining in your bloody country illegally.”

After this most recent trip, I have a new rule: when joining the UK immigration line, avoid dowdy women and older men who appear as if their last smile was during the early part of the Thatcher era. This time the pole-up-the-ass lady actually asked me what I was going to do when my carte de sejour expires. I’m going to get it renewed like I do every friggin year!! That’s what I’m going to do! What are you going to do when you shrivel up and become a bitter old maid before your time?? Oops, too late.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

litterbug

I’m waiting for the bus this morning and there’s an older gentleman also at the bus stop. I notice some metro tickets fall near his feet and realize that he’s throwing old tickets on the ground. I look around and see that there isn’t a trash can nearby, but still!! Is it really that difficult to hold on to the tickets until he can dispose of them properly?? It’s not as if they were taking up THAT much room in his pocket.