A good week in Paris

I’m just coming off a great week in Paris, though I’m ready to be going home.

My lab sent me to an intensive LSF class for the week to kick-start my learning of the local language. It was very fun and I got to interact with normal deaf people (sorry, deaf linguists don’t count, just as hearing linguists don’t) for the first time since I’ve arrived in France. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to take a class in Rennes to keep myself in the habit of using LSF. Church was good fun as usual, and hanging out with friends from Paris during the week was a nice break from the packed weekends I’m used to.

Crystal and Ally (Alli? sorry) were in town as well, so I had a good set of American friends to test out the restaurants around Saint-Michel with during the evenings. They did a whirlwind tour of all the museums, and I hope they had a moment or two to enjoy the beautiful parts of Paris before taking off for London.

My only disappointment with the trip came in the form of two Asian women who moved into my hostel room on the last day. I tried to grab an afternoon nap, but they walked in talking quite loudly and actually made a point to wake me up to ask which beds were open (as if it wasn’t obvious). For those of you who know me just after having woken up, I’m not too happy until I’ve had a little coffee in my system – the same held true that afternoon.

But going back to my own bed in my own apartment will be quite fun. I’m looking forward to the vacations next week and getting our project off the ground and bringing in subjects to share LSF with us. Until next time!

Smoke-Free France

So I was sitting in a Parisian cafe with Rick the other day and this woman lights up at the table. Now France just celebrated its one-year anniversary of interior public spaces being smoke-free, so I would have assumed people would have gotten the message by now. But apparently this lady hasn’t been out much since, and thought the absence of an ashtray was non-consequential!

La Grève Française

Image

So, french people know how to strike (they should – it happens all the time). But their strikes aren’t crippling like American or Italian strikes; instead, a part of the workforce will alert the government to their intentions with a few days’ notice, and quietly take to the streets to make a mark against a change in their working conditions, or way of life.

When I was walking down the street in Paris the other day, I noticed this call to protest the conversion to the Euro, and chuckled with slight envy at this country in which I live – only here would someone have the balls to say they hated building the largest and most powerful monetary union in the world and think about leaving!

Edit Dec 4, 2014: Perhaps this strike wasn’t the worst idea after all!

Working the system at the baggage counter

So as I am already an honorary Breton, I rarely ask French people to speak English with me, and generally I think they appreciate my effort despite being only a few months into this whole French-language-learning adventure.

My suspicions were confirmed today at the airport when I gave the ticketing agent a bag that was over the limit by 2 kg. Of course, I offered to rearrange some things or pay the £25, as I had seen this guy be a stickler to two other people who went to his weigh station.

However, I was in luck because the guy responded that he only makes people speaking English (and all Brits no matter if they speak French) pay the fee. Since I was an American speaking French, I saved myself about €27/$36.

Okay, off to Oz!

Riddle du Jour

So I have a riddle that no right-minded person will know the answer to:

What kind of a library do you have to pay for, and doesn’t have Wi-Fi access?

You’d think it doesn’t exist, right?  But apparently the French thought it would be a great idea to have their national library comme ça.  So now I have to decide whether €35 is worth a year of entry to a library in Paris without a way to search their catalog.  Only the French would do something so illogical!  (and weren’t they the ones responsible for the whole intellectual revolution?)

BTW, here’s a picture of the building:

Yeah, Paris

So Paris was interesting. I didn’t get to do much, given the short time I was there, and the fact that I had to worry about a lost bag. However, BA’s donation of €150 to my clothing fund was well-received, even if I have yet to see my bag.

Thursday I headed to Cafe Signes, a deaf cafe on the South side of Paris. Unfortunately, they don’t serve dinner, but I met an American couple there and we grabbed some dinner at a cafe down the street. I’ll meet up with them later in Madrid.

Friday I visited Montmartre, Notre Dame, the Pompidou Centre, and went to Disneyland Paris in the afternoon for a slice of home and some English. I had a great time in the park, and gave Nicole a call (to her surprise) to say hi. I’ll have to head down to Orlando before school starts again.

Yesterday I did a bit of shopping for new (clean) clothes and a bag to haul them with, and headed to the airport early to check on the status of my lost bag. The baggage agent at CDG said that the bag had made its way to Paris, but it was not locatable at the time – he agreed to send it on to Madrid to meet me there.

So now I’m waiting to board my flight to Madrid. I hope to see my bags there when I arrive and have a grand time in a city with a familiar language. Stay tuned.