Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bonjour from France

Today marked my fifth day being in France. Woohoo!

I haven't done much really. I'm staying with my uncle and his family in a suburb called Br├ętigny-sur-Orge which is just south of Paris. I haven't actually gone to Paris yet because I didn't want to waste too much money. LOL.

Ok, the cost of a metro ticket in Paris and the surrounding 'burbs depends on how far away one is from the centre. Basically, Paris is split into 6 zones with zone 1 being the centre and zone 6 being the suburbs that are furthest from the centre. I am in zone 5 and so a one-way ticket costs 5,60 Euros. I didn't really feel the need to spend 12 Euros just to explore Paris when I knew I was going to be buying a weekly metro pass that would allow me unlimited travel from Monday onwards and then after that I'll be getting a monthly pass. Yes, I know that means that I don't get to explore Paris right away but I'm here for 5 months so I have lots of time.

Speaking of the metro system here, I think people like me will find some problems with it. For on e thing, the weekly and monthly metro pass resemble the size of a bus ticket in Toronto but it's printed on less flimsy paper which means it will be easy to tear or lose. Also, how it works is that to enter the station one has to put the ticket in a thing that looks like an ATM card slot and REMEMBER to wait for it to come back out - a huge effort for someone as scatterbrained as I am. I hope I won't forget even my weekly pass because that cost 32,50 Euros.

Also, the ticket/pass should be kept handy at all times because the conductors occasionally go around to check and ensure that passengers have the correct pass/ticket. When my cousin was originally explaining this to me, I wondered why it would be necessary to keep the ticket/pass on me if I would have to use it to get in the station. This was until we reached said station and she having only one card, told me to walk underneath the ticket barrier thing. After doing this, we went to the ticket counter at the other end of the station, bought my weekly pass for Monday and then again went under the barrier with the ticket agent sitting right there watching us and saying nothing. LOL. Ah the French!

But hey I can't really complain. The metro sysem here is very complicated which means that the transportation system is great. In addition, all the surrounding suburbs are linked by metro to the the city centre.

What else have I done? I watched Sweeney Todd in French in the cinema. It was a bloody movie and it was a musical, my two least favourite types of movies but it had Johnny Depp and he acted well. Also, learned to play a card game called Citadelles. It may be the french version of an english game but I wouldn't know. I do believe my comprehension is improving because my cousins talk so very fast and when all three of them get going telling me something or explaining, 'tis fun to decipher. Good thing is that I have yet to meet anyone who speaks english. One of my cousins supposedly understands a bit but I wouldn't know because he only speaks french to me and I to him in my broken short sentences.

I hate how my french always goes away when I leave a french environment. In Quebec City, I felt like I was starting to remember words on my own to use in daily conversations. Now I can't remember even the simplest words. When people speak I mostly understand because I recognize the words once they've been said but I cannot seem to remember them on my own. So, I sometimes feel like I'm mute.

Since my comprehension is already improving, all I gotta do now is talk. But I'll leave that for tomorrow when I start school, if I don't get lost on my way there.

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