Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh To Be In Paris (Part II)

I have decided to add to the list I made earlier on the note-worthy things about Paris and the French.
  • The French REALLY do love their baguettes. Many of them go to the bakery every morning before they go to work to get their morning baguette fix. Others go in the evenings so that they don't have to wait in the long lines at the bakery in the morning. At the very least they buy their baguette fresh from the bakery on weekend mornings. You know you're in France when you find that all Chinese restaurants sell a sandwich made with the baguette bread and porc/chicken instead of just the staple rice dishes. In fact, many of the small take-out Chinese places, called a traiteur in French, often have more sandwiches and salads on the menu than other dishes.
  • There is dog poo everywhere in Paris. Like a British classmate of mine noted, the worst thing is that so many people have a small dog that they walk everyday but no one picks up the poo. This is despite the fact that there is a law in place for people to clean up after their pets.
  • I find the traffic signs here much more confusing than the ones in Qu├ębec and that is saying a lot. I swear the location of the traffic lights make it seem like they are trying to hide them from public view. Also, the central meeting point of intersections here are much bigger than the normal 4-way maximum smaller ones in North America. In addition, the centre of the intersections here is usually shaped like a circle so that the road area that serves as the meeting point of all the cars approaching from the intersection is a huge circle. I've seen 4- or 5-way intersections where 3 or 4 of the cars approaching from the intersection from different directions all press forward in what seems to be a race of first-to-reach-the-centre-gets-right-of-way but none of them ever really slow down. I don't think I will be driving in France anytime soon.
  • On the subways here, musicians are allowed to get on the train and sing, play or do both. Often, they have a contraption in which they've plugged a mike or their instrument to boost the sound of their music. This contraption is usually firmly secured to one of those small wheeled carts that I see a lot of people pulling around when they go grocery shopping. I know there must be some proper name for the contraptions that increase the sound but I dont know it. Anyways, so far, I've really enjoyed all the musicians that happened to get on the train car in which I was sitting. Today I found myself tapping my feet to the lively singing in italian being done by two men who got on the train. They had background music that they were blasting from their contraption, no mike, but cheerful faces AND they were clapping.
  • This past weekend, thanks to my cousin knowing people in the film industry, I found out about and went to the 2008 European Independent Film Festival. It was in its third year and I guess that in order to increase attendance and visibility the event was free . I love watching foreign films so it was the perfect event to attend. I liked meeting the people, actors, directors and film-makers trying to make a name for themselves. My only regret is that I didn't take better advantage of the situation and watch more films.
    Oh, during the closing ceremony, they had an independent artist perform. She played the guitar and the instrument that looks like a very small guitar and she sang. It was her singing that I loved. She only introduced herself as Melissa so I have to go find her name in the program. Melissa had a great voice. Her singing and me appreciating it made me remember that there are a lot of excellent artists out there who may not be as well known as Christina Aguilera or Amy Lee but they are just as talented. Also, I should make the effort to discover and start listening to some of the excellent indie artists out there.

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