Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Brief résumé

Well, I'm touching base for all of about another four hours before jetting off again ('another suitcase in another hall...' etc.).
Here are some of the cool things I would have blogged about it greater detail if I'd had full-time internet access (sigh).

- Bastille fruit and vegetable market: this takes place on a Sunday morning and, by law, stallholders have to stop trading at 2pm. This means that if you oversleep you end up racing between empty crates to brave the crowds, with tell-tale flakes of a hastily-eaten pain au chocolat clinging to the front of your t-shirt. You'll push your way through a whole spectrum of middle-class white Parisians only to have the desperate fruit-seller thrust two crates of steadily softening pears into your arms for a paltry two euros.

- Learning Spanish: this weekend I hung out with Spanish interpreters (rather than Polish ones - not that I don't still love you guys... particularly if you're still reading me...).
I speak French and Italian but I've never learnt Spanish and there's really no excuse, especially since the other Brits there were fluent hispanophones. So I asked one of the girls, over sushi, to write down some handy Spanish phrases for me, not least:
No tengo cambio (I don't have change)
?Has estado en Polonia? (Have you ever been to Poland?)
?Que coche tienes? ?Me llevas? ('what kind of car do you have? Can I have a lift?)
and finally:
Eso no lo hacemos en mi cultura (we don't do that in my culture)

- Brussels ex-pat women's rugby team. They can hold their G&T. I can't.

- Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Any time I go to Paris I find all these quirky, cute, French things to write about, à la Amelie Poulain, and then I go home by plane and just end up ranting about the airport. I do have a point though. Terminal 2 is shaped like a very long, narrow, extended kidney-bean. It is divided down the middle into two very narrow slices, with departures on one side and check-in on the other. The check-in desks are cunningly hidden behind the last-minute ticket sales desks, you have to go through passport control At Least three times, there is only One Place to buy sandwiches in the departure lounge for gates 25-34 (and it's packed out with sweaty Brits) and there are no loos beyond security at the gate (you have to go through a separate security check for each gate).
On the plus side, I discovered that I can throw awantury in French without having to worry about case declensions.
I have a lot of work to do on my karma now.

- The mortification of stepping off the plane, slipping my jacket on for the first time in over a week, and discovering that I was Dressed From Head to Toe In Beige. Like a big toffee.
Even Paris could do nothing for my style: I'll have to bite the bullet and go shopping with my sister. Gulp.

- Plus I have half a sketch book of interpreting cartoons...


peixote said...

"you guys"? "YOU GUYS"?!?!?!

I never thought I would live to see American expressions polluting this otherwise very agreeable blog. That`s it. I`m cancelling my subscription.

Before I delete this blog from my "Bookmarks" forever, I have to say I fully agree with your assessment of Terminal 2 at CdG, save for the fact that there ARE in fact toilets in the departure area between the security check and Gates 25-34, only well hidden (they are underground, in one of the trench-like mezzanines, next to the All Natural food place).

The plus is they give out a lot of free newspapers in that departure lounge, including about 10 French ones, plus a good selection of British, Italian and Spanish press (they even had "ABC" which is too right-wing for the taste of most airports in Europe).

Incidentally, how do you say "Pancake Powder Mix" in French? Apparently it does look suspiciously like heroin, as I found out when trying to bring some from the US last Sunday. BTW explaining that it`s just "farine" doesn`t quite cut it with the security personnel.

peixote said...

"touching base"? "TOUCHING BASE"?!?!?

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Karolina said...

Of course we are reading! Where are you off this time? Pls forward interpreting cartoon to my email! Still have the previous one as my desktop background :D

pinolona said...

Karolina: I'm up a mountain in switzerland. it's cool here. about the cartoons: I didn't have time to scan them at my parent's house so I'll photograph them and then if it works will send :)

Peixote: All natural food? really? so I had another sandwich option?

I didn't see any free newspapers... are you sure we're talking about the same terminal 2b??

Pancake mix: préparation crêpes instantanée? pâte à crêpes americains? (ou bien 'pancakes') Mélange à gateaux? farine can be quite general: you can get farine animale - divides into two categories: suitable for human consumption and unsuitable for human consumption. don't even ask.

You can quite happily touch base in blighty as in the US.

One problem with english is that there's no second person plural and I have a phobia of writing the words 'I love you' *shudders in disgust and horror*.
In the north of England and in Ireland they say 'youse', but with a south eastern accent I can't quite pull it off. and then there's always 'y'all': comes in y'all all, all y'all, etc.

peixote said...

Ah, no, I was referring to Terminal 2F, actually.

I thought 'touching base' is a baseball-related expression. The British equivalent would be 'scoring a run' or something (my cricket terminology is a bit rusty).

"The lot of you" would also work, I think.