Recently I was just about to cross the street, it was around 9pm in the evening and Bri and I had ordered Chinese takeout. We stepped onto the street and noticed something very odd, the guy in front of us had whipped out his zizi and was taking a whizz, in plain public, on the crosswalk.
Now, I've seem some oddities in my life abroad, but this is probably a moment that took the cake. To have the balls (excuse the pun) to pee in public, and I mean, show the wares to everyone and everything...
It got me thinking... There have been many moments that I've said, that would never happen in the states. And thus, this blog is going to be dedicated to those little things that are just cultural.
Homeless Dudes and Cheap Wine
I remember back in the states, many of the Homeless people had cans of cheap PBR or even whisky or vodka. In France, these homeless, while 10x stinkier than in the states, are also a bit classier. I happen to observe the homeless around the city, instead of avoiding, and most of them tend to have a bottle of wine in their hands. How very French for the homeless people to get exceedingly drunk on a bottle of wine. Of course, glasses are not needed.
Teaching Kids to Pee on Walls
I actually wrote this down in my journal once, scribbled quickly as if I was shocked. Due to a lack of public, clean toilets, many people end up peeing in public (although rarely in cross-walks), and thus arrives the "teaching your child to pee in front of everyone on this very public wall" moment. The kid was maybe, 5 years old, mom huddled over showing him how to do his business.
The Soft Porn of Cheese
I watch a lot of French television, it tends to help me keep up my comprehension, plus dating a Senator's assistant means lots and lots of political news pundits. I always prepare myself mentally when the commercials come on, notably the cheese commercials. They always start the same, soft beating music lulling and enticing the audience to watch what's happening... suddently a hand reaches over to a cheese, Roquefort, Caprice de Dieu, St. Agur, slices a piece off and takes a bite. The minute the presumabely French person bites into the cheese, suddenly they are transported to a paradise... rain falls, and it seems as though they love it so much they could marry it. If you don't believe me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YEmgb7ZCWE
Seriously, he grips the wood as though eating St. Agur provides such an immense pleasure... total soft porn.
I think I could make a whole separate post on just marketing strategies in France.
Get In Line at 6pm For Baguettes
Without fail, I receive a text every night before I leave work from Bri, "Do we hav bread?" because he knows I forget. So as I haul my bag of work home, I end up in like at 6:20pm with all the other French after-work crowd. As addictive as cigarettes, the baguettes is an absolute requirement in order to eat any French meal. So there is always an insane line of at least 10 people, each one ordering the same or a variation,
Une baguette s'il vous plaît,
Une banette s'il vous plaît....
The line seems enormous, but it passes quickly and we all retreat home with a long and crispy baguette under our arms.
My Dog Poops EVERWHERE
I notice it more in Paris than I did in Lyon, but people let their dogs squat anywhere and let it loose, thus resulting in a sort of Indiana Jones commute to work. I feel like I'm avoiding piles of the stuff every day, luckily I always was the type to watch my feet... so mess avoided! I have yet to step in a pile of crap (knock on wood).
More to come...