Tuesday, January 19, 2010

this is us, this is them, kinda

After our first month in France, I wondered what differences really stood out. I think the most glaring difference was that we spend no time in front of the television. We spend time on the computer surfing the internet, however less time than at home. We only have one point of connection here, which requires us to have shifts. Cindy gets up early and checks her e-mail, the banking statements, and our other bills. While Caleigh is at school, I can log on and research stuff, and when Caleigh gets home from school, she researches ( I-chats with friends). The main reason we don’t watch T.V. obviously is that a: it’s in French, b: the programming is worse the in the states, and c: there’s nothing on, like in the states.
I do recall when we first arrived, someone told me that there is a big difference in attitudes, here in France they don’t care if an athlete has 18 other girlfriends behind his wife’s back. (No that’s not right a golf course has 18) 12 girlfriends behind his wife’s back, he’s just a man. In the U.S. they make a big deal about it, like our priorities are askew. I should have mentioned that European sponsors were also hightailing it off that endorsers putting green, pretty lickety split. I understand what he was implying that we are provincial, and puritan in our values, morals. Its an easy shot to take the intellectual highroad, the stance of how paparahtsi-ish we are as a nation, that’s easy, but try defending the worshiping of Jerry Lewis?
Minor differences are numerous, whether its correct here, or in the states, or neither.
Go into any market in France, and you’ll see: Fresh produce, like in the states, but more selections in France. In France, there is the same stuff in every food supermarket, every region has their specialties sure, but the overwhelming selection is good healthy food , fresh goat cheese, brie, fresh baguettes, meat with out hormone, additives, and organic, and a little bit of sugary cereal, potato chips, and candy. In the states you go to a market in Larchmont village or Encino ( affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods )and there will be nice selections with maybe one isle of twenty selling crap. Go to that same market chain on Western and Crenshaw or Labrea and Pico ( economically challenged neighborhoods )and there will be fifteen isles of crap to four good isles. It’s bizarre, when I lived on Windsor near Crenshaw same thing, Cindy and I were floored. I’m no sociologist, or economist, but the message is pretty odd. I understand supply and demand, basic day to day stuff, but it’s not like that here. The radio stations here take a little getting used to, in the states sure they play most of the same songs repeatedly, but push the scan or preset button and you can find another desirable station, in L.A. anyway. In France I found a likeable station, left to do some errands and came back an hour later, turned on the radio station got busy doing something then it dawned on me twenty minutes later. “ Damn, this guys been talking about something strait for twenty minutes“, it seems they have talk hours and music minutes, maddening. Well the driving here is pretty civil, and I can only compare it to L.A., where I’ve lived for the past twenty years, so that wouldn’t be fair. We don’t have wacko’s here going into schools and shooting kids, that does happen once in a while in Germany, if I recall correctly. We were led to believe that it’s hard to have a bad meal in France, we found that to be true the first two times we were in France, we went gaga over the taste sensations. Each meal seemed to outdo the last, this time not so much. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve has some fun meals, but surprisingly we’ve had some really bad. We went to what I called the French equivalent to Hometown Buffet, we didn’t know that going in, but we knew it going out. I ordered “Faux Fillet”, Faux means false, like Faux marble, it’s a painted finish that looks like marble, Fillet like Fillet-o-fish, a fillet of seafood. Faux Fillet here means sirloin cut of meat, when asked how I like it cooked I answer “medium” that’s actually a little rare, well I was told that meant a little rare, what I got still had a pulse, which was a good thing because all the muscle in my piece of raw gristle was getting a workout. The knife had the French equivalent of Playskol written on it. I ended up leaving half of it still pulsing, hidden under the Mt. Everest side of fries. And as we know fries are the same the world over, except in the states they’re called Freedom Fries.

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