15 Days Later
8.9.08 - 8.9.08
Now that the natural ephemeral happiness of being in France has worn off, I’ve had different experiences and noticed more things about this unique city. First, some interesting peculiarities (at least to me).
Apparantly, Bordeaux is the San Francisco of France. At first I noticed a disarmingly large number of men with “merses” (man-purses) and upon further inquiry, I found out that only gay men wear them. After two weeks here I’ve seen just about every type of merse, from the tiny and chic louis vuitton to the outrages full-on white purse big enough to hold a 2 Liter bottle of water and a make-up bag.
As far as style, I think it’s just generally different. A lot of guys wear pointy shoes… which I find to be STRANGE, at the very least. Now I understand what someone means when they say a pair of men’s shoes is “European.”
Next, there are condom dispensers in the street. So far, I’ve seen two. They’re just randomly on street walls.
As I mentioned before, Bordeaux seems to be uniquely multicultural and I totally love it! On Thursday, a bunch of friends and I went to an Indian restaurant in Quinconces and had an amazing meal for much cheaper than the quality of the food. I never really thought about it before, but Indian food is absolutely one of my favorite kinds of foods, period. It’s just cool to think that you can be in France and yet also eat great food from other countries. Today I also had a KEFTA FRITES, which I’m not sure if they have in the states, but it’s a baguette stuffed with seasoned meat and fries, with a little mayo. It’s kind of a heavy meal, but it’s very tasty.
Aside from the food, there are an unbelievably high number of foreigners here in Bordeaux. On Friday my roommate and I hosted a house warming party at our studio and even though there wasn’t a single French person there, our friends from California picked up three Germans, a handful of Spaniards, two Portuguese, one hondurian, one Czech and two Moroccans. It was an amazing party and I talked to so many different kinds of people. (Most of the night everyone spoke in French anyway!)
My friends from the dorms are all quickly getting their own places around town and we had the pleasure of visiting some of them over the weekend. They have a very spacious and cute apartment near Plaza Gambetta. You have to walk up three flights of stairs to get there, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s really exciting to know that everyone’s going to have a place of their own in a different part of town, so you always have somewhere to go!
Now for the bad… Saturday night after visiting our friends in Gambetta, a group of us decided to go to a bar/small concert hall named Heretic. At first I was having so much fun dancing to the the very talented DJ’s in the basement and drinking a Heineken “demi-syrop pêche” (beer with a shot of peach syrop! It’s so good, I don’t know why they don’t do it in the states!) and then I got tired of dancing so I went upstairs to go sit on some couches. After a little while, I somehow became surrounded by a group of really drunk, loud guys and I felt kind of uncomfortable because I ended up being right in the middle of the entire group. I said hello to the guy next to me, he then handed me his beer and walked away. I turned to his friend on my other side and gave him the beer his friend gave me and then he and his friends just started making fun of me, pointing and laughing. I got up to leave and they all started asking me to stay but I just suddenly felt really ridiculous so I left the club. As soon as I stepped out of the club, for the first time since my arrival, I felt like I didn’t belong and the fear that I might never belong burned in my eyes and I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. Another French guy came up and asked me what was wrong and the fact that I didn’t even have the proper vocabulary to explain the situation just infuriated me even further. Unlike the guys in the club, he was very understanding about my language deficiency. Thinking about it now, I feel really silly for letting the situation get to me, but honestly, it doesn’t matter what language or country it happens in, no one likes to feel like they’re the freak show that everyone’s laughing at. I just have to realize that I’ve been lucky that most of the French people I’ve met have been mostly understanding and tolerant, but I am going to come into contact with people that WILL ostracize me, or even hate me for being American.
Now I have one more week left of day class with other Californian students and then I have to enroll with the other french students and start classes in the French University. I have to be honest, I'm scared shitless!! But I've already made it this far and there's no turning back.