Saturday, July 11, 2009

Parlez-vous francais? - July 11, 2009

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” - Alan Keightley

Our photography focus was on contrasts today, and because of that, I paid a little more attention, I think, to some of the details of the Champs Elysees, which is where I spent most of the day.

Of course, no one could have overlooked this first guy. He was posing for all cameras and was surrounded by a bunch of his buddies in t-shirts that all said the same thing. I think it was some sort of initiation.

I think the second photo was also part of the same group. The guy on the left was singing with the young girl, and there was a guy (in normal clothing) playing along on the guitar. They were certainly NOT street performers working for money.

You've heard about all the beautiful French women, right? Well, in my third photo, I caught one of them smoking and with calluses on her hand. Not so pretty close up. She was also lugging around four children. They had stopped to have a snack at a cafe.

Sadly, we were passed by many, many begging for money. My fourth photo is one of an elderly lady who was just walking around with her cup in front of her. Some were more aggressive than others, but I have learned how to say, "No, go away," in French. "Non, allez-vous en!"

And my final photo is of big dog/husband and little dog/wife. (I assume they were married. You never know!)

I was so proud of myself for successfully negotiating the purchase of stamps to mail cards back to the US at a post office where the clerk did not speak English! I half way negotiated our dinner orders with a waiter with limited English. I would say something, he would say, "What?" then using gestures and single words, we would get our point across. I was beginning to wonder if HE understood French. I distinctly said, "Nous voulons une creme brulee avec deux cuilleres [We want one creme brulee with two spoons] and he came back with, "What?" But bless him and his buddies... as I got up from the table, I accidentally caused my personal body alarm to go off (it fell on the floor) and they came running ... but laughing when they realized what was going on!" Then I left my metro card on the table (they retrieved it for me). Then we stopped to talk to a family that had a child who was wearing a University of Florida t-shirt, and while we were doing that, they ran up with my sweater, which I had left! God Bless America! They kept laughing and telling me I was "cut off" (from the wine) and one even joked that I needed to quit smoking marijuana. "No more marijauana!" he kept laughing. Sheila was cracking up because the same thing had happened to her (alarm went off) when we were at the Tuillieries ... but she was outside and it didn't cause a racket except for the people sitting next to us!

Anyway, it was an adventure and we are now safely back and ensconced in our room for the night! My feet are swollen again, but I'm not nearly as tired because we were able to go at our own pace today.



  1. Hi Jeannie-

    It looks like you are having fun in Europe. I really enjoy reading your blogs. Can't wait to see you....Juliette

  2. Hey, join up on Facebook to see more photos!!!