Monday, December 11, 2006

Notes from Paris

1) The area I live in has a large number of cybercafes. Since I don't have a net connection at home yet I've been going to the one opposite my building. Interestingly enough, it's always busy and full of people of African origin. Each cyber cafe also has phone booths. Yes, the kind one had in India till recently. There are lots of posters advertising cheap calls to Africa but none for the US. I had to call my brother recently and ended up using one of the phone booths. Felt odd speaking from inside a wooden enclosure and a guy sitting outside with a meter saying how much the call was going to cost.

2) Maybe after so many years of living in the US I got used to American style kitchens and grocery stores - basically big shops and kitchens. The kitchen in my studio is tiny and can barely fit one person. But after a week of living here it seems the right size. There are no huge supermarkets in the neighbourhood. Only small shops individually selling cheese, vegetables and bread. But the quality and choice is quite amazing. One of the cliched images of Parisians I've always had is of them walking back home with a piece of bread in their hands. I do that everyday now and it seems almost natural.

3) The shop I got my cellphone from is run by 2 Pakistanis. They were both speaking in Punjabi to each other while I was browsing. Their assistant (looked like he was fresh off the boat) messed up something and the owner let forth a torrent of abuses in crude Punjabi. To his next customer he switched to fluent French impressing on him the virtues of the latest Nokia model. As languages go, Punjabi and French are as far apart as I can imagine. Listening to the shop owner switch from abusive and colloquial Punjabi to smooth talking French was quite amusing.

4) When I was staying at B and M's place, they asked me what I wanted for breakfast. They described something to which I said "Oh, French toast". They looked puzzled but it turns out there is no specific name for it. Nor is a French press called a French press. It's just a coffee machine.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You mean freedom toast and freedom press.

what about french fries? french kiss?
french letter? pardon my french?

Anshuman

bandafbab said...

Pommes something or the other.

Just Hello - to women.

Don't know.

Pardone.

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