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More adventurous than the average bear

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

France/Spain 2011 - Day 13, Part 2 - Paris

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." - George Bernard Shaw


France/Spain 2011
Day 13 - 29th March - Paris
(Part 2)

When I got to Paris (Orly) I shelled out for some more La Durée macarons. I think they open at 6:30am!

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Framboise, Caramel à fleur de sel, Pétale de Rose, Orange and Passionfruit
(Raspberry, Caramel with fleur de sel, Rose Petal)
The Rose had the most intense rose scent I'd ever smelled (I was benchmarking it with rose-scented products, naturally, since real roses almost never have a smell that's even vaguely intense).

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Croatia ad. I was intending to visit this during my next trip to Europe, but it didn't work out. Perhaps next time.

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"To the children of the 13th Arrondisement who died for France"

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They like Charles de Gaulle's words so much they put them on a plaque.

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Some crap beauty product with no hormones or soya.

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Equality is not having to shave your armpits

Having arrived at 6+, I wasn't able to do much; I was supposed to meet Cunning Linguist for dinner and had gotten an earlier flight, but got stood up. So ironically I had quite a lot of time. I definitely wanted to head to Piment d'Or (the Asian Prince restaurant), so I walked down to Porte d'Italie.

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"Traditional French Baguette"
Apparently these were better than the normal ones, so I wanted to try one.

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This is cheap. I'm going to Paris to make my next pair of glasses. My last pair of glasses in Singapore must've been at least S$150. This is 40€ including the lenses.

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Yummy-looking artisanal breads.

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Macarons in shop window. 13,50€ for 16 vs 1,60€ for 1 at La Durée. Almsot half the price, and you get a box free.

I saw a lady and her dog begging (the dog makes it more credible somehow). Too bad I had thrown away the crap Spanish pastry. I should walk around with food and give it to beggars.

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Lost dog poster. Pasted over an anti-foie gras poster (quelle horreur !)

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I think this "Chobix" amused me because I thought I saw a Chobits reference.

They bill themselves as "Le magazine fait par les actrices" ("The magazine made by the actresses").

I went to Chobix's website to try to find out how they shared their profits with their actresses, whether they take on directoral, scriptwriting, marketing, billing or customer support roles to expand their portfolios and prepare for when they retire from the pornography industry, if all of them have the right to require barrier use during filming and perhaps if they have a complicated profit-sharing scheme which includes stock options.

I went to read the interviews in the hope of finding out such information, and was pleasantly surprised to read, in an interview with Chloé Delaure:

"I.S. : Tu es prête à la notoriété, ça veut dire que ta famille est au courant de ce que tu fais ?
C.D. : Absolument, je ne leur cache rien. J’assume ce que je fais donc tout le monde est au courant depuis le début. Pour le reste, en dehors de ma famille, je me fi che de ce que les gens pensent de moi

I.S. : C’est sûr ! Comment un homme doit-il se comporter au lit avec toi ?
C.D. : Ca dépend. Si j’ai envie de passer une soirée tranquille, j’aime qu’il soit doux. Mais sinon, en règle générale, je suis soumise. Sans jamais tomber dans l’extrême, j’aime qu’il me donne des petites fessées, qu’il me tire un peu les cheveux…."

This is actually a genuine interview! I was extremely surprised, and pleasantly pleased (translations available on request).

In the end, I didn't manage to find out what I had set out to, but I have learnt a new piece of vocabulary: "branlette espagnole" ("Spanish wanking" [male]), which translates as Paizuri. Amusingly, the British are following in a long and time-honoured tradition by calling it the French Fuck. Another term: "Se Goder".

I also came across this amusing cover letter on the forum. I'm trying to decide whether it's taking the piss:

"Madame, Monsieur,

Je suis un homme de 23ans , mesurant 1m75 , bruns.
J'aimerais effectuer un tournage X. Je souhaiterais intégrer une grande enseigne comme CHOBIX afin d'acquérir de l'expérience professionnelle et d'enrichir mes connaissances sexuelles.

J'ai toujours été attiré par le domaine du sexe et plus particulièrement par la pornographie. J'ai choisi cette entreprise pour me spécialiser car j'espère devenir hardeur.

Mon adaptation aux situations nouvelles, ma motivation, ma rigueur, mes connaissances constituent mes atouts que je souhaite mettre au service de la CHOBIX.

Espérant que ma candidature retienne votre attention, je me tiens à votre entière disposition afin de vous soumettre ma vive motivation.

Je vous prie d'accepter, Madame, Monsieur, l'expression de mes salutations distinguées.

PS: je fournirai mes coordonnées qu'après avoir reçu une réponse à cette demande merci."

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"Made in Italy". So it's not fresh.

I walked into a Monoprix to buy something for my ex-boss, and at the book aisle I was struck by a realisation:

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Very little of the books are actually French. And one of the French books was "je ne sais pas maigrir" ("I don't know how to lose weight").

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Cheap Boursin! For some reason some is 1,92€ per pack and some 1,99€. I don't know why they even bother. It's a strange product differentiation strategy.

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You can tell they have problems with it if they need to advertise a job fair which promises to give you an equal chance

I then entered (Indo-)Chinatown. With lots of shots with signs in Chinese which didn't translate to French.

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"中法旅游" ("The Chinese way of travelling")
Presumably it involves rushing from place to place, lots of shopping and Chinese food.

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"Famous digital cameras"
Presumably not PRC brands

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("France Friendship Foodstuffs Pte Coy")

I noticed that even bona fide Vietnamese places didn't use Vietnamese but Chinese characters. In fact I couldn't recall any with Vietnamese words (just as I scribbed that I walked by one place with Vietnamese, Katakana Korean, English and Chinese - but no French - words: "Big Store" at

Getting to Piment d'Or, I found the team different. I asked if it had changed and was told it'd stayed the same for 14 years. There was no outside seating this time, but then it was March and not October.

I resolved to try something new, and was thinking of hotplate scallops with spicy sauce, but was advised that Soupe de nouilles à la Saigonnaise (Vietnamese noodles with prawns and grilled pork) would work better for one person, and that it wasn't Pho.

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Kir and Soup with Vietnamese Noodles. There were supposed to be quail's eggs but they'd been struck from the menu.

If you think this looks like wanton mee soup with prawns replacing the wantons, you're right. The Vietnamese really took everything from the Chinese. That said it was not bad and the soup was different from the MSG water you get with wanton mee, but still.

The lemon was quite weird. I thought Asian food usually uses limes. Maybe it was a substitution.

I remarked on the remarkable similarity with Chinese noodles and was asked if I was Chinese. I forgot the word for dumpling.

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Some North African guy came in to sell stuff and ignored me. Help help, I'm being repressed!

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Wall menu

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Their specialities (with photo)

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Of course I couldn't leave without nems. I'd forgotten to order this and only realised when having the noodles. I was asked if I wanted them for takeaway, hurr hurr. They were good, but at 1,075€ per spring roll, not cheap.

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Interesting nude woman stirrer for Kir. Very good.

I felt like having dessert, but the desserts seemed Thai. I was recommended "dessert aux trois couleurs froid" (Cold dessert in 3 colours), and he said it was very popular.

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Iced Bobo Chacha: red balls, the chendol worms, some salty yellow thing (mung beans?), attap chee, something like sea coconut but less sweet and less darkly coloured and a clear jelly in a serrated shape in coconut milk. Actually I was expecting it to turn out like Bobo Chacha. It was quite good anyhow, and actually had more than 3 colours: green (worms), red (balls), translucent (jelly and attap chee) and cream (coconut milk).

The guy who served me had a weird French accent. I don't know if it was worse than mine.

I was tempted to order more spring rolls (I was already their most greedy client) but they were expensive and I kept in mind the law of diminishing marginal utility of consumption.

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Kuei Lu, a Vietnamese digestif.
It was interesting with an indescribable taste. It was almost as strong as vodka and went to the nose a little, leaving a sting on the tongue, with a slightly sweet middle taste (before the aftertaste)
I didn't need to have it to hit the credit card threshold actually.

Later the boss came out and I mentioned I'd been there in October, and was a fan of Asian Prince. He smiled but didn't remember that. Sad.

A white guy then came in to sell stuff: keychains and LEDs for keychains. This was the second vendor of the night, and I was surprised he was white till he put a card in front of me with 3 languages: FR, DE and GB. So he was deaf.

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They're one of the only restaurants or indeed establishments with a Vietnamese name

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Some marriage play. I'm not sure how to translate the title.

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"Exotic products"

There was a "中华旅行社" ("Chinese Travel Society"), blandly translated as "M.T. Voyages". This was even better than the Chinese style of travel.

Many restaurants advertised their food as being "à la vapeur" (steamed). Eee.

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"Restaurant Kiss. Sushi Fondue"
At first I thought this was sticking the sushi into the fondue (steamboat). The guy who came out to greet me seemed mildly disturbed. I asked him in Mandarin if he spoke Mandarin and at first he went huh (he did). It happens to me too - when one changes one's linguistic mindset. He said he'd migrated when very young.

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"Last seating"

Outside the hostel an American guy was briefing a group of teens. I found that amusing.

I stayed at Oops ! Hostel which had won awards for its design. I was skeptical at first but it was quite nice.

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Back in Paris from Northern Spain, the most striking thing (en dehors des jolis êtres, bien sûr) was the number of minorities. In Northern Spain, apart from some East Asian shopkeepers, there were almost no minorities. Presumably things are different in the South.

You know it's getting warmer when people are showing cleavage on the métro, and not only guys are staring.

I am told that the best way to spot a Bottle Blonde is the eyebrows, since they usually forget to dye them. Yet I have since realised that this is not as easy as it sounds, since there're many shades of blonde (e.g. strawberry blonde), and with the relatively sparse density on the eyebrows, their true colour may not be immediately apparent at a glance.

The equivalent of the crazy cat lady is probably the hobo with the dog.
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