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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

France 2012 - Day 3-7 - Rambouillet (Part 2)

France 2012
Day 3-7 - 15th October-19th October - Rambouillet
(Part 2)

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"How to sleep in France"
But it's not only in France where you sleep in between sheets (for hygienic reasons)

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Annoyingly the chateau - normally open on weekends - was closed this weekend due to a private concert. Ah well, this would give me more time for Paris.

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The Sale is open on Sunday, so you know it's special

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"Pedestrians must follow this route"
The old lady in front didn't care. Me neither.

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I really liked the windows in Rambouillet.

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"Doctor Bertrand Bazin. Neurologist
Former medical intern in Parisian hospitals
Former clinic head of Parisian hospitals"
And now he's in the small town of Rambouillet.

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More windows

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"It's useless to come and break the box. It is emptied every evening"
It was quite depressing to read this in the laundromat.

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French 1-for-1 pizza (for takeaway, anyway). I wonder if it beats Canadian.

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"Using the service for VOIP, P2P and newsgroups is forbidden"
I finally got my SIM card from Orange: €23 for 400M of data (vs SFR's €34,90 for 1G). Unfortunately, they are not supporters of net neutrality

I'd left some Orangina in the communal fridge and in 1 day it went from being unopened to 1/4 finished. I'd also put 5 cartons of puddings and only 2 were left. I complained to others and they suggested putting my stuff in a plastic bag to reduce the chances of theft. Grr. Interestingly when I left pudding on my window sill (I was on the ground floor) it didn't get taken.

There was a drinks machine which dispensed a frothy milk drink. Unfortunately it tasted like Nespray.

I observed to my class that women were more into languages than men. One girl said that was because guys are lazy. I didn't get to give my suggested answer: men have to work so they have less time for their hobbies.

Every day I took a walk after class ended (at 4pm). This was partly to stretch my legs, but also partly because there was nothing to do. Perhaps the most important reason was that it was nice weather to walk in

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Even funerary service providers have deals.

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Presumably you need an appointment with the Shiatsu practitioner since there's a large "No Entry" sign

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"Time passes. Beauty remains"

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This lady does both homeopathy and acupuncture. How appropriate!

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I don't know why even midwives get medical specialist-esque plaques

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"Fanta Chateau Grokiff. Lemon-Elderflower flavour. Batch of 2010. Bottled in an inflatable castle"
Special Fanta flavour

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Bad pun : "Alors, on chine ?" (I think it's a play on "Alors, en Chine ?", which means "So, in China?")
This Monoprix house brand soya sauce was €1,21 for 125ml and imported from Thailand (presumably repackaged in France)

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How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?

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Rice/semolina pudding. It was hard to choose but I got the latter as it was more exotic.

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"Tiramisu with speculoos. The dessert with a bilingual flavour"
Speculoos is Dutch gingerbread

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Orientalism: Restaurant Istanbul (kebabs) and The Good Chinese (Chinese food)

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More nice windows

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"Nursing student"
Serving people seems to run in the family

Au pairs came for lessons for half a day a week. One day, there was a Chinese au pair which surprised me, since everyone else was either from the US or Europe. I thought the Chinese were too practical for such pursuits.

It takes 30 years to get an artist permit for Montmartre and each time there're 15-20 people vying for each spot.

If your shop is open on Sundays you must pay a tax, and you can't force people to work on Sundays (and they must be paid twice as much). Exceptions are made for tourist places. However you still need 2 consecutive days of rest for employees. I suppose this explains why many places are closed on both Sunday and Monday.

In Europe you can't find instant cosmetic masks (the sort you apply and then peel off).

Ironically in Israel it is easier to have an abortion as a single mother than if you're married. This is for religious reasons. Meanwhile in Mexico the morning after is legal but not abortion (and some places give free condoms).

The morning after pill is free in French schools, but you will only use it once because it makes you feel like shit.

Apparently there's no Nobel Prize for mathematics because Nobel's wife ran off with a maths professor.

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Park. This should be Le Rondeau

I went to Paris on one night to meet people. Unfortunately one stood me up with a lame excuse about not getting my call, but I met another.

Parisians are really rude. Some didn't return my Bonjour greeting, most didn't reciprocate my Au Revoir. And one even ignored me when I was trying to ask him something. Grr.

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"Brioche Dorée. Pleasure and health on a plate"
Somehow I don't think brioches (and the other pâtisseries they sell) are very healthy

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Cheap C&A office shirts. The €19 ones even came with free ties (the €12 ones didn't).

Annoyingly you couldn't open and try stuff at C&A. One had to pick from sample clothing on the rack outside the changing rooms - but could one shirt really represent regular fit, wide fit and slim fit?

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"You have a large family? C&A offers you a 5% rebate on all your purchases, even those on sale"

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No photography in the Galeries Lafayette. Bah.

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Shop for men. Their slogan: "Suppression of womanly rays/aisles"

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It cost €13 to ascend the Tour Montparnasse. I had just under an hour before my next appointment so I skipped this; the light was not good and it'd been raining.

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Paris has a half price ticket booth to

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La Forge - where I had very good flammekueche in 2010

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€5 shawls, but they felt quite nice. I saw some S$7.90 ones in Sinapore but they felt like shit, so these were better value.

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"Natural pleasures. To be consumed without moderation" (play on junk food advisories)
I wanted to buy something from Yves Rocher but arrived a few minutes too late. However their bad joke was still visible in the window.

The 5 books in A Song of Ice and Fire each got cut up into 3, so there're 15 books in French. Hah. Doubtless this is to make more money.

There were 3 French soldiers patrolling Montparnasse station. The woman had no assault rifle unlike the men but her hand was on a holstered pistol. Tsk.

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Lamb. This was a bit tougher than expected but the sauce was very nice.

The area around where me and my contact had dinner was filled with adult shops.

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"New channel surfing for 1€. Personal and total control over the films of your choice. All genres and styles... Very luxurious salons and cabins. Mirror game. Light game"

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A more discreet shop which didn't explicitly say what it sold

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Another place offering porn channel surfing

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"Clean Video"

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"Lingerie for her and him"

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Complicated Rambouillet parking

I was quite silly. When I'd been in Lyon earlier in 2012, the dryer had shrunk the string in my shorts, making them uncomfortably tight. This time I used the dryer on the same pair of shorts, and I couldn't put them on anymore (so much for pre-shrunk).

According to one teacher, casinos in France are only allowed in places with hot springs.

Happuku (repeated stabs) is even worse than seppuku (one blow).

Rules for housework for women:
1) Never do everything
2) Never tell him "you must do it" but find some other way. Encourage him "like a dolphin"
I suggested treating women like cats and I met agreement: "you must caress them"

Cultural tidbit: you cannot give French subordinates instructions. You will get a dispute where he justifies his existence. The Israeli lady said it was the same in Israel.

One of the Japanese girls said all the Japanese guys at Rambouillet were super weird, and they were the weirdest Japanese guys ever. If they're weird to Japanese, I can't even imagine...

It seems you don't really get a bulk discount at Rambouillet. A Danish girl paid €4,481 for 9 weeks.

In my last few years of travelling the only place I've seen a lot of kick scooters is France (I saw one once in Darwin, and I can't remember anywhere else where people used them). And a lot of the ones using them are adults too.

The Korean girls, besides bringing their own sandwich bread, also dug out the centre of baguette slices to eat, leaving just the crust. Ugh.

The Columbian girl had an American accent when speaking English, because she went to the US a lot. This was quite funny.

Apparently it's not just Europeans who don't wax - Latin Americans don't either, despite the most famous procedure being called "Brazilian". It's very popular among Asians though.
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