update on france

1.)    Today, high off my embracing of American provincialism, I dressed the part. Off came the uncomfortable but stylish shoes. On came the white sneakers with jeans. Part of this was because yesterday I wore these horrendous shoes that tore my feet apart (I empathize with women who often navigate the world in footwear that is just a small step up from foot-binding). The stares stopped. Which makes me think all of my hypotheses were wrong. I suspect the French were looking at me because I looked so damn uncomfortable.

2.)    On the food: I remembered something today. Last time I was in France for an extended period of time and ate out a lot, I was here with my father. I was maybe 20. He paid for everything. And given that he is considerably wealthier than I am (he: a surgeon, me: an assistant professor) we went to much nicer places – great places in fact! So I suspect much of my complaining is because I am going to places that are, well, cheap. And I shouldn’t expect them to be as good as the expensive places I once went to. That, and they’re about as good as cheap places in NYC. Oh, and finally, the Euro is killing me. KILING ME. At the airport they were giving 0.57 Euros to the dollar; which is criminal (and I didn’t support). But still, you get the picture. So I suspect that is causing indigestion. Although I will maintain that much of the best French food is regional, and not really in Paris.

3.)    Work is going well. I’m at Sciences Po. It’s very pleasant there. I’m presenting, talking, and exchanging on something I know very little about, which makes it all the more exciting and interesting to me.

4.)    I am on a “No-fly” list. Or rather, someone with a name like mine is on a no-fly list. Lately I have been interviewed (detained?!?) every time I’ve been on a plane. I am very nervous about leaving Europe, as they didn’t stamp my passport when I entered. So I’m worried that they’re going to wonder, “how did he get here?” The idea of something even remotely fishy going on with my passport has be terrified. Plus I’m leaving from London, not Paris (where my brother lives and where they DO stamp your passport). So I’m worried they won’t understand. I may never return. If so, I’ll auction off my stuff on scatterplot.

5.)    We have French readers! How exciting is that? I may meet up with one… And to our French brothers and sisters: sorry for trash-talking your nation in my last post.

4 thoughts on “update on france”

  1. Safe travels, Shamus. You rock those sneakers, and you eat a frangipane or chocolatine for me (which can hopefully be found for cheap). And I’m crossing my fingers for your airport expediency.

    Meeting up with bloggers/readers is most awesome. I’ve done it lots of times, and one of my closest friends is off-blog. It has made traveling to conferences much more enjoyable, to “know” someone in a city and have a guide.

    I am tempted to post this video on the mainpage.

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  2. Go to a boulangerie and buy a baguette; go to a charcuterie and buy patés, jambon, céleri remoulade, etc; go to a cremerie and get cheeses; go to a rotisseur and get chicken. Buy bottles of wine and water. Find a place to sit. Eat. (Good food-store and market streets are rue Cler in the 7th and rue Mouffetard in the fifth.)

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  3. When I was in Paris for a month as a student, I did exactly what JL describes, except I stopped at the baguette and cheese. However, I added some dessert, I’m sure.:) Conveniently, I was in my semi-vegetarian phase then. Convenient since even when the dollar was stronger, France was more expensive and meats tend not to be on the cheap side.

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  4. I have only been to Paris a couple of times, so I bet that everyone else knows more about it than I do. But I can relate about how expensive the food is in restaurants. Last time I was in Paris I stayed in Montparnasse at a cheap hotel called the Hotel du Parc rather than down by the river and the Sorbonne as I did previously (too expensive these days). The only inexpensive restaurants in Montparnasse were creperies. But that got old after a while. In addition to the boulangerie, charcuterie, etc. that Jay Livingston recommends, I discovered that Parisian supermarkets are great places to buy cheap but very high-quality food (fruits, cheeses, breads, even gazpacho) that can be used for picnics in parks or meals in the hotel room.

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