Went to France last week. It was alright if I'm honest. Bit disappointed by the complete lack of anyone wearing a beret/stripy jumper combo or riding a bike with a baguette wrapped around their neck...but you can't have it all. But yeah - Paris. It's a cool city, but there's a distinct lack of 'normal' shops, y'know, like an Off Licence or whatever, just selling odds and ends, drinks and stuff: every shop you come across is either full of plastic Eiffel towers or is a brasserie. And do you know what a brasserie is? It's a cafe. Albeit one that will sell you a cup of coffee the size of a thimble and then charge you about 8 quid for the pleasure. Also, and at the risk of offending an entire culture, what's with the fucking tips? Every place you go in, there's a waiter who comes hovering over and making you feel uncomfortable while you try to smash your food in...and then you have to give him a tip for it. Gah! Just give me my food and go away! Ho hum.
Other Paris musings: the metro (underground) is always ridiculously busy...yet you get the odd carriage with a classical violinist playing in it. The cars drive the other way, so you spend your first few days trying not to get knocked over when you cross the road. There are people selling corn on the cob in the street...that they've just cooked in a shopping trolley with a BBQ in it. Fewer people than you'd think actually speak English.
Which was a bit of a shock to an ignorant English fuck like me. I suppose the French have every right to speak their own language in their own county...but Jesus does it make things difficult. Especially when you're staying in a hotel that makes Fawlty Towers look like the Malmaison and none of the staff can speak the Queens, or apparently understand the most basic of improvised sign language. Bloody foreigners. And yes...that was a fucking JOKE before you decide to write some pathetic complaining response in the comments section. I feel I have to include these disclaimers just to make sure anyone reading this doesn't report me to the FBI or something.
Going back to the holiday though, we (myself and my better half, naturally) managed to cram a hell of a lot into the 5 days we spent in Gaul. Some of the fine attractions and museums we visited included The Louvre (where we saw the Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa), d'Orsay (where we saw some Van Gogh pictures), Le Orangerie (where some bloke called Monet had some pretty pictures of flowers hanging up), Conciergerie (a historic prison-thing), Montparnasse Tower, the Eiffel tower, a Seine river cruise, Notre Damme, Sacre Couer, Napoleon's Tomb, a museum about the army...and various other excrutiatingly cultured things. I reckon I ingested that much culture in those 5 days that I could get my own show on Radio 4 where I don't actually say anything - the culture just radiates from my inanimate body and out through the listener's speakers. Cough.
The best bit really though, was going to see a show at the world famous Moulin Rouge. It's true - the birds have their tits out the whole time...and there was some cool dancing too. In short, it was ace - and a special mention must go to the incredible juggler who was throwing about 20 clubs about at one point...whilst he walked around on his fecking knees! Awesome. And even more awesome was the way we were only meant to have a small bottle of champagne between us...but the staff fucked up and gave us a full-size one instead! Hehe!
Summat else in Paris that made me happy was this:
Yep, it's a white chocolate Twix. Why has this never been done before?! It's so beautifully simple, yet I've never seen one in a shop in dear old Blighty. And yes - it was simply divine.
Speaking of food, I spotted something in ASDA this week that registered on the opposite end of the edibility scale to the white chocolate Twix: The Crispwich. I took a pic of it on my trusty Palm Pre but I have no way of getting said snap onto the net at the moment so I'll just have to describe the horror to you: It's essentially two monstrously thick slices of buttered bread, entombed in a cardboard sandwich box along with a little bag of crisps. You build it yourself. You eat it. You feel dirty.
Other news: Proton. It's quite well known to those who...er...know me that I drive a Proton Impian, and if you check back through the archives of this very blog, you'll eventually come across a post where I go on about my experiences with said vehicle. I think it's a quality machine and have had no problems with it, other than people taking the piss. Last week though, I discovered that Proton actually had a team in the 2003 British Touring Car Championship. Here's a pic of their vehicle:
Yes! It's an Impian! And according to the little blurb I found on Wikipedia about the team, the vehicle was only a slightly modified version of the one I've got! So in your face, all you twats who take the piss out of my car!
Right, that's enough crap for one day. Only a few weeks left of this fucking horrendous job...and then I'm free! Woohoo!
Update: I've just washed my beloved Proton...and some cunt has traded some blue paint with it. Grrrr...