(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

zut alors!

It is Thursday and I haven't blogged since Monday!  I've been busy with a visiting daughter, commencement of my kitchen renovation, attempting to learn to speak zee franche, scraping lead based paint and old mortar in the entry and stairwell, enjoying 'al fresco' the first home-cooked meal from my new cuisiniére prepared by my daughter, strolls through the old village with said daughter and other general tomfoolery.

Oh, I forgot to mention the starter died on my car and shortly after its demise, I re-read my letter regarding the next steps for my carte de sejour and discovered my appointment with the doctor was Today instead of Tomorrow.  So that meant I needed to get to Bordeaux and I was without transport.  And my daughter decided to depart for Paris today for a long week-end with our good friend Lucille.

So, my supercalifragilisticexpealidocious friend and mec extraordinaire offered to drive me.  Let's just say that much of the day was delightful.  I was introduced to the Latin Quartier which seems to be primarily inhabited by individuals of Arabic descent.  We wound our ways through tiny streets packed with spice shops and tea dens.  We tumbled out into an old, old place where a makeshift vide-grenier was occurring...with many Arabic men selling goods, or gathered in groups smoking and talking loudly.  There were a couple of good deals ... but I decided with everything on my plate for the day, trying to drag a table around was probably not the best idea.

We walked and walked through Bordeaux, admiring the amazing sights and searching for a particular restaurant that, once discovered, was found to be closed.  permanently!  We continued until we found a spot offering a 9.90 euro menu (the place across the street was 10 euros so I imagine competition was in full swing).   The food was delicious!!!  We enjoyed the starters of smoked salmon and herbed cheese on toasts; and marinated tomatoes and feta, followed with a mushroom risotto that rocked with filets of dorade in a savory butter sauce and sauteed brussel sprouts that melted in the mouth.  Dessert?  Profiteroles ... mmmm... accompanied by vin rouge (an extra 3 euros).

If you ever find yourself in Bordeaux, definitely stop at the petite restaurant, nicely appointed, L'Assiette du Vieux Saint-Pierre at 14, Rue des Foussets.  Mag-ni-fique!

We panicked a bit when we looked at the time and realized in less than 1 hour my appointment loomed.  I had left my dossier in the car, which of course was the opposite direction of the clinic.  We power-walked to the car, fed the meter, and power-walked to the clinic.

Now, I expected my companion to deposit me and wander off ... returning later.  Instead, he waited patiently and was there when I exited ... extremely stressed.  There are actually men who do such things?! who knew!

The whole thing was more and less than I expected.  We arrived with time to spare so I waited in line and attempted to breathe myself down a notch or two.  Plus I was hot. "More" because I was immediately ushered into a tiny room where I was instructed to 'deshabille'.  Well,  I removed my shirt and when the nurse arrived I was informed that was not sufficient.  I was given a chest x-ray and escorted to another room, x-ray in hand.  There I was weighed (down 25 pounds!!! yay for me!!!), eye-tested and interviewed regarding my reasons for coming here and the state of the American economy!  (I was asked what my profession was in the U.S., once banking is mentioned, it is downhill from there!)  "Less" because, after much worrying about not having proof of vaccinations from the U.S. and expecting to have to be re-innoculated, I was delivered to the doctor (female) where I was asked more questions, like why I didn't have my 'carnet de vaccinations' ... and then told "c'est pas grave" and that I needed to find a local doctor, get boosters and get a couple of moles removed (TMI, I know).  The doctor also chatted with me about the differences in French and American life, the reduced stress, etcetera. On the whole, everyone seemed a little more human than the folks at Kaiser! ha! Maybe because they aren't being pressured to find ways to cut corners and deny services ... hmmmm.

After that, I was provided a clean bill of health, in writing, and told I was finished.  I was given a large and reassuring smile from said mec, we exited and I confess I then smoked a cigarette!!! ahhhh, tooooo stressful for me.  We walked (much more slowly) back to the car ... with a detour at FNCM for a decadent c.d. shopping spree.  

On the way home, we danced in our seats to Aretha Franklin, Thomas Dutronc and the Blues Brothers.  We made a quick pitstop in Perigueux at a spice shop we've been eyeing ... guess who was delighted to find 'con bawa' fruit (beats me!  Looks like bumpy limes, but smaller - I bought one for me to test so I'll let you know).  After a slightly testy discussion regarding reimbursement for gas (a resounding NO...), I was returned safely home to my 2 poor little dogs who were waiting for me with legs crossed  ... after over 11 hours alone.

guilty sigh.


Randal Graves said...

trying to drag a table around was probably not the best idea.

That's why you carry them. Duh.

It sounds like your day was a mission from god. And the incredible shrinking ass continues to shrink unabated. That's a compliment in a classless American style, étrange à vous français !

Is that con bowa like, oh shit, now I can't remember. It's a fruit with a series of vertical ridges on the damn thing. Oh well, 'bout time you told us what the hell is going on. Careful with that lead paint. Though the chips may look tasty, I don't recommend eating them.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

RG- about 10 kilos to go and I'll be salaciously perfect in that unique french chic(k) way!!! ooh-la-la!
(bats eyelashes)...oh and DER on the table dragging, why didn't you tell me sooner?!

Randal Graves said...

If I wore a beret, I'd be tipping it as I winked.

Re: the table - you never asked! I can't simply volunteer my secrets. DHS may be watching!

Stacey said...

Sounds like a fantastic day, I'm jealous! Ha! and 25 pounds? ZOMG!!!!11! YAY!!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

RG-giggles at the thought of your 'avatar' in a beret...

Stacey-is ZOMG Zut Oh My God???!!! PERFECT! Can you believe I have lost 25 pounds??? as someone who knows me in person and has done the diet thing in partnership, you can truly appreciate that fact, eh?! I am in pants 3x smaller ... Johnelle just brought me 2 new pairs, and one of them is actually loose (one is one size smaller than the other in anticipation of weight loss that I now know has already occurred...) but I still want to drop a little more - the MD here said 5 kilos but I really think 10 is more like where I want to be.

We'll see what happens... oh, and I'm working on that flickr thing!

La Framéricaine said...

You have to find and read that David Sedaris New Yorker (I think) article on going to the doctor in France, with the closet, the undressing, etc. You will get a kick out of it:

"In The Waiting Room"


You are very fortunate to have such a wonderful friend. Congratulations! Oh, and kudos on the incredibly shrinking ass. I am sooooo envious. I only hope I can come within equal shrinking distance when I get to Le Blanc!

Caution: Butts in France look smaller in the rearview mirror.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

LaF~ I can't wait to read that article, David Sedaris is my muse of sarcasm. And let me tell you, girl, today I bought a pair of skinny black jeans at a tiny shop here - total splurge, I pick them up Weds after the 'couturier' finishes with them. They will be a fit extraordinaire in 5 more kilos...I am PSYCHED! love the asses are smaller in French mirrors idea!!! works for me.