Friday, 4 April 2008

going to ANOTHER COUNRY for the weekend.

I'm sorry to report that things are not looking up that much in Lyon, except that I'll be leaving soon. Ok, it's not that bad, but it is kind of ugly and ininspiring and I keep trying to like it, but I'm just not getting anywhere. Well, only a week more. I am going to try and see the tunnels under the city, and maybe the big church on the hill, but otherwise I'm going to use the time to chill out a bit, relax, cut myself some slack, and then start searching for jobs/apartments in Paris. Which all in all is not such a bad thing.

On Tuesday I went to the big Middle Eastern supermarket near my school, which was quite interesting. It wasn't big in the same sense as the other supermarkets here - more like the size of your average IGA. I think the school is in a Middle Eastern/Muslim area because there are quite a few exotic little shops. The supermarket was quite interesting, but didn't have a very welcoming air, and when I tried to leave I couldn't figure out how to open the door. I asked a man behind a counter for help and he ignored me! So I just had to wait until someone else walked through it. After that I stopped in at a little Muslim cafe to buy a juice (they have this brand of juice here [in France] called Pago and they're absolutely divine) and I asked about some sweets they had in baskets on the counter, and the lady gave me one for free!

In the afternoon I went to school, which is ok, but not great. As I said the school is much bigger and more impersonal, and the class is fine, but not a barrel of laughs. I haven't really made any buddies in the class, and although the teachers are good, they're not terribly friendly or jovial. I was wearing my fish necklace and the teacher asked if was for Fish Day. Is this some Catholic thing I don't know about? No, as it turns out, it's just the French name for April Fool's Day. It's basically the same thing, except the standard joke here is to sneak a (paper) fish into someone's pocket. Hil-AR-ious. And of course, eat lots of fish-shaped chocolate. That bit I'm on board with. On the way home I went to the supermarket and bought some ready-made salade for my lunches and found St Agur in the mini cheese 6 for 2 euro section. Nice nice nice.

Wednesday was unfortunately a pretty bad day. I stuffed around all morning and then skipped class because I couldn't be bothered. I probably shouldn't've, but then I decided I was in such a foul mood that I should instead go and do something to cheer myself up. I thought I might go to the funky neighbourhood (the Croix Rouge) becuase I was feeling a bit negative about the city in general and I thought that if I could find somewhere that I liked I'd feel a whole heap better about the situation. Well, it was totally lame. So much for the 'soulful village atmosphere, bohemian inhabitants and lush outdoor markets' that the lonely planet promised! It was just like the rest of Lyon - ugly and commerical and full of bland 80s apartment blocks and depressed harried looking people. I went up the main street and it was just like every other shopping street inthe world only not a particularly good one, and I went down the street that's supposed to have all the artisan shops, but everything was closed, and not even just normal closed but rollershutter closed! And it was a Wedneday afternoon! From one spot there was quite a nice view over the city, but then I took a picture of some meringues in a shop window and then realised the lady was looking at me, so i gave her a big smile and she gave me the sourest scowl i've ever seen in my life. Maybe i should've asked first, but really...So after a couple of hours I gave up and came home, feeling considerably worse.

When i got back to the city I decided I needed a little beer so I went to a cafe and sat down outside...and no waitress came. So i went and sat inside and STILL no waitress came (she was standing at the bar polishing glasses). So I got cheesed off and left. So in the end I felt considerably worse at the end of Wednesday than I did at the beginning. The only good thing that happened was that I found a little rosebush for sale for 1.5 coffees, so I bought it to put on my windowsill. I won't be able to take it with me, but i thought for that price it might cheer me up for a week and a half. But when i was in the shop they had some orchids like my Dad grows so i smelled them thinking that it would remind me of home and i would feel better, but it just made me homesick.

Fortunately Thursday and today have been a lot better. Not great, I wouldn't say... I'm still feeling pretty bland about Lyon in general, but at least they weren't shockers like Wednesday. Yesterday I had a big chat to Nhan, who's arrived in London, and then I went and bought a ticket to Geneva for the weekend! The return trip was only 15 coffees which I thought was a total bargain. It's there and back on Saturday, but if I like it and want to stay overnight, I can just use the return ticket on Sunday instead. I also found a lovely little paint shop. (I swear there's shops for everything here I've seen shops for doorknobs, and shops for bookshelves.

Today nothing really happened again, but when I tried to change some money into Swiss Francs (they're pretty!) I had a bit of a mishap. In a nutshell I asked for 60 euros, and the guy heard 300 (have I spoken about the absurdity of the French number system before???) and I was trying to figure out how I was handing over 250 euros when I thought that the AUD is pretty much equal to the CHF. It is by the way. It all got sorted out in the end, but I suspect I will still get charged some hefty bank fees for him making and then cancelling a rather large transaction on my credit card. The only other thing that happened was that I had to go the loooooong way around to get to school because the building next door is falling down and so the whole block has been roped off by the police.

Still, I'm off to Geneva tomorrow! I kind of can't believe how brave I am, going to ANOTHER COUNTRY for the weekend (it's in capitals because my Australian brain still can't get around the idea that it's possible to go to ANOTHER COUNTRY just for the weekend), with no fixed plans, but hopefully it will be EXCELLENT FUN and I will be able to write a less depressive post in a few days.

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