Friday, 18 April 2008


This morning I went for a rather abortive tour of the neighbourhood with one of my flatmates but it was still interesting. I knew I was living in a rather posh area of Paris, but I hadn't noticed that that also means a very white neighbourhood. Hmm. Unrelatedly, I'm finding actually that France is a very rascist country (to make a gross generalisation) and that the whole 'liberte egalite fraternite' thing, while it might be accurate as far as the law is concerned, is a complete load of codswallop as far as society in general is concerned. And just because I'm white, people seem to feel totally comfortable sharing their views with me. And then I find myself in this position where I don't want to be rude to a total stranger and I want to make allowances for cultural diferences, but every molecule in my body wants to scream 'WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? WHAT CENTURY ARE YOU LIVING IN???'.


This arvo I went and got my yearly pass for the Louvre. 3rd time lucky! It was actually quite easy after all that, and the lady actually told me to smile for the camera so i'm not looking completely mental like in the Pompidou one. Seriously, that guy was having a bad day, and I was his amusement.

Since it all worked out so well, I decided to go and do a little more pantry-staples shopping. I went to the English shop and bought Worcestershire sauce, more vegemite (in a jar!), Coleman's mustard and some salad cream. Exo! Then, because I had still more time after that and it was a direct metro, I decided to go to Chinatown to find a mortar and pestle. Which I eventually did after a long walk through the area (ironically enough, centred on the Place d'Italie). Clever old me didn't think about the fact that schlepping a mortar and pestle home on the metro would be quite enough of a pain, so I bought a heap of Asian pantry things too - coconut milk (which is stupidly expensive in the normal supermarkets here), oyster sauce, sesame oil, edamame and TWO kinds of soy sauce. And some other stuff which I'm sure I've forgotten. I found worcestershire sauce there too at about half the price of the British shop. Oh well. I didn't get any spices, but at least now with my big mortar and pestle I could do something with it if I did find them. The lady couldn't find me the right sized pestle, so I have an extra big one which is very cool - more weight to crush things with but not a stupidly big mortar since I'm just little old me with a little shelf in a tiny Paris apartment. (I hope I'm using them around the right way). And for the first time in France, the lady in the Chinese hypermarket actually checked my signature against that on my card. Most of the time they just seem bemused to make me sign it at all, and once or twice I've had to tell them that it's necessary. Roll on French bank account. And a card with a 'flea'.

It's looking like I'm going to be able to have a lovely window box with herbs and maybe flowers too. I can't wait. Another thing I can't wait for is Nhan arriving for a visit tomorrow. Woooh!

The only other news (news? newsworthy? i think not...) is that I have a splinter on the sole of my heel that I can't get out and due to it's location it's just getting worse and worse with all the walking. Does anyone have any advice?


Ben said...

I've got a lot to say about institutionalised racism in France. The great secular society (laïcité) seems to, counter-intuitively, privilege only one idea of 'Frenchness', thus excluding millions and millions of people from French society. This, in turn, promotes a really biting racism in the community. Not among everyone, of course, but it seems to be more fashionable over there.

But then, you don't need to hear me talk about. You can just wait and see if I ever finish my thesis, and then read about it in haughty academic-speak. As for your splinter - maybe you just have to wait and hope for it to move out a little?

kate said...

Try soaking your foot in warm water for about 15 minutes. It should soften the skin and make it easier to pull out with a pair of tweasers.

If that doesn't work try putting a band-aid over the splinter for a day. The wound will get warmer and sweat slightly making it easier to pull out.

Make sure after you get it out you put Detol or antiseptic cream on the hole afterwards 'cause you don't want it getting infected.

Molly said...

Oooh! Window box with herbs / flowers sounds lovely! Fresh herbs make such a difference. Can't wait for pics of your new place, Miss Em!
xoxo M