In 30 hours I leave for a work event in Aberdeen, Scotland. Thanks to some excellent sleuthing by our crack travel person, the best fare was found through Paris and since it's no more expensive to stay over in Paris a few days than to go straight home (cheaper, actually), I'm staying a few days.
It's been a couple of years since my last trip to Europe, and my one day in Paris. If you read the part about the Paris day trip, you'll see that it was short and that the only food I consumed while on the Continent was a single Tic-Tac, which did not stay with me for long. I'm not sure what I regret more - having so little time (particularly at the Louvre) or being unable to eat a single bite of French food. Let me go on record now as intending to correct both of those tragedies.
In preparation for this trip, I got a phrase book and accompanying CDs and I've been practicing my French.
Ou sont les toilettes? ("Where's the restroom?" very important)
Combien ca coute? ("How much?" - also very important!)
Je voudrais la crepe, s'il vous plait. ("I'd like a crepe, please." I plan on saying this frequently.)
And of course, the obvious:
Je suis desole, je ne parle pas francais. ("I'm sorry, I don't speak French.")
Aside from their practical use, these CDs have provided their fair share of amusement. The first time Alex was in the car as I listened, he was terribly puzzled, exclaiming "What IS that?" I told him and he seemed satisfied. I guess the ridiculousness of what he was hearing was too much for his 7-year-old brain to bear, because a few minutes later he asked, "What IS that?" again.
Before going on I should explain that Alex loves to watch "Super Mario Galaxy" tutorial and game play videos people post to YouTube. In the game, when your character dies, the words "you lose" appear on screen. Because he watches videos from people around the world, he's seen this phrase in several languages. Anyhow...the turning point in Alex's acceptance of the language CDs was when the "Emergencies" track began. On of the phrases was "je suis perdu" which means "I'm lost." Alex immediately recognized the word and from that point on he's listened attentively and recited many of the words and phrases along with me. He even greeted Joe with a hearty "Commet allez-vous?" ("How are you?")
There is one thing that puzzles me about these CDs, though. Logic dictates that anyone purchasing such a CD is unfamiliar with the language it covers. It isn't a big leap to assume that the purchaser is visiting a new, unfamiliar place where the language on the CD is spoken. Makes perfect sense, right? So I'm going about my merry business of stumbling through phrases when the phrase "Can you recommend a babysitter?" came up.
What kind of person goes to France with little to no French language skills,and asks a person who is undoubtedly a stranger (one who speaks little to no English, apparently) to recommend yet another stranger to watch their offspring?? I'd tell you what kind of person does that, but my phrase book doesn't cover "stark-raving lunatic."
And now my last load of laundry is done and it's time to get some sleep.