Archive | September, 2012

Embarrassment and confusion: everyday life in Bordeaux

27 Sep

My first full week of lectures started with a fairly gentle 3.30pm class, although translating from English into French in a class full of French people does put you at a slight disadvantage. Thankfully, the teacher didn’t pick any of the erasmus students out to offer up our translated sentences (I got 2 completely correct, win). Whenever I encounter Matthew we always somehow manage to embarrass ourselves, and Monday was no exception. While waiting outside the classroom, a girl noticed us talking in English and asked us, (also in English) if we were erasmus students, and Matthew replied making a jokey casual comment about helping people with their English if they help us with our French. When the room emptied, the girl walked to the front of the classroom and started setting up for class, and we realised that she was in fact a youthful-looking teacher. Cue awkward embarrassment for the rest of the lesson.

Tuesday’s Japanese class was somewhat better structured than last week’s, although M. Asari thought they first grammar point he would teach us would be how to make a verb negative…without teaching us any verbs first. He then decided that he would teach us, in his own words, ‘the most difficult and challenging of all Japanese verbs,’ あります (arimasu). Apparently it’s a verb of ‘existence’, but isn’t really like ‘to be’ and doesn’t apply to all objects. All the meanwhile he was trying to teach this based on a handout with no translations under the sentences. At least I recognised some of the hiragana as I’ve been teaching myself the alphabet. 30 symbols down, 16 to go! In the afternoon I had French to English translation, which was obviously a lot easier for Matthew and I than the French students. I plan on bribing French people to be my friends by offering to help with their translations.

On Wednesday I had my first linguistics lecture, which turned out to be one of my favourite classes so far as it’s specifically about language acquisition and problems, which I studied a bit last year in Bristol. The teacher speaks nice and clearly and is all about mindmaps and graphs, just my kind of teacher. Since France is still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to classroom technology, he wrote on a blackboard with chalk, no powerpoint in sight. Inevitably this led to another situation where everyone ends up piling into the first few rows in the hopes of being able to read anything. After the lecture I attempted to sign up for a sports pass so I can do yoga, which meant queueing for the DAPS office, where I was told that I would have to go to the International Office first as I am an erasmus student. I then queued for an hour for the office, where they let a bunch of us stay past the official opening hours, only to be turned away when I was supposed to be next. When I told the woman all I wanted was a sports pass, she sighed, to which I asked whether it was too difficult/would take too long at that point in the day. She told me that it would in fact be ‘very very easy’…and then said I’d have to come back tomorrow. She then spoke to the girl behind me and said she’d be able to help her with her far more lengthy problem straight away. I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS UNIVERSITY. After that I headed into town to try and weather-proof myself, since I came entirely unprepared for anything less than 25 degrees and clear skies, and picked myself up a coat from H&M in that greige (grey/beige) shade that is oh-so popular here. The French don’t seem to like their colours. I then had a little trip to Auchan (my new favourite supermarket in the world) and used what is clearly a superior alternative to trolleys. They’re easy to steer, you can choose whether to use one basket or 2, you can take the baskets off, it basically just offers a whole world of possibilities that the common trolley does not:

Sights of the day

Auchan has a free water dispenser, just in case you get thirsty from the hours it takes to walk down the kilometres of aisles it has over 3 floors. I’ve added this to the list of things the English could not be trusted with. Mainly because I myself managed to spill water all over both myself and the floor while trying to have a drink, and ran away hoping no one would notice. There’s probably an old French woman somewhere with a broken hip because of me.

While browsing the massive selection of Milka, I noticed you can buy small individual bars. I wasn’t so sure about the serving suggestion they put on the front though. A chocolate bar in baguette?


Où est la plage?

24 Sep

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of fresher’s events in France…maybe it’s because most students go to the university in their home town with their friends and have no need for the obligatory get-to-know-you drinking games such as Never Have I Ever. Interestingly, after much discussion with my flatmate Kévin we have found that international drinking rules are actually international. Luckily for Erasmus students, there’s always stuff being organised for us, and Friday night was the big welcome party. Aaron kindly hosted the prelash, although on the tram up Emily and myself were briefly harassed by a questionable character who seemed to want to either make friends with us, or buy us. I couldn’t be sure, his ramblings were hard to make out. A few of us opted to go for the ‘party bus’ option, which (so we were told) would involve a tour of the city, free alcohol, and entry into the bar/club. Whoever organised the tour clearly wasn’t thinking ahead, and didn’t hire a bus with a toilet on, which proved to be a major problem about an hour in when everyone had finished their wine and beer. When we were dropped off at the bar at 11.30 (practically lunchtime for the French, they don’t usually hit the clubs until about 3am) we were told that we wouldn’t be allowed in until midnight. Then the torrential rain started. In the usual English way, we stood patiently in line and grumbled about the weather amongst ourselves until they finally let us in.

When the dancefloor eventually filled up at around 2am, the combination of enthusiastic Europeans dancing and heavy rainfall outside turned the room into a large sweaty sauna. Not so pleasant when you realise it wasn’t a drink that just splashed across your arm. While there I got to meet some really interesting people including a European-sounding guy who was actually from ‘an island between Japan and Australia’ (just googled it, I couldn’t be sure exactly which one it is), and some of the most enthusiastic Scandinavian fist-pumpers I have ever seen. I also stumbled upon some chemists from Bath who it turns out I have a friend in common with – big shout out to George Dimery, your reputation has now spread internationally. Deciding to head home at around 3am, we were struck with the problem of how to get back. Trams stop at 1am, and taxis are expensive and almost impossible to get hold of in Bordeaux. Dan tried to book one over the phone and they just said no. We eventually made our way to Zoe and Dan’s by gesturing wildly at a passing taxi on the walk back. Zoe very kindly let me crash at hers, and I eventually made my way home the next day with one of the world’s worst hangovers.

Saturday was a write-off. I’m not even going to go there.

Having recovered by Sunday morning, Emily, Carissa and I set off to Arcachon for a beach day with a few Bristolians. I found myself panic-revising GCSE transport vocab before heading to Pessac station, although this was all in vain as thankfully Carissa (who is fluent in French) helped to sort out our tickets. The weather forecast didn’t quite live up to expectations as we didn’t see much sun the whole time we were there, although the temperature stayed in the lows 30s so nothing to complain about really! Thankfully I didn’t have to witness any old women topless sunbathing, which apparently is popular over here. One thing a few of us have noticed is how many beautiful young tanned girls there are in Bordeaux, but also how many old, leathery women there are. Remember to wear suncream people! We forced ourselves to go for a swim despite the arctic temperatures of the water, otherwise what are you at the beach for?  Later in the afternoon we were asked to move as some sort of dance display was going to happen on the beach. I’m not really sure what it was about, it seemed to be one of those events where the audience is made up entirely of friends and family of the dancers. We decided that this was probably a sign that we should head back.

In other news, the gas hob and I are starting to become better friends. Last night I made some sort of rataouille/bolognese hybrid without setting fire to anything or gassing my housemates. Things are looking up!

Sight of the day

Une baleine rose (a pink whale). Modern art?


22 Sep

Wednesday ended up being my hermit day, I didn’t really get up to much, although Jean Marc did manage to fix the other plug socket so the death trap is no longer! You can see how exciting things get round here. It was a bit of a haphazard job which involved him hacking away at the plaster with a screwdriver to find that none of the cables behind the socket were actually plugged into it. French handiwork at it’s finest. I’ve also started listening to French radio, partly to get more exposure to the language, partly to see what kind of music is played out here. The is really onle one word to describe much of what is played on NRJ fm. Eurotrash. I’ll share a couple of the most overplayed ones making the rounds at the moment. The video for the first one is really classy too.

These two songs are part of the ten that NRJ plays on constant rotation throughout the day. Surprisingly, they also play a fair amount of Birdy. I am yet to figure out French tastes. I’m also hoping Gangnam Style is played on UK radios as much as it is here.

On Thursday I had my second Japanese lecture, where thankfully the teacher took a little more time to explain Kanji and Katakana and even gave us some booklets which gave instructions how to draw each symbol. The lecture took place in what felt like an abandoned warehouse space, complete with peeling paint and graffiti next to the chalk board. It’s a shame that no one seems to care about the state of university buildings here, as the campus could be a far more enjoyable place to spend time if it weren’t so run down. From speaking to people who have been to different lectures, it also seems that the teachers aren’t too bothered with checking whether anyone can hear what they’re saying, whether it being due to teaching in an echo-y 700-seater auditorium, or just not having a microphone. For me, the latter was the main problem, as Chynna and myself found we had to move forward twice (as did everyone else) to hear anything that M. Sastre was saying, as he spoke at a conversational volume to a lecture theatre which can hold 400 people. I also become very worried I was in the wrong level of teaching group when he put on a powerpoint full of Japanese words which loads of people could already read and know the meaning of. I was reassured when speaking to another student afterwards who told me that he was a beginner too and it was supposed to be a beginner’s group…apparently there are just a lot of people in our class who spend their free time watching Gundam and reading Naruto.

Afterwards I decided to pay a visit to Géant Casino  and ended up embarrassing myself and holding up the whole queue by not weighing my vegetables – apparently it’s one of those supermarkets where you get to sticker them yourself. What faith they have in the general public’s honesty. I also made the mistake of buying the cheapest rillette available in the supermarket, at the bargain price of 76c. Unfortunately I discovered at home that you can’t trust everything in a supermarket’s basic range (called Tous les Jours at Casino) as my rillette has the smell and consistency of dog food, and now I have 220g of it to eat. In the afternoon I went into town with Carissa and Emily where I had the biggest chocolat chaud in the world. It was served in a small bowl:

I’m not sure if this picture gives a great idea of scale, but it was a good 5 inches across.

Sight of the day

Not very exciting, but look at the craftsmanship on that. 


19 Sep

Monday meant trekking back into uni (lol jks I live 10 mins away) to register, get my student card, and fix what will hopefully be the last problem with my timetable. It did mean saying goodbye to Mondays off and hello to 3.30 translation, although I finish at 11.30 on Fridays so can still go eurotripping at the weekends if I want. A quick trip up to Rue Sainte Catherine meant more frozen yoghurt, and an attempt to find reasonably priced lip balm and paracetamol. I didn’t actually believe that 1€ for a pack of 16 tablets was the lowest price going considering how cheap they are in England so I went to ask at the till and made them see if they had anything cheaper, which of course they didn’t. If there’s one valuable lesson to take away for any of you who get the occasional headache or always get freshers flu like myself, it’s to take as much medication with you from England as you can, because it’s mega expensive over here. The pharmacies are also full to the brim with bottles and bottles of…stuff. None of it really seems to do anything useful. The only thing I really recognise in there is toothpaste.

Earlier that day a major disaster struck, in that I ran out of grenadine. I’d been feeling a bit twitchy all day about returning home to there being pretty much nothing to drink (for those of you who don’t know me so well, I don’t like water) and was thankful to find a well-stocked Carrefour which has enabled my addiction for at least another 4 days. My plans for the evening originally started out as relaxing for a bit, roasting some chicken for dinner, then heading to the pub. Apparently the gas oven had other plans for me. Having planned ahead and defrosted some thigh pieces, I was excited to finally use the oven, as I’d been living off spaghetti all week. A friend of ours had explained how you simply turn the gas on, chuck a lit match in the bottom, and voilà, hot oven. This all went pretty well until we noticed a while later that we couldn’t hear the fire any more…and it smelled an awful lot like a chemistry lab. Shrugging this off as a minor setback, Gilles kindly offered to relight it for me, since I thought that by that point the kitchen was full of gas and we were inevitably all going to die in the ensuing flamey chaos. After using up all our matches, we got no further in having a usable oven so I had to fry chicken on the bone. I boiled some carrots and potatoes to go with it, and somehow managed to set my oven glove on fire while lifting off the plate that I had been using as a lid. Not my finest hour. Before being able to sit down to  my overcooked chicken and undercooked vegetables, I received I slightly angry call from my landlord along the lines of “Où est mon argent?” so I promised I’d Skype my parents to sort it all out as soon as I had eaten. Pub plans went out the window at that point.

On Tuesday I had my first lecture at Bordeaux 3, beginner’s Japanese. The uni did nothing to improve their image in my mind as the lecture hall didn’t have enough seats for everyone and was cramped and wayyyy too hot. Things were definitely a bit claustrophobic to begin with. The lecturer started off by comparing written Japanese to Chinese and Korean, writing a few examples on the board without really explaining which example matched which language, good start! Later on he also started writing up the Japanese alphabet, without going into a huge amount of detail, so we all ended up getting a bit lost. Hopefully Thursdays lesson will be a bit better structured! As Erasmus students don’t do the January exams, we’re supposed to liaise with the teachers ourselves to sort out some form of continuous assessment. When we asked M. Asari, he said he didn’t really know (/didn’t want to be responsible) and suggested we go and talk to Mme Suzuki. Upon further questioning, he couldn’t give us much information about where her office was or when we could see her. I probably should be getting used to this by now.

On the way home I stopped by Leader Price for the obligatory baguette. It’s a bit of a pain (wheeey get it?…no…ok) that it’s only really at its prime on the day you buy it, but I guess that’s all part of French life, much like us having to buy milk every few days in England. In the afternoon there was a test for the DEFLE evening classes which I have decided to take to make sure I have some structured French lessons while I’m here and so I don’t forget how to write! They said it was one test but it turned into an hour and a half 3-parter, although hopefully it means they’ll be able to put me in the right group. Fingers crossed for not the bottom one. At dinner Emily and I played the game ‘masculin ou feminin’ with Kevin to help our French vocab. It’s pretty self-explanatory, he points to an object, we name it, and say whether it’s masculine or feminine. For him it’s the equivalent of playing with 3 year olds, but hey, it helps us, and in return we teach him all the bad words in English. I also made an awesome dinner to make up for last night’sdepressing one: 

Sights of the day

I can’t really think of a better name for a pizza place than this.

I think this is officially the ugliest building on campus. I have no idea what’s in it, I didn’t really want to go any closer.

Pics or it didn’t happen

17 Sep

I can’t believe I’ve been here for two weeks already! The time has flown by in the past week, mainly due to the fact that I have an apartment and so have for the most part been stress free (we’ll gloss over this G006 business). On Sunday morning I went for a late breakfast with Aaron and Abbie at this great place where you can pay 8€ and get a pastry, hot drink + cold drink, plus unlimited bread with  a huge selection of spreads. Some delicious, some not so much…kiwi and banana jam is an acquired taste. As is usual on Sundays in France, it’s difficult to get anything done as most places are shut, meaning we had to go on a bit of an adventure looking for a tabac where Abbie could topup her phoneEven harder to find in France are cashpoints, as banks tend to be grouped together rather than spread evenly around town. This is even more of a nightmare if you have a French bank account as generally you will be charged if you use any bank’s ATM apart from your own. I’ve avoided this by simply not bothering with a French account since I’m only here for another 3 1/2 months, and have instead resorted to withdrawing large amounts of money from my UK account to minimise on charges, then running back to my apartment before I can get mugged.

In the afternoon we visited the Musée d’Aquitaine which was…informative. I got to see plenty of old spearheads, pots, statues with no noses (Why do they never have noses?? Were all Greeks and Romans very clumsy?) etc. etc, the usual historical stuff. Not entirely my cup of tea, but hey, now I can say I’ve been there. We then stopped off at a café for drinks where I got to try Agrum’, which I don’t think you can get in England. It’s a sort of citrusy blend thing, quite nice when the weather’s as good as it is at the moment! I’ve been planning to go to the beach for a while but our plans keep falling through and I’m worried our sunny days are numbered. At least being British it’ll still be acceptable to go even when the temperature reached the chilly lows of 20’c. Speaking of chilly, I also had the joy of experiencing an icy shower the other day due to our hot water having gone walkabout somewhere. I managed to get a couple of seconds of lukewarm out of it where I could get my hair wet, but then it suddenly turned arctic and I spent the majority of the shower talking myself into washing my shampoo out again while fearing brainfreeze. Hopefully this won’t be a regular occurrence, especially when it actually does get cold here (or so I’ve been told) in about November. I had an evening at home catching up with UK friends via the interwebs and trying to get my head round more admin stuff for uni, as I would at some point actually have to deal with the problems I decided to ignore on Friday.

As promised, here are a few photos of my room:

After some initial struggles I’m getting used to sleeping in a cabin bed, despite it’s general squeakiness if I move in any way, plus the lack of lightswitch anywhere near it.

If you look closer you’ll see that I’ve wired my own death trap purely because I’m stubborn and want to use my under-bed desk as my computer desk, despite the only functioning plug being on the opposite wall. It’s especially fun when I try to go to the toilet in the night. I almost caught Emily in it yesterday as well, but not quite.

The view from my balcony – to the right of the road is a small infant school, which my balcony offers a fine view into. In the mornings I am awoken by the screams of young children. Almost as good as the dawn chorus.

Sights of the day: Home Edition

I’ve noticed a couple of oddities around the house which I thought I’d share for your general perusal and discussion. First up, the questionable lion head on the wall above one of the fridges. It’s the only one in the house, seems to serve no purpose, and quite frankly, it’s a bit strange. There’s also a niggling feeling that we may be being spied on through a small camera in its mouth. But let’s not dwell on that too much.

Next is the hole in the wall in the corner of the kitchen. I find it too creepy to go much closer. Maybe something lives in there.

The only form of ventilation for Emily’s ensuite cupboard (shower included) is this window, for which there are no blinds or shutters at all. When taking a shower you can either create your own sauna by shutting the window, or leave it open and hope no one looks in.

And then we have the most mysterious of all, the pipe-thing in the laundry/shower/boiler room. I opened the little trapdoor but still have no idea what it might be. Laundry/rubbish chute? Coal fire? Does it lead to a furnace? I’m tempted to drop a steak  attached to a piece of string down it to see if anything comes back.

Food and drink

16 Sep

I finally got to have a lie-in on Friday morning and did some stuff which I had been meaning to do for a while, like putting up some photos and trying to organise my things a little better. In the afternoon Emily and I headed up into Bordeaux to pick up tickets for the electro night at the Palais des Sports on Saturday, followed by frozen yoghurt at Niceberry which was sooo good. You help yourself to whatever flavour you want then can add fruit, sauces, sweets etc. and they then charge you based on weight. I’ve added this to the long list of things that are ‘too good’ for England to have as, being like the unruly teenager of Europe, we are guaranteed to ruin whatever nice things are given to us. By that point in the afternoon in an equivalent UK shop there would definitely have been a substantial amount of food on the floor and someone would have stolen anything left in the self-serve area. Similar places which the British public equally could not be trusted with include:

  • The miroir d’eau (would be packed like sardines on any day over 20 degrees)
  • The mini-festival in St Michel (drunk teenagers would be throwing up everywhere)
  • Self-serve cereal dispensers (again, food everywhere)

We then headed over to the Connemara where Sinead was doing her first trial shift, and ordered a couple of coffees just to keep her on her toes. Deciding we’d need drinks for general going-out in the future, I picked up a 1.90€ bottle of white, which was in fact cheaper than the coffee. More news on the quality at a later date. That night I went to a 21st with some other Bristolians before going to see the incredibly talented Peter play the penny whistle in a session at the Connemara.

On Saturday morning we went to the amazing Marché des Capucins near St Michel, were there was a massive selection of saucisson, cheese, bread, seafood, veg etc. etc. I had to hold myself back from spending all my money as I knew I’d never be able to finish everything I wanted before it would expire. At one stall Sinead and I spotted a tub of baby octopuses (octopi?) and got to try one. They were in some sort of garlicky oily brine which was great, although the texture was something akin to old rubber.

A group of us then went to Jardin Public, my new favourite place when it’s sunny, to have a picnic and try and get a tan. Or unfortunately for a few of the group, a glowing burn. While at the park we noticed some large groups of people about our age having what can only really be described as ‘organised fun’…apparently it was some sort of freshers initiation thing for French students. The general lack of alcohol in their games was of great concern to us.

I headed home to have a nap before the night out at the Palace Electro Party, as we’ve all noticed how Bordeaux seems to sap everyone’s energy meaning by about 5 everyone’s up  for a sleep! After much deliberation over what to wear (the French are a lot more conservative than the English. And they think it’s cold at the moment) Emily and I went to Chynna and Sarah’s for predrinks. We got to meet a few of Sarah’s Bordeaux friends and persevered with speaking French, despite most of them having perfect American accents and perfect English. The Palais des Sports is a great venue for gigs and music events, massive with really high ceilings and plenty of space (compared to many places in Bristol at least), although I was surprised to see a large number of sensibly-dressed middle-aged couples among the general under-30s crowd. Throughout the night we lost a couple of people, one to an ill-advised extra drink which didn’t really agree with him, the other to the call of attempting a 6km walk home at 2am. We ended up leaving before 3, deciding that the repetitive rhythms of French electro weren’t enough to keep us there any longer.

Sights of the day

Wine that comes in 250ml juice-box style cartons. Perfect for lunchboxes.

Administrative hell

14 Sep

I haven’t updated in a couple of days cos I’ve been busy doing various things, some important, some not so much (I just can’t say no to any kind of social event), but most seem to have involved queueing outside G006, the computer/timetabling room at Bordeaux 3. Tuesday morning was spent trying to organise my unit choices and checking there were no timetabling clashes online through the university’s ‘hyperplanning’ website. None of the names quite seem to match those offered on the ‘formation’ web page, and all of the unit codes have different endings depending on some factor which I am yet to figure out. In the afternoon a few of us headed up to Jardin Public again, although this time the weather was decidedly more manageable for us Erasmus students. Meanwhile the French have gotten out their coats and scarves. Thankfully we didn’t get shouted at by any French men this time either. Aaron and I then headed to Auchan, one of the biggest supermarkets I have ever seen. I now understand why the French have the word hypermarché and we don’t – when it comes to food shopping, we really don’t know anything about choice. While there we came across this self-serve type thing where apparently you can choose your own quantity of any product as long as it comes in tiny pieces. Handy if you like industrial amounts of cereal.

I managed to find some sheets (after some general confusion about pillow sizes) for the bargain price of 5.95€. Sure they may feel a bit like they’re made of hessian, but they do the job. That evening we headed up to Danny and Conor’s for another sophisticated wine-based party, which was cut short by the fact that the last tram leaves at around midnight. Emily and I are thinking of buying a couple of  2nd hand bikes to avoid this, apparently they go for under 50€ at the market at St Michel.

On Wednesday I headed back into uni with Chynna to try and officially register for my classes. I did have to queue for 90 minutes for one of the 3 helpers to sort me out but I now officially have some lectures to go to next week! I seemed to get off lightly, having heard that some people queued for 3+ hours to organise their’s. We then headed up to the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, which turned out to be a bit of a let down as there wasn’t a huge amount of art there, and we didn’t really get what the artist was aiming for with the pieces we did see. Although there was a pretty cool half pipe installation thing going on:

In the evening I succesfully managed to throw together a spaghetti bolognese using the questionable utensils provided in the kitchen. The only chopping board we had was a small A6 size piece of wood, and none of our pots and pans have lids, but it still turned out ok in the end. Late that night Emily and I went to Sinead’s house with Kévin, and found that their apartment is exponentially better than ours purely because it has a lounge. The best we can offer at ours is 3 wooden chairs round a small kitchen table.

When we got home later that night I found out that I had somehow been added to a comparative literature class which I hadn’t signed up for, which meant a 9am wakeup on Thursday morning in order to try and beat the queue outside G006 and sort out my timetable before a meeting with our year abroad coordinator at 10.30. When I got there, there were already about 5 people in front of me, but with only 2 helpers doing official timetabling duties I ended up waiting until 10.15 to spend all of 30 seconds fixing the problem. Apparently one of the girls doing timetables had accidentally added ‘everyone’ to the literature class. The meeting that morning was basically for someone to sign our learning agreement forms so we could fax them off to Bristol and hopefully get our Erasmus grants on Saturday (fingers crossed).

Our coordinator seemed to have a major problem with anyone not doing her literature class. She tried to talk various people into doing it by suggesting that, for example, the medieval literature class they had chosen was ‘too difficult’, and that hers was better, or plainly stating that they were ‘stupid’ for not doing hers. I managed to get away relatively lightly, although she seemed slightly angry and baffled and as to why anyone would want to speak Japanese, let alone take a beginner’s class in it. It took a bit of talking on my behalf plus showing her Chynna’s signed form to prove that Bristol had agreed to let us take it at all. After lunch Dan, Helena, Charli, Chynna and I went to the Musée du Vin to learn a bit about the history of wine in the region. And to do a bit of tasting of course. We found a bottle that holds 24 standard bottles worth of wine. Prelash anyone?

I then went on a trip up to Ikea with Sinead’s flat to pick up essentials, like a glass that’s bigger than a thimble. French people seem to only drink from little glass tumblers which hold about 100ml and I need something more substantial. After coincidentally bumping into my landlord in the lighting section, I now also have my very own desk lamp. It’s the little things. In the evening we headed up into Bordeaux, aiming to go on a bar crawl with some Bristol people, although we ended up drinking at a small café where we took up most of the street outside as there were about 25 of us in total. A check-up on my timetable has also shown that yet another problem has popped up as I’ve been put into 2 French > English translation classes instead of 1 French > English and 1 English > French. I really can’t be bothered wasting hours of my life queuing outside of G006 again this week so it’s going to be Monday’s problem instead!

Sights of the day

Self-serve machines for ordering food at McDonalds. Didn’t manage to get a picture, but it’s one of the few examples of how France is (occasionally) better than England at making life a little bit more efficient.

This isn’t that interesting but I just thought this plug socket in my room was weird because it’s completely recessed into the wall. However like many cool novelty items in France, it doesn’t work.


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