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?

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