Friday, June 18, 2010

Out and about in Clermont-Ferrand

Ce soir, mes vacances commencent. Je suis tres enthousiast! Il y avait une bonne semaine, mais le travaille est termine et la fete commence!

I finished work today a little before 6pm. The guys I have been working with and I went to a Moroccan restaurant for lunch today. Quite interesting and quite good! The interior of the restaurant was actually a tent. Once inside, it seriously was an actual desert tent.

Last night there was no sight-seeing because of the rain and because I was very tired. I walked to the nearest restaurant and had another great meal of salmon followed by an unbelievable Moelleux au chocolat noir.

This evening, I actually had dinner in my hotel room. Which, by the way, is much larger than the one I had in Paris. This one actually looks more like something you would find in North America. I won't take any photos of it, because my stuff is completely spread all over the place. Maybe after I get packed or before I take off in the morning.

While that sounds particularly boring, in fact, I did go out this evening. I travelled nearly all the way to one end of the tramway. This is pretty similar to a metro train, but runs at street level. The stops are maybe every 1/2 to 3/4 mile and there is a bunch of them.

That is one thing about France I really like - the public transportation. It is cheap, it is (relatively) clean and it can be relaxing (although at times it gets horribly packed, it is far better than battling traffic in a car). So, what is the big deal about that? Nothing really, it was just a cool way to get out and interact with the local population

In most places - the hotel, the restaurants, at work, many people speak some level of english. Often, if I ask them to repeat something they said to me in french, they will immediately repeat it in english. Very kind of them for sure, but often, the reason I ask is because I don't have the best hearing and I simply did not hear what they said (or didn't hear it clearly enough to understand it).

What took me out to the far reaches of the tramway? I needed to purchase a messenger bag so I can carry my laptop to the cafe while I am in les alpes. That's my plan - ride all day, shower then head into Bourg d'Oisans for a beer and dinner. While there, if I'm not chatting with the locals (or the other tourists), I will write whatever will get posted to my blog that evening.

The store I went to is called Decathlon. It is a sporting goods store much like Academy Sports, Sports Authority or Dicks Sporting Goods. I was told by a guy I worked with that I could purchase some good maps that would allow me to find the good routes in the alpes. Also, I figured it was a place to find a messenger bag.

As usual, I walked the store and didn't see what I needed. So, what's a guy to do? Well, I did my best and asked where I could find the maps.

Regarding the language. I'm doing pretty well. At times, I'm sure I'm torturing some people with my lousy grammer, pronunciation and vocabulary. However, most of the time, I find that I can communicate my thoughts quite clearly, although I'm sure my vocabulary keeps it quite simple. I really think it depends on how tired I am getting.

Tonight, I feel I did well. First I had to ask about les cartes ou guides pour trouver les bonnes routes pour faire du velo dans les alpes (the maps or guides to find the good routes for riding my bike in the alpes). I had a brief conversation with one woman who sent me to the appropriate section. Once there, I had another conversation with a guy who pointed me to the maps. Unfortunately, they didn't have the maps for the region in which I was interested, but it was fun finding my way using those language skills I have.

After, I had to find a messenger bag. Once again, I had to talk to a couple of people who finally got me to where I needed to be. Ironically, I came all the way to france to buy a bag that was made in the USA!

So, it's been a lot of fun getting around so far. I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks where I really will be on my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be shy! I'm interested to hear your comments or experiences.
NOTE: I have switched on the comment moderation because I have been getting a number of spam comments lately. Be patient, I'll post it up as soon as I can! Thx JD