Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guess where I've been

No, there aren't any prizes becuase the neon glowing thing really gives it away.

I spent a cold, drizzly autumn weekend in Paris and I have a new artist love: Francois Pompon and his white polar bear. Not only does the artist have a very cool name, but he captures the majesty of the polar bear in simple, stark lines.

I also found a fabulous Viet bakery doing Viet baguettes (I missed them muchly in England and I do not have the skills, or the baguettes, to replicate them): Saigon Sandwich in Belleville. It is at 8 rue de la Présentation, 75011 Paris. The nearest metro station is Belleville.

I learned about Saigon Sandwich via Chocoloate and Zucchini's blog. But I really did find the place, because I set off in one direction from Belleville and found myself walking through a grungy, multicultural suburb. It was great to be surrounded by brown faces. All of sudden, it ended. The streets were cleaner and there were fewer people about. I thought, "oh dear, I've missed it." So I turned right back around and wandered down different streets, taking random left and right turns at whimsy (and once to escape a gypsy woman who started yelling at me in French and my pathetic pardon je ne parlais Francais - yes I'm now aware that is wrong, but I was not aware at the time - did not shake her). Saigon Sandwich is actually about 50 metres away from the metro station.

I had their special baguette, which I successfully ordered in French: je voudrais speciale baguette sil vous plais. But then, the man in the bakery said something in French and I had to apologise and say I don't speak French in bad French. He held up a bowl of chillies and I said, oh! ot. Then I braved some Vietnamese. We had a conversation in Vietnamese, and another patron of the bakery joined in. They were pleased to meet a Viet-Australian and I was pleased to meet some Viet-Parisians. Oh, and the baguette was delicious. And very cheap - only 3 euros (about 2 pounds).

After that, I kept hearing Vietnamese at the other tourist spots I visited: Basilica Sacre Coeur, Tour Eiffel, the Louvre (though I did not go inside) and the Musee d'Orsay (where I spent a solid three and a half hours on only the second floor). I did not engage anyone else in Viet conversation. I'm quite shy in a non-English language (and that includes Viet).

I have also learned, from my solo travel, that middle-aged men like me. I was expecting to get hit on, but hit on by middle aged men only? A wee bit disturbing, really.

On a different note, I will soon be travelling home to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. So, this blog's going to go quiet awhile. If being away for a few weeks is anything like it was last time, coming back to work is going to be horrid, so I may find it extremely difficult to post.

One thing I miss quite a bit about Australia is bushwalking. Something very different from rambling or hiking or trekking. I miss the Australian bush. Here is a photo of me, this time in the Tasmanian bush, looking up at my partner who has gone where I am too afraid to follow.


Anonymous said...

How very very lovely that you got to have your beloved baguette and even a banh mi! Like you, I'm uncomfortable speaking in VN. For me, it's because I'm so bad at it since I only speak it (badly) with my parents. Enjoy your next trip!

n.t said...

you should have taken a photo of your o banh mi too!!! *drools*

i got hit on by an old greek man on a train over here once. he even tore his address off a letter and gave it to me. =(

Kirsty said...

When will you be back in Vegas? Will you have time for a catch up? No pressure. I just went to Melbourne and didn't see anyone I knew outside of TV Conference land because I am bad.

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