Since I have room in my bag after gifting what I bring from Canada—typically clothes, sweets, maple syrup and a few North American goodies—I do a bit of shopping in France.
I feel pleasantly numb and it makes me smile. My evil plan worked—a four-hour night’s sleep to disconnect from reality. Take that, stupid brain!
“Mademoiselle? You can sit down. Oh, it’s funny, you have goosebumps… is it too cold in there?”
Mosques and other places of worship, even Nantes’ many churches, aren’t usually part of the itinerary. After all, we’re a bunch of atheists.
Not all fountains are clean and I don’t recommend taking a dip with your swimsuit on, especially if you’re older than ten (you will draw strange looks from locals).
On Monday morning, at 9 a.m., the infamous French CRS (“Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité”), the French national police force specializing in crowd and riot control, swarmed into square Daviais.
Last Sunday, just seven days ago, France was winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup after beating Croatia 4-2 in the final.
It didn’t take me long to see one major difference in Nantes compared to last year.
“Are we in France, already?”
We walk by a couple kissing passionately outside the departure hall, in front of gate 12.
So, what did I buy in France this year?
“If my bag is searched, expect delays. I took the LEGO boat and car and the diabolo.”
French may hold a cigarette or an umbrella when strolling the streets but they sit down to eat or drink.
Feng and I were taking a late-night walk and the group of friends in front of us had just noticed something apparently “gross” in the side street they had just passed.
“Oh, Juliette… he got a splinter.”
“No worries, I’m on it. Mark…?”
“NNNNNOOO! NOOOO! DON’T TOUCH IT! DOOOOON’T!”
“I asked for a… baguette au sésame. But they didn’t understand me at first, because I pronounced it as seSAmee instead of SAYsame.”
“Is he your son?
‘Depends… what did he do?’
“Are we going to the airplane today?”
“It is five o’clock yet?”
“NO! Mark, just go watch TV!”
France has a new president, democracy is safe and I was interviewed live on CBC. Enjoy my deer in the headlights look!
I won’t vote in the second round of the 2017 French presidential elections. I refuse to vote for a candidate or a party I don’t believe in.
The plan was to drive to the French Embassy, cast our votes and go home—hopefully the drive there and back plus civic duty would take less than an hour.
“What are you doing?” she inquired.
“Trying to send a fucking email and get through a fucking server who doesn’t accept fucking attachments!” I replied.
We both behaved like proper French and agreed a mistake had been made and it was the government’s fault.
The joke is on me now—I have just flown with literally two kilos of salt in my luggage.