My flatmate went and bought some miscellaneous stuff at Ikea the other day, and that made me jealous and wish that I could go buy some Ikea junk ha ha, so on Saturday I made the pilgrimage out to Saint Pierre des Corps, my second home when I first arrived in Tours, and bought some useful things like another duvet cover and towel and some covers for the couch and a few other bits and pieces designed to make having guests and doing laundry a little bit easier. All very practical, although as I said to my Mum, when everything's so cheap you really do find yourself thinking "maybe I could do with a jar full of coloured pebbles or a pink hat box". I refrained though.
I do like my new duvet cover, very hepcat!
On Sunday it was the braderie de Tours. A braderie is basically a big street flea market. The most famous braderie is in Lille, and it attracts 2 million visitors! I think I read somewhere that Tours got a more modest 150,000. Which was still a bit overwhelming, I hate slow-moving crowds! Anyway, I went to the one in Lille back when I lived in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and it was terrible, you could hardly move for all the people. I ended up getting separated from my workmates and of course, being me I had no idea where we had parked the car (we had just ditched it on a grass verge somewhere, to be fair). Luckily we had arranged an emergency meeting point and somebody came and found me, but I ended up being very slightly late for doing the dinner service at work. I called ahead and arranged for someone to cover for me, and then ended up being there in my uniform just as dinner service started - and one of the French staff still narked on me to the manager. I couldn't believe it! He really yelled at me too, I think partly because my attitude was pretty much "it was an unforeseeable circumstance, I arranged for someone to cover me and I didn't actually miss out on doing any work anyway", which I still think is totally reasonable, but I suppose when you don't work a professional job, you don't get treated like a professional... Still kind of pissed off about that... Hooray for working in sensible places where what they care about is that you turn up and do your work, not whether once in a blue moon (and I do actually care about being punctual wherever possible) you might be a tiny bit late.
Anyway, completely sidetracked there. The braderie was okay, I bought one book and just spent the rest of the time wandering around looking at things. It was a really beautiful sunny warm day, unlike yesterday and today...
Stopped by the Cathedral :
And the gardens of the Musée des Beaux-Arts (should go in one day, maybe when winter comes...) :
A couple of other random observations - some guy came up to me in the supermarket today and was speaking to me in French, I totally didn't understand. It's so frustrating that I can sit through 3 hour meetings every day at work and understand virtually everything, and then often for some reason I just can't understand word one when people come up to speak to me randomly on the street. I'm not sure whether it's because my brain isn't in French mode when I'm just running around listening to my ipod, or whether my colleagues make an effort to speak slower for me (which, I dunno. Maybe if they're speaking directly to me, but in my opinion they forget and speak pretty fast in meetings). Anyway, I told this guy I didn't understand and he goes (in English, mega French accent) "you are marvellous, I loooove you, I want to be weez you, I want your number, is this possible?" Lately I have been just extremely short with guys who have hit on me, because in the last week of the holidays Tours was absolutely deserted and yet every day I went to the park someone different came up and hit on me and they wouldn't leave me alone even when I flat out said "I don't want to talk to you". But who can help smiling when someone says you're marvellous and they love you? He was easily 50 though, so after some giggles I told him it was *not* possible, sorry.
And I forgot to tell a story from when I was in Porto. Before Carolyn turned up, I went to a café by myself in a big plaza, so you would expect it would get some tourists. I asked for a vino, since surely that's the international word for wine... So imagine my surprise when the waiter trotted back with a beer. Ugh, beer, couldn't do it. So we had this ridiculous scene where I was trying to tell him that I was sorry, I didn't want that, then he sent his "English-speaking" colleague out to deal with me, who didn't speak a word of English. I was even trying to point to people drinking wine at the next café over (should have gone there dammit) and mime the shape of a wine glass. Got absolutely nowhere with this. Then she made me come inside to inspect the inside of their fridge, they didn't even sell wine! I pretty much wanted to sink into the floor at this stage, but instead I just ran away ha ha! But what kind of country is it where asking for vino gets you beer!