Sunday, April 17, 2011

General Update

Another great week here in Paris. In some sense I feel as if I may be disappointing my readers, because of course it's always more interesting to read about other people's disastrous experiences abroad. But I still have 9 weeks to go, so stay tuned!

Brad left on Thursday evening to make a side trip to Berlin; he will get back to Paris on Tuesday night. So the weekend has been relatively quiet. Last night I joined Nancy and Gabriella for dinner, with a friend of theirs, Madeleine. Initially we had planned to go hear a group called Le Balluche de la Sangrenue play some old-timey French dance music:

le Balluche de la Sangrenue

But it got kind of late by the time we left, so we had dinner in the neighborhood (Belleville). It was a pleasant evening, and we didn't lack for old-timey French music either. There was a tattooed gypsy-ish lady playing the accordion in the restaurant, and before each song she would pass out sheets with the words, and everyone in the place sang along. So it was a workout for my French reading ability. The tables were bunched up right next to one another, so the whole atmosphere was very friendly. Everyone was having a great time, though it made conversation at dinner a bit difficult*.

I got back home about 12:30 and was checking e-mail and such when I discovered that somehow I was able to access my Flickr account, so I spent a good hour and a half uploading all the photos I've taken since I got here (see previous post). For instance, here is one of me and Jonathan, a student from Germany, on one of the Thursday afternoon excursions. I believe it was taken right before we came to Rue St-Denis, where poor, young, (very) innocent Jonathan was accosted by an extremely decrepit prostitute indeed, an incident which rendered him speechless for much of the rest of the afternoon. Having witnessed the lady in question, I could completely understand why.

Today was a lazy day - slept in until almost noon (the dreams have been coming back this past week, though they are nowhere near as entertaining or as interesting as previously), so it was nice to get a good night's rest. I did make it to the gym this afternoon, though, so I don't feel like a complete sloth.

Am watching two videos borrowed from the school library - "l'Auberge Espagnole" and its sequel, "Les Poupees Russes" - good light entertainment. I've graduated from the "Asterix & Obelix" videos, and though I like the villains in the "Tintin" movies, the hero himself is a bit too boy-scoutish for my taste.

OK. Now I'm boring even myself. This can be of no conceivable interest to anyone, so it's clearly time to stop. Bonne dimanche, everyone!

*: One grace-note at dinner was that Madeleine was quite familiar with Genentech, as her mother, who unfortunately died of lung cancer a few years ago, had received a 6-month reprieve before she died because she responded well to Tarceva, a Genentech drug. Tarceva is priced very expensively (over $50K per year, I believe), but her mother had received her entire course of treatment free through a Genentech program that made it available to patients who would otherwise be unable to afford it. It was gratifying to hear that this program actually does help people and is not just primarily a public relations effort.

1 comment:

  1. Forget the disastrous experiences. I love reading about the wonderful time you're having. I tried to imagine the tattooed gypsy-ish lady playing the accordion and felt like I was right there. Then I pictured Jonathan and the extremely decrepit prostitute and wished I could have seen Jonathan's face.
    Also, on a serious subject, so good to read about the Genentech drug that helped Madeleine's mother and that your company paid for it.
    Now go have more fun and tell us all about it.