After J & C left, we had a couple of days without visitors. I mostly work a few hours every day, but I hadn’t worked much during visits, and a website I’m working on was due. So I used those days to buckle down and catch up with work. After being shut in at home looking at a screen for such a long time, I decided to visit my favourite café in town.
I brought my computer as an alibi, but I was ready to be distraced and I wasn’t disappointed. The café owner is a very cheerful woman who often chats with the customers and generally radiates a good mood. And she is really well informed about Palaiseau commerce. I first heard about the Domino’s Pizza from her. And she also knows that there will be a Portuguese epicerie (like a deli) opening up where the bookstore used to be. She also knows that a Picard will open in town. It’s one of those shops that sells only frozen food.
Because the owner is often chatting across the café, sometimes the customers get into conversations with each other and I feel like I can ask questions and join in in the conversations. This time two people were discussing books – la ligne verte. It took me a while to figure out that it’s the Green Mile by Stephen King. They said livre (book) a couple of times, but also bouquin. So I asked how the meaning differs and when to use the two words. I only knew it as used book from the bouquinists, the used book dealers with their green stalls along the Seine.
The women were kind enough to explain the difference. Mostly it’s a colloquial word for book or used book. They wouldn’t use it to refer to a classic work of literature, but just a novel, something that’s probably not considered art, but entertainment.
My question led to them asking where I am from, which led to me explaining that, yes, the current political situation in Austria is quite shocking. It was right after the first round of the presidential elections. The results even made it into the French news. It was challenging to explain my opinion on it all, and I learned quite a few new words that will come in handy, in case I’ll have to apologise for being Austrian in the near future. Don’t get me wrong, nobody asks or expects me to do it, I just kind of feel it’s necessary if 35% of voters vote for le candidat d’extrême droite. I don’t think people who did vote for him consider him an extremist, but Europe certainly does.
After all that serious conversation the guy who works at Domino’s showed up as well. He was really looking forward to starting his new job there and he’s pretty sure that it will be a big success. I agree with him – there are a lot of pizza places in Palaiseau already, but this one is really close to the school and a very short walk from the train station. Everybody coming home by train will walk past in the evening. I’m kind of hoping Gergö will get inspired by the presence of it as well. Mostly because I was shown the menu and they have Pizza with chèvre and figs.
From pizza talk the conversation went to other good places to eat and I was recommended the Syrian-Lebanese place. It’s new as well, which I didn’t realise, because it looks a lot like the Kebab place that was in there before. I have visited it since, admired the pretty tea glasses and got a plate of mezze to take away.
I rounded off my pretty awesome day by meeting some friends for beer in Paris. We met at a small bar close to what I call Chinatown. Gergö calls it the street with three Chinese restaurants. I’m not actually making it up, though, it’s mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Chinese communities as the “oldest but smallest Asian neighborhood in Paris”. And it’s not just restaurants, there were also estate agents, shops, and street vendors. I love discovering neighbourhoods like this.
Beer is really expensive in Paris. It’s common to pay 6 € for a pinte, so when the waiter brought the beer and asked for 3,30 € I made him repeat it twice, because I just couldn’t believe it. And it’s not a happy hour thing, it always costs 3,30. Needless to say the place was packed by 8.