Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A sophisticated, well-refined French experience.

Ok...time for a fun story from France. Pictures not included.

The night Mentanna and I had the light French meal I offered to go buy the baguette we would be eating. (For pictures of the meal see one of yesterday's posts.) I asked for specific directions to the bakery knowing how easily I get lost if I'm not paying attention. My direction sensors must have been on already because she told me it was a 10 minute walk close to where we had walked two days before, and I knew exactly how to get there. So after a little scribble of a map was made I set out. I didn't take the map with me knowing I knew exactly where to go. I know, I know...most of you are thinking I got extremely lost...I've set it up that way. The reality is I found the shop with no problems whatsoever. What happens next is what flustered me. I walked into the shop, confident in my bonjour, and saw the baguettes in a basket behind the counter. I realized that I had no idea how to say one baguette in French. I guess I expected to be able to pick it up myself. The nice lady at the store said something to me. I have no idea what. I held up one finger...my pointer finger then quickly switched to my thumb because I had a dim memory from my last trip to France (2 years and 9 months ago) of Mentanna telling me that in France the thumb was one. I said "baguette" and gave the lady the thumbs up sign...which I now know wasn't exactly accurate...it's more a thumb to the side gesture. I'm sure she was thinking "yabanci" which is Turkish for "you're not from around these parts are you?" or whatever the equivalent is in French. She gave me my baguette and told me how much it cost. Again I had no idea what she said, but Mentanna told me before I left that it would be less than a Euro. I took a Euro out of my pocket, put it on the counter and watched the lady try to figure out how much change she needed to give me. I saw her staring at the coin with a confused look on her face. I looked at the coin and noticed Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, staring back at me. Ooops...that would be a lira...not a Euro. I didn't even realize I had lira in my pocket. I pulled out another coin. Again, Ataturk graced it's face. Oh no...did I have any Euro? Thankfully I found a 2 Euro coin and paid with that. By that point I didn't know how to say thank you or goodbye in French. My 5 French words had escaped me. The nice lady said something else to me so I just smiled, turned Asian on her and backed out the door bowing several times, because I had no idea what else to do. I walked back to Mentanna's house giggling the whole way. I'm sure that several people I passed and the lady waiting at the crosswalk with me wondered what was funny and if I was in my right mind. Fun times! Good memories!

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