It’s my last few hours in France before heading to Turkey. The week before last was my last in Paris; I was running around frantically trying to see museum exhibits, get my travel gear ready, and study for my French final (gag). Meanwhile, I also composed a list of things that I will really miss, because, even though it’s fun for me to hate on Paris because people are rude, the food is kinda crappy, and there’s doodee all over the streets, there’s still a snippet of charm left. However, as someone put it on Cinco de Mayo- the holiday where Mexicans celebrate their independence FROM France, “Everyone expects Paris to be the way it was in the 1920’s and that Paris doesn’t exist anymore” and it’s completely true.
If I’ve taken anything from my time in Paris, it’s that globalization is really freaking scary. Not in the literal sense, like walking around Johannesburg alone at night, or Gary Busey’s face, but in the sense that we’ve really got to stop romanticizing the images we see in films, magazines, and travel guides to be how places are now. Things have clearly changed a lot since my parents were my age, but it just seems like things have changed so much in the last decade due to the internet it’s hard to identify with anything in this huge teched-out, hyperspeed, melting pot called “society.” Anyways, I’ll save my “Why I Hate Technology” rant for another day, but I stand by my thought that we have to let go of a lot of the assumptions and judgements we hold about places (both good and bad) because clinging to it only makes your head hurt and your heart sag.
On a positive note, I had a mindblowingly awesome time in Nice and Cannes (posts to come this week) AND I’ll start with the happy list:
Things I’ll Miss About Paris:
-Velib aka zipcar for bikes. Biking on the sidewalks. Always having the right of way (except that one time the day before I left where a cop pulled me over for biking the wrong way, then I cried).
-Civility on the subway
-Murals on blank building walls
-Tea and macarons
-Getting drunk under the eiffel tower
-Good advertisements for art exhibitions
-Public photographic nudity (in the form of breasts) is embraced
-Sneaking on the bus
-Furthermore, bus drivers, who don’t break a sweat while whipping it around the arc de triomph
-Waking up to accordion music
-The endearingly stupid way the french say “what the fack”
-Good shoes (for men). They may suck at dressing, playing sports, and making jokes, but they do know how to pick out a good loafer.
Things I will Absolutely NOT miss about Paris:
-The bank. Fees. The fact that they cancelled my card, ordered me a new one, and told me it was the same pin then the machine ate it and I had no card for the last MONTH there. Thanks Societe Generale, you imbeciles.
-The euro. Everything is 1.3x as expensive. So something that’s $3 is $4 and 77 euros is really $100.
-The smell of poo and cigarettes. Or the fantastical hybrid: cigars.
-Lack of hand sanitizer
-Social skills. Sometimes I feel like I’m on planet asbergers
-Phone companies: Persian scam artists. Yep. That’s some sort of blatant racial bias. Suck it Buoygues.
-Homeless men with puppies. You know why they have puppies? So the government can’t take them away.
-Nosiness. Get lives people. Or invest in them. Whatever. Just beat it.
-The hard water. Hello dandruff.
-The exorbitant price of shitty coffee
-Tiny unreadable street signs
-Mothers smoking while holding their small children
-Teens with 3 feet of hair
-This one is just kind of mean: the French have TINY feet. And it freaks me out.
-Terrible PDA on public transportation
-The lack of use of the cute little balconies. Take a cue from Spain!
-The French inferiority complex (threatened by England, Italy, America). I mean their best friend is Germany…nuff said.
Thanks France, thanks for teaching me so many lessons and reminding me that America is the greatest place on the earth. Sure, we’re big, loud, and tacky, but we’re also real and we interact with each other. I’ll probably end up debating the pro’s and con’s of France versus USA until I die, and I don’t hate it, but I sure couldn’t live there. And I’m THRILLED to get my passport stamped tomorrow. They still stamp, right?