Week 1: Something New Around Every Corner
Trip Start Aug 16, 2010
26Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Hotel du Soleil
Let's skip ahead to evening 5 shall we. Just returned from Wohoo, a Brasserie (bar). I must say it was very fun. I find it very amusing to be halfway around the world and still be listening to American music. Retro American music at that, but mixed with modern American music as well with one or two French songs here and there. I think a major reason that tonight was as enjoyable as it was is because it was one of the first times in two years or so where I didn’t have to be the sober responsible one, it was nice when someone said the cops were coming to not have to worry about being the one to have to talk to them
I must admit I have fallen completely in love with Aix. It is the biggest little city I have ever seen. It’s just like the movies. It seems too cute and perfect to be real. It feels like it should be a tourist trap, but it’s not. I can’t get over the architecture. Everything from the fountains (which seem to be infinite) to the doors to the buildings themselves is beyond description. There is a new fountain around every corner and as best as I can tell you can drink out of all of them. I have seen locals drinking from them and washing their clothes and every source I have checked seems to have confirmed this. One would never think to drink from a fountain in the U.S. so I am naturally still hesitant, but I have been drinking from them gradually for the last three days and no problems yet. Two of them apparently receive their water from a hot spring beneath the city and most of them date back several hundred years and some to as far back as the 14th century. Every day I find a fountain that I haven’t seen before, and each is unique and beautiful.
The contrast between and mix of ancient and modern continues to bewilder and captivate me
I have yet to see a single Starbucks or McDonalds in the entire city, although I have heard that there is a McDonalds but I have yet to find it, as it is far outside the main downtown area. Perhaps I’ll hunt it down when I get homesick. Today I saw a Subway which was kind of exciting because it was the first American food chain that I had seen, but I can’t imagine why I would ever eat there when there are so many better places to eat here. Today I had lunch at one of the two Mexican restaurants in Aix ( I have yet to find the second). The cook/cashier asked if I would like it spicy, of course I said yes (oui) avec enthusiasm. Unfortunately the French idea of spicy is not the equivalent of mine, not by a long shot. It was ok, but I suppose I am spoiled by growing up in California and shouldn’t expect authentic Mexican food in France
I met my potential landlord today as well, she seems very sweet , but speaks no English whatsoever so communicating was difficult with my limited French. It is close to the university but kind of far from the downtown area. I hope that it works out, I move in on Mardi (Tuesday).
We were supposed to go Avignon tomorrow morning but apparently most of my fellow students drank too much tonight, so we will probably go next Saturday. So I will probably go in search of the house of Paul Cezanne and the Roman ruins.