Der Zoo

Trip Start Mar 02, 2009
Trip End Aug 20, 2009

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Flag of France  , Nord-Pas-de-Calais,
Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spent yesterday wandering around Lille.

It's been overcast and misty (off and on with the latter) since I got here, but the temperature is really nice -- mid to high 50s during the day and 40s at night.  Saw the Citadel and a free zoo that's beside it.  I don't know what triggered it, but something about watching French people watching monkeys just made my day!

The people who are hosting me are rather artsy; the husband has painted the doors to indicate the function of each room.  I'm including a couple such pics...

J'ai eu l'occasion de parler français avec les Français.  (And was told that I do it quite well...  Which comes at a nice time as I've been thinking how good I've become at butchering the hell out of languages.)

Which (oddly) reminds me:  That whole Poland thing?  Yeah, it must've totally been something there...because since I've been here, I've only thought about how much this place clicks with me.  (As has been the case with the rest of the trip.)

Granted, the French are at times VERY FRENCH.  And this can be slightly unsettling in -- I'm sure -- much the same way as watching an American get excited about grilling pig parts and blowing shit up in celebration of "freedom."  Still, the feel of this town is almost perfect.  Not too large; not too small.  Good public transportation network and two rather substantial train stations.  Good proximity to larger cities.  Rather diverse population of attractive people with impeccable taste/style.  Impressive mix of old and modern.  Virtually no snow ever.  The list goes on.

I have, within the past twelve hours:  Consumed a slice of what may likely be the best tasting cake of my life, seen a cute parade, had drinks at trendy bar and enjoyed a cheap-but-amazing vegetarian meal and wine at an hour past a lot of people's bedtime.

...and this sort of stuff is THE NORM around these parts.  Going one step further, a person at dinner had the chance to sun herself on a beach for an afternoon during the past week because of business she had to conduct in the South.


I digress.

Memory of the day:  I had a moment in which I was telling a story that involved threatening to smother someone in their sleep (étouffer!) when, without really even thinking about it, I turned to a gawker and asked if I could either "help [them] with something or provide a reason to leave."  The people I was talking to cracked up; the other guy continued to stare at me without anything to say.  I think this pretty much means I translate decently well into French.

For now:  Sleep.  I'm leaving for Vienna in the morning.
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