Thursday, August 21, 2014

IT'S THE SMALL THINGS.....



......that make life in France the shits. I don't want to be a Nestbeschmutzer, but actual reality is just that. France will never ever be La Grande Nation again.  If it even ever was. 
Did you read this post where I had trouble paying anywhere with large bills? Well, it happened again. This time though it gets worse. Right after realizing my mistake of pulling large bills from an ATM, I walked into the bank to ask for smaller bills.
Remember, my french is OK, but by no means fluent and if I get stressed, well, let's just say it becomes worse and I am being hard to understand.

HOWEVER. It started all out very polite by me asking if there is a chance of getting smaller bills as I seem to have trouble paying for fresh fruits at the market with 50.00 Euro bills. The swift and cold reply: "Non." I replied with a nice, "Pardonez moi?" From here on I will paraphrase for you, as my written french is even worse than my spoken words...
The young teller with her huge sense of entitlement went on to repeat, that no, she can't do that. On my simple pourquoi (why) question things got worse. Her demeanor changed from ignorant to bitch from hell. Am I customer? No, but would that make a difference?  Instead of answering my question, she went apeshit and told me she has to explain nothing to me since I am not even a client of this reputable establishment she works at.
Which then in return sets off the choleric in me and I asked about opening an account toute suite.....to deposit some money if this is such a special bank. 

Let me not drag this conversation out too long, but earliest available appointment to open an account.......more than 10 days away. She clearly must have hoped I am a tourist. What a card.

Yes, a petty issue, yes maybe not even worth talking about, but that`s your opinion. I on the other hand find these occurances symptomatic for a country as it is. A shadow of it`s former past. A country that does not even have an acronym for it's poor performance, it's drag on European strength such as the other weak members in Europe do. P.I.G.S. 
Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. Well, how about F.PIGS for Fucking Pigs. France deserves the top spot on this list, no doubt in my mind. 

While President Hollande became the largest shareholder in Alstom, to ensure that this mean American company won`t railroad his outdated socialistic labor laws, or when this industry insider calls a spade a spade, these things do not affect my daily life. 
It`s the little grievances that add up over time and clearly are a sign that even if there were to be a change in government, nothing will change. People are so dependent on the government trough in this country, so addicted to the hand outs they receive. And it`s people who change a country, not politicians. It takes a revolution, not policy.
And a turnaround like that takes at least one generation. Poland would maybe the best case in point inside the EU. From protest to most successful GDP growth by people simply changing their attitude.
The French will never achieve that. Ever. They are the F in Pigs.

 Unless they find a truly strong leader.


THE FRENCH WORKFORCE AT IT'S BEST


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

KIM STRIKES AGAIN


Kim Hoa, the artist here in the Charente. Not the man in N.Korea. I mentioned Kim in this BLOG POST when she won an art contest here in Jarnac with her unique interpretation of the river with leaving out a major dominant color. 

Since then, I made it on her email list and she won a couple of times in smaller competitions, but last weekend in a giant art contest in the Perigord with 53 other artists, Kim did not win the overall first prize (she came in at a fantastic third overall), but Kim Hoa took home the creative award. Amazing and impressive. 
Apparently the audience chanted her name to the Jury when the professionals could not make a decision. How cool is that?
Which then makes one think. Why do we buy art? For pleasure or investment? Can it be both? Should one be prioritized over the other? What if Kim continues her education in arts and finds an agent, a gallery in a big city to promote her works to a broader and more educated audience? Maybe I have to buy a piece? One of Jarnac to for always remind us of the years spent here. In an abstract way, the style Kim paints. How about that.

Anyway. Look at the motive in a photograph and then at her interpretation of that motive. I say it again, what I said before. I have no clue about art, at least not enough to fully understand her work, but.........stay tuned.  By the way, a notary public from that town bought the artwork right of her easel. He chose her work over the winner, since Kim won two prizes, third and creative.



HOTEL DE FAYOLLE - PERIGUEUX

THROUGH THE ARTIST'S EYE

Monday, August 18, 2014

DOUBLE FEATURE



I could have made two posts out of this visit to Bordeaux, when on one Sunday a week ago I visited a flea market and a fresh foods market the same day. But what the heck. Enjoy all pictures at once. I liked the location of these markets along the Gironde river which weaves it's way through that wine city.
The flea market was just that, nothing special, but with a much higher degree of authenticity than any flea in North America. It seems even junk in France is from France and not yet made in Asia and bought at Wal Mart....I saw a few things, industrial still going strong with lower prices than ever and some nice chairs, cool book collections and other decorative items that fetch massive bucks in America and here could be had for less than five Euros.

The food market. If you ever find yourself in Bordeaux on a Sunday, it's a great morning to spend walking the Pier and see all the different vendors and their products. As with many other of my visits to local Farmers' markets, I'd buy something at almost every booth. It was an unplanned stop on the way back from the airport, so I did not bring a cooler bag and ended up buying nothing. I ate one something veggie, can't recall the name anymore, but if he'd omit the flour, this would be one fantastic GF treat. Being in France, I did not even ask.
Regardless, lots of fresh foods at this market, ready to eat on the shores of the river, watching the boats come in full of curious toruists, it's a truly great market.



THE FLEA MARKET

VINTAGE GARDEN SET

INDUSTRIAL STOOL

THREE EUROS



LOTS AND LOTS OF OLD BOOKS



I AM SURE YOU COULD FIND A TREASURE, BUT I DID NOT EVEN LOOK

MISSING THE MARBLE TOP

L.A. KIDS WOULD LOVE THESE


'Crazy' is a term of art; 'Insane' is a term of law.
Remember that. And you will save yourself a lot of trouble. 
A quote attributed to:
HUNTER S. THOMPSON

WOULD BE GREAT WATER BOTTLES FOR A RESTAURANT

VINTAGE SHOES

IF YOU LIKE NURSES.....?

FIFTY FOR THE SET

FURTHER DOWN THE RIVER

OYSTERS WITH A GLASS OF WINE

FRESH MUSSELS

FRESH DRINKS

SMOKED DUCK BREAST

ROTISSERIE CHICKEN

IT'S BORDEAUX, OF COURSE THERE IS WINE FOR SALE

CHUTNEYS AND JAMS

IT'S BETTER FOR YOU

FOIE GRAS STUFFED FRUITS....

QUITE A FEW POP UP RESTAURANTS AT THIS MARKET

THE COOLEST COOK

WHAT A GREAT LOOKING PLANCHA

CHEESE




SOON I WILL BE MAKING APRICOT DUMPLINGS AGAIN......IN CALIFORNIA

FIVE PEOPLE WORKING IN THIS BOOTH

SOME ARTISAN BAKER......

WITH A TRUCK AND ALL HIS EQUIPMENT, BAKING FRESH

SEAFOOD SKEWERS


ALMOST GF



IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, AN EASY BUSINESS, THEY MULTIPLY LIKE RABBITS

HE LOOKS AUTHENTIC

THESE ORIGINATE FROM BORDEAUX

THE BEST OF IT ALL: PLENTY OF SHADED PARKING ON A SUNDAY