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a contradiction
11 septembre 2007 @ 17:23
So, I'm in Paris at the moment. And I'm with Mum, so I don't have much free time. And bloody buffy_kitten convinced me to join Facebook.

I've climber the Eiffel Tower and visited the Louvre. Yesterday we took a day trip to Rouen, where Joan of Arc was imprisoned and burnt alive. Tomorrow we're going to Versailles.

We found a brand of beer called Britt - from Bretagne! And I've been eating fondant Mars bars, which are possibly the best thing ever. And there's a street market on today where we can buy Dr Pepper!

I leave on Contiki in a week's time. I'm not that scared anymore - I ran into a group of Contiki-ers in a bar in Lyon, and they were only 4 days in, but agreed they were having the time of their lives.

Just over a month before I fly back home ...
a contradiction
Hey hey, you you
Je n'aime pas ta copine
No way, no way
T'a besoin de nouveau
Hey hey, you you
Je serais ta copine

Hey hey, you you
Je sais que tu m'aimes bien
No way, no way
Ce n'est pas un sécret
Hey hey, you you
Je serais ta copine

Okay, I don't really have much to update with ... just been bumming round Lyon, eating more than I should, and getting dodgy haircuts. I now have a fringe that sits about a centimetre above my eyebrows. I'm calling it a cross between Lily Allen on "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" and early Myf Warhurst. I'll get used to it, and then it'll grow and all will be well.

Alex's friend Camille's got her aparetment to herself this week, as her brother and mother are away, so Alex and I have been going there every night. We created our own "minibar", and have been watching a skit comedy called "Un Gars, Une Fille". And clips of "Mah na Mah na" on YouTube.

On Sunday we went to one of those European beaches where everyone sunbathes topless, there's a bar, and you have to pay to get in. Except that it wasn't a real beach, it was the bank of a river. And we didn't pay, because we're hardcore.

Anyway, I really don't have anything more to say. Been emailing a guy called Brendan, who's going on Contiki with me. He sounds nice. It's reassuring to read on the forums that there are actually other people coming on the trip.

And I found myself clicking on an ad for Homebake, just to check out the line-up, and two hours later decided it was absolutely imperative that I go. The DiVinyls are headlining! To me, this is big! Besides, it's on overage event, and I'm actually overage. And I don't have to worry about flights/accommodation or anything. So yay - Homebake!
Current Location: lyon, france
Humeur actuelle: contentcontent
a contradiction
Okay, so I’ve promised you all a long entry with a few more details than the little snippets I’ve been giving you, so here goes …

The journey:
I flew over here with Thai Airways (they have a “student” airfare, which is quite cheap). When I booked, I chose my seat (33H, an aisle seat) and my special meal (“Asian vegetarian”), so I was all ready to go. The first flight was really good – I played “Super Mario Brothers”, watched “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Mary Poppins” … and then I discovered the TV shows, and watched “Arrested Development” and “Doctor Who”. So there was plenty to keep me busy.

The second flight, however, wasn’t so wonderful. There were no personal in-flight entertainment screens in the back of the chair in front, and it was night, so they weren’t even playing movies on the shared screens. Luckily I had my two “Torchwood” audiobooks, and “The History Boys” radio play to keep me amused – I find it incredibly difficult to sleep on planes. Still, I didn’t enjoy that flight at all. And – when I was in Bangkok, they made me take off my Docs and put them through the scanner, and then dug through my bags for no reason.

I arrived in Paris with many hours to spare. My suitcase was one of the last ones off the plane (which had me in a little bit of a panic), then I got changed, hung around the airport for a bit, then took the train to Gare de Lyon. I paid a ridiculous amount for a bottle of water, was hassled by a beggar, and then, fifteen minutes before my train was due to depart, I realised my printed ticket (which I bought online) wouldn’t validate. So, I lined up in the ticket queue for about ten minutes, but was still nowhere near the front. I decided that I’d just get on the train anyway, and if there were any problems, I’d play dumb. Luckily all was well, and the only issue I had when the inspector came along was that my passport was in my suitcase, and I needed ID to confirm it was my ticket.

And then I was in Lyon.

I arrived in Lyon on Monday, and on Wednesday took the train back through Paris, up to Villers sur Mer in Normandy. There were three of us – Alex, Raf and myself, and we stayed in Alex’s grandparents’ holiday “apartment”. We were right opposite the beach, and it was a gorgeous little town. I loved all the old buildings and houses.

It was also a fairly dead town, full of old people and their grandchildren, so we were lucky to find the Hurricane Bar, which I mentioned before. I’m not going to go into detail about our night out there, but it was a nice little place, and the boardgames were a thoughtful touch (and a great way to pass a rainy afternoon).

The weather wasn’t terribly wonderful. We were able to spend a few days at the beach, but often it was too windy, or a bit cold. We took a day trip in Deauville, an incredibly rich town (lots of designer stores), with a famous beach – lots of coloured umbrellas and little beach shed things named after celebrities.

We also watched a lot of TV, particularly “Desperate Housewives”, “Malcolm”, “Falcon Beach” (a Canadian show starring the guy who was Rick – the one who shot Jimmy – on D:tNG), “Friends”, “Nip/Tuck”, and “Le Destin de Lisa” (a German show, which I think is their version of “Ugly Betty”).

Alex and Raf had reserved copies of the new HP at the bookstore there, and I woke at 8:30 on the Saturday morning to find they’d gone to collect it. Then Alex came home, said I could read her copy, and went back to bed … and I’d finished it by mid-afternoon. I didn’t like the ending.

Back to Lyon:
We took the train back to Lyon, after meeting Alex’s grandparents (who took us out to dinner the night before we left – mmm, crêpes). I had a day in the city with Alex, and then she started her summer job on the 1st.

I was given keys to the apartment, and the bagde to open the door at reception, and I bought a monthly bus/metro/train/tram pass. I’ve spent my time shopping, going for walks, taking photos, and relaxing. It’s quite lovely.

I organised the tickets for Mum and I to Paris (70 euro for the two of us), and myself to London (75 euro). And I was going to buy a lovely pair of Docs – they were purple biker/cowboy boots (I don’t know exactly how to describe them, and I can’t find a photo – they’re not on the Docs website) – but they only had size 38 left, and I’m 39. So that was rather disappointing.

We went to the last two “Nuits de Fourvière” concerts. For the first one, we were first in line outside the gate (we arrived at about 5:30pm, when the show was to start at 8, so were weren’t that early). There were four acts:
1. Nicolas Nourrit – described by Alex as “roots” and “festive”, I’ve no idea what I’d call them, but they were lively and animated performers, with vocal harmonies, and the percussionist had a monkey-like facial expression which reminded me of Chas (from “The Chaser”). And the guitarist was this older-looking guy in a hat and kilt. I really enjoyed them.
2. The Green Olive – Alex actually knows this band personally, as she goes to so many of her shows. We ran into the bassist on the fourniculaire on our way to the concert, and he was really nice. And we spoke to the singer (and his girlfriend) after the show, and he was really nice too. Alex calls their music “festive”, too, but they were nothing like the previous act. But they were damn good – easily my favourite performance of the night. And they sang “Nelly the Elephant”. Yes – “Nelly the elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus …”, which made me squee a little (and brought to mind images of a cartoon elephant with a suitcase).
3. Prohom - French rock. Kilt-man from the first group was rocking out at the side of the stage which was amusing. The music was good – nothing overly special, but still, fairly decent rock music. So that was good.
4. Mei Tei Sho - (there are accents, but I can’t be bothered working out how to do them). With lyrics like “the sky will touch the ground and fear will know what it’s running from” spoken over and over in a booming voice, accompanied by trippy electro dub music, they were clearly a group for stoners. Not being stoned, I didn’t like them at all, and after the third song made my way out of the ampitheatre and over to the bar. We left early.

The final night (Saturday) was a cultural spectacular, featuring four incredibly diverse acts:
1. Les Doights de L’Homme - whose music I’m unable to describe. Let’s just say three acoustic guitars, of sorts (occasionally a banjo), and a double bass. They played quickly, and the music was fast-paced, intricate and complicated. With a bit of a swing to it.
2. Mark Atkins - some random Aboriginal bloke playing the digeridoo. Alex and I went out to the bar during his bit.
3. Raul Paz - Cuban music, singing about revolutions and things, in Spanish – so I didn’t understand a word. He was really good, though.
4. Orchestre National de Barbès - I didn’t really enjoy them at first, because I was hot, bothered and uncomfortable (we were near the front of the mosh area, and the crowd was rather intense, considering the median age would have been over 30 and the style of music was, well, different). In the brochure, this lot are described as performing a mixture of “rhymes du Maghreb”, “jazz funk” and “chants traditionnels”. All the performers were Arab (except for the saxophonist, who reminded me of Matt Lucas, and while he was clearly a talented musician, and was very enthusiastic, he looked incredibly out of place). Vocal duties were shared between four, and lyrics were in a mixture of French and Arabic. Alex was really having a good time, and after awhile, I found myself getting into it, too, especially after the tall guy in front of me who’d been giving me the shits left. The music was unlike anything I’d thought to listen to before, but that didn’t mean it was bad, just unfamiliar, so it took me awhile to get used to. Their final song was a multilingual (French, Arabic, then English) rendition of “Pleased to Meet You”.

We were given these blue “cushion” things (square pieces of foam), because the concerts were in a stone ampitheatre, and therefore not terribly comfortable. Not sitting for either concert, I used mine as a fan. Other people, however, during the second last song of the night, decided to throw them in the air, and at the stage – it was a pretty amazing sight, all these blue squares flying around, but I was hit several times (we’d managed to weasel our way to the very front). And there was confetti at the end.

Our night didn’t end there. Alex and I then walked down to a “boite” (small club) who were having a rock night, and spent a couple of hours listening to the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Nirvana, Babyshambles, Indochine, The White Stripes, and The Strokes. Quite different in comparison to the concert we’d been at, but GOOD music. We were with a couple of Alex’s friends – Indochine fans. Intense Indochine fans.

We left at some time after 3am, went to a 24 hour bakery (mmm, fruit tart), and then walked across to the other side of the city (from Vieux Lyon to Villeurbane), to Cecile’s apartment. When we arrived, at about quarter to six, I slept, while the other three played Uno and baked a cake. Alex and I made our way home on the Sunday afternoon, and then ended up at Raf’s house in the pool, because it was really hot.

We went to see “Ratatouille” (VF) on Wednesday, and I found it quite enjoyable. And after all my French TV watching, my comprehension has really, really improved, and I found myself able to understand the whole thing, without a problem. I really hate rats, though.

Friday night we went to Raf’s house for crêpes, with Camille and another friend, and I found myself watching “Weeds”, and playing Bach’s Prelude in C on the piano – Raf had the music, and it’s one of my favourite classical pieces, and she was playing it, and then they encouraged me to sit at the piano, and I hadn’t played a proper piece in over a year and a half, and hadn’t played that particular piece in something like four, maybe five years. So that was amazing – I was able to sight-read my way through the whole thing with only a couple of mistakes, and I didn’t sound too bad. It makes me miss playing the piano.

I sent an SMS to Clem – because they finally fixed my phone (hurrah!) – and discovered that she’s in London at the moment! But she gets back on the 23rd, so hopefully I’ll get to see her before I leave (the 3rd).

If anyone has any suggestions of what I should do during the day, or any “tasks” you’d like me to complete during my spare time – and I’ve got plenty – please comment with your ideas. (Someone, please make me a scavenger list of things to take photos of).
Current Location: lyon, france
Humeur actuelle: satisfiedsatisfied
a contradiction
05 août 2007 @ 18:55
The past two nights I've been at concerts, and then last night we went to a [rock] club afterwards and then walked from pretty much one side of Lyon to the other at 4 in the morning. So I'm a little tired. And we're going out again tonight. And to a barbeque tomorrow night.

Today it's hot, and I'm at Alex's friend Raf's house. I've been in the pool, and I lay in the sun for a bit, but then they said I could use the net if I wanted, and I jumped at the chance.

So yeah, it's all happening at the moment. Makes me feel alive. And sleepy. And I almost have a tan, which is somewhat of an achievement (even if I like being pale).

I've been taking lots of photos, but I forgot the cable to connect my camera to the computer. Which doesn't really matter anyway, as Alex still doesn't have the internet, and it doesn't appear as though she'll be getting it any time soon. Which means I need to find a cheaper internet café.

Anyway, I've decided that I'm going to type up some decent journal entries for you all on Alex's computer, and then put them on my thumb drive, take them to a café, and then post them, so that I don't have to worry about how long I spend typing. So you never know, you may hear something a little more substantial from me soon.

Missing you all (comment, damn it!),
<3 Britt
Tags: , ,
Current Location: lyon, france
Humeur actuelle: tiredtired
a contradiction
31 juillet 2007 @ 16:09
So, I'm back in Lyon, at an internet café (still no net at Alex's), and HOTMAIL DOESN'T WORK. So that's stressing me out a little.

So I'll probably be back online tomorrow, at a different café where Hotmail will please, please work for me.

Anyway, Normandy was lovely. The weather became a little dodgy towards the end, but still, a fun time was had by all (by "all" I mean the three of us). And we played Scrabble, in French, and I won! So that was pretty good.

And I have little stories that must be told, but I don't have time to type out here. Hopefully Alex'll have the internet soon so that'll make things easier. Or else I'll try to find an incredibly cheap internet café and spend a whole day there or something. McDonalds has free WiFi, but Byron's not with me and Alex doesn't have a laptop.

So yes ... email me, tell me things - and if you want a postcard, email me your address - I'm more than happy to send you one.

Missing you all,
Current Location: Lyon, France
a contradiction
I'm going to keep this short, because I haven't loads of time (internet café), and the keyboard is different, which makes typing a little difficult.

Anyway, I'm alive. Currently in Normandy, staying in an apartment by the beach with Alex and her friend Raf.

Alex doesn't have the internet at home at the moment, but will hopefully be getting it back when we return to Lyon at the start of August.

I hope everyone is doing well. Please email me/comment, and I'll reply when I can.
Humeur actuelle: calmcalm
a contradiction
15 juillet 2007 @ 14:10
Okay ... so I'm at the airport now, and I've got two hours before my flight is due to leave.

On Thursday night I had a sort of gathering at Colombo's in Balwyn [and then the Skinny Dog], which was nice. I have photos to share with you all, but I can't upload them here, so you'll have to wait.

And then Friday was my last day at work, and in typical Target style they called me in early, so I ended up working an extra three hours. Saying goodbye was difficult, but I survived.

Alice dropped in yesterday, with a letter for me to read on the plane. Actually, it's not much of a letter - it's a lyrics quiz [oh the memories of year eleven [and twelve] literature]!

Last night I didn't do anything spectacular - just put music onto Fifi, packed, and watched Doctor Who and the RocKwiz repeat [which, in the email, Brian said was going to be from season two, but I swear was actually the final episode of season one. And the fact that I can tell the difference based purely on Julia's clothing and hairstyle is rather sad, I know].

Speaking of Julia Zemiro, she's doing some talk thing today that I read about in the paper yesterday and would be going to if I weren't leaving the country. However, as I am leaving the country, I'm not going. Obviously.

Rachana came by this morning, with another letter for me - I've now got four letters to read on the plane, which is good. She said that if I don't update often she'll have to fly over and xcheck up on me, so I'm rather tempted to stay away from the internet ... except that it wouldn't be fair on everyone else. And Rachi can't afford it, anyway. She's a poor uni student who deserves sympathy and accepts cash donations [as do I. I take cheques, too].

Anyway, that's about it for now. I've got about forty minutes until boarding time [and then another hour until I depart], so I'm not sure what I'm going to do ... but my internet time is quickly running out. And I probably should eat the Twisties I had to buy in order to have the correct change for this machine.
Current Location: melbourne airport
Humeur actuelle: calmcalm
Musique actuelle: pulp - common people
a contradiction
11 juillet 2007 @ 10:20
There are only four days left until I leave, and there are still many things to do - I need to collect my tickets etc from the travel agent, pack, go on several last minute shopping trips to buy things I never thought of before but have now decided are absolutely necessary ...

At least I have a few things organised. I booked my insurance last night, on TravelInsuranceDirect.com.au, which was both simple and cheap. And Alex rang on Sunday night, [causing me to miss the end of "Life on Mars"], and she'll be there to meet me at the station when I arrive in Lyon. So that's all good.

And then yesterday Sophie and Kirsty took me out for a farewell breakfast [French toast], and they gave me a rather thoughtful and creative present.

Click here for more/better pictures.

They made me a collage of Target-related things - including receipts, an old roster, time saver layby cards, catalogues, and many other wonderful things - which they presented to me in a box lined with Target-branded receipt roll, along with letters for me to read on the plane, Target undies [which read "Take me to Paris" on the front, and "Au Revoir, Baby" on the back], Target lollies, spare receipt roll, and a shoe hanger.

So that was quite wonderful, indeed.
Current Location: melbourne, still
Humeur actuelle: rushedrushed
Musique actuelle: pulp - common people