Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

After the rain

As I start to feel more and more comfortable with the city of Bordeaux, I begin to take everything around me for granted. I think that’s what happens when you become integrated in an environment. Everything starts to feel matter-of-fact, and you don’t see what’s special about your surroundings anymore. Take Toronto, for example. When I lived at home, I rarely went out just to take pictures. The streets, the buildings, the people – they all seemed plain and normal. It was after leaving that I realized how little concrete evidence of my life in Toronto I had kept in photography.

It saddens me to think that one day I may run out of things to take pictures of, and it’s only been a little more than a month since starting the blog. However, a friend of mine told me that there are always new things to explore, and he’s absolutely right. I just have to get out there, get lost, and most importantly, observe keenly.

I take the bus to work every day, and on my way, I always pass by gorgeous vineyards with endless rows of grape vines. Then I realized that I will be missing this view once I move out of this residence, because my new route to work will be mostly in the urban centre as opposed to the suburban area of Talence, where I reside right now. After a night’s rain on Friday, I was welcomed by some beautiful sunshine on Saturday. My plan, then, was to retrace my steps back to the vineyards and attempt to capture them before they become too far to reach on foot. The following series of photos was taken en route.

Entrance of University of Bordeaux 1. There are 4 Universities of Bordeaux. 1 is for engineering and technology, 2 is for medicine and life sciences, 3 is for arts and languages, 4 is for law and economics. I am registered in UB1, but I work at UB2. I also currently live at the corner of UB1 in residence.

A UB1 building by Peixotto tram station on line B.

Graffiti near Bethanie station, which says “LA DEMOCRATIE DIT FERMES TA GUEULE. LA DICTATURE DIT CAUSES TOUJOURS.” The first sentence means “Democracy says, shut your mouth.” I’m not exactly sure how to interpret the second sentence, because literally it means “Dictatorship says causes always” which doesn’t completely make sense. Google Translate give me “Therefore always says the dictatorship” which leads me to think that it means something along the lines of “In the end, dictatorship speaks.”

This is probably the student residence area, but not where I live. There’s a Village 1, and 2, and 3, and 4…

Little known fact about me: I am slightly obsessed with railroads. You could probably tell by how much I like the trams here. In Waterloo, I used to love walking on the train tracks by the plaza at night. It was such fun falling, getting back on track (literally), and falling again. I don’t think I was allowed to walk on the tracks here, but I still love the view of the parallel paths that lead travellers to their destinations. If only I could capture a train zooming by…

This picture reminds me of the 3-minute Pixar short film, For the Birds. I was unable to zoom in too much, but I love how the birds were all lined up at the very top

And here I arrived at my intended destination. The gate was closed, and I doubt I would have gone in even if it were open. I had to squeeze the lenses of my camera between the tall fence to get a relatively decent photo (though still not enough to capture the vastness of the vineyard).

There’s a vineyard right across from where I live as well, and this is as best as I could do to get a picture of the view from the corridor. I also had to fit my camera through limited empty space to get a semi-decent view. Also, the clouds look super dramatic because I was playing around with contrast. They weren’t really that dramatic, I assure you.

I went for groceries after my wandering and saw the funkiest tomatoes I’ve ever seen. They’re slightly larger than normal sized tomatoes, orangy in colour, and resemble pumpkins that have been shrunk.

Of course, I saw this at the groceries and was curious. Cola plus orange – sounds like a mix of Coke and CPlus. Still more surprising was the other side of the bottle – why is it in Arabic??? I was super confused. However, by logical comparison, the way “Cola” is written in Arabic makes it look like the word “Yes”. That is pretty awesome.

The next section is DEDICATED TO GEOFF. See, as I was walking back to the residence near the forbidden forest, I noticed some mushrooms that seemed to have sprouted after the rain. In fact, as I looked closely, there were isolated groups of mushrooms scattered around the field. I couldn’t resist. I did what I could and tracked down some of these little guys. Sorry they’re not as interesting as this. Captions follow.

Figure M – Mushrooms near the forbidden forest. Annie risked her life to photograph these. (A) First mushroom sighted. Didn’t think it was a mushroom at first, but upon careful inspection the texture confirmed its mushroomness. (B) This one actually had very fine patterns on its surface, much like the ones I’m supposed to create in the future. However my camera did not successfully capture them using its macro function. Here is where a DSLR would come in handy. (C) Cute little mushroom in hiding. Looks very smooth. (D) Same as (C). (E) Slim shroom, could be related to (C) or (D) in terms of smoothness. (F) Red herring: there is no mushroom here. I just felt like including a picture of the afternoon dew. (G) Same as (A), found again while backtracking. (H) Father shroom, mother shroom, and baby shroom, one happy shroom family.

So enough about mushrooms and onto the wine and cheese. Not so good this week.

I didn’t even finish the block of cheese, sadly, and I did not quite enjoy the white wine as much as I did before. The cheese was Brie of France, and since it’s a popular cheese I thought I should try it earlier on. I guess popularity doesn’t ensure that everyone will like it. First, it smelled bad. Usually smell doesn’t immediately drive me away from cheese, but for this Brie, it stays in your mouth even after tasting it. Strike. The texture was rather funny. It felt a bit softer than butter, but sticky. The after taste was also unbearable for me. Strike. About the only part I actually enjoyed was the rind, and even then it wasn’t all that great. Out.

As for the wine, I generally prefer white wine over red wine (at the moment) and this is my first attempt at tasting a white wine. This particular bottle from Chablis was unfortunately rather bitter to the taste and not so pleasant. Again, only one thing made it slightly better, and that was the prior chilling of the wine.

I had white wine at a gathering this weekend and that wine was truly fantastic. As a result, I’m beginning to think that I should upgrade from cheap wines and go up a notch. Again, it’s not that I’m not willing to get the bigger (and possibly better) bottles. It’s just that I don’t want to waste good wine. As such, the only reason I’m getting the baby 37.5 cl bottles is that I can finish one by myself in 3 days. However, I’ve found some peers with whom I enjoy gatherings every Saturday night, and nice wine picked out by a specialist in oenology is present at every dinner, so perhaps I will make that my weekly wine tasting occasion instead.

Next week: Gouda cheese!


10 responses to “After the rain

  1. Geoffrey November 1, 2010 at 20:34

    πŸ˜€ Thanks for that mushroom bit.

    From those pictures, I would eat only B. H looks so meaty, but I have a feeling it would kill me. A and G look kinda scary, but something gives me the feeling that it’s edible. C and D look really intimidating. That smoothness scares me. But B. Something just shouts out EAT ME.

    Best of luck with the Gouda. Definitely one of my favourite cheeses.


  2. Leafstick November 1, 2010 at 21:50

    Love the little wine and cheese portion of your piece. I would suggest you visit some wineries, tastings blah blah blah When I visit, you better be some sommelier of sorts =P
    Hey, there must be some open markets around town no? Go score some unique produce =] =] Love the little markets…..

    s m o k e d g o u d a . . . . . . h u m m m m m e h n a m e h n a m e h n a


    • Annie Bananie November 3, 2010 at 13:35

      UGH WordPress marked your comment as spam. When my site mysteriously disappears next week I will know who to go after…

      I visited some vineyards and chateaux last weekend, which included wine tasting, so the next blog will be about that πŸ˜› And yes there are open markets, I haven’t checked them out yet though. Still too far and due to complications my moving date has been postponed >_>


  3. Candy November 2, 2010 at 19:45

    The mushrooms part of the blog was awesome, the first one surprised me too because it look like the mushroom’s from under.

    I was told once that we can experience the same place differently by how we pass by it. ( by car, by train, by walking and by biking.) each one will give you a different way of looking at things and the different things we will see each way.

    your pictures are so inspiring!


    • Annie Bananie November 2, 2010 at 20:09

      It’s true that one thing can be seen from as many angles as your imagination allows, and that’s what makes it so much fun to take pictures! However unfortunately you can’t always capture that precise moment of beauty that flashes by your eyes. On a train for example the pictures I take turn out blurry 😦 That’s why sometimes I wish someone invents a digital eye or something so that with the blink of an eye, instantaneous moments can be captured.

      Thanks for the support! I’m glad you enjoy browsing πŸ˜€


  4. That other one November 3, 2010 at 04:47

    There’s another mushroom in the family, hidden by that blade of grass… the rejected child? 😦 Creepy uncle?

    Those tomatoes… I would be scared to cook with them XD They look like they’re melting…


    • Annie Bananie November 3, 2010 at 07:53

      Good eye, I didn’t see that rejected child. I think it’s shy as it’s hiding behind that blade of grass 😦

      Yeah creepy tomatoes are creepy…I was like O______O when I saw them πŸ˜›


  5. Rajesh Kumar November 3, 2010 at 08:02

    I’m surprised you never attended any of the UW cheese club meetings. Such good cheese every week!

    I think the Mirinda is in Arabic because they imported it from Dubai/Middle East? Back when I used to live in Dubai, it was an extremely popular drink (maybe still is now). Drinks like Fanta and Dr. Pepper were completely unheard of.

    A DSLR with very fast shutter speeds should allow you to take pictures even while in a moving train. Yet another advantage of a DSLR πŸ™‚


    • Annie Bananie November 3, 2010 at 08:26

      I kept forgetting you’re in the west coast…and I was wondering why you were up at 3am when it was really just midnight there -_-

      Still savin’ up for that DSLR someday πŸ˜›


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