October 17, 2010
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So, that road sign I was talking about in the last post – apparently it means “end of a path for pedestrians and cyclists” according to this web site. HOWEVER, take a look here and here. Two very similar signs with slight differences, and what I saw last week was the first one. So whether the border is a square or a circle makes a difference…as well as whether the adult is holding the child’s hand. GOOD STUFF, FRENCH PEOPLE. I was almost 100% positive that these signs had something to do with children specifically. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE THE KID!? You got me with that red herring, France…
One thing I found out this week is that Bordeaux is referred to as Port de la Lune, or Port of the Moon. When I first heard that the Port of the Moon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I was determined to find out where this “port” is situated so I could go visit. I was convinced that it was a specific location somewhere within the city of Bordeaux. Many searches later, I found nothing with regards to where the Port of the Moon is and how to get there. Strange, I thought, that there are no directions to such a place. It wasn’t until one dark and stormy night when epiphany struck me that maybe…just maybe the Port of the Moon IS Bordeaux itself. Well don’t I feel stupid. Anyway, it is named so due to “the crescent shape of the meandering Garonne as it traverses the city”. What a pretty name!
Yesterday I went on a city tour organized for new students. To be honest my motivation to attend mostly came from the free lunch. It turns out that the tour itself was rather boring, and I much preferred my spontaneous explorations. As a result, I strayed from the group halfway through and wandered off on my own. Then I went to the grocery store to get more wine and cheese, but that is besides the point.
We started out at the Grand Theatre at 10:00. I would be still in bed if it weren’t for the tour. In retrospect I should have stayed in bed. The interior of the Grand Theatre reminds me of Roy Thompson Hall, though it’s smaller and much cozier. I ended up on the 4th floor, which I think was as high as you could go.
October 3, 2010
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When you’re talking about visible minorities in Bordeaux, it’s REALLY visible. Back in Toronto, I rarely felt like I was part of a visible minority. Perhaps it was because I lived in a neighbourhood saturated with Asians, and attending Waterloo further weakened the feeling of being a “minority” in Canada. In a multi-cultural centre like Toronto, sometimes it seems as if Caucasians, and not Asians, are the minority of the city.
In Bordeaux, I often look around to see if there are any funny stares – luckily there haven’t been any yet – because I can literally FEEL different in the midst of the crowd. It’s the first time that I’m feeling so out of place, even if it’s just superficially.
I believe I will get used to this feeling in time. For now, my greatest fear is having a French come up to me to say something with their authentic pronunciation and frequent slangs. I don’t want to invite any dirty looks by saying “Parlez-vous anglais?” or “Pouvez-vous parler plus lentement, s’il vous plaît?” but I guess it’s something I will have to endure before being able to understand local French perfectly.
As yesterday was my first Saturday in town, excluding the day that I arrived, I took the leisure of exploring downtown Bordeaux, because I’m sure many would agree that it beats reading papers. Also I figured I’d take some pictures before the weather gets cold or I’m either too busy or lazy to blog once work starts.
First stop – Grand Théâtre. This would be something like a combination of Roy Thompson Hall and the Hummingbird Center (I have no idea when it became the Sony Center, screw that) in Toronto, where you’d go see concerts, ballets, and operas.