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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Random thoughts from France

Lyon has two rivers that run through it, the Saone and the Rhone.  They have recently converted the riverside of the Rhone from driving roads to strictly pedestrian, biking and barge dining.  Particularly on these quays of the Rhone river, I often like to go for a run or stroll.  Absolute spectacular views and tranquility.  To stay healthy I like typically like to run, row and lift weights; however the French like to apply “creams” to maintain or lose weight.  The looks and scrutiny I get when running give me the impression that they (the French, that is) think I am completely off my rocker.  The other day I got caught in a rainstorm during my run home.  This was no little shower my friends, this was a downright raining-cats-and-dogs storm.  I looked like a drenched French Poodle when I finally got home, curly hair gone mad.  Everyone I ran by on the street, timidly tucked under store canopies and staring at me, thought I had equally gone mad.  Running? And in the rain???  I couldn’t have shouted “Foreigner!” loud enough!

Lyon is sandwiched between two fashion capitals of the world, Paris and Milan, but you’d never know it based on some of the very interesting styles.  I have seen some zany fashion choices in the worst sense (or maybe I am just completely out-of-style –– very good chance).  Women are fond of putting on pants and shirt (great!), then just throw on a dress on top of that and sometimes a big belt.  Men, well you need to envision pants that are way too short, way too tight and pulled up entirely too high. Voila, now you’ve got the idea.  Business meetings?  Men should don a nice pinstripe suit, then add and a plaid shirt or polka-dot tie.  Or both.  I am confused every day, but figure that I must give the population the same baffling sentiments regarding my manner of dress!

Another note on that dressing thing…  If you are a French man that likes to exercise, apparently you only have two choices for shorts: super short or spandex (thankfully not combined!).  I thought mainly rowers and cyclists wear contraire!  The French men seem to have an overwhelming preference for the latter, spandex, whether it be for jogging, stretching, weightlifting, cycling, anything!  Very different.

For out of town business trips we frequently take the train.  I see a lot of cows in the countryside, and they are all the same.  Big white bodies with black hineys.  I have decided that these cows must be the dairy cows, as this country consumes an enormous amount of cheese, yogurts and cream desserts.  I have taken to this quotidian just fine... yum.

I went to Paris last weekend to see the end of the Tour de France and all the beauty of the City of Lights and Love.  Beautiful as always, and I was met with so many memories in many locations from when I lived there.  I took so many pictures that I completely filled up my camera memory card!  I’m working on sifting for you all!  The Tour may have been tainted by many testosterone-filled cyclists and media report this year, but it still held grand allure for the city and tourists.  Seeing those cyclists zoom by at 40+ mph was amazing!

Not much time left in France – the clock is ticking…  If you have any special France souvenir requests, the time is NOW!  The wine is great, and if you request a bottle I will happily buy it!  However please note, wine is *heavy* to carry back and I am *always thirsty*.  :)

Cheers and hugs to all!  Send over requests or forever eat stale bread!

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