Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thoughts on France

First of all, let me just establish that I'm pretty ill, actually miserably so, with a painful hacking cough and a runny nose that's used up most of the tissues in DJ Zebra's house. While I'm thankful this has come on at a point in the tour when I have a free day (and don't have to travel) it does suck to be sick at someone else's house. You feel like a disgusting bag of germs and you can't exactly give your kind hosts a break from your face by taking a long walk in the cold. Plus, there's Paris out there which would be nice to see, but again thankfully I have a few extra days planned at the end of the tour next week for sightseeing. While I'll probably miss today's interview with France's international radio channel, my main concern is feeling better by tomorrow when we have to take off for Bordeaux. Apparently one can secure antibiotics without a prescription in France so we might try that later today. Anyway, sorry Zebra (and Zebra's family) and sorry anybody who wanted to hear my terrible attempts at speaking French on the radio today.

Speaking of Zebra's family, my French lessons were put to an unexpected test upon arrival here Sunday night when I came into the apartment to discover Zebra's parents, here for dinner. They were of course incredibly gracious about my bumbling French but wanted to know all about San Francisco and the presidential candidates and stuff, and I realized sadly that I don't really know how to say "Kucinich saw UFOs at Shirley MaClaine's house." During dinner, the TV was on, and a couple things kind of threw me that I couldn't really express at the time: one, the weather came on during the newscast and everyone turned to see what conditions would look like for the tour. What I was noticing, however, was the weather lady had on the skimpiest black silky cocktail party dress and makeup and hair done up like for an awards show. She'd pose dramatically (seductively, even) as she pointed at the maps: "sunny and 10 degrees celsius in the south of France Thursday, mon cherie." Later, a movie came on and at one point I look up to see a naked old man in complete full frontal display who has apparently walked in on a young couple in bed accidentally. Nobody at the table batted an eyelash.

My dad woke me up at 2am to alert me to a new round of French riots, and yes, apparently two teenagers drove a motorbike at high speed into a police car (an unlicensed bike, and without helmets) last night in the northern suburbs of Paris and were killed; people in the area have some hazy accusations that the police didn't do enough to help the kids or something, but most reports are saying they were aiming right for the police car. Not to be unsympathetic to the racism and xenophobia faced by France's ethnic and relligious minorities, but it just seems like setting the McDonalds on fire after something like this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But, you're angry and feel powerless, so what do you do, I guess. Anyway, it's all very far away from here so nobody worry about me, and I promise that if I feel like setting a McDonalds on fire I'll wait til I'm home.


Sophie said...

I'm contacting you from the French news channel France 24. I read your blog and was wondering if we could extract a bit for our online site. We're compiling opinions about the Paris riots and I'd like to use you as a contributor.
Let me know asap as the piece will go online tonight.
Also where are you living at the moment?

Sophie said...

sorry that's spilgrim@france24.com

Dj Spox said...

Hey Ben - Get Well, and rock Europe like you did PL