I’ve been noticing random “things” about Bordeaux, and despite trying, I can’t seem to tie everything into a cohesive entry. So instead, here is a list. Follow along as I give you some impressions and tips.
- Don’t tip. Unlike in the US, tipping at restaurants, cafes, etc. in Bordeaux is not mandatory. In rare occasions when you had an extraordinary experience you might tip a few euros, but other than that, tipping is not expected.
- You spend money. A dollar is not worth a euro. At the moment, 1€ = $1.36. So when you go to the ATM (called guichet automatique) and you want to withdraw €20, don’t forget that this is not $20, but rather $26-28. I’ve actually been torn between wanting to spend money and enjoy the food and shopping and life, and between wanting to conserve money (especially since everything seems to be overpriced in France). Today, I’m thinking oh, why not?
- Awkward closing period. There is a time after breakfast until the afternoon when many of the restaurants close. So if you are straggling around the city, you might have to look a bit longer to find a place that is open to eat.
- Streets. The streets are narrow. There are crazy drivers here and there that speed. Cars can park facing each other. On quite another, smellier note, it’s not necessary to clean up after your dog here in Bordeaux. As a result, you may see patches of stinkiness as you stroll along the streets of the town. Just a heads-up to keep your head down once in a while.
- Clubs. The clubs, or “discotheques” or “boites de nuit” are a bit different here. There are a lot of American pop songs played. I got the impression that people respect your personal space more. For example, you’re dancing and you’re awesome and having fun, and someone wants to dance with you. They spend time on your side first, then if they get the impression that you’re fine with their presence, they can make a move.
- Get your airplane food first. I didn’t mention this before, but when you’re booking your plane tickets to fly into France, if you order Kosher food, you’ll be served first.
- Classes and speaking: I’ve gotten pretty lucky with my schedule this semester. No class on Thursdays or Fridays ! Which means I can explore, sleep, and travel! Talking to others in French is still intimidating. I am also torn between wanting to explore the city and being afraid to do it when it comes to communication. Speaking in a language with limited vocabulary is embarrassing. When you enter a small boutique, or shop, you are to pick what you need and get out. There have been students in our program that were told that “looking around” was not something you do in their store.
Here is a cool link I stole with flags made of food: http://twistedsifter.com/2011/10/flags-made-from-food/
There is still so much more I want to share. For now, till next time.