Saturday, October 22, 2005

Saturday Night at the Smoking Rabbit

Right. So, the other language assistants.
My job in France is to be an assistant to English teachers in the two local colléges (junior highs) here in Verdun. My American roomie Valeria is an assistant in the primary schools, and there are four other assistants who work in the lycée (high school). So a few weeks ago we all met up at a local bar Valeria found called Le lapin qui fume, The Smoking Rabbit. It's a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place; the regulars were sitting in booths in the front, and the nice friendly bartender led us to the benches and table in the back. There were seven of us in all: me, Valeria, and Matt were the Americans. Matt's from New York and has the East Coast Intellectual Big 10 School look, black turtle-neck sweater and wire-rimmed glasses and everything. Nice guy. Katy is from Austria; Kim is a Brit with a cute, vaguely northern accent ("I live near the town where Robbie Williams was born!" Hopefully that means something to my European readers). Ricardo is from Nicaragua, so his French is pretty incomprehensible thanks to his accent; luckily he speaks English very well. And finally Carol, my French roommate with a very un-French name. When you think of a stereotypical sophisticated French woman, you picture Carol. Knock-out figure (ohmygod), long wavy brown hair, 24, teaches French lit at the lycee, wonderfully sweet and funny, it's really fucking annoying. Clearly the Universe has a cruel sense of humor. Sometimes it's just too early in the morning to deal with that and I wish she'd go be all sexy and French somewhere else.
I had this brief moment of acute homesickness as I looked over the beer list. At home I usually drink Mexican beers like Dos Equis (with some lime) and Negra Moldelo, or Poor College Student booze like Pabst Blue Ribbon. Deciding that it would just be wrong to drink a Guiness in France, I took a chance on a Czech beer called Regent, which I liked.
I was sitting between Val and Carol, so I didn't get much chance to talk to the others, but Ricardo and I hit it off. He's just a nice, easy-going guy, we swapped travel tales and Catholic childhood stories.
The next Thursday (we all have Fridays off) we all went out again to Le Peniche, the boat restaurant, for drinks again. Val and I shared a bottle of red wine, because we'd been in France for three weeks and hadn't had any yet, because we're stupid. I had three glasses, which is more than enough for me. I'm a total lightweight. Found myself chatting with Ricardo most of the time, again, though I wanted to get to know Katy and Kim better. Afterwards we hit Le Havana Club, a cramped little dive that plays bad French hip hop. I had a French beer called La Duchesse de Bourgogne that was absolutely disgusting.
I haven't gotten thoroughly loopy in months; it was nice.
I can only hope that Ricardo's not interested in me. I don't really have any reason to think so, I'm just always paranoid that I'll give some perfectly decent guy the wrong idea, just because I find it easy to talk to him.
Future goals for French nightlife include checking out Les Parents Terribles, a queer or at least queer-friendly dance club just outside town that I discovered after much digging on the net. I've got the address, phone number, hours, even the website, just no means of getting there. Now I have to make friends with Katy: she's got a car.


At 8:01 AM, Anonymous ursa said...

I have recently fallen in interest an awsome french women,Emilie du Chatelet ,she died in 1749, I don't let small details like that put me off, she was a brilliant scientist and translated Newtons Principia into french. She lived with Voltaire in a house called Cirey which can't be far from where you are
Also have you heard about your local saint Vitonus a strange monk who wiped out the pagans c500.I have been trying not to combine his image with your bats. I love the posts, HAPPY BIRTHDAY for a couple of days back.

At 4:08 AM, Anonymous Kristel said...

Duchesse de bourgogne is a belgian beer actuallyand not that it makes any difference, but french fries are belgian too. They just steal every good thing from us, damn French (they stole Jacques Brel and Axelle Red too)

At 5:40 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

Ursa: Emilie du Chatelet sounds cool, I'll have to look her up; and Saint Vitonus. I may not be a Catholic any more but I still have a fondess for the wacky roster of saints. Saint Expeditus is my current favorite; he's the patron of those in a hurry.
Kristel: LOL! I can't make up my mind about this fake Mexican beer the French make called Desperadoes. I doubt it can compare to Negra Modelo. But I want to try it out just the same.


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