Archive for the ‘le fille’ Category

Mimosa, a Flower

March 18, 2009

 

mimosa-acacia_pycnantha

My favourite flower

 

In Germany, where I live, it is not easy to buy a bunch of the flowers I love most. They are quite expensive. They are not plenty. Either they are already sold out or they are no longer fresh. Acacia pycnantha (official name) is the emblem of Australia

Eat Like a God, Pay as You Please

March 7, 2009

People with fine palate and a great sense of fairness, this post is for you !

 

Bistrot de Saint Paul

 

A major contribution from Lyon, one of the biggest cities in France. The owners of a bistro in Lyon are trying to fight the financial crisis and its gloomy unemployment rate in a very unusual way : They offer ‘Au Fil du Jour‘ : an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. The eater pays only what the ingested meal deserves to be paid. It’s all about self-evaluation… Beverage are not free of charge.

 

Bistrot de Saint Paul Welcomes

Bistrot de Saint Paul, LYON, France

 

It is reported that this splendid idea comes from UK.

 

What Happened On 23rd Street …

March 5, 2009

… in New York, 1901

 

The precious treasures you have been looking for in vain for such a long time and could find nowhere, maybe they are all waiting for you

Here !

 

New York for Residents

February 24, 2009

There is a very useful map available for those who live in New York and still don’t know every secret of the Big City. Had I found it earlier, many footaches had stayed unknown to me…

You have surely experienced such situations : you ask people on the street for directions. They send you to wrong directions. Not because they are nasty; no, just out of ignorance. And some have no sense of orientation at all. And those who they tell you to turn to the right, whenever they mean ‘to the left’. And what’s about ‘behind’ and ‘ahead’.

 

New York for Residents

 

To be true, I already sent some askers to the wrong direction, too. I meant to help out, I was so sure of my explanations but by the time I realized that I sent them to the pampa, they were already gone. How come they asked ME and not another person on the street?

Could it be that ‘orientation’ is a personal matter?

Writing this post for you reminds me of my time as a volunteer at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral a couple of years back. Some visitors to the beautiful Cathedral were very specific. They wanted to know where some Saints were standing. There are a saint in each and every corner and there are so many corners in the church. More than four !

At the beginning, I used the guide to get the piece of information the visitors needed. But since visitors were queueing up some times to hear my voice, I decided to learn by heart the location of all saints to serve visitors quicklier. It took me a few days to digest all the saints’ locations. It was great fun to be a volunteer at the Information Desk.

Roberta, how are you doing these days? As you can see, I still know you…

 

In His Wheelchair

January 22, 2009

The guy is just impossible. From his wheelchair and in the distance his words aimed very loudly at me : ‘Hey, girl, come over here !’ I did as I was told. ‘You are beautiful. I noticed you many times in the past but you never paid attention to me. Why ? Am I so ugly ? I wish I could marry you.’

To be honest, the guy is not ugly. He is just dirty. Actually the ladykiller on a wheelchair is very dirty. But he has such a power. He knows how to claim -very loudly- his share of life. Shortly after our first encounter, I had to go : ‘Gentleman, I must be going now. Next time, I’ll marry you. Yes, I will.’

 

wheelchair

No longer new, but still on the job, friends !

 

Some days later, I met him for the second time. The wheelchair was on the road again. I was on a shopping tour looking for a pair of shoes for my kid. It is not really a shopping tour since there are only a few shoe vendors on the market place. And the kid is not really my kid. Although his biological parents are still alive, the kid adopted me as he was 6 months old. Now he is 8. I take care of him. And he takes care of me. That’s what adopted people are supposed to do to each other.

‘Hey girl, what are you doing here ?’ A tall slim boy was pushing his wheelchair. Not an easy task to push wheelchairs on the sandy roads of Senegal. Sand is absolutely everywhere in the city. Even in your nostrils whenever the wind is blowing.

‘I am looking for a pair of shoes for this kid’. It was not his problem and he said very determined : ‘Hey I need to go home. Give me 500 CFA to get a taxi now.’

We live in the same area. ‘I am going home by taxi quite soon. I can give you a lift in ten minutes. The kid needs some shoes. The ones he is wearing right now are worn out’.

‘I can’t wait that long. I wanna go home NOW !’ Oooh this peremptory tone that I hate so much. ‘Listen, gentleman, you are on wheels. So if you are in a hurry, just leave now. Your Mercedes will take you home in no time’.

‘Ok, ok.’ And he told his pusher to push him quicklier to keep pace with me.

After having bought a pair of red and black summer shoes decorated with a sports car on the sole for 1000 CFA, it was great time to head home. He was sitting in the middle of the main road, all by himself, waiting for me. It was obviously my turn to push his wheelchair since I promised to take him home.

Have you already seen the main street of Mbour, the capital of the tourist region of Senegal ? And its secondary roads? They are all bumpy, sandy, stony, with large potholes (GE : Schlagloch ; FR : nid-de-poule. Interesting how different countries call the dangerous holes in the road surfaces). It was a difficult task to push his wheelchair on the awful roads. I did my best. ‘Slowly, slowly. Don’t push my wheelchair so bruskly. Otherwise you’ll break it into pieces. It is an old cart. It won’t last long, if you mistreat it the way you do it right now.’

 

mbour-to-market

Mbour — Market Street at 8 am

 

We did a fine job together. As soon as the wheelchair landed in a hole or was stucked by a stone, his strong arms left the front part of the chair so I could it push again on the bumpy roads of Africa. His routine was a big challenge for me. The way to the taxi ‘garage’ (= park) was too difficult and too long for my taste. ‘Wait here. I go and get us a taxi.’ ‘No, we go together’. And again, I pushed his car. I was sweating like hell. It was noon under the African sun. But thinking that he had to endure these difficulties everyday gave me the energy to push again. The kid, patient and silent, was following me.

I hired a taxi for 500 CFA (approximately one US dollar). ‘Have a seat.’ He claimed the front seat. ‘Much better because of his wheelchair.’ What a storyteller since his wheelchair must be folded and stowed in the car trunk !

He took place in the back of the car. My little kid’s face shows how he reluctantly shared a taxi with a person who was much dirtier than himself.

‘Hey girl, give me a cigarette.’ ‘Sorry, gentleman, I don’t smoke.’ ‘I need some money to buy food for my kids’. He told me about his eight kids ! ‘You are a wheelchair driver. It is already hard to find food for yourself and you dare have EIGHT kids !’ Unbelievable !

Although I hired a taxi to take us home, my kid and I, we got off the taxi at the nearest crossroad to my place, and we went home on foot. The wheelchair and its impossible owner got safely home, comfortably seated in MY taxi.

Curiously, four days later, I made the acquaintance of a wheelchair maker from Germany who came to Africa to build all-terrain wheelchairs for handicapped. More about him soon.

 

A Subway Ride in Manhattan

January 18, 2009

… or How to Become a New Yorker !

 

Saturday, 6:15 am — She left home and got onto the A train in Washington Heights at the 168th station. She meant to go to the Chambers Street station in Downtown. It’s about 35 min ride. A straight downwards just-sit-and-wait ride. On weekdays.

 

Subway NYC

 

She completely forgot that the MTA does some maintenance work on weekends. While sudokuing she did not pay attention to the very loud public announcements. It was her own decision to ignore the messages coming from the loudspeakers, always unpleasantly loud since there are no hi-fi sound systems underground.

Nevertherless from time to time she raised her eyes and looked at some station names.

‘2nd avenue’ ! Never heard of that station name before. For sure, something went wrong.

She got out of the train. Although she started her ride on an A train, she landed on platforms for F and V trains, which were completely unknown to her. Something went definitely wrong. She could not find any MTA map on the platform and there was no soul at this early time of day to ask for information.

She went to an MTA booth. Unoccupied. The other agent booth on the opposite side of the long platform did work 24/7 but it was very far away.

Finally 15 min later, an angel descended the stairs and gave her directions. ‘Take the V train on the opposite platform. Go uptown to Broadway Lafayette. Then take the 6. It is the green line.’

Once back home, she checked on the internet how her journey got interrupted so abruptly. It’s amazing to experience how an A train mysteriously changes in seconds into a F train or a V train.

If you go by subway, listen carefully to all public announcements. Otherwise, you’d miss something very important. And don’t forget to bring along with you your subway, bus and street map whenever you visit New York City !

But the best way to enjoy New York is to take the bus and have a window seat. Buy a 7day multi-ride pass (available as a monthly pass as well) and discover

 

NEW YORK CITY BY BUS

 

It’s fascinating and very entertaining !

The MTA drivers are very nice people ! They know everything which is on their bus routes. They will help you find your destination. You won’t get lost.