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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
Messages 1 2 3 4 

Re: Au revoir by bIG bLOGGER on 21 July 2009 5:04pm
 
12. Pick up a bit of French:

a) frogs=les grenouilles
b) monkeys=les singes
c) waiter=Garcon!
d) water=l'eau
e) subway=le metro
f) foreigners=les etrangers
That should be enough to be going on with.
 
Re: Au revoir by peripatetically on 21 July 2009 5:54pm
 
Unlucky 13.
Don't look like an American at the hotel desk in the lobby of the hotel near the Opera House. It was an Intercontinental chain hotel but without the name 'Intercontinental' in it. (I forget it's name unless I look through my journals.) You'll wait forever to be helped. Don't bother being polite or trying your French. It doesn't matter either. They hate us no matter how hard we try. Happened to me when I was there in the 80's. I asked any number of times for postage stamps. By the way, people walked past me about 5 or 6 times when no one else was waiting to be helped. The staff members saw me standing there, without question. I excused myself and politely asked if I may buy some stamps. No answer, just a glare and they disappeared. Another looked right through me. I waited for someone better mannered. One man stood right in front of me with his head down fiddling with some envelopes but didn't respond or acknowledge my presence. Same thing. Ignored, not asked if I needed anything---just looked past me as if I was invisible. Again, I asked the same question, holding postcards for anyone to see if there was something they didn't understand. I was really getting angry by this time. This was deefinitely intentional behvior on their part. Still, I was on my best behavior, being young and tender and wanting to always be a good American in a foreign land. (I was so innocent then! HAHAHAHA) . I had never been so blatantly ignored like that and still haven't since. After about 25 minutes of this crap, I finally leaned over the counter and put my face right in one of the men's faces and asked again, strongly showing impatience. Finally, he threw the stamps on the desk and I paid. He put his nose in the air and walked away without a word, even when I said 'Merci beaucoup'. At times before this, other people came and they were waited on right away, not Americans though. I'll never forget that treatment and have not really wanted to return to Paris since. The old rumor that Americans in Paris don't get respect and friendship is not a rumor. Every now and then I run into someone (American) who hasn't had a problem. But for the most part, most of us feel disliked very much. When I think how the Americans freed them during WWII, it bugs the crap out of me. If I or my friends who claim the same sort of treatment, or unfriendliness, had been mean, ugly(as in UGLY AMERICAN,) misbehaved, snobby types, I would understand. But I am talking about everyday people who are well-mannered, polite and interested in being there, learning something new, enjoying themselves and not looking for trouble. There's no reason on earth people should act so belligerent like that. Totally unwarranted.
 
Re: Au revoir by Amaia on 21 July 2009 5:55pm
 
Euuuuh....

And bonjour, au revoir, merci, s'il vous plaît, pardon.

The 5 necessary words you ought to know when you travel abroad!
 
Re: Au revoir by peripatetically on 21 July 2009 6:00pm
 
Yes, very elementary words/phrases. I took French for 4 years and it only mattered to the Parisians when I ordered a meal and said 'bon soir' to a waiter as I left.
 
Re: Au revoir by Amaia on 21 July 2009 6:01pm
 
Wow, patty. I'm really sorry that you had such a bad experience in my country.

I cannot apologize on their behalf, as you obviously dealed with the rudest and dumbest persons on earth, but I would like to try and convince you that Paris is a nice city to travel to, and I would be more than happy to show you around one day and possibly change your mind...

Damn, now, I feel awful. :(
 
Re: Au revoir by Amaia on 21 July 2009 6:02pm
 
Wow, patty. I'm really sorry that you had such a bad experience in my country.

I cannot apologize on their behalf, as you obviously dealed with the rudest and dumbest persons on earth, but I would like to try and convince you that Paris is a nice city to travel to, and I would be more than happy to show you around one day and possibly change your mind...

Damn, now, I feel awful. :(
 
Re: Au revoir by Amaia on 21 July 2009 6:07pm
 
Wow, patty. I'm really sorry that you had such a bad experience in my country.

I cannot apologize on their behalf, as you obviously dealed with the rudest and dumbest persons on earth, but I would like to try and convince you that Paris is a nice city to travel to, and I would be more than happy to show you around one day and possibly change your mind...

Damn, now, I feel awful. :(
 
Re: Au revoir by Amaia on 21 July 2009 6:08pm
 
I didn't need to say that three times, I"m sorry...!!!
 
Re: Au revoir by Spursfan on 21 July 2009 7:42pm
 
What an AWFUL experience! You were very patient, I don't know if I would have been I'm afraid!!

It's a long time ago but I'm interested to know if you wrote to complain when you got home? And if so, what the result was?

I hate that sort of behaviour - it is so uncalled for (well, ok, it IS called for if the customer is a prat! but usually NOT).

But it reminds of a time, and I can't remember where we were - perhaps an airport? - and some female official was laying down the law to a group of us. I was really affronted and cleared my throat ready to do battle. The husband heard and knew what was going to happen so quickly shushed me, as it would not have been a wise thing to do!!

Anyway, hope it did not spoil your trip too much.

:)
 
Re: Au revoir by peripatetically on 21 July 2009 11:01pm
 
Amaia, thanks you for your kinds response. But don't worry. I know people can be arrogant and rude no matter where you go. But it seems strongly evident that Americans find Parisians treat them as "low-lifes". I didn't find it to be that way in the countryside of f
France. If I ever decided to travel back your way, it would be a pure joy to see the city again with a friendly 'leader'! Thank you.

Anne, no I didn't write a letter. I told a lot of people about it afterwards but concentrated more on the positive parts of my vacation. I swore I'd never go back again though. But lots of years have passed now and it's possible if the opportunity lends itself. I keep thinking I should give it a second chance. But with that said, there are loads of places in the world that I haven't seen yet and that I'd visit first. Maybe I should have visited other countries more often back when I travelled a lot. Instead, I kept returning to Germany Austria, Switzerland and those regions. However, I must admit, I've seen more countries since and those former countires also lent opportunities of great diversity. I repeated many cities and towns, but had differences experiences each time. Also added new places each time I went too.

I sure would like to see more of Italy. Only saw the Dolomites region. Would like to see a little of Ireland and more of Scotland. Give me Scandinavia a little bit too. And the Czech Republic. Any of those eastern countries would be awesome. I've done Hungary and Yugoslavia as a 6-republic nation. I wouldn't mind Provence, Belgium and the Netherlands. I care not a hoot for the Orient. Now fly me to OZ and NZ and I'll enjoy that too, but it has to be on a supersonic jet with no layovers! HAHAHAHA. Otherwise, it's never going to happen.
 
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