le sketch du jour: The train to Paris. Those snotty little bastards. Stay away from the dark-skinned men. Sat. June 28, 1980.

by admin

Trying to get my luggage in the overhead bin.

Sat. June 28, 1980.

Woke at 10:00. Ran to Le Lac Montrion (7 mi.).

Group went to Chamonix, but weren’t getting back ’til 7:00 & I had to be at bus then, so I stayed home to pack.

[I’m repeating myself, but I went over with KU French Department. I studied and traveled with them for two weeks, but I was actually enrolled in classes with Parsons School of Design, New York City, in their study abroad program. We studied the History of Decorative Arts in the Museum of Decorative Arts that is the north wing of the Louvre. And, we had brief lectures in afternoon on Paris history and urban planning. Then, we hit the streets to see all the arrondissements, boulevards, and buildings. These told the story of religion, kings, politics, power, prostitution, learning and most of all, people wine and food that are the things French that we love, despite WWII and their superior attitude about us saving their ungrateful asses from Hitler.]

a tangent: The French and WWII. Why American men refer to Frenchmen as “those snotty little bastards.”

You know I love the French. This is from so many men I know, and they do have a point since it seems to continue.  You know how that goes…”that accidental bomb dropped in France en route just slipped.”  Or, as someone on the internet put it….

“We only fucked up one place, we accidentally dropped a bomb on the French embassy. ‘Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa! Aw, sorry about that fellahs. I’m sure we would have had better aim if we had more FUCKING SLEEP! Thanks for those 6500 extra air miles, you fuckheads, BUILD A NEW HOUSE!’ BLAM!!!”

Walked to town at 3:00.  Had café au lait $ read.  Lots of people came in.  I sat by a German Shepherd.

Jeanie and Bob took me to the station. Raining. Station was very stark.

Two nice ladies answered all my questions, but I am making progress→I kept kind of having them reiterate what they were saying about reserved seats vs. tickets, etc. & finally I said I’m American.  They said, “Oh! Vous parlez français bien!” J’ai dit “j’ai besoin de longtemps pour le comprendre.”  🙂 [I need a long time to understand]

Train was funny.  2 seats facing each other w/ overhead racks. [I always spent least possible, so even though overnight, I did not get a couche-lit with bed. They are like sleeping in a sardine can anyway though the train does lull.]

You should have seen me try to get my bags up.  I finally left one on the floor. An older couple and girl got in my car in Annecy. Wasn’t too bad except for the cold. I think I’ll get a bed the next time I take an all night trip.

one woman’s warning

[It is interesting to me that I so vividly remember a woman at the train station in Morzine speaking to me before I embarked on the train, but that I haven’t written about it.  She was older and looked very nice and kind to speak with me in French before I left. She was concerned about me being alone on the train to Paris. And, her particular words that I remember are warning me to be careful of “les Marseilleuses.” She mentioned that I would know because they had such dark skin. The French have so many cultures they accept that they don’t have the same p.c. hangups about speaking of racial generalizations we do in America. Of course, as with most people, people carry racial stereotypes that are formed for a reason, historical, regional, cultural. But, France has always welcomed and attracted such a multi-cultural population that I hardly think this can be termed “racist” in the “hating” fashion that it labels people who current venture into talking about race this way in America. There are many healthy things about being able to discuss race. Anyway, you’ll see later in the summer with my roommate, who slept with every man on the left bank from Marseilles, that this came into play with my immediate bunking situation in Paris.]





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