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Saturday, august 19, 2006

The market in France

Far away in the hills a sheep bleats. I pull up my legs and pull the duvet over my ears. A luscious cool breeze caresses my cheeks. The sun has been up for a while. Behind our apartment there are a few old chestnut trees. Every morning about seven, I wake up by the merry commotion of a dozen sparrow families that live there. Sometimes one chirps loudly above the rest, where after a short silence follows. And then the party continues. Of course I cannot understand them, but itīs nice to wake up like this.

Lekker weg in Frankrijk op de fiets

This is how I feel between all the French when I go to the market.

Op de markt ontmoet je mensen

It is warm and the sun shines joyfully. Everywhere there are traders who to my opinion ask to much for their goods. Its really much cheaper at the supermarket and sometimes even better, but no itīs not so sociable. Ouch, don't let our neighbor hear this, because I think she personally sees to it that we buy potatoes at the market. Whatever, the market in France is much more than just buying food, it's a social event, the contact that's what itīs about. And you have to go there whether you like it or not, because otherwise you'll miss out on something important.

Niet alleen kopen maar bovenal contact

The French paysans (farmers) come from the mountains with their vegetables and fruit and try subtlety to get the attention of the passers by. Sometimes I buy something I don't need and try to understand from the coarse Sothern-French accent how much I have to pay:

Paysan: sèteurosènkángtu
moi: oui, oui, bien sûr, merci
Paysan: nong, nong, sèteurosènkángtu
moi: ah, payer? Combien?
Paysan: mais nong?! Sèteurosènkángtu je vous dit!

Farmer: seven euro fifty
me: yes, yes, coarsa thanka you
Farmer: seven euro fifty
me: ah, me paye?… gowmucha?
Farmer: wel darn! Seven euro fifty i told you!

Finally I give the bloke a tenner, at least you know you're in the save. But whoa when you don't give enough. Then there is an exchange of coins to and fro and you feel yourself a bigger moron than Tony Blair on a skateboard.

I must say this doesn't give the farmers the credit they should get. It may be the region, I don't know, but the people here are extremely patient, kind and friendly, however ignorant you appear to be. And at a time Ruud and I realised that we missed the well-known moaning and groaning of impatient clients behind us, we hadn't heard that in a long time.

Heerlijk eten en drinken van de markt

Everybody here speaks more or less the regional language, but in the cafe downstairs, they really make an effort in making themselves understandable.

Sometimes you're caught by pride and amazement, because you've read an article in the paper without using a dictionary, yes and not only that, but at the same time you do understand what was written. But then again suddenly you find another article, from which you canīt make heads or tails. So we inquired with the lady from the cafe... 'please tell, is it us or can't this bloke write?'. Her answer is comforting, she didn't get it either.

don't look at me, rather send an e-mail

posted by Ruud at 02:07  |  send an e-mail

next column ( 22 aug ) - previous column ( 18 aug )




Augustus 2006
- French coffee
- Snake spotting
- School in France I
- Buildings in France
- The Market in France
- Homesick
- Biking in France
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
June 2008
March 2008
February 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
July 2007
June 2007
April 2007
March 2007
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September 2006
Augustus 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006


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