Friday, July 27, 2012

Feeling summertime with cows and Paris parks

Again, it has been a while.  Last weekend though, we finally went somewhere interesting.  Previous to that, not much was really blog-worthy.  I studied constantly for my French Driving Theory test (aka the code) and crammed in the "required" driving lessons, bringing me to my devastating failure during my actual driving test.

The saddest thing about failing the driving test was that I wouldn't have failed had I understood more this bizarre intersection which confused me and therefore drove through a red line automatically disqualifying me.  There were about four stoplights visible at an intersection, using you go up to the front of the road rule and stop.  I kept going to go to the intersection.  I had every intention of stopping at the red light, but apparently didn't do it at the right one.  To be clear, there was no road between these two places to stop.  I still feel cheated in a way and the anger directed at myself was relentless for several days afterward.

Now, we are looking at HOW I will take the test again and when and where.  It is a very expensive, time consuming process from start to finish in any case and when you fail either parts of the test - there is only more time and money being spent.  Two of Hicham's good friends took THREE years to get their license.  Incredible.

Now, you would not be surprised to learn that there is such a thing as "license tourism" where French people go to other countries to get their license and then return to France and exchange it for a French one.  There are 14 US states which allow the exchange, NC was not one of them.  But anyway, driving here is so completely different and imo dangerous, that I would not have dared drive without knowing the rules anyway.  Not to say that I think spending hours upon hours studying FOR A TEST is really learning... but eventually some of it does soak in so I guess knowledge is transferred somehow.  But it is not a driving class as you might imagine.  Literally, you go to class and take practice tests over and over and over and over and over.  There are some explanations if you plead for the instructor to clarify, but the process is one where you WILL be made fun of for asking such a stupid question. 

Well, anyhoot, I also used the practive dvd tests everynight for hours and could barely sleep because I could only think about driving.  Well, the next step I take will be explored here next time, but I really have already reached my limit in discussing this topic at the moment. 

So, we finally had a weekend of fun last weekend.  I wanted to blog about it before this weekend started - and today is already Friday.

The Grignon Farm: The Positive Farm!
 On Saturday we went to an experimental, ecological dairy farm.  We were the only ones there until we left - when suddenly many cars arrived so that was really interesting.  And surprisingly, even though I am from Minnesota, I have never actually seen a cow being milked for real.  I have also never seen a dog herding a bunch of cows.  It reminded me of current day politics really.  The cows outnumbered the dog by many and could easily have crushed the barking furball with one step backwards, but they just kept with the herd with a nervous look in their eyes.

Note the herding dog moving um on out.
We bought some unpasteurized products for Hicham and Sabine to enjoy.  They are not recommended for pregnant women, though most French women do not heed this.  So, it probably isn't a big deal.  But well, anyway, I don't really care.  I miss booze more to be honest. 

They are actually free range cows, but they come in to be milked.

Well, that was Saturday.  Sunday we went to an outdoor jazz festival at the enormous Parc Floral of Paris.  It was my first time ever going there, now I ask myself why?  I have visited practically every single park, green space and forest in and around Paris.  This one turned out to be the best one yet!  Though I do love Bagatelle by our apt. 

Anyhoot, it was quite a discovery - both the friendliness of it, the variety of things to do, the easy-going vibe, the funky clothing, the energy of the place and well, the trees were huge and plentiful.  It was so great as well to hear such incredible percussion focused music and another funky jazz music group. 

Here are some of the highlights of the day.  The day included two firsts for Sabine too.

Xavier Desandre Navarre: a one man percussion wonder!

Sabine's first puppet show - a French childhood tradition.  It was a bit violent for my liking, so we left after about 10 minutes.  I mean, why on earth would the puppets need to assault each other? 
A drumming class for families in the trees.  Love that!

Perfect weather too.  Under that large awning was the incredibly diverse group Mulatu Astatke (below)

Eight wonderful musicians made up this band who rocked the park!
A zen garden and near by a bonsai house.

Sabine's first ice cream cone.  I only thought to take the picture as she was finishing it.  Ah well, I was enjoying my cone too:)

What people lounging on the grass?  And the grass remained green anyway?  Incredible discoveries here.

After leaving this delightful park, we walked back to the car.  I was in the picture taking mood so, here ya go:

I do enjoy Paris's tree lined streets.     

And finally, we haven't taken a group shot in a while.  So, this one is taken in front of the Vincennes Castle as we were almost to the car. 

It really was one of the best weekends we have had in over a month.  Finally!

1 comment:

Kenai Alaska Or Bust! said...

Sweet trip! Made me realize that summer is about over...and we havent gotten out for any down time or fun!! Yiks! Going to have to do something about that now afrer seeing your pics. Lol