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03/18/2014

The tribulations of a Parisian turned Mumbaikar in Paris...

I usually need some time to get back to the French reality, to recover from the night flight and more, perhaps, from the months spent in India (yes, India is tiring: all the senses all the time stimulated: so many people, so much noise etc.): I spend around twenty-four hours after landing asleep!

And then I rediscover some stuff I had forgotten that bring me joy and discover some stuff I got used to and kind of miss… 

india,paris,france

Ah the joy of being a tourist in Paris (the most beautiful city in the world ;) )! Especially when I arrive in March and it’s springtime: the sun is out and the sky blue! I love wandering the Parisian streets for hours without anything to do but look around me, look at the monuments, the people, the full moon behind the clouds... The authorities warn us that there is a peak of pollution? I do experience some throat pain but I think it is mainly due to the dryness (in any climate below 80% of humidity I now have my lips chapped after a few days): peak or no peak, Mumbai is at least 3 times more polluted than Paris*! And impossible to just walk around in Mumbai: Indian cities have not been designed for pedestrians. But, once my feet have well pounded the pavement, once the night has fallen, dragging along the temperatures, I regret to be unable to just hail a rickshaw, or (let's be crazy!) a taxi...

The joy of being able to sit at a terrace and order a Croque-monsieur, or in a bistro and eat fry foie gras, snails and veal sweetbreads and finally a chocolate fondant! But how surprised I am when the bill comes (even in not-so-fancy restaurants): we are always close to hundred euros per person – who eats well drinks well and I (re)discover the taste of the French for wine! I recently invited three friends in Mumbai and the total bill, with 5 dishes, half a bottle of wine and a pitcher of beer, came up to less of 35 euros! My wallet is not the only one to suffer... My stomach, or my liver, went bluntly on strike! I must say, I have almost become vegetarian, out of convenience.

The joy of taking the metro (outside rush hours) and mingling like a sheep in the herd. Nobody stares at me as if I was some kind of E.T.: I am again A-NO-NY-MOUS... But I easily lose control of my staring-at-people (bad) habit: there are so many so well-dressed people everywhere, tourists, students, beautiful people, ugly people, I don’t know where to look! – and I end up drawing up attention... And how surprised am I when, after refusing a taxi ride 30 metres away from home, the driver asks me to at least take his number because he finds me cute!

The joy of understanding what is happening around me! Of being able to listen to the conversations at the neighbor tables! But then, fast enough, the feeling of too-much-information that makes me “disconnect” from my own conversations comes back and I find myself in that bubble I escape to when I don't understand anything about anything around me and I can let my imagination wander free there... For the story, I once took a rickshaw in Kerala with a colleague and he was amazed by the fact that he could hardly communicated with the driver (who didn’t speak Hindi nor English, only Malayalam). I could only wish him welcome in my world!

The joy of being back with my family and the old and good friends! And the sadness of leaving a piece of my heart in India…

The annoying rediscovery that shops are closed on Sundays in Paris and you have to reinvent your activities. The joy to spend quality time with the family on Sundays (because the shops are closed)!

 

* Mumbai has an index of 92.7 and ranks 15 of the most polluted cities whereas Paris is 115 with 62.5 (source: http://www.numbeo.com/pollution/rankings.jsp )) ;Peak at 82 these days in Paris: http://www.airparif.asso.fr/indices/resultats-jour-citeair. In 2008, the annual mean concentration of particulate matter of less than 10 microns of diameter (PM10) was 38 micrograms per cubic meter vs. 132 for Mumbai (source: http://worldbank.tumblr.com/post/41207322814/outdoor-air-... ))

03/08/2014

Interview for Shoppingunlike.com

 I have been interviewed for the site Shoppingunlike.com. Here is what I had to tell them! Thanx to india,blog,traveling,travel,interview,stylightShoppingunlike.com team for their interest in my blog...

1.     Where does your passion for travel come from?

I was 3 month old when I flew for the first time! My parents were rather modern for the time!

The first trip abroad I remember was in Tanzania when I was 10 year old. It was a life changing experience!

Then we started traveling during the holidays, then I was sent abroad to learn languages, then I went to Spain with the Erasmus programme and I haven’t been able to get rid of the travelling bug!

 

2.     For what reason(s) did you start blogging?

When I landed in India I thought that a blog would be a nice and practical way to share my daily life in my new (and crazy) country with my family and friends.

 

3.     How would you describe your blog in three words?

Inspired by comments: funny, interesting, intriguing

 4.     Where do you get inspiration from and what do you like the most about blogging?

I get inspiration from life... People, landscapes, comments, readings, India is an inexhaustibly rich source for who is a little curious!

I have loved writing ever since I could hold a pen. It makes me feel good. Somehow, I started writing for others and now I kinda write more for myself, while still enjoying sharing my experiences!

 5.     Why India?

 By chance I’d say. At the end of my studies I struggled to find a job abroad (in South America) and I got one by chance. In India!

 6.     What makes you different from the other traveling bloggers?

 My everyday life is a travel! Living in India (7 years) is an adventure in itself ;) And I spice up my blog with anecdotes of adventures when I roam around the country.

 7.     How would you describe the contacts you have with your readers?

 I don't really get contacted a lot. I obviously answer all the mails, all the questions, even if I can not help. I have once gone out of my way to find a bike part for a reader!

I also met beautiful people thanks to my blog, French who came to India and wanted to share something with me...

 8.     What camera do you have?

 I had to replace my SLR Olympus by a Canon (Olympus was not manufacturing it anymore) but I don’t really like it. So I use my GoPro a lot.

 9.     If you had one wish, what would it be?

 That life continues to be as beautiful...

 10.   What advice would you give to someone who starts a blog?

 Not too to take yourself too seriously, make fun of yourself first and only write if you have fun doing it!

02/22/2014

The golden cow!

One evening I needed something to cheer me up, a treat so I went to Santé (a tiny shop specialized in imported products) to... buy myself a steak! And the steaks they handed over to me ! I had not seen any steak so big in more than 8 years!! When I realised they came from the USA, I thought no wonder...

When came the time to pay, I cheerfully gave my card without even asking about the price: tonight my pleasure is priceless! But I withdrew it promptly from the hands of the cashier when I heard the amount: 3,500 rupees (€40)! For 700 grams of meat? At that price I’d rather go to Dubai and get a barbecue! I therefore left the steaks behind...

And I went to the Cold Storage (which is the closest thing to a butcher’s shop here). I asked for the tenderloin undercut – which is what I usually take, it is melting in the mouth, it is delicious. The only thing is that they only sell it by the piece and they had only one piece left and it was of 2 kgs. I already have a hard time finishing the 1 kg undercut (even if I freeze the steaks) so I decided it had to be a sign: no (holy) cow for dinner tonight! But the guy was a good salesman; seeing my disappointment he managed to sell me some cubes of local beef, 60 rupees to 300 grams. Haha!!  

I was still recovering from the shock caused by the difference of price when the cubes of beef landed on my plate. Not only did I almost hurt my jaw with the chewing but also it wasn’t really tasty (I'm still wondering if it was not buffalo instead of beaf)... The next time I’ll stick to my undercut at 250 rupees per kilo!

More about cows, beef, worshipping, and everything here: http://www.indiandacoit.com/apps/search?s=beef