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The Delhi monkeys

 This story has nothing to do with real facts. Any resemblance to persons having existed was fortuitous.


Imagine a dozen Indians, who left their native land the time of a weekend in the French Alps. Past the first fears (such as missing a flight connection), the first culinary disappointment (not only French food has no taste but above all there is only red meat), here they are, paddling in Alpine rapids.


Is it necessary to say that none of them know how to swim but that only one has had the courage to say it, and moreover not to sign the swimming certificate? After this adventure and a tomato (this is the only thing they found edible in the picnic), they are asked to participate in accrobranche (“a sport in which you climb on trees, and the trees are bounded by ropes, bridges in wood, sometimes you have to get through barrels hanging in mid-air”)!

The organizer is clear: those who have never done it and those who are not in great physical shape, should go for the blue route. For the others there is the red and black (very difficult). I barely have the time to turn that all the Indian team is equipped with harnesses and ready to attack the... black route. But of course. When did you do sport for the last time? Never?? This morning?? Good. No whatsyourname, climbing coconut trees when you were seven does not count. So my friends, now we are going to do the blue track and there is no discussion. You crazy people!!


Good. I turn my back again and they went to the red track, minus two who have already abandoned - an obese one and a shrimp (for them it was the black route or nothing!). This time I don’t interfere, otherwise I'll really offend them. Let us not forget that we have a beautiful brochette of Indian males who are prohibited to show their muscles, jumping in the trees, by a white woman... I reluctantly abandon my blue track and follow them, you never know...


At the third tree, while I am already shit scared and exhausted, we are stopped by a traffic jam. Guess what happened? Nope, it is not my Indians. It is just a big fat South African blonde, who was rappelling down the tree. At the fourth tree same thing. But this time, I witness one Indian, then two, then three, then four, being carried towards land! They are abandoning! Fuck their ego, it’s my turn to have some fun:

  • "Hey guys, so you are giving up??Who told you you should have gone for the blue track huh?”
  • "We are tired, our arms are paining because of the rafting.”
  • "And why exactly do you think I told you to do the blue route?? You don’t think I am also tired?”
  • "So get down too.”
  • "Ah no, I never give up."

And boom this one is for you!!

So I go on with this bloody activity.


And a new Indian colleague has just join me on the red track. I did not know her, so I had not dared telling her to let the black track to the big guys. And yet... She is catastrophed because she had to abandon the black course after two failed attempts at climbing in the first tree. She goes on repeating the same thing until I get irritated and tell her that it’s okay, she had nothing to prove to anyone, we are here for fun.  And finally, while she is clearly exhausted, she chooses the "difficult" option on the last part of the route. She ends up crashing into a net suspended in the air (this was part of the option) of which she proves unable to get out (that is not part of the option). Poor little fly struggling in a net... Someone had to go to her rescue…


They don’t do things half way these Indians!

And needless to say that the French are crazy, they hardly eat anything (and in any case nothing bathing in a sauce full of fat) and they do tough outdoor sports!


Edifying discussion with a school teacher...

We all have great moments of loneliness in life.It is a great effort for me to make the conversation to people that I don’t know, or whom I am not comfortable with. And what makes me even more uncomfortable is silence between these people and me. So usually I start babbling and I become unstoppable.

Sometime I listen to myself speaking and wish I could just stop and run away but instead I go on. 

This is how I found myself talking about the sexual orgies of some Maharajas (that happened because I was reading a book about the same) to a rather traditional and conservative Indian elder man.

All that to get to my recent conversation with a 60 year old school teacher from Kerala. I, who can hardly make the difference between the left and the right-hand parties, I started talking about politics. I was telling crap but my interlocutress beat me big time: 

  • Me: Isn't the Indian electoral system a little bit similar to the United States’ one considering the two countries are State Unions?
  • Her: Maybe a little bit but it has to be different since we are a democracy and they are capitalists.
  • Me (horrified): Ok but democracy and capitalism are not opposite are they? One could rather oppose democracy and dictatorship don’t you think so? Dictatorships like in Africa or China.
  • Her: Ah no, China is a democracy.
  • Me (dumb-founded): Is it so? Did China political system changed recently? Because last I was told, economico-political theories comparing India and China stated that China had been developing much faster than India because (or thanks to) her authoritarian regime. But maybe you are right* …

 Oh God, where is this country going??

 But this is not finished!

 Her brother-in-law (a respectable Supreme Court judge) enters the conversation:

  • Him: By the way, is France a monarchy or a democracy??
  • Me (well they are still a few monarchies in Europe so I won’t jump to the ceiling): Euh we abolished monarchy during the French Revolution.
  • Him: And you won’t become a monarchy again?
  • Me: Not that I know of…


* A Republic is not necessarily a democracy and vice-versa. If the two terms are close, they are not always identical. Thus, a Republic is not always a democracy. Today, the Chinese model is called "People's Republic of China" but it acts like a dictatorship: freedoms are limited, the communist power is authoritative. The Chinese president is appointed by the Communist party. There are elections in China, but it is to elect the 3,000 deputies of the Parliament who meet only once a year and has no power. On the other hand, a democracy is not always a Republic. England is a monarchy but the queen has only a honorary power, it is the British Prime Minister who governs with a Parliament elected by the universal direct suffrage. So the United Kingdom is both a monarchy and a democracy.



About the cost of a Big Mac

 “The Economist’s Big Mac index is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity: that, in the long run, exchange rates should adjust to equal the price of a basket of goods and services in different countries. Our basket consists of one McDonald’s Big Mac, and we’ve compared it with the average price in America, $4.20. According to our burgernomics, the Swiss franc is 62% overvalued: the exchange rate that would equalise the price of a Swiss Big Mac with an American one is 1.55 francs to the dollar; the actual exchange rate is only 0.96. The cheapest burger is found in India, where it costs just $1.62. Big Macs aren’t sold in India, so we’ve taken the price of a Mac Maharaja, made with chicken instead of beef.“

 I personally find it a bit surprising since I eat lunch everyday for 60 rupees (about $1.14) and I have rice, vegetable, dal (lens soup) and 4 chapatis (bread).

 And when I get a Filet-o-Fish meal it costs me 250 rupees…