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Monday, September 1 2008

Drinking worlwide : French cliché

GlobeTo know more about the culture of a country I often ask people to tell me about the cliché they have. According to what I've noticed : knowing the cliché that exist in a country really make other people believe your know this country really well and that's normal. Indeed, cliché are never taught in formal courses (for they are mainly wrong and considered useless local belief) therefore knowing them means you've been talking a lot with people actually living there.

So as this blog's about helping you discover pieces of France let's show you one cliché !

Drinking worldwide : French culture cliche

And as some countries might be jealous because they have no special drink they'll have a lil explanation here to compensate :

  • Canada : They're suppose to be "friendly cartoon characters" like...and friendly cartoon character do not drink :) (or maybe maple syrup...)
  • Africa : If they had water they'd be alcohol...
  • Australia : Kangaroos don't drink, neither do sharks or surfers,
  • South Eurasia/Middle East : Too messy there to know what they should be drinking

Well of course those are only cliché showed in a funny manner, to learn more about what we drink in France i suggest lurking in the blog a bit more and why don't you start by learning which brand of beers we have here ?

Saturday, August 30 2008

The Olympics, seen from France

Olympics FlagNow that the Olympics are over, I'd like to have my word on it :) I noticed two things that I'd really like to have your view on (two things that are not pure sport, as you may guess seeing this post is in the "politics" category ...)
Firstly one thing surprised me : The official way of ranking countries is by gold medals (at least I've always known this one, and this is the one I found in every official documents, even the ones from 2000 that I've been digging to find just to check if it was not new).

Just to emphasize what I say here are the ranking from the official Olympics website, and one from a french TV website :

Official Ranking

French Ranking

But, I found that on American medias, that's the total number of medals won that's used for the ranking :

CNN ranking

This one's from the CNN website, you may double check if you don't trust me ;)

So I was wondering : Have the US always count that way, or is that just a happy unrelated decision to start ranking this way the very year were it helps changing a very good rank of #2 to a great rank of #1 ;) ? I personally don't know and that's why I ask (I've been digging the CNN website, but all I could found was a dynamic page from the 2004 Olympics with no default ranking, and you have to choose yourself between total or gold for the ranking...useless)

The second thing I'd like to have my say about is....cheating :) If you lurk a bit on the web you know for sure by know that the Chinese team of Gymnastic cheated on the age of some of their athletes ( have a look at this article , or this one from the times , ...) but what surprised me was not that they cheated, it was that we never heard about it on the French TV and that the CIO just decided to play the fool and basically said "We checked the Chinese passport : it says she's old enough" (No way ! To check if the Chinese government cheat I do not agree with the fact that the best way is to go, ask them, and of course be happy with the answer as they say "no we do not cheat, don't you see this brand new official passport ?" ). I guess that politically (or economically) we had to shut up...but well, I was still surprised when I learned it :) Anyhow : have your say ! Leave a comment saying which country you're from and whether or not you've heard about this issue on official media :)

Wednesday, August 27 2008

Beers !

Tonight I feel like talking a bit about beers :) ! I’ve heard that the most famous one in the US is Budweiser, in China it’s Tsing Tao, in Ireland it’s (of course) Guinness, and so on and so forth. But do you know which beer we drink here in France ;) ? Well if you don’t you’ll know soon (and it may save your life if you plan to have a trip in France someday because you will definitely not find ant Bud around here :) ). Of course, everything down this line is, as usual, MY view on things and some other frenchy may thing otherwise but I do believe i’m not far from truth ;)

Well, first of all there’s the kind of beer you’ll find cheap almost everywhere. You know what kind of beer I’m talking about : the ones you drink because they are cool and cheap but don’t really taste fantastic :

Kronenbourg Beer Here is the Kronenbourg. Certainly the best selling beer in France (at least, that's what wikipedia says, so if wikipedia agrees with me...that must be true :D ). You'll find this one everywhere and cheap, but do not expect a really tasty beer ;) Oh by the way, that's a French beer (honestly, before reading the wikipedia page about it I'd have said it was a german beer :D That’s quite a cliché we have in France : we believe that almost every beers are from Germany or Belgium and that you can guess only knowing how the name sounds ;) )

Heineken Beer The next ont you'll find almost everywhere two is the Heineken. Damn, one again I was wrong thinking this was a german beer : it's from the Netherlands (I'm definitely learning things tonight !). Same profile as the Kro : cheap :)

Knowing those two you're sure know at least one beer in every French bar you'll go :) But if i were you, I'd rather try one of the followings :

1664 Beer The 1664, quite cheap two, but (according to me) just a bit tastier than the previous ones :) (again wikipedia learns me something : French beer, I'd have said Belgium :) ) It's taste is quite original, so either you like it, or you hate it, you've been warned, don't go complaining if you've bought it and disliked it ;)

Bavaria 86 Beer The well known 86 (real name Bavaria 86, usual name : 8 pause 6 ). Why is this one well known ? Long story short : the cheapest with so much alcohol in it ;) (That's why you'll mainly see it in the hands of bums or young people wanting to get hot before the party ). Anyhow it's worth trying, its taste is somehow special (and quite good actually) :)

Now we’re done with the "common stuff", let's introduce some more !

The Leffe (this one is from Belgium !) is a very common one. I’d say it’s the most common if you don’t want a classical kro or heineken ;) ! I personally really like this one :)

The Peleforth is quite known two (and that’s the first non-blond beer in this post ;) It was high time). Even though I don’t like this one, it’s quite popular in France.

The Grimbergen (again from Belgium ;) ) which is quite the same “spirit” as the Leffe, but the taste is way softer. I do like this one :p

The Guinness, my favorite !! The original Irish dry stout ! Damn tasty ^^ ! But quite expensive though, and you won't find it everywhere :( (it's often replaced by the Beamish which is a good beer, but not a Guinness )

With all those you know what is mainly sold in France :) I know I’ve been quite fast in the end, sorry about that, I may modify this article a bit latter to add the pictures lacking and some more text :)

Anyhow do not hesitate to add a comment saying which country you are from and which beer you like !

I’ll just end this post with some more beers you may enjoy : Ch’ti (from France), Delirium Tremens (from Belgium as far as I know), “Pecheresse” (sounds like a French one to me ), 33 export (no idea :) ), Chimay (great one from Belgium, but watch out it’s 9% ;) ), …

Monday, August 25 2008

Geography : Where's Paris ?

I guess you all know the cliché :" the American people only worry about themselves, and they barely know where Canada is so let's not ask them where Europe is, and moreover where a specific town in Europe is". Before you get too furious know that I personally do not agree with this cliché. I don't know that many American guys (yet :D ) but for the one I know they're not fitting within that cliché (anyhow, if you want to have fun with clichés, have a look at this funny video )
But even though I don't think everyone out of Europe ignore where it is I think that a little post just to remind everyone where's the town I'm going to talk about in the entire blog (Paris) won't be useless (and it'll be a good warm up for very first post on this blog :D )

So, let’s start with a wide view of mother earth, you’ll notice some part of it is redish it’s Europe :

World Map

That’s okay ? Try to keep focused as until now it was only the easy part (because I guess you all knew what a world map look like before I showed you this one ;) ). Well, let’s zoom a bit on Europe and spot my country : France.

Europe Map

Okay ? Not lost yet ;) ? If you are, just look at the two last maps at the same time : the second map is showing you the part in red within the first one. Well, I’m sure you’ve followed very well so far. Now let’s enter France (such a beautiful country :) ) and try to locate the capital (and the town I live in) : Paris !

France Map

Easy stuff right ? It’s more or less where “France” was written on the previous map ;) By the way you may notice the scale on the bottom left of the picture, it might help you figuring out the size of France (even if I know that most of you, my beloved readers ;) , are not comfortable with kilometers :D ).

So, now we all know where’s the town I live in, and much more important : where’s the town I’m willing to make you discover through my eyes and everyday life :D ! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as i do ^^ !…Well, I should stop this post here as I’ve finished localizing Paris, but as you’ve been courageous enough to read all this geographic lesson let’s just add a little teaser of the town itself :) …Let’s have a look at a map of the town and while you look at it count how many items displayed on this map you know (let me give you a tip : if you’re afraid of knowing none, search for a tower a bit on the left, there’s one you must know about ;) ) :

Paris Map

So, how many did you knew about (post a comment to tell :D ) ? The tip was, of course, the Eiffel tower which is, i guess, the most famous monument in Paris (and in France). The Eiffel Tower is labeled “Tour Eiffel” on the map, you can’t miss it (I bet you all understood that “Tour Eiffel” means “Eiffel Tower” in French, you’re already becoming bilingual, I’m impressed ;) ! ). And if you knew sites in Paris that weren’t on the map don’t worry : I agree with you on the fact that this map lacks a lot of places, but hey it’s impossible to spot every good places in Paris on such a small map :)

Well that’s all for now, it's already a too long post ! I hope you enjoyed the quick trip, see you soon for a real dive in Paris ;) ! And for now you may want to continue with learning what you must see if you ever visit Paris :)

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