Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Est que l'alpaga?"

What's awesome about today? Nutella packaged for box lunch dessert, with little savory breadsticks and a dipping vestibule. What else? The way the French say my name; Cou-rhee-ahn-tuhn. Mainly the first two sounds, but also because they distribute the emphasis evenly (instead of placing it on the wrong syllable). What else? Pitching a pile of fabric patterns to the big fellas at Façonnable, and feeling like they are stoked to have me involved. What else? Folks who will let me practice my French on them, but remember to answer in English. What else? The hilarity of being around people who are really interested in what you're wearing, and will actually reach out to touch your clothing, check your labels, and ask, "Is that alpaca?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

My First Day

It's sunny and 60-ish all over France, including the South. My hotel room is warm and I don't think the thermostat really works. 16˚ C sounds pretty cold, but I'm sweating in just underwear.

After an incredible first day (lovely people, intense creativity) I ran northward on the Promendade des Anglais, around Colline du Château and up Rue Francois Guisol. Eventually the sidewalks were too crowded and I re-ran my steps back towards Negresco.

Grocery store was a kick in the pants (so fun to peruse unfamiliar foods and food packaging). Bought some hotel room amenities including Nutella travel-packs for kids (or nerds) and a bottle of vin rouge.

Faux pas: I forgot that you're supposed to pre-weigh your produce at the grocery store, and put a printed barcode sticker on your bananas. I also couldn't read most of the buttons on the self-check out (seemed like a great idea at the time) so luckily a sweet self-serve attendant did a lot of button pushing for me. I managed enough French to apologize to the line that formed while I was running back for my banana sticker, and to thank the sweet lady multiple times for helping le dodo.

Memory Revision: €4,00 wine in France doesn't taste as good as I remember. I guess cheap wine is cheap wine, after all.

Mon Temps

Waking up at 4 am is usually a bummer. Not this morning. Even the freakish howling of birds well before sunrise couldn't get me down. I am in the South of France on Façonnable's dime, I have new jeans, and my brain is pumping creativity.

I've been studying the history of fashion and the fashion industry (I'm here to create patterns for swim trunks). I've been brushing up on my French. I've been drawing, jogging, and watching French cartoons.

I'm staying at the HI Hotel which is a modern, concept hotel. My room is better as a concept then a place to work, rest, and iron shirts. My toilet is 5 feet up a spinal staircase (and surrounded by purple plexi-glass) and my shower is also on a riser, more akin to a go-go boy terrarium than a hotel shower. I wouldn't mind if Keith was here to watch. What I do mind is scaling three slippery steps as I descend, since the glass door doesn't contain the water very well and the staircase becomes more of a fountain feature than a safety feature. Am I getting old if I wish there were a handrail? Yikes. I think I'm getting old.