July 27, 2008

Burgers at Bruges

A conversation last night reminded me about this incident when we'd been to Bruges recently... and I thought I had to share it with you guys... So, S had this incredible craving for a veggie burger the day after we reached Bruges. And all through our sightseeing, he checked out no less than 5 restaurants (read roadside joints) to verify if they stocked a veggie burger with a veggie patty... There is a serious dearth of this 'delicacy' in Paris where meat rules.. And though Indiana Café, one of his favorite joints here in Paris stocks them and he has that every time we go there, he just had to have it. So, back from the beaches of Oostende and after a day in Brussels, we reached Bruges well after 10:00PM. Having safely stashed the car away in one of the parking spaces, we went on foot (not a big achievement considering that it takes about 30 minutes to walk the longer part of Bruges) hunting for at least one of the places he'd checked out to be open. And we all remembered a different one and each of us led the way to a different part of the city centre. Finally we zeroed in on one that was tiny, seemingly shabby, but open nonetheless. With none of us having any other motivation after a long day of sightseeing and driving, we all settled in for burgers.

The guy at the counter was apparently the owner and he boasted pictures with celebrities who visited Bruges and his latest conquest was one with Colin Farrel who unsurprisingly starred 'In Bruges'. This substantially cheered me for the part that the decor did not. I assumed that if stars visited this place, the burgers had to pretty darned good. Even as S stood at the counter waiting to order, we witnessed the eccentric owner piss off a few potential customers into leaving the store. I, for one assumed that we'd probably not witnessed the part that they'd played in ticking him off. Soon it became apparent that they probably hadn't done anything. We saw a party of 8 enter and they all ordered 'Menus', which is a whole meal with fries and drinks and all. While 7 of them crowded merrily around the counter, one tired soul rested his eyes at the corner table, only to be awakened by the owner in a loud tone and to be informed that this was no 'hotel' where he could sleep. I thanked my stars for not having been discovered at the same compromising position barely a few minutes earlier before I got my Iced Tea. The friends of the offended guy explained that he was 'with them' and they were ordering for him too. But that didn't soothe our owner, who repeated that he had no 'hotel' and that he had to leave. One of the guys cheerily mentioned that if his friend was sent out, the rest of them would walk out too. And they were shown the door. Out walked 100€ of business. I watched in shock... hopefully assuming that the mask of disbelief was not obvious on my face. Presumably the guy wasn't up for making 8 menu meals at close to 11 in the night on a Sunday... but wouldn't it have been kinder to just say so rather than have them leave for what seemed very petty? And soon we were to witness another 4 parties of varying strengths being shown the door for offenses ranging from staring hard at the drinks refirgerator to choose a drink, to screaming out an order before it was their turn.

Amazingly though, he seemed pro-Asian and treated us and a Chinese couple with atmost respect. He even offered to play mild music in order to create a soothing ambience for us to eat in, even though we ate in silence and gulped down the food, lest we be kicked out as well. Maybe it was just that he knew how good his burgers were and that he was in no danger of losing any regulars, but just the tourists in that part of Bruges or maybe he was just trying to show everyone who the boss was or maybe he was just plain tired. But the burgers were absolutely phenomenal.

July 25, 2008

Tribute to Pausch

Not so long ago, I wrote about Childhood dreams, inspired by a professor at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Randy Pausch. He passed away today. Click here for the news item. Many people touch lives in many different ways. Dr Pausch's wasn't totally unique but will absolutely stand out for his spirit and his message. If you don't know what I am talking about, go to this post. May his soul rest in peace.

July 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Wow... July's been a drab month and there's absolutely nothing to write about... Of course you may wonder if that ever stopped me in the past where I have written about everything from the honeybees at my house in India to the dog across the street. Right now though, I am on vacation... And surprisingly that gives me even less to write. I don't commute so often, don't see anything different and this past week all that I have been doing is cleaning the house, arranging the cupboards, restocking the kitchen and the likes of the house-wifey things I wasn't too regular with over the school semester. Having played the role for a week, I am fast developing different interests. As a quest for the vacation though, I was out hunting a gym. Having had the convenience of apartment complexes in the US and the major REC center at school, I found it unsettling that people paid huge amounts of money to go to exercise facilities. My school gym here has only basketball courts and rock climbing.. There's no equipment! With physical activity threatening to die, I had to find action fast. And so I hunted my city for the gyms and found their rates. Shocking.. I'll add. So, there's this gym, lets call it, umm.. LF. They charge a membership fee and then a monthly fee, all totalling to about 1000€ a year... and here's the best part - They want you to come in for 30 minutes every alternate day only. No, you cannot go to use the equipment at any time you desire. You can pick your 30 minute slot of choice and land up there once in every 2 days. I was completely flabbergasted. They rip you off and they rip you off!! I consulted with a few regulars, some of S's friends as to what their solution was. Seems like there are lesser expensive options in Paris... but not really inexpensive ones. I have sort of narrowed it down to a yearly 700€ thing which allows me to go at will, take any of their classes offered (from dance to aerobics to swimming). It's still mighty expensive... Makes me wonder if I should just take the tennis club membership which amounts to about the same... but also entail depending on a partner for games. It's like Sophie's Choice.

Apart from the gym bit too, I have been thinking I should go out into the city and see Paris as a Parisian... experience the nooks and corners of this beautiful city while I have the time and the means. I discovered a few English book thriftstores... which are well into my agenda of visiting. Oh, and yeah, S and I with a couple of his friends were at Belgium last weekend, Bruges in particular... and I must mention what a gorgeous place it is... More about it in CityStalkers (right now its CitySnoozers having had no posts in eons).

For now, I hope I keep the blog rolling... There's so little going on!

July 16, 2008

The brand new wrinkle

So... I was creaming my face after a shower and suddenly I saw it... high up on my forehead - a demarkation... a distinct line. I stopped stunned... Was it a wrinkle??? I wasn't old enough to have one. In panic, I rubbed cream vigorously on it, trying to smooth it away... It didn't go.. I was devastated... Having prided myself on the jet-black mane of hair, was I going to lose it all to a stupid wrinkle on my forehead? And then I looked closer... at the line... it was crinkly... and went all the way from one side of my hair to the other..; Wait a minute... Wrinkles didn't do that... and certainly not the first one... And then it dawned on me. It was the line from the elastic of the shower cap. Phew!

July 10, 2008


Oh yeah... I have been on a little break from blogging... Its not that I have been upto anything phenomenal... But with school closing in a week and with my India trip down the drain... and with my hot plate burning the dear old mini fridge which then wreaked vengeance by flooding the floors, I can safely say that I have had a busy 2 weeks. Hmph.

Well coming to the title of the post... 'Soldes' in French is 'Sale'. When I first saw the word, I was bewildered as to why huge posters splashed across the entire glass windows of the shops would advertise the stuff they had sold out. Of course my translator husband to the rescue... But this was a good 5 months ago. Right now its the summer sale. The summer is welcomed by selling out the old fashions for almost upto 70% off the original price. Indeed when I went to one of the other stores I frequent, I found some of the very stuff I had bought previously on sale for ridiculously lower than what I bought it for. So why am I sitting and writing about this? Truthfully I don't know. I guess I missed blogging too much. Besides I noticed a pattern with the sales. They went all out to get rid of their winter fashions... something like selling crackers the day after Diwali or selling the golu bommais after Navarathri. And just as untempting as that is, is to buy sweaters and sweatshirts for measly 2-3€ equipped with the knowledge that you don't get to wear them for the next 7 months. But the deals are steals and as is my affection for sweatshirts, I ended up buying one that was not on sale. And really sales are finally a game that huge stores play with people's minds. I am sure that I am not the only person who has ended up buying something knowing entirely that I probably will never wear it... or at most wear it once... but bought it because it was just 3.99€. Know what I mean? And the ideas of having all those teeny-weeny trinkets near the checkout lines is sheer genius. Out of boredom, one tends to browse the bin for some precious trinket and in the end, precious or not, you've picked it up because it was really low-priced. I thought I'd outgrown my childish trend when I went yesterday to make the most of the lasting sales. I had to an extent... yet I did pick something up because it was cheap... more than entirely because I liked it. And I had set myself a budget to shop from... And just before going into checkout, I emptied my shopping bag and did a quick mental total... Of course I'd exceeded... Woefully I pulled out a couple of pieces... no brainers really... And there.. I'd met my budget... had a bagful of clothes... some gifts for the husband as well.. Thats what I am talking about.. Once a month, you need one fulfilling day of shopping... just to keep the sanity, maybe.