I wish for more French hairstylists to be flown in to replace Singaporean hairstylists, especially when it comes to blow drying your hair. Unlike the typical Singaporean hairstylist who automatically straightens your hair upon drying it, then asks you “Why not?” when you object to it like it’s the most natural thing to have on Earth, the French do it better.
They keep it all natural, and make you looking like Va-Va-Voom! when you step out of the salon.
Some tips to note, should you make a trip here!
Always approach a person speaking French first, i.e. “Excusez-moi, parlez vous Anglais?” so as to let their guard down, and not make them think that you are too arrogant to not be able to speak their language.
Don’t limit your basic vocabulary to just “merci“, “s’il vous plait“, “d’accord“, “oui” & those other words you can find in any book about a French character. Read up, listen to French conversations more often so you get the bigger picture.
Learn to drink. Seriously, I kid you not; it is a waste of time if you come to France and do not even sample the wine. Alcohol’s dirt cheap here, its even cheaper than some food (read: Do not drink if it goes against any of your personal/religious beliefs, & say that I told you to do so).
After you learn to drink, learn to love cheese.
The French are either rude or friendly. Greet the public service people, e.g. bus drivers, waiters; learn to smile to strangers but please choose carefully, who you smile to. Being friendly should not give off the vibes of being cheap!
Get used to ciggarette smoke. Stop hyperventilating about being a passive smoker; you can’t run away from that fact here. Either join the club, or suck it up.
Buy enough groceries to last you through Sunday. Or anything that you need in your way of life, actually. Most shops here are closed on Sundays, so tune your body clock to take a day off on the last day of the weekend.
Get off your lazy ass & WALK MORE. Unless you’re married to a 72 year old man/woman from Monaco, don’t bother taking the cabs here. A ride from the airport to Antibes can set you back about 60 euros, while a bus ride only costs 1 euro. Yes, and I do mean with all the luggage. Screw the bus driver who keeps telling you to hurry up.
With the previous point, get comfortable walking shoes! Even if you wear boots, make sure they’re low-heeled or straight flat. Those kind of boots can still look gorgeous if you work them to be that way.
Before you eat something, PLEASE ASK WHAT IS IT MADE OF. This is especially so if you’ve a restricted diet that does not include pork, beef or red meat of any kind. Even so, the French eat rabbit & horse meat like they eat chicken or beef, so just ask ahead if you have meat issues.
Try not to eat out so much. The food here can be really pricey, unless you go to a cafe in a dark narrow alley somewhere. One salad can set you back 7 euros, on average, so just imagine what the main courses are priced like.
(There is this one restaurant near Cap 3000 though, near the Aeroport, which serves really humongous portions of food. An 8 euro seafood salad felt like a dinner, all the same.)
Speaking of restaurants, most are open at specific times, i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner. Some places only serve breakfasts, then drinks only after 12pm. Gotta keep an eye out for those, especially if you go to one near the port or in a village.
When lost, do not hesitate to ask for directions. However this does not mean 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Some people may not understand you, even the police aren’t much help. Don’t bother asking for a ride home if you get lost, they’ll just proceed to tell you that they don’t understand English & that your best bet is to walk 3km back home, even at 2 in the morning.
But yes, there are people who will still help you find your way. Even if they are unsure about it & lead you one direction when you know it’s the other, thank them with a smile and proceed to walk in said direction. It’s best not to displease their confidence in their street sense in their own country.
Oh yes, don’t put on an arrogant face. Or at least try not to, when you know your facial features tend to form one unconsciously. Even if the French look arrogant, you looking arrogant would just make them flip you off more.
Don’t go to clubs, pubs are cheaper and much more of a livelier place anyway. Plus the crowd isn’t so rowdy. You get those wild, obnoxious yuppies most of the times in clubs, but the pubs accommodate a well-mixed crowd. Besides, you avoid paying a 10-20 euro entry fee.
If you can afford it, have a car. Rent one or buy one, both options are way cheaper than compared in Singapore anyway. Or better still, get a motorbike/scooter! You can get a hot, red one from Carrefour for about 3,000 euros or slightly less.
Ending this off with the most obvious thing in France,
yes, the people here are Hot. Both male and female. Well maybe not all are hot per se, but the general French population know how to carry themselves off well & with sophistication, even when they’re hitting 70. You see old ladies with green eye shadow & purple eyeliner, and still looking fabulous.
Espall keeps counting down 99 more days to home, but somehow that’s the least of my priorities right now. This whole experience feels like a whole long escape, for me at least.
Hope all are well, God bless.