Archive for November, 2007

Everything in circles ???

Freitag, November 30th, 2007

Oh oui, I am allowed now to park on the employee parking… I am half french now 🙂

The weather here in really beautiful. 7C this morning and almost 20C in the afternoon, what a gorgeous weather. Yesterday it was a little different. I had to scratch the ice off my car windows. It was minus 1C in the morning. The colleagues asked me if I feel like in germany, but I replied that it is not like germany, there is no snow 🙂

This weather makes standing in the traffic jam much nicer. In germany those roundabouts (here they are called rond-point) are getting more and more popular. In France they are already very common since many many years. So you might think it helps to have more experience. But this is wrong. In germany the roundabouts are planned more precise (must be a german thing) and traffic jam at the roundabout are less common in germany. Here in France they are located at the highway exits, which causes lots of trafficjams back on the Highway. Every morning I have to pass three roundabouts every morning on the mainroard from Baillargues to Montpellier. Those roundabouts are so unconvenient that there is alway at least 1km traffic jam/slow traffic.

Traffic itself is ok, but be aware of the motorbike drivers. So if you come to france, take care and keep your eyes open. The coming weekend looks to be nice and sunny and I will enjoy it. Maybe I will wash my car (also typical german). But here in france you can wash your car 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. C’est la vie…

C U soon

A little bit more french

Mittwoch, November 28th, 2007

Wow, what a day. Many important things happend this morning. I have finally received my Bank account cheque book. It is still pretty common here in france to pay with a cheque compared to germany where you either pay cash or with card. I also received my Carte Bancaire which is a debit/credit Card and you can do everything here in france with that card. Additionally I finally got my french IBM badge processed and in my hands. That makes live also much easier. I can hopefully access the parking tomorrow and benefit from the cheaper cafeteria prices. It is so easy to make a man like me happy 🙂 I feel a little more french now.

Many greetings from france

Visiting the family

Dienstag, November 27th, 2007

That was a wonderful  weekend with my family. Thanks to Christian I had a free lift to the Airport in Montpellier. Thanks also to Air France that there was no new strike. The weather in Montpellier was nice, sunny and Stuttgart was a little colder and cloudy. Thanks to Online Check-In it was all smooth and without any problems. We arrived even 20 minutes earlier in Stuttgart. Wow, nice experience.

After finishing all the usual shopping that had to be done on Friday we relaxed most parts of the weekend. The kids were looking forward for the weekend with their Daddy at home. I was looking forward too 🙂

Of course Dagmar loved my presence too. On sunday we went into the cinema. Ratatouille was our choice. A very funny, great Movie and fun for the whole family. It is about a little Rat, named Remis that lives in Paris and loves to cook. Kind of funny. It seems to be our „french“ year. First it started with our Trip to Paris with my mother, Brother and family and my family. Then our trip to Montpellier and the chance to live here for two years. Very very french 🙂

Monday morning, my last day on that first Home leave trip. A thin snow cover was laying on the grass and the roofs. Brrr, cold.

The trip back from Stuttgart via Paris to Montpellier was again smooth and without any problems. This time was the first time for me to fly over Paris by night. Wow, that was breathtaking. Unfortunately I had no camera available. It was like a huge shiny diamond. The Champs-Elysee cutting through, also glowing golden. The Arc de triumphe was visible and the Eiffel Tower was sticking out like a glowing needle. It was really breathtaking and a wonderful view. Montpellier looked more like many little diamonds spread around. That is of course also a wonderful view, but Paris was the most beautiful view I had so far at a city by night. New York is different, it is more dense, Paris is huge. Las Vegas is more colorful.

That was it for now. See you soon

Invited by friends

Mittwoch, November 21st, 2007

My good old friend Christian invited me to his house. Some friends and colleagues were coming. So I had some little snack at home and drove to his house. Not easy to find, but GPS makes it possible. What I totally forgot was, that the french usually eat Dinner late. So to my surprise we had some aspargus and bamboo with a garlic dressing. After that we had Lamb and sausage with beans. I was already full. Everbody who knows me is scared now, right ? Sure, I usually eat more, but at this point I had already too much aspargus and bread. As a dessert we had a chocolate cake. Not easier, but it worked. As drinks we had some nice wine and Champagne. Hmm delicous. It was really a fun evening. I understood about 40-60 percent of the talk. I asked questions if I do not understood anything or I just talked in english.

Christians littel cat was always sneaking around. Cute cat, and even my allergy was not too bad that evening. So I was able to stay pretty long. Of course I didn’t drink too much. Just a little taste of everything and that was it. The problem here in france is…the roads. The little towns have very very bad roads. Huge speed bumps and deep holes in the roads. So you are better sober, otherwise you might get stuck on a bad bump or you crash into a hole.

A bientot

Marc-Eric

A normal day in France – strike

Dienstag, November 20th, 2007

I just wanted to let you know, that a normal day in france is happening. Maybe you have already noticed in the news, french Railway personal is on strike since a week. They are fighting against the plans to work longer. Instead of 37 years they are going to 40 years of work before they can retire. Well, not everyone here in france is behind those guys. because it is a small group and most of the french people are already on such a plan to work at least 40 years before they can retire. My beloved friends from AIR FRANCE are also on strike today. i hope they are not planning to do that longer than one day. Because I want to fly to Stuttgart on friday and I don’t want to get stuck at any Airport here again due to a strike. Otherwise i will kick some a..

Anyway, a strike in france is as normal as rotten meat scandal in germany… so nothing special

Au revoir

Marc-Eric

Beaujolais Nouveau – a little piece of the french way of life

Montag, November 19th, 2007

Today we had some wine tasting.

It is Beaujolais time right now. That is the latest wine from 2007 already available for consumption. Overall that is not really a very good wine. But this Beaujolais Nouveau or Primeur has a intersting tradition and every year the people that love wine go crazy for the Beaujolais. We had three wines and lots of Baguette, peperoni, Paté, cheese and so on.  The so called „savoir vivre“ is really something I can get used to 🙂

In the past three weeks I also had mostly wine, no beer. My first beer was on Sunday together with Christian at the 3 Brasseurs. Nice microbrew beer. Pretty good, but I love the wine. Especially the one from Pic Saint-Loup. Lots of little winery’s are here. One day i will buy some there.

If you are interested in more info on Beaujolais, go to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaujolais

Ok, Santé mes amis

My day at the Pic Saint-Loup

Sonntag, November 18th, 2007

 

Pic Saint Loup Panorama

Panoramic Pictures (click to view the larger picture, new window opens)

Panorama Pic Saint Loup

Today I drove around a little north from Baillargues with my car to Pic Saint-Loup. The area around Montpellier is really beautiful. In the south you have the sea and in the north you have the mountains. 

Weg zum Pic Saint-Loup

See more pictures at: http://fotos.web.de/bigmek/France 

The legend from Pic Saint-Loup

I have not climbed up on Pic Saint-Loup (658m) so far, but the are is beautiful and there is a cute little legend about that little mountain.

In medieval times the three brothers Loup, Guiral and Clair loved the same woman named Bertrade. Without knowing whom she will marry the three brothers went on a crusade. When they came back from the crusade their beloved Bertrade had died. So they decided to live as hermits alone on the three tops of the mountain. On the lowest of the three tops Guiral lived, so the top was named Saint Guiral. The second top was occupied by Clair, so it was named Saint Clair. The third and highest top was occupied by Thieri Loup, so that is how the name Saint Loup came from. So the Pic Saint-Loup got his name.

As long as they lived, the three brothers lighted a fire on March 19th every year in remembrance of their loved Bertrade. I hope I understood the story well, since it was all in french and I used my french with help from www.leo.org and babelfish to translate it.

Hello WWWorld !

Sonntag, November 18th, 2007

…Why a BLOG ???

Since almost 10 years I am writing more or less frequently about my/our adventures all around the world. Mostly US but also from other places. This year my family and I decided to live and work for two years in Baillargues near Montpellier/France. It is a little challenge but we think it will be a great opportunity for us. So feel free to read our Blog and visit us from time to time online 🙂

Way to Baillargues
Your Engelkahles