Panda in Paris

on rugby

Posted in France by parisianpanda on March 27, 2010
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Living with a sports enthusiast, I have gone to two rugby matches in the past month or so. I became moderately interested in it when I was here as a student because the World Cup was in Paris at the time, and because I caught glimpses of it on TV in bars and it looked like American football with all the boring parts cut out, and because on the night of the nuit blanche the French team beat the strongly favored New Zealand All Blacks and everyone in the street went crazy.

I’ve become moderately more interested because one of the teams that competes in France, Racing Metro 92, is based in Colombes, which is the city where I teach, and their stadium, Stade Yves du Manoir (which hosted the Summer 1924 Olympics and the 1938 World Cup Soccer as Wikipedia just told David!) is right across the street from the high school. Earlier this month we saw a match of the Paris team in the much bigger, much flashier Stade de France (complete with groping security and what we are pretty sure was a drag queen pre-show.) The Paris team lost to Toulouse, supposedly because Toulouse is a significantly stronger team but I don’t think their cotton candy colored uniforms help.

Seriously, this is what they look like.

Today we went and saw Racing play against a team from a town that starts with a B that I haven’t heard of and still haven’t bothered to look up. It was a little weird taking the bus to Colombes on the weekend. One of the other important things about the Racing team is that it’s home to Sebastien Chabal, one of the stars of the French national team. He’s known because he’s very large, even by rugby player standards (and also because he’s good at it or something) but he’s mostly famous because he has impressive facial hair, which is a big deal for me to say because I lived for some time in the pacific northwest.

Don't you want to touch it? I bet it gives you magic powers.

In conclusion, we won but just barely, it was an exciting game, and I got a flag of the team and David managed to get a picture on his cellphone of me accidentally poking myself in the eye with it but that will not be displayed on this blog.

I will leave you with a picture of David and his German friends with the weird pizza that we made before I go off and drink the beer they left in our house.

It had corn and ketchup on it.

Bisous mes petits lapins!


some german things

Posted in France by parisianpanda on March 3, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

Photo dump:

Piece of the Berlin Wall

Matthew buys candy

Marx and Engels, hanging out in Berlin

Reichstag Palace/Parliament

David outside the zoo

Tiergarten park

Brandenburg Gate/Paris Place!

A feral German child. I gave him a 50 cent piece and told him to invest it wisely. It was the least my bourgeois heart could do.

Charlottenberg Palace


Perhaps an oversimplification?

Gate to Sachsenhausen concentration camp: Work makes freedom?

Electric fence and Sachsenhausen

Travel buddies in Hamburg!

Hamburg town hall

Church in Hamburg - the middle was bombed out in an air raid by the allies

March 1st: Hamburg decided Christmas is over

Jazz! On a boat!



1) German is a hideous language.

2) One of the English teachers at my school told me she didn’t like Berlin because she thought it had “no soul.” I don’t think this is entirely fair. It’s definitely not a beautiful city the way European capitals are generally advertised as being, but the cheap cost of living has created a community of young people that doesn’t exist in a lot of big cities.

3) Call me the PC police, but concentration camps = maybe not the best place for Facebook photo ops? “Oh, crematorium! SMILE! Check out that blood stain still on the ground from when the Nazis would pretend to take people’s heights, then shoot them in the back of the neck! OMG THIS IS TOTALLY MY PROFILE PIC!” Slightly tasteless.

4) German food was too beefy and greasy and mostly gave me stomachaches, however: Kebab in Germany = WAY better than kebab in France. We went to a kebab place for dinner one of the first nights in Berlin out of desperation and I was a little disappointed, because kebab in France is generally something I eat because I am hungry and nothing else is open, not because I enjoy the way it tastes. How wrong I was! In addition to being a few euros cheaper, kebab in Germany is grilled to perfection, not too fatty, full of vegetables and doesn’t end up half on your plate at the end of it. French kebabs have gone from being disappointing to basically inedible in my book.

5) Hamburg is pretty!

6) We spent all night Saturday at a club called Magnet in Berlin, which was especially fun because:

a) They played music I actually enjoy (The Pixies! The Postal Service!)
b) The alcohol was actually affordable and
c) The crowd was full of people who mostly look and dress like I do.

This is a sharp contrast to clubs in Paris, where:

a) They mostly play David Guetta and a lot of this nonsense
b) 5 euro beer! 10 euro cocktails!
c) The crowd is full of men in their 40s hitting on 17-year-old girls while all the girls who are not 17 stand around the perimeter of the room making judgey faces at anyone who looks like they’re having fun.

David (who is particularly vitriolic against the lack of sociability in Paris) said as we were leaving, “Look! You see how much fun we had! We almost never have that much fun in Paris. That’s every weekend in Madrid!” I thought about this, and told him that I like Paris because I like taking walks around pretty buildings and listening to people speak French, and that maybe I’m willing to sacrifice a more fulfilling and more affordable social life for that. He thinks I am ridiculous. I would probably be a happier person if I didn’t have such misplaced priorities. Oh well.

7) Here is a Takashi Murakami-produced music video that was featured in a Pop Art exhibition we saw in Hamburg. You will enjoy it if you enjoy cutesy Japanese things, vaguely racist double entendres and Kirsten Dunst.