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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Paris Kai 

Right so then I have decided I better write some crap on the city of Paris before my sieve like memory clicks into release mode.

So let's start with food. And I'll start somewhere odd. On the plane on the way over (Cathay Pacific) I got to see pieces of the recent doco/film Supersize Me. The one on the geezer who basically ate nothing but McD's until he was fit to burst showering the room with plastic cheese. I watched as much as I could but in all honesty it was a boring pile of turd and I had more fun watching some god awful movies (The Stepford Wives, and that old one with R. De Niro and Nolte where De Niro is nuts and tries to scare the crap out of big Nick and his family) since I'd already seen all the decent ones (Troy decent?, Harry Pothead, Rain Man, and something else I forget).

While I hate McDonalds and even went as far as to boycott McDonalds, KFC and the other similar health food establishments for over two years back in the 90s I still have a hard time understanding how they can get so much abuse for their menu's and people getting fat after eating it. Does anybody complain about the 5 square metres of sweets and ice cream basically over flowing the counter of any corner store you walk into? No.

There are plenty more reasons to hate the bastards that make more sense to me. KFC in Korea making their workers work overtime for no extra pay, none of the stores recycling any of their waste despite making the public break it up into plastics etc before leaving the store and chicken suppliers to KFC in the US being busted for torturing the chickens by throttling them until their heads pop, throwing them alive at walls and various other fun activities for cunts. Then of course there's the deforestation in South America which will probably have a greater long term influence on our collective health as a species than an extra half centimete of fat on our arses. Which can easily be got rid of by doing something called 10 FUCKING MINUTES OF EXERCISE A DAY anyway. And my pet bug bear at McD's ... the mass advertising targeting children. For that the fuckers should burn.

And shamefully this tosser writing still pops into McDs now and then for a Big Mac (which isn't as big as it was when I was 12 years old, in fact it's not really much bigger than an average sized burger from any takeaway bar in NZ).

Back to topic (am I ever really on it?). McD's in Paris is somewhat better than what we might be accustomed to in NZ, Korea or other parts of the world as the stores don't get away with their nasty colour scheme and have to merge into the street scene in Paris with a dark burgundy sort of colour. Their menu has also been touched up just slightly as well to suit the locals.

Anyway, I noticed this article at today. It's basically the story of how a top French chef Olivier Pichot has taken up a position for McDonalds and loves it and blathers on about McDs menu in general.

"For me this is a dream - I am head chef in gastronomy, and when I created my business the first thing I wanted to do was work with McDonald's," said Pichot, 33, whose country is little short of waging war on take-away food and where farmers' activist Jose Bove once burnt a McDonald's outlet to the ground.
If he's not lying then he's a bit odd in the head. But the line about "waging war on take-away food" might be a little exaggerated judging by the continuous queues of Frenchies lining up to get their hands on a burger at the McDonalds 50 metres up the street from our hotel. I suspect that there may be more of a problem with these chain stores in the smaller cities and towns where there's been nothing but a few bakeries, cafes and cute restaurants on the main street giving the locals some sort of snobby superiority complex for 100 years before some yankee scum move into town, play a flute and leave with the minds of everybody aged under 30.

And that's enough of that.

Regarding the local cuisine it was nice as you would expect. For somebody that loves sandwiches and filled rolls such as myself it was verging on bliss. It's bread at the hotel, bread at the bakeries, bread in the supermarkets (along with 20 metres of cold cheeses, 10 metres of yoghurt's and 20 odd metres of other things that came out of cows and needs to be refridgerated. For my other half that wanted spicy pickled vegetables and rice it was a right pain in the arse. Hence two visits to a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant and one to an Indian restaurant. Most surreal moment of the restaurant visits perhaps came though when I was sitting at a table on our first night thinking "here I am, a New Zealander who speaks English, accompanied by a Korean, trying to read off an Italian menu with a French accent so the French waiter (who was clearly not in possession of French ancestry) could have a better understanding of what the hell we wanted.

In France tipping is not all that common and not really expected. I read that many locals will tip unless the service is awful but of course us dumb tourists can get away without it. Although I do tip now and then anyway. And basically because people don't tip much in Paris the service is bloody awful. Lazy, sloppy, contemptuous looks type stuff. So word to the wise, don't tip in France unless you actually get service you are happy with.

And that'll about do me because despite 15 hours sleep (broken by watching Real Madrid beat AS Roma 4-2 live at 4am) I still feel a bit knackered.

To come... pick pocketing (the little buggers failed), sight seeing (limited due to laziness and illness), transport (bloody good), and French TV (makes Korean TV seem almost watchable).

Couldn't agree more about Supersize Me, yawn, however I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had I not read 20 reviews on the bloody thing saying how excellent it was and describing the entire plot beforehand.
French service everywhere in Paris is downright shocking. My advice is never tip.

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