Photos from the neighborhood

I took a walk this afternoon by myself, only the second time I’ve left our street by myself. I walked down our steps blooming with confidence, but immediately ran into a locked door, literally. Colin always handles the keys, which we usually don’t even need at the front gate because there’s a gardien for this building.

The brief struggle to unlock the gate can’t really be blamed for my fumbling the French pleasantries exchanged with the proprietor of the candy-and-drink store downstairs. I can’t really say that I’m used to any one way of speaking French, but I have even less practice using the polite form, as one is supposed to do with strangers and which I have failed to do at every opportunity.

I have been warned that I may receive more attention when out by myself than I do when I’m out with Colin. So far I have been as good as invisible when out with Colin, especially if he’s engaged in conversation with a French speaker. Teenagers understandably are wrapped up in their own lives; older women actively focus on anything that is not the redheaded white person they’re passing; men steal a quick glance; toddlers stare. Toddlers always stare.

It was another story by myself—there were no declarations of interested I couldn’t ignore, but they were concentrated right at the start of my walk, making me self-conscious for the remainder.

Anyway, it was a beautiful cloud-free day (like all the rest we’ve had since arriving), and a 98-percent-untroubled walk to get some groceries.

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3 responses

  1. It’s fascinating to see how different roads and sidewalks are in different countries. That roundabout has curbs that look like they’re marked for a Formula 1 race, while the road (tarmac?) looks recently paved and smooth, but there are no obvious lane markers or traffic signs or direction indicators.

    Keep taking photos!

  2. Have you thought of investing in any kind of pepper spray or knife while you’re out on your own? Sounds like you probably won’t run into too much trouble, but you just never know.

    At least the locals haven’t been referring to you as “Spice Girls” just yet. That may come….

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