I think I’m not going to drink for at least a week. Well, definitely five days at LEAST. I even had a dream last night where people were offering me red wine and I refused. If I were to put in a pile all the food and drink I’ve consumed in the past week, it would form a shockingly large and extravagant heap.
After spending more time with Clem’s parents and their friend, I realise how completely insane they are. So much more than me… I think.
They throw bread at each other.
They draw on each other when they’ve passed out from drinking too much.
There’s a joke that Didier and Nico are gay and to entertain everyone they started kissing each other and took pictures of their shirtless bodies pressed against each other. In my camera, no less.
My camera is full of random people’s body parts, some which I have no idea belongs to whom. Too many pictures from dinner and walking along a street to a club in Cap Ferret. Will add these at a later date for my own ref!
Clem and I took an hour’s drive from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret yesterday, to stay in his family’s beach house for three nights.
We got to be alone for the first night, his parents and Nico joined us today, and Clem’s friends will join us tomorrow. It’s a lot bigger than I imagined – with seven bedrooms and bathrooms, including one big bedroom with five beds for children. There’s a French pool table downstairs, inflatable boats hanging from a wall to take to the beach, and lots of games to play. Such a cool family house! Clem said he used to come here when he was a kid, where all his cousins and their parents would stay to go to the beach, cook dinners and the kids would give performances on the wide lawn (which he said the adults didn’t watch cos they were too busy drinking).
The interior is contemporary yet typical of a French beach house you’d see in pictures. White wood, cream sofas, large lounge pillows, cute painted wooden seagulls, and other sea-themed deco. The kitchen is the MOST well-equipped kitchen I’ve seen in my life! Pots and pans of EVERY size (I think there are seven different sized pots alone), countless dishes and utensils, some of which I don’t even know the use of.
Bordeaux’s beautiful Water Mirror aka miroir d’eau (more info below)
Bordeaux’s Stock Exchange Building
[you can listen to the song above while reading this haha. Clem and i love it.]
I faltered today and had my first packet of Maggi mee. Despite all the amazing food i’ve been having, i just really needed my chili fix you know? It’s so comforting to have spicy salty soup especially when i wake up – which is when i usually have curry laksa, or chicken rice and soup. I’m carrying around the packet of chili powder Chelle gave me like a typical Asian. (It’s something that would appear on a YouTube vid: Shit Asians do overseas.) The maggi soup is even better during the chilly mornings. Weather here is not what i expected. I asked Clem whether a typical summer is like this and he said, “NO. This is weird. This is not summer!” Mornings are a chilly and rainy 16°C, before the sun comes out intermittently from lunch time to 8pm. When the sun’s out, it’s practically hot, but the moment it goes behind a cloud and the wind starts blowing… i’m grappling for my jacket.
Clem and i had a really nice day out together. For lunch we went to L’Entrecôte and i was SO EXCITED. It’s one of my favourite restaurants IN THE WORLD. I wrote about it before *HERE*. We didn’t have to queue as long as last time, but still waited about 20 minutes. I was so excited, holding my stomach, and telling Clem, “This is gonna be one of the HAPPIEST DAYS of my life!”
L’Entrecôte serves steak frites and nothing else for mains. We ordered ours blue and rare. All the pieces are finely hand cut by a man who does that all day, and they come drenched in the most sinful butter sauce. It was so good… i’m salivating looking at this picture again and may ask Clem to take me back there again the day before i leave Bordeaux.
Didier and his buddy Nico drove six hours from Paris to Bordeaux, with Clem and i in the backseat of the car. We only stopped once – to grab a quick sandwich and use the bathroom. We might have reached half an hour earlier if a white van hadn’t blown up on the highway and caused a jam, but it was quite a drama with two fire engines edging their way through towards it. By the fifth hour into the journey, i was playfully hitting Clem for fun cos i was SO fidgety and bored (had already napped and read all i could) and he was hitting me back. Soon we were in a wrestling match with each of us warning the other, “YOU stop!” “Don’t continue and cry!” “You hit too hard!” “You started it!” We both finally stopped and i observed, “Hmm. Now we know why kids always start fighting at the back after being in the car for so long…”
Before the dreary car journey, I had the most EXCITING time EXPLORING Jean Paul and Mimi’s house earlier that morning. When i first arrived in their house the night before, we sat ourselves down for food and wine in the living room next to the warm fireplace. During the course of our meal, i observed the most interesting bits and bobs of decorations, pictures, paintings, furnishings and what-have-you in every corner and angle. What a lamp! What a painting! Who’s in that picture? I couldn’t wait to explore!
After leaving the farmhouse for our first night in France; Didier, Clem, Flore and i went back to his grandparents’ for lunch. It was a Sunday (tho i wasn’t keeping track of days anymore and had to think a tad). We sat around chilling out till Didier suddenly jumped up remembering he had to do the beans for lunch.
Clem helped to carve the lamb we were going to have with the beans. Yeah. Do some work, boy.
I can’t even decide whether i prefer Saturday’s lunch or Sunday’s… It was sublime. They were all sublime.
This time, we started with three types of pate. From left to right – pork liver pate, pig head pate, and rabbit pate. Clem looked at me with big eyes, “Ohhhh there’s RABBIT pate..! Are you going to eat it?!” He knows i avoid eating rabbit cos i just can’t stand the thought of eating Thumper. But… it would have been rude to turn it down, no? So i tried it.
Thankfully i much prefer the other two. I have discovered new French food i ADORE, just when i thought i’d tried most of them! I was nodding my head to myself while munching it slowly, plotting how i could tapau/bungkus/transport some back to Malaysia for friends to try. This was TOO good. It HAD to be shared! I asked the family aloud whether it was possible to bring to KL. And they all said no… it’s fresh pate, it wouldn’t keep, etc. SAD!!!
The pig’s head pate is my FAVOURITE PATE IN THE WORLD NOW. It’s got soft rubbery bits of flesh mixed with wobbly yet firm fat… oh lordy lord… I was even thinking that i wouldn’t mind moving here with Clem if i got to eat this every week!
The little Chinese. Lah perh-teet shee-noo-ahs. That’s what Clem’s sister calls me.
Our flight was relatively painless save for an hour delay from Doha to Paris. Friends are always asking me what airline I take, and I’m always happy to rave about Qatar Airways. For a return ticket to most cities in Europe, I usually pay RM3,300. During non-peak seasons, tickets go as low as RM2,800. Their service is wonderful – the stewards and stewardesses remind me of how I grew up envisioning airline service. They’re insanely polite and smile genuinely to the point I feel guilty. Their food is so delicious I have trouble picking what I want at every meal. Oh and their entertainment choices are prime as hell. The movies are always so up-to-date that at times they haven’t even reached Malaysian cinemas yet. Score. On the KL-Doha flight, I picked a new Hindi film to watch, called Agneepath. I had no expectations, as I’ve never heard of it before, but I’d say it’s my favourite Hindi film since Devdas. I sighed in awe at the production quality of the dance scenes and costumes, told Clem ‘I’m sorry, but if the main actor proposed to me I might say yes’, and sobbed through all the sad scenes over two small bottles of shiraz.
After a 16-hour plane & transit journey in total, we arrived in Paris on Saturday morning at, I don’t know, 8am. We took ages to get through the tunnel that leads one off the plane as the French policemen were doing strict checks for illegant immigrants. All the French around me were cursing ‘merde!’ about how we had to stand for roughly 20 minutes in the hot sunny tunnel. When I showed one of the policemen my Malaysian passport, he look at it, and brightly greeted, “Selamat Khabar!” I grinned back at him widely, appreciative of the local welcome he gave me, and he said a few more words in Malay which I returned, before being allowed to pass through. Clem said, “I think you must have met the only policeman in France who speaks Bahasa.” I laughed, glad to finally be on French ground.
At the immigration queue, one of the officers let us skip the queue when he saw Clem and I in the ‘international passport’ line and also spoke to me in simple Malay. Clem was completely taken aback, “What? Everyone in Paris can speak Bahasa now or what?!” It IS a really surprising thing but I felt quite proud that people in Europe actually KNOW Malaysia and Malay words. Clem and I arrived at two different immigration booths at the same time, and we separated to go through them. Strangely enough, the officer glanced at my passport, chopped it, and I went through the barriers before Clem. Clem wasn’t amused, “I don’t understand this country. I’m French and I take longer than you!?” I commented maybe it’s my red hair. No one would try to be dodgy and have such an apparent hairstyle at the same time.