Tag Archives: France

Who does this at your age?!?!?

Just thought I’d lighten the mood a bit and share my latest Story Slam.  The topic was RISK!  This is as good as it gets from a goodie two shoes Catholic School girl!

Flawless French…n’est-ce pas?

What trip isn’t full of unexpected surprises?  What could be more boring than a flawless trip?

I convinced my brother to take me with him to the International Surf Film Festival in Anglet, France. It cost us a fortune. But once we put this boondoggle in motion, we couldn’t seem to stop the train.

Airfare was cheap the week before we left and cheap the week after we needed to be there. We threw caution to the wind, threw more money at the problem and eventually came home First Class! What the hell, if you’re going to break the bank, you might as well fly in style.

We landed in Spain and asked the taxi driver to take us to the train station so we could get  a cheap bus to Biarritz in France. He thought we asked him to take us to the train station in Biarritz….and this conversation was in English. When we realized our mutual mistake we just said take us to our hotel. It was a 60 Euro mistake.

Every single cab ride after that…where we went less than 3 miles cost us 25 Euro in France. We quickly learned how to take the bus for 1 Euro and returned to Spain on the bus for 7 Euro. Truly that was the kindness of the French people who taught theses crazy Americans how to save money.

Our biggest problem happened when my brother had to be at a filmmaker’s meeting at 3:00. We made it to the venue just on time. But nobody knew where Bruno, our contact was. My brother called Bruno, who told us we had to be at the lighthouse. We could see the lighthouse in the distance. We knew this would be another 25 Euro cab ride if we could get someone to call us a cab. See in these beach resort towns, there are no cabs. The only way to get one is to call…..and speak French. I’ve been practicing my French for years, and eventually, I did call…and they asked me to speak English. We managed to get to the lighthouse after realizing that the French for lighthouse is not “maison lumiere” but “phare,” which was on the map, thank God, because how the hell would we know that word?

Phare!!
Phare!!

At the phare, we still couldn’t find Bruno. I’d like to say we found cotton candy, cool rides and funnel cake, but it was just a phare.  My brother called Bruno again, and he said:

“Non, I said ze white house!” in a French accent, which is where communication broke down.

Of course, Bruno doesn’t know what a lighthouse is……it’s a phare, to him. By the way, we were standing in front of the white house when we called Bruno the first time. Seventy-five Euro later, we were too late for the meeting.

Everything else was perfect. The weather, watching a film festival on the beach in France, the surfing for aficionados like my brother, the food, the shopping, the wonderful,

French Surfing!
French Surfing!

wonderful French people.

Only two more things were unforgettable:

My brother is a vegetarian. It was a bit of a challenge to find anything without meat or seafood. But we managed and restauranteurs did their best to help us. So in a bold move, on our last night there, when the owner of the restaurant tried to make something for my brother to eat, we wanted to thank him for his kindness.

I said: ‘Mon frere adore tous les voitures francais! Il est magnifiques!

I wanted to say: “My brother adores all the French food. It is magnificent.”

If you speak French you know I said: “My brother adores all the French automobiles. They are magnificent!

Beautiful Spanish hotel with a bidet!
Beautiful Spanish hotel with a bidet!

And in Spain…… I dropped my toothbrush in the bidet.

“You Just have to Laugh….”

©CathySikorski 2016

L—-OWWWW—-BOUTAINS?

I’m a shoe freak. The only thing Imelda Marcos had over me was more resources, like the treasury of the Philippines. This debilitating disease began in 9th grade. My Mom suggested that if I wanted those adorable spats made of burlap and burgundy patent leather, I would have to get a job. Money has never been a motivator for me…but shoes…oh yeah, I’d get three jobs for the perfect pair of shoes.

The purchase of those spats was like a first kiss. The love affair began. See, my high school girlfriends were the quintessential little 5-7-9’s of the ’70’s. I was not. But my feet, oh my feet were double A Narrow with Quad A Narrow heels. Yes, my feet were skinny!!! I could buy shoes, shoes and more shoes and they would fit. They would flatter. My feet in my shoes were the Twiggy of toes. Sometimes it felt illicit, other times just downright exhilaratingly perfect.

So on my daughter’s wedding day, when the bride presented me with a hat box the size of a turkey platter filled with a magical pair of Christian Louboutin’s, rouged underside and all, I was beyond excited. My other daughter, who inherited the shoe gene, was found in a corner sniffing the Louboutin’s like airplane glue.

But the shoes didn’t fit. Off to Neiman Marcus we journeyed to exchange those black pumps of pleasure for a pair perfect for my pedicure. Alas, Louboutins are not for every foot. My precious feet, who had served me well for so many years as the thinnest most easily fashioned part of my Italian-Slavic heritage, failed me like the ugly step-sisters of Cinderella. I  would not be undone.

The salesman, Walter, dressed in a pin-striped suit with perfectly matching lavender tie and pocket square, was very careful to bring me the size I requested. It felt like my banker was kneeling at my feet. I know it was absurd, but the two teenagers next to me with 20 boxes of Louboutins opened around them, made me shove those tight ass shoes onto what were now my apparent barge feet, even harder.  It occurred to me that perhaps I needed a larger size. This wasn’t like the mother-of-the-bride dress. I had no problem asking for a bigger pair of shoes. Apparently, this is a refreshing concept to Walter. In this hallowed shoe boutique, a salesman would never suggest to the lady that she may need a (gasp) larger size! The look of relief on Walter’s face when I said perhaps a 9, rather than my usual 8 and a half would do better, was like giving him early parole.

Hmmm. I guess I’m  not the only one who likes to think my skinny feet are the most alluring part of me.

We chose a pair, a beautiful pair. But not without suffering. These shoes hurt. The chosen pair hurt less than every other pair. But still. Walter assured me that if I don’t wear them, I can return the shoes 10 years from now.

I called my genetic shoe clone daughter. Her advice was that there are legions of blog posts dedicated to how to tape my toes and wear Louboutins in spite of themselves. I adopted the Louboutins but they may go back to the orphanage.

Today the bride and I went to the SAS shoe outlet. (Senior’s Attire Sucks). Okay, it stands for San Antonio Shoes. And they’re ridiculously comfortable and ugly. My Mom made me take her there last year. She ‘bribed’ me by telling me she would buy me a pair of shoes. Ha! Ugly expensive shoes? Who would wear those? I am not eighty yet. I am still capable of making a fashion statement. And there they were, black patent leather loafers with a red penny holder and red soles. Oh….my…..God…. They were adorable and super comfortable. Well, I”m not 20 anymore either. Yeah, I got those shoes last year. But I didn’t want to fall into the black whole of old lady shoes, did I?

Louboutin 2But my Louboutins?!?!?!?

The red patent leather sandals from SAS (Style and Sass…that’s my new name for them) are going to France with me next week. The Louboutins, which say “Paris” right on the inside of the shoe are still waiting to see if they are Orphan Annie or Oliver Twist……to be continued….

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016