Jul 20, 2009

Lost Diaries 3

Tuesday, June 7, 2005
The Legend of the Melted Chi, Getting Hit On in French, and other things

Tuesday dawned with a very sleepy Damon and a very determined Scarlett. What Damon does not know is that I have been catnapping throughout the day while he is gone, so he couldn’t understand why I was ready to get up and he was still so sleepy. We got up and about, and I got ready with Damon to ride the bus in with him and go shopping. I brushed my teeth while he was attempting to master the shower for the second time, and I got soaked. I showed him a few tricks, so maybe he will get it next time. We set off a little before 10. My major mission today was to buy a European hair iron. My resolve to do this was in part due to the continued nappiness of my hair, as well as the disturbing story that I will relate to you in the next paragraph. For those of you who are faint of heart, you may want to skip this section altogether.

When we planned the France trip, one of my ideas to minimize luggage was to leave my beloved Chi behind and be curly in France. For those of you not familiar with the Chi, it is the best invention since the proverbial sliced bread. It allows me to sport smooth, sleek styles day after day and banishes most of the frizziness from my heretofore unmanageable do. This tool literally changed my life, and I will forever be a loyal disciple of the Chi. My loving husband was good enough to fork out a pretty substantial amount of money for Valentine’s Day on my Chi, perhaps because I wanted it so much, and perhaps because he wanted me to stop complaining about my hair. Whatever the reason, nothing says “I love you” quite like the gift of straight hair. Knowing my obsession with the Chi, Damon persuaded me to cross the pond with it, buying me adapters and converters aplenty to ensure my follicle contentment while in Europe. Alas, after the burning smell emitted by the hair dryer, I was too scared to even think of plugging the Chi into a European outlet. After a day of sheer hair desperation in Paris, I got up all my courage and plugged it in, only to discover that the appliance which heats to a searing temperature in a matter of minutes at home would not heat up at all in France. I quickly unplugged it and gave up. When we arrived in Lyon and Damon went to his first day of class, one of the girls there was inconsolable. It seems that she had used converters and adapters galore to plug in her own cherished Chi, and it….gasp….melted! That’s right. She said the ceramic plates slid right off and the plastic casing collapsed into itself. After hearing this tale, I berated Damon for persuading me to take such a chance with my own Chi. I had heard another story about someone’s Chi being broken by baggage handlers when her luggage was checked at the airport, so I carried mine on for its protection. Now I am terrified that the Chi will never make it home alive, and I will again be banished to nappiness once I am stateside.

Well, after the above unfortunate news, I decided to buy the cheapest French hair iron I could find. I had perused them longingly as we shopped yesterday, but had not been pushed over the edge yet by the sad tale above. I got one and the whole transaction was completed in French with me not understanding a single word, but I think they were trying to tell me that I had a one year warranty. If any of my readers have a chance to visit Europe in the future, I will be saving my Euro-Chi to loan out. It will be available in LaPlace August 1st.

2009 Update: My friend Dara did borrow my Euro-Chi for her trip to Europe, so my hair iron is actually more well-traveled than I am.

Other events of the day included our first lunch of French sandwiches, strangely enough on bread that was labeled “American Sandwich” at the grocery store. It is sliced and very heavy, but NOT HARD!!! Hooray! So we enjoyed that. After lunch we set out to make Eurail reservations, and that cost more money. It seems that Eurail passes, while convenient, have many hidden costs. We are set to visit Venice, Rome, and Florence this weekend. I will be taking the travel journal that Kelly gave me to record our adventures away from the laptop, but I’ll type them in and send them to you next week.

After making the reservations, Damon took me for my first tram ride to see his school and Lyon outside of the ghetto where we live. (It’s not really that bad; I’m just being funny.) On the tram we met a very talkative Swedish lady who is also studying law in Lyon. After we visited the school and were boarding the tram again, she was also, so we visited more. When we changed from the tram to the bus, Damon ended up leaning against some strange ledge thing in the bus, and I got trapped in the throng near the doors. At the next stop, two young French men got on, and proceeded to look at me intensely and talk to me in French. I stared back for a few minutes before uttering the phrase that has become my Lyon mantra, “Je ne parle pas le Francais,” or, “I do not speak French.” After this they continued to try to figure out where I was from and how I got to Lyon. I thought they were looking at my t-shirt, but they were really checking out my necklace, and because of the Eiffel tower charm they thought I was from Paris. I told them no. Then they thought I was British, since I spoke English. I guess we all sound alike to them, but I told them proudly that I was American, and added from Louisiana, just in case they were W haters. They seemed even more pleased with this than they were with me being British. I also tried to communicate that I was with my husband, who was a student, but they thought that I was saying I was a student. When we got to the stop, they got off the bus with me and proceeded to tell me that they had a friend who spoke very good English and I could talk to him. I think they were trying to take me with them, but Damon showed up and I think they finally understood the husband part. They shook his hand, but showed little interest in him and we parted ways. Back at the room I have been consumed by the Rick Steve’s travel book, and Damon has alternately done homework, chatted, and worked on hotel reservations. We are about to go to bed, and looking behind me I see that Damon is already asleep, so I will close for now. Miss you all!

2 comments :

The Brownsteins said...

I was just telling my mom the other day about how funny your France updates were back in the day! Good times!

Emily Raney said...

That is too funny. I have this special bag that is padded and insulated for my beloved chi. I can put it directly in this bag.....even when it is hot. And it is protected when I travel. As for the european straightener....I wonder if it works in Russia.....and do you still have it. I may have to borrow it if we ever get to go.