Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

One of the stimulating things about foreign travel is all the assumptions that you find you've been making on a daily basis without realising it.

For example, despite the ubiquity of bus stops in this part of France, despite what one might expect, there are no actual buses. School buses, yes, but none for the general public.

So today Mum and I caught a minicab (thanks Catherine) to the local E Leclerk supermarket and, even here, an everyday thing like shopping for groceries threw up new and unexpected ways of doing things that I'd never thought of before.

Like when I was trying to ask the shopping centre's security guard where all the other shoppers seemed to be getting their trolleys from, and he quite reasonably handed me a small red plastic disc.

It was about the size of a one Euro coin. I realised that it was a token to deposit in a trolley in lieu of the usual one Euro coin. I was particularly pleased to receive this after the Euro I'd had to abandon inside a luggage trolley on the platform of Nantes station yesterday. The shopping trolleys turned out to be exclusively available from the car park outside the mall. A bit like the school buses, to get one you have to be a short distance away.

While that may sound trivial, it was just one of a number of unfamiliar customs that combined to slow down today's French shopping trip for me.

For example, another would be how much more sluggishly I found I was scanning the shelves, when none of the products could be instantly identified. My brain's laborious chugging was reminiscent of any computer package after an 'update'.

Speaking of which:
Here they have electronic LCD price tags, to enable easy alteration of each price. Genius! Even more convenient given their parallel listing of each price in New Francs, despite said currency having having ceased to be legal tender over eleven years ago.

Their freezer cabinets open by sliding their sloping tops upwards - so easy. And as you can see, Captain Bird's Eye is Captain Iglo! And on this box he appears to be a vegetarian! I am forced to suppose that his usual fishing waters must have frozen over. Global warming indeed.
Multi-packs of frozen croissants. Only in France...

At the checkout, we learnt too late that you also have to weigh all your own fruit and veg to generate a price tag for it, even bananas. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to nip back again and do this, as we had a return cab booked, so our trip was literally fruitless.

Driver Cecille dropped us right back to our cabin's door, and we added our purchases to the supplies that the holiday camp had already kindly donated to us.

Later we would get out what we thought were our cartons of fromage frais, only to discover that...

... here they sell their fromage and their frais separately.

Vive la différence!

(Day 1: Lost In France here)
(Day 3: France Plants here)
(Day 4: All Alone On The Site here)
(Day 5: The Haunting Of Cabin 88 here)
(Day 6: Saint-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie here)
(Day 7: SunDay Service here)
(Day 8: C'est La Vie here)
(Day 9: Olonne Sea here)
(Day 10: Camp Sights here)
(Day 11: Nantes Jaunt here)


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