Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Trip to Aix en Provence (December 9)

Yesterday, we took the navette (bus) up to Aix en Provence for the day. We arrived in time for lunch, so we stopped at Cafe Darius for their plat dujour. Chris had the chateaubriand (yes, it was actually called that!), and I had the salmon with zucchini. The chateaubriand was steak and potatoes. Both meals were excellent!

We went through a few stores, and then I had to go to the bathroom. Now, yes, this is more detail than you probably would have wanted in a blog post, but I have a reason for posting this information.

In IN, when you are out shopping, bathrooms are very easy to find. Malls have them all throughout, almost all large shopping stores have them, and all restaurants will have a toilet or two. In NYC, one must be a bit more aware of when and where to go. Not all stores have bathrooms, and there are few public restrooms when out shopping in the city. However, if you can find a Starbuck's, you can slip in and use their restroom without having to ask for a key or buy a coffee.

Here in France, toilets are harder to come by. Cafes and restaurants have them, but stores do not. The mall only has one restroom for the whole building, and it is a pay toilet. It costs 30 centimes to use the toilet. At the train station, you pay 40 centimes. In Aix, finding a toilet was a difficult thing. We found a stand alone pay toilet by the side of the road...only one, and it cost 40 centimes. It was similar to the pay toilets in San Francisco that self clean after you use them. I was desperate, so we got change at a local newspaper stand, and I did what I needed to do. I just kept chanting in my head "please don't self clean before I get out of here" over and over. I made it out fine, and was ready to continue on our shopping excursion.

The Christmas market in Aix was similar to the one in Marseille. We did find a man selling lavender wands! I have been wanting a bouquet of lavender ever since we moved here. This guy takes lavendar bouquets and makes gorgeous wands that smell amazing. The man was very nice, and spoke English to us. He also knew Italian, Spanish, German, and Japanese. His wife (who wasn't working on this particular day) was from NYC. The man, his name was Phillipe, said they have a store in NYC and that they have sold their lavender wands even to Vera Wang.

Picture of the Christmas market booths

We went into a Monoprix store, and to our delight, we found an extendable shower curtain rod and shower curtains! It was SO nice this morning taking an American style shower using a shower curtain!
After Monoprix, we hopped the bus back home and called it a day.

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