Monday, July 28, 2014

WTF is That?


            
           This post continues a theme touched on last time, namely language and cultural characteristics of which I usually haven't a clue but find entertaining. You're hereby warned that much of what follows will probably appeal only to those whose maturity and sophistication levels approximate mine.
            Though we've now been in this country nearly two years, I still seem to be frequently using the title of this post in it's unabridged form. One of the latest came during a trip to the Marché des Capucins (a traditional covered market visited in a previous post), located in the heart of the African section of town. This part of Bordeaux is another of the neighborhoods that reminds me of New York, the only place in the States I know of where you might be able to see the same things. Anyway, I saw this on a store shelf,        

        asked the above question then flashed back to the 1970s, during an inspection of the Pittsburgh FBI office while I was a clerk there. Every year teams of Inspectors from Washington, augmented by careerist flunkys, swept down on all Bureau field offices, stayed a couple of weeks then left, their belts decorated with fresh scalps. This particular year, as part of the campaign of indignities heaped upon Bureau clerks everywhere, we were forced to watch one of the inspectors put on a lame magic show, during which he sprinkled what he called "fufu dust" on whatever was going to disappear.
        After regaining my composure, I discovered this stuff comes from the cassava plant and is a staple of the African and Carribean diets. Here is something you can make from it.


       
            A nearby health and beauty products store had this.


            It probably isn't surprising that a sixty-something white guy hasn't a clue about hair care products for Africans but I would point out that, having read The Autobiography of Malcom X, I have heard about "conked" hair. And during an encounter long ago with a guy in Phoenix, who didn't share my enthusiasm for his spending the night in jail, I ended up with jheri curl shit all over me. So, while my information on the subject might be a bit dated, I'm not completely ignorant. What occurs to me in this instance, however, is how hair mayonnaise earns the "organic" designation. (As an interesting and ultimately depressing aside, enroute to finding out what this stuff is, I discovered that young women blogging about their hair might be the one subject to rival, in sheer numbers, blogs on God, "My Amazing Kids" and living in France - and every one had ten times as many followers as mine.)
            
           Businesses here sometimes have English or English inspired names, that sometimes lose something in translation.

            This place, of course, is named after an archaic music style now listened to almost exclusively by pockets of enthusiasts mostly in New Jersey. An "A" here isn't exactly pronounced like an American O but it must be close enough because your can buy a brand of American style bread called "Doo Wap". Why they added the extra "Wap" here is anyone's guess.


          We've never tried this pizza but more than once I've nearly been run down by their delivery scooters while they were trying to live up to the name.
            
          The people who give things English names seem to like words that end in "y", and as always, the reason is anyone's guess. Around the corner from us is "Trendy Place", the logo of which features the Chrysler Building in New York and their bagels all have Big Apple related names. I tried to get a picture of menu but my Iphone pictures never seem to be in focus so you'll have to take my word that the ingredients indicate a possible lack of familiarity with the actual places.


             
            By far, though, my favorite place name is this and if anyone can give me a clue about the name or what might make coffee puffy, I'd appreciate it. The locals couldn't figure it out either, apparently, since the place is out of business.

            I've been eating cereal for breakfast since I was a kid and the cover photo is how I start my days here. Wizzy Crisp is one of the local grocery chain's brand and it's pre-sweetened puffed rice, or blé soufflé, which makes it sound like you might want to start with an aperatif. In fact, I eat it only because of it's name. If you can see the bottom of the box (and thanks to my incompetence with a scanner you might not) the fact that it's flavored with honey is reported in 3 languages, Holland being the where kids are treated to "Honingsmaak".
            
            To take this out, last night we went to one of the many free jazz festivals here, this one in Andernos-les-Bain, on the Bay of Archacon, where the headliner was Fred Wesley. So take a ride in the

with Fred and the New JB Horns.


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