Saturday 25 October 2008

Bonsoir! Qui est?

Pauline and I bought breakfast at a local supermarket consisting of a ham sandwich, Contrex, and orange juice. We took the bus to Rive de Gier to get to the train station, Lyon Part Deaux. While on the train, I called my CouchSurfing host! is a website started by an American who was tired of staying in hostels and not meeting any locals. Thus, he started the website in which the general idea is that others offer up their couch and travelers passing through will "crash" with them. This creates a cross-cultural connection and sparks friendships throughout the world. By living by the "travelers taking care of travelers" mentality, over one million successful host/CouchSurfing experiences have been had! And do not worry, there is a feedback rating similar to Ebay and individuals can be verified through credit cards as to avoid creepers!

At arrival, I found two big welcome signs saying, "Hello, Krys!" Already I knew that Julian and Frederic would serve as great hosts!

Walking to their nearby apartment, they said that they wanted to take me all around Lyon! I also met the third roommate. Their profiles:

Frederic: Italian, speaks English well and good French
Julian: French, speaks basic English
Marco: German, speaks English/French conversationally well

We walked the city taking photoshoots at every fountain and statue we saw until we reached the Center of Lyon which is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

By les quais du Rhone

"The Flower Tree" by Choi Jeong-Hwa

We walked around Old Town Lyon, which is quite beautiful with its Medieval and Renaissance architecture. There, I went into St. Jean Catherdrale, the cathedral of the Archbishop of Lyon and perhaps more importantly, is the leading Archbiship of France.

Old Town Lyon!

Being around the three roommates was great for my French because they would always start off speaking in English and then they would always revert back to French! This is much easier than practicing with fluent English speakers because then you somehow always resort back to speaking English. We definitely spoke in "Franglais."

We then took a funicular to get to Mount Fourvière which provides a magnificent view of the Lyon! Not surprisingly, as Fourviere literally means "one who prays", we visited the Fourvière Basilica and the enowned statue of the Virgin Mary.

View atop Mount Fourvière

Note: When a German utilizes the phrase "That's porno," that does not necessarily mean they are referring to an inappropriate industry. Rather, it is slang utilized by younger individuals to describe something that is extravagently grandiose (i.e. a pink limo).

Frederica and I headed off to Le Parc de la Tête d'Or which was huge! It is argubly like Central Park in New York complete with a zoo. We bought churros (10 for only 3.50euros) and walked around the bears, mongeese, and rose garden. Next time I am in Lyon, I will visit the Contemporary Art Museum!

In the rose garden at Le Parc de la Tête d'Or

While walking back, I was able to take a gorgeous picture by the Rhone River and see the famous Opera Houst lit up at night!

The Rhone River

Back at the apartment, they even further proved great hosts as they made my first home-cooked meal in weeks! We had fish, vegetables, rice, and pizza! Love it!

They wanted to know the sign for an Aries, so I did my best with my limited drawing skills! "Rabbit?" "No, no." "Oh, uhh, animal that goes baa, baa?" "No, no." "Torro, torro!" Haha, it was so funny listening to all of us communicate! Quite honestly, it would not have been such a great conversation if we were all fluent in one another's languages! It was simply just a great conversation learning about each other's lives, culturally and locally.

We headed off to the costume party as Columbo, My Name is Earl, a disco woman, and Bri from Desparate Housewives! "Bri" later told me she wanted to come to California so I could show here where the show was filmed!

On the way to the fête

At the party, I mistakenly thought Paris Hilton was Goldilocks (she was too adorable!) and I further met the Love Boat captain and members of the Adams Family. Can I experience something besides from American culture? Haha...

Fortunately at the party, people barely spoke English, so thus, I improved my French ten-fold to the point where people actually complimented me on the fact that I speak French well! The costume party was great as well for one could simple ask somebody "Qui est?"

Back at the apartment, I was awoken by Julian and Marco who wanted to make sure I was warm on the couch. Thus, they pulled out a blanket and threw it on me. They proceeded to put on another, and another, and another! By the time they tucked me in, I had half a dozen blankets on me!

The many blankets the boys tucked me in with!

Great night!

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