Articles by " peak"

FR : French horses

Jul 10, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Activities, France

First Horse Riding Experience was had here in Strasbourg

Hooray to the existence of groupons, especially for this one. It’s such a great discovery point to try some new random activities in the area. I don’t know when would I have ever thought to try riding a horse. Of course, thank the most to Guillaume who knew a thing or two about this having done it when he as younger. He organized this event with me, Sebastien, and joining us on the second trip Sebastien’s sister Marine. We got to go try out some horse riding lessons 2 Saturdays in a roll for  19€ per person. These lessons normally costs 30€ per each visit. We went for it this past couple of weekend. It’s July 2011. The weather was sunny and couldn’t be any more perfect.

Due to the common sense of a newbie rider on a horse, I couldn’t bring on me a camera. Pictures included are mostly limited when my feet were on the ground walking around surveying the horse’s den.

This was my first extensive visit near a horse. I had no idea what to expect. Of course, my first unreasonable ‘instinct’ was that I was going to get bitten, or kicked from behind one. Probably how I would die, the first ever on this ranch. I don’t know. They are big, full of muscles, and freaky looking to be honest. Their big eyes suggest a lot should go on in there. Every time they move, I kept wanting to let them ‘do what they want’. This kind of thought – apparently – wasn’t how you should deal with horses. I was instructed to recognize their ear signs, or their natural behaviors, which rely a lot on human control and queuing. Maybe not so “natural” behaviors as exist in the wild…perse, but more like as exist in this world where horse and people co-exist, I guess.

These horses get broken in, as taming and training normally are done with many animals that live with us humans….which has gone on for centuries. Riding on one, after overcoming the disorientation normal for doing something new, there was a rush the intrigue of everything that goes into it. Started from what I see, the saddle, the thing for the rider’s feet, the thing for the horse’s head, mouth, … All these accessories were invented and evolved through time for to be the most effective possible. How to control a horse, to turn left or right only needed very subtle pulling movement, and the stopping by pulling on both and up high. To how their feet were feeling, how their skinny legs are able to carry so much weights. I was almost overwhelmed though I made sure I remain externally calm and collected.

All these controls are the way it is probably for knowing the nature of the animal for all these centuries. I mean, you can make a cat stop walking by pulling on it’s tail, that’s the same thing, right? (That’s what I did to my cats). What I had the hardest time with was to get the horse to go faster by tapping my legs on her body. Well, that was the problem, I insisted on tapping when what was required was to slam my feet (back of legs for maximum strength assertion) on to her mid body. And from what I learned with my particular horse, Miss Pastel, she needed a lot more than that. It became clear that I was a bit too timid (เกรงใจ in Thai) to inconvenience the horse for my puny demands. She would have loved to run a lot more faster, probably. All that capability unfulfilled by having a newbie like me on her back who doesn’t know how to make her go faster. Then my reoccurring thought drifted on how fat I am and it probably doesn’t feel comfortable for the horse.. How the horse knows that I’m incompetence… How she might try funny things to let me know she doesn’t want to take shit from me…. And how I’d have no way to counter that… You know, when you don’t have information on something, your projections, and some insecurities come out. Great stuff.

So I learned how to (or supposed to) lift your butt up with your legs when the horse trots. This is to prevent your heavy butts on hurting the horse’s spine. Okay, so my thought went immediately for this issue thinking that I’m going to damage the horse if I don’t do it correctly. That sent me on an awkward forceful butt lifting. I didn’t have to see it but I know it must have looked very awkward. The second lesson when I was a little less freaked out, I tried better to find to get along with the horse’s rhythm. That seemed okay to prevent the possible injury. And obviously if you are going to be a dead weight on the horse as to hurt it, you’d have to be really really heavy and very sticky on their back. Geez. The bouncing is not a gentle thing. It sends you right up anyway, might as well learn to go with it correctly.. And for THAT, I want to tag this as an exercise post. Because I can think of NOTHING ELSE that gives you such a thigh exercise as much as this. Holy hell, I was quite impressed. That, and along with the slamming of the crotch that made me wonder the type of clothing designed for this. Now that I’m on the computer, I just googled and found the ‘secret’ underwears the pro looking people wear for cushioning the blow in this highly sensitive area of your body.. where some of peoples’ souls also reside.

A little bit about this place. Haras des Bussières, is set outside of Strasbourg to the North by about a half of an hour drive. The set up was impressive with the giant barn where there was an office right in the front in the middle. Both sides were where they house the horses. To the main barn’s left, there’s a jumping track for those skilled riders. This field is located next to another stand alone barn in the back where we new adult students learn to make the horse go in circle slowly. The indoor riding field for the kids are located right in the center of the main barn. You can see it from the tiny office area. That was my first impression of the horse riding, with these little girls on the little horses – super cute in the uppidy class kinda way. I mean, horse riding isn’t for the poor, sadly. Unless, as I discussed this with a friend, you were an indigenous Mongolian. But somehow, I hope that if I ever had kids, they will have to know how to ride a horse wherever it can be made possible. Maybe this place here. The people were extremely nice. The trainer we had was very kind and patient with us. And the best thing about this place, I think, is the more forestry trail you can take a walk on foot or on a horse. A different kind of leisure, I suppose… a beautiful place nonetheless. We will try to save some money aside to be able to go back there about once a month.

 


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TH : July 2011 Thai Election

Jul 7, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thailand
Average day stroll down the Chao Phraya River

Average day stroll down the Chao Phraya River

 

These days it’s indistinguishable between brilliance and evil. Some of the first feelings I had from watching the recent Thai election unfolding reminded me from when I was watching Bush getting elected, AND re-elected. Then, I thought, okay, well, the Americans had THIS coming… I fully expected the paramounting of destitutions resulted from their engineered corporate-greed policies would wake the Americans the fuck up. After everything gets soooo bad, finally then, maybe, the apathetic majority will learn to pay attention. But, year after year, that day never came, far from it. What I learned by watching that – was this incredible redesigning of rhetorics, derailing of discussion focuses, going as far off as to questioning the conventional wisdoms, creating debates on things that take too much time to defend. The progressive groups, their nests are all busted , the baits, intentionally or not, were all hooked. Each has fragmented designation to run around spending time on fighting for single issues such as the supreme court justice, the education system, gay rights, abortion rights, anti Iraq/Afghanistan wars, anti-Palin, pro rightist scandals, junk media channels, etc, separately while the ‘bigger picture’ is being manipulated from such a deep root. Laws are being written and passed. The illusion of the wealthy economy is being redecorated while most of us who are not involved in the financial industry are treated like we are too stupid to know any better – some even believe it is true of themselves. The richests continue to brilliantly raking it all in no matter what happens to the country or everyone else.

When I was in Thailand last May to visit my family. It was just at the beginning of all these littering of political posters and road signs literally every 5 feet or less. Each tried to come up with the clever catch phrases in different color associations. Some, although with full recognition of having a small chance to get elected, offered quite refreshing ideas for the future of the country, whether it’s radical pro sport, natural resources conservancy, or even an angry theatrical face from an ex pimp business man turned politician, who swear to fight to remove corruptions and bad politicians, and even some telethon to vote for no one accompanying these signs with various animals in suits likening politicians to scummy animals. It reminded me a tiny bit of the Californian circus election which brought Schwarzenegger, the Terminator, into office in 2003.  On the street of Bangkok, and all over Thailand, the most prominence since the get go however, was the portrait of this woman, beautiful and graceful by all visual standards, who stepped out right away and unapologetically, for being Thaksin’s sister. The genius (and no doubt, pricey) PR went directly to the core points a) She was here as her own independent woman with her own ideas. b.) She was here to “reconcile” the nation  c.) She was going to put the country and the people first before her family. Wonderful, the Female President the Americans never got, let’s the senseless smoke screen debates behind gender continue here. Soon after, the various mini billboards on the side walk were to be released in methodological series. After sending the oppositions on the trail of accusations or looking up the guidelines to see if she’s even qualify to run (due to the lawsuit against her brother, which they accused her of lying to the court concealing some bank accounts or some numbers). While they were sent off for all that, the new vivid signs in bright red were rolled out to showcase the simplified proposed policies to put themselves ahead of the game in the imaginary “better future”, suggested by the “clear visions” this party has to offer. It’s obvious that the American type (pipe) dreams are being suggested here now. • Give every student a computer tablet,  • Provide free internet, • Build more dams to eradicate all the drought problems, • Raise minimum salaries of college graduates • Provide student loans for higher educations  — these were the main ones I remember.  Such aggressive ‘solutions’ caused much of the oohs and ahhs, and of course the scrambling for rebuttals. Many asked how these things can be responsibly done. It created more debates and discussions amongst the skeptics, putting them on another trail when the opinion polls already was on the rise for the shorter thinking people, swooned, attracted, courted, and believed. It was really not surprising a country where animism is root, not used to questioning logistics with reasons, are ripen for this. Along with the careful image releases, toxic gossips spread (reminds me of Karl Rove’s detached negative ‘grassroots’ campaign tactics), and news articles engineered, she was the newest sweetheart in no time. Any possible faults relating to her brother did not stick on this sweet face, obedient looking, modest demeanor female figure. Brilliant move on their part, I admitted since the beginning when I braced for this result of the election.

I’m still in the Facebook touch with one of my cousins who is a radical ‘red shirt’ person. This is sort of my small ‘in’ window as to what IS going on on that side of things. I took notice of his barrage of anti monarchy verbiages, though supposed to be clever by using  different pseudonyms, he used awful terminologies & language culturally designed to take most possible insults, which I see it no more than a grade school nonsense. As also seen by other accompanied images with photoshop smudges of public figures’ faces into animals or gay or with feet in face or what not. I sent him some inquires recently, but only had a brief exchange due to his, however defiance, concern of ‘the crack down’ (les majesté law, we understood).  He cited the comparison between Thailand and Japan’s 50 year time line as a prime example of the King’s embezzlement of otherwise would have been Thai people’s wealth or, ‘modernization’ to the country. I politely challenged this with historic, societal, cultural comparisons hoping for a civil exchange, but I since have not heard back from him. Instead I continue to receive his childish garbage posts he’s passing around to his thousands of like-minded receptive audience. No surprise here. This is the country where the shows on television are full of ugly dramas (disgusting acting), and the streets that are filled with a zillion advertisements for products that will make your life better. Emotions win, and quick fixes are in.

The sacred of the Monarch is no more, and they are not even pretending to hide it. This monarch system in Thailand, I would be open for any reasonable debates, but so far found NO ONE that can give me anything that are not emotional mud-slinging series of curses as reacted to some sort of half truths interpretation of some historic events. It seems to me that some politicians/business people has jumped on this Forbes report back in 2008 for the richest Royals in the world ( http://www.forbes.com/2008/08/20/worlds-richest-royals-biz-richroyals08-cz_ts_0820royalintro.html ). Back then, the campaign to dispute the claim was launched, a ready bait that went into the hands of, once small, the anti-monarch sector (one of the original allies / creators of the red shirt group) to plant this seed in the mind of the susceptible Thais – “you are poor because he is rich”, followed by, “because he is rich, he will do whatever it takes to keep the powers amongst himself and his trusted / faithful aristocrats – by trying to crush us politically”.  This group joined forces with the capitalists (read in Thai history as business people who push all the lines of ethics, morals, laws, in order to maximize their own personal monetary profits), plus other cast of characters ranging from random old communists to a renegade military general. Simply by creating a common enemy, first the ‘aristocrats’ meant to step around (and even vehemently denied) the direct aim at the king, was enough to start the incitement with the rural poor using hate language to form their mob-type ideals and dub it ‘voices of the grassroots’. Convenience, if you asked me. Considering the hijacking specific language from the decades long western style progressive activism. They began right away the media manipulation by feeding lazy journalists with English signage to go with the bamboo sticks & tires staged in the take over of a section in Bangkok’s busiest commercial district in 2010. International media is the world’s opinion. Information management had to be top notch, and it was. We all knew or heard of the freakish torching of buildings and military responses of that event in May at the end of the stand-off. Sacred of doing no violence is also no more. I was living in Bangkok during that time and made the effort to visit that tension area once every so many days to hear and see the people. I even was just some feet away from the famous sniper attack that killed Renegade General Seh Dang (Red tiger). Though I might as well been miles away since the furious security made up of non smiling mean faces surrounded all the key gates and areas. Maybe they were these rogue army of men recruited back in February when Seh Dang the General announced his intention to start one for this ‘revolution army’, curiously right after the Thai court passed down the judgement to confiscated 1.4 billion in US equivalent dollars from the Thaksin’s white collar crime money. But that is now old and long forgotten history. I feel like an old nag listing the chain of recent events that somehow I thought shouldn’t be so easily forgotten, but it is.

The finance hands that power the Red Shirts include the people who stood to have a huge gain by Thaksin’s policies. His cronies and clans will do whatever to have global financial institutions involved in Thai economy included being opened for more foreign ownerships of Thai shares and land currently capped at 49%. This is one of the reasons anti-Thaksin people consider him a traitor committing a treason, outside of his open disrespect to the King. What Thaksin was convicted of was from laws that can still be applied against him, but what he got away with was beyond the laws could touch him. It’s not a coincident that his tactics are about changing laws to favor his corporate gain. Look at the successes STILL happening in the U.S.. It’s clearly the new breed of corruption lead by the US, and some handful of the western nations which formed the global financial industry. It’s a big gigantic scam that no one can do anything about because the laws and the rules themselves are being changed to protect it. Laughing along all the way to the bank are the lawyers and accountants. Global truth taunts us the same ‘solution’. You can join them and “follow your dream” to get your share, or be left out to fight to no possible prevail (and die poor and heart broken.)

Now the becoming of the stand-in sibling, Yingluck, Thaksin’s sister, 18 years his junior. Did Thaksin not send her to study political science in the US for a reason? Actually, there’s a rumor of his long term plan to topple the monarch due to some age old family disputes. But that really is irrelevant to me at this point. What remains more obvious that can be digested in the western style discussion such as this writing here is the pointing out of evidences on how the people are getting fucked while enjoying it. Modern slavery is now the accepted way of the new social system. To put it frankly, in the nearest analogy I can think of ; Thailand has now decided to be okay with whoring itself out to be able to afford the designer bag. That’s progress. No longer the term prostitute is a stigma, if one chooses to do it. Happiness is to be able to show off your expensive things, no matter how you acquired it. Oh, and the whitening products, the cosmetic surgeries…. This is CLEAR sign of international standard and acceptance. White washing inside and out.

There ought to be a book titled Counterfeited Democracy, as written in the history of how the US has hijacked a political ideal and spread it into the world. Countries like Thailand would be a prime example of what happens when it tries to copy the U.S.. Such society consist of gullible population, for seeing that following an example as the modernization and progression. How hard is it to erase that old stingy title of being a ’3rd world country’ jumping into the ’1st world’ category by pirating the image. Poor people are sold the beliefs of being richer by the use of credit economy (otherwise was a cash economy), the promises of free computer tablet for every student (suspecting the Thaksin’s telecommunication company will likely adjusted and distribute the supplies for this making once again 1. loads of money from small lock-in fees from the mass, 2. more loads of money from advertisers, 3. keep the population feeling grateful and indebted in receiving such gifts, 4. keep the population in stupers with the world of internet garbage, 5. retain the direct mind influence and perpetuate the propaganda through this medium directly and via supporters in the name of ‘freedom of speech’…, 6. the monopoly on it… etc. etc. )

Any outlandish supposedly modernizing policies, if gone unrealized will inevitably be blamed on their opposition, in this case, the ‘old way’ are getting in the new way. The blame deflects are not unlike tactics commonly seen in the US’s Democrats vs. Republicans back and forths. It is one thing to watch and hope for the better and be disappointed by the US politics, but there’s a whole other thing seeing it being adapted  into the Thais’ society. It’s like watching a date rape in progress. To watch also helplessly as the more intellectual debates are far behind in the understanding of what is happening, less with what steps to take. The end of the day is still that same powerless feeling of not being an effective part of any positive changes, — oh, just be honest, even any part to slow down the negative changes. How could it be possible that there’s no counter ‘think tank’ that can come even near effectiveness or relevant?

Clearly, the only successful and powerful form of organization is the corporate structuring, which, in my opinion, has been the only model as pushed forth in higher education. The higher education system to is modeled after the where? The US education system. This management style, heavy on top, is being instituting in various societal functions and FAILING the collectives in favor of the few. I see this in governments, education systems, labor unions, even health care, the basic human needs, and etc. Failing because it’s treating the small members as disposable product lines producing the top all the prime benefits. Now, couple that with the rotten corrupted societies. Where does anyone suppose to start?

By the way, I don’t see much in the discussion of Thaksin’s involvement with the Cambodian government that somehow, coincidentally a precursor to the Thailand-Cambodia border tension? The following event just a couple of weeks ago included the request to withdraw as a member of the World Heritage sites from UNESCO – which prompted the weird accusation campaign of the pre-election government for stepping backward outside of a global community (read in Thai as standing outside the approval in International standard). This decision was made since UNESCO was siding (knowingly or not) with the Cambodia over the border disputes. Reasonable facts and diplomatic discussions were yet to be considered amongst the masses before much of the opinions were made, and the hate campaign flamed on.

All in all, I can’t deny all these unbelievable tactics to be extremely intriguing, though can’t stand to be too amused when I read the parade of red shirts go nuts with feeding frenzies on these toxic information food supplies. Red shirts, what a joke. And all other colored shirts too. Are we in kindergarten dividing ourselves into shirt colors? Since when polarizing discussions into black or white – yellow or red or blue or purple or orange can come to a fruitful conclusion?

For me, outside of trying not to be frustrated into useless bits : what is left to seriously ponder after venting out are the HOWs

HOW to redirect an angry mob into a reasonable conversation
HOW to (re) educate people about global and local economy
HOW to have a conversation to bring pride back to what is uniquely Thai heritage
HOW to find/plant/support a progressive think tank that can help lay out the best possible long term plans

That, is just to begin with.

 

FR : Strasbourg Shopping

Jul 1, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: France, Shopping
Place de l'Homme de fer

Place de l'Homme de fer Strasbourg, France

Discovering Shops in Strasbourg

I had a small duty of picking up for my lovely fiancé some new shirts. Simple enough for me to venture out into this, still strange to me, outside world. He told me specifically where to go get the good deals on clothing. Even showed me in person the store that was then closed when we were in the area on foot a few days ago. But the French’s Summer Sales going on now (regionally lasts a month from last week of June to last week of July,) lured me to explore for different shops. Since I do not have a car, I rely still on their tramway system. This limits me to my specific memory of having ridden about 25 times mostly the same B and F Tram lines. I naturally go to Homme de Fer, the town commercial center. I remember some shops in the area I liked. This did not provide any satisfactory results. Shops in this area, even with their large read letter displays of SOLDES (SALES), does not mean you should buy anything at their ridiculous prices. A lot of brand name stores. Simple jeans can still go for about 80-100 euros. F that. So I searched on.

It is amazing the price differences from store to store. Of course, brands have a lot to do with it, as well as the type of store you finding yourself in. Homme de Fer area housed one of the fanciest stores namely Galleries Lafayette, and various other over priced variety of store names. Unlike many commercial shopping district such as the Rodeo in Beverly Hills, this area has a mix of smaller stores selling Chinese import clothing for cheap as well. I didn’t prefer the quality that I found so I marched on around straying off of the main foot traffic, but still sort of following ‘the herd’ to this other area where I found Place des Halles (http://www.placedeshalles.com/), one of the largest and oldest shopping mall in town. With the sales going on, finally I had a better time shopping. At least I appreciate more the options presented. I know there are better deals to be had in a different area of town. I’ll get there some day when I don’t have to rely on the Tram as my main transportation. Tram lines are only limited to a few direction, much like the artery of the city. The bus system isn’t so bad, but I can’t be bothered right now. For this moment, I recommend this place. The French also have Winter Sales too!

 


Agrandir le plan

US : John Coltrane’s Old House in Philly Neglected

Apr 11, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: USA
Coltrane Alley

The Alley next to the track of houses

John Coltrane House, 1511 North Thirty-third Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

One of the largest figures in the history of Jazz is this saxophonist named John Coltrane. Anyone that knows anything about this genre of music knows the contribution he made during his short 40 years of life. Born in 1926 and died in 1967 when liver cancer took him away. His discography was not as long as many jazz names past or living but his brilliance still unmatched until this day. He’s been credited for spawning the movement avant garde jazz since the 1960s. No matter what level of music geekiness you are, getting into Coltrane’s music can only make life better for you.

For this house, from 1952-1958 John Coltrane spent some last part of his life here. Our touring group stopped in to pay respect to the late greatest Jazz pioneer. But to our sadness, we discovered that the sign decorated this historic house was gone. Then the worry waves come crashing into our individual mind – What now? What’s next? Are they tearing it down? How do people know? Are they recognizing this place? Who took it down and why? etc. etc.

We took a walk around, down the alley and took a look above the fence. Looks like this whole block of house is unoccupied. The overgrowth suggested no activities for some years. We could only speculate at the time what the situation was. Let just hope they are not trying to erase another history here.

 

FR : Strasbourg Krav Maga group

Nov 10, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Activities, Fight Sports, France, Krav Maga
KRAV MAGA à Strasbourg

Krav Maga in Strasbourg

 

Krav Maga in North Eastern France – Found

Another way for me to feel like home in a land where I do not speak the language is to get into this. I scoped out right away and found a solid group established and exist here in Strasbourg since 1997. Gilles Hassine, the head instructor/owner has tons of credits and experiences including having 3rd degree black belt and some kick boxing championship credential. Being a half Tunisian, half Israeli, gave him unique background, I think. His credentials are long, his techniques are clean, also he is a very nice guy who’s pretty much welcome my interest to join. And just like a lot of black belt people I sort of know, he’s also pretty funny. Best of all, of course, he’s a great instructor. It’s not difficult to notice how he keeps an eye out on all students, being very aware of their levels.

I had been to the class/seminar just twice. Gilles accommodated me by finding someone that can communicate to me in English. Although such people often were very skilled trainee, one was a soldier. He was helpful and instructive, but partnering up with him was like fighting a rock and I was a worm. Same with when I had to partner with another assistant of Gilles’s in a fighting seminar. I was punched in the head that startled me more than hurt me, but it was a good punch by someone who clearly was far superior in skills. I need to bring it better and stop laughing so much when I get nervous.

I look forward to make Strasbourg Krav Maga my new home.

FR : The French home part 2

Sep 13, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Daily life, France
Medium Coffee Cups

These were gifts from Grandma Marie-Luis

Powering up : The Electrical Outlets/Plugs, and Coffee Cups

Naturally for a frequent computer user,… which most of us are these days,  the first 2 thing that comes to the priority list once you arrived to some new place includes in the top are the power plug and…. coffee!

Ah, the French…. I had just one plug converter to make use of my laptop power cord. Right away I didn’t have enough. To buy one adaptor for each US power plug soon proved to be impractical. My next noted solution is to pick up an extension cord/multiple outlet power supply the next time I’m in the US. ‘Cause I’ll tell you, little electrical things cost so much money here. Those and stationary like notebooks and blank CDs. Apparently the French are huge into cutting down the use of papers and they are anti copying stuff.

The physical look of their plugs and outlets are quite impressive to me. They seem durable, heavy duty, industrial like. I can get with that. According to this wikipedia, it is a “type E”, out of over a dozen types around the world. The wiki page is a fun glance at the variety of them, many are obsolete. Just makes me wonder why it wasn’t standardized at the first place when they invented electricity. Perhaps I should read the history article.

Now. More importantly than getting the electrical power up in your devices, it’s the caffeine power…. I hope you won’t be as disappointed as I was to find their TINY COFFEE CUPS to be less than adequate in this matter. I honestly can do away with the supersize nature of American food consumption overall except for this one. Reflecting upon my own past experiences, I can not recall at what point large cups of coffee became my daily requirement. I remember that at some point, I’d be fine having gone a day or two without food as long as there’s a pot of coffee hanging around. Not the healthiest, I know, but it was fine.

Naturally it became my obsession to sort of snuff at their coffee cups everywhere I go. They do snuff right back at me for always having my coffee with milk, saying that it’s not coffee anymore. “Do you know what they call coffee with milk in the U.S.?” I ask. Often the French target says no. “Café au lait”, haha… imagine that. Why is it called in French if it’s so uncommon to them? Silly. Among other things that you’d be surprised for the French to not know associated to them is the “French press”, and “French Roast” (not my favorite anyway). I look forward to bring this up again and again to the next French person who looks at me funny when I ask for milk with my coffee.

 

FR : The French home part 1

Sep 10, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Daily life, France
Snap shot of a house

Random house

Their toilets, Shower, and Windows

When I got here the first time, I came into an apartment that was needing some work. My boyfriend’s place is on the 6th floor of this building in Montagne Verte area south west of Strasbourg. His wall is still raw of partially torn out old wall papers. The kitchen was partially function. That was nothing new to my knowledge of a habitable structure. But the differences, however common it maybe for others, I still took my personal time to enjoy, or trip out on littlest of things. Below are some of my first impressions. More soon.

The toilets – they are located in a separate room than the bathrooms. So you’d ask for toilet if you wish to use the toilet, not where the bathroom is.

The bath/shower – they come with shower heads that do not hang over your head. They just sort of rest on this weird housing on top of the hot/cold water knobs down below. I had to ask them to explain to me how do they shower. Apparently they are satisfied with a one hand holding up the shower head system. This I can not get used to.

The windows – Seriously I really honestly thought for a freakish few seconds that they were BROKEN. The top two corners of the windows seem to loose a hinge. I freaked out the first time I operated one, to simply open a window. The top of it angle toward me and I thought it was going to fall on me. Whew. Luckily it’s just one of many little things that the French has here that makes me wonder why it doesn’t exist somewhere else I’d ever been? The windows, and similar type doors, have 3 positions for the handle. When you point to 12 o’clock, you get the top window to ajar. When you point to 3 o’clock, you get to open the window like how we all know to open a window. And when you point the handle down to 6 o’clock, that’s when you get it into lock.  Another thing about these windows, which apparently I can go on and on about, they are DOUBLE glass. This helps the insulation during the harsh weather season. Also common, is the roll down metal shutter outside the window to provide complete darkness and/or security when you want to. The windows themselves are obviously newly designed. What I love the most about seeing them is how they are commonly fitted in with the existing windows of very old structures.

 

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