• Joshua Dopkowski

Croix Rousse

Jet lagged and lost in translation

Official full day number 2 included more exploring and riding the metro system in Lyon. I was quite jet lagged and couldn’t fall asleep until 04h00 local time (4am). The good news is that I got to watch late night French TV, which appeared to be interesting, however, I could not really say for certain since I could not understand it.

One of the highlights was watching Spike Lee drop the word "fuck" many times while describing Donald Trump, however the French did not censor his English curse words. They did, however, censor the subtitled translation in French!

The other highlight was watching Donald Trump speaking but dubbed over in French. I liked him better in French.

After getting some broken sleep, I finally forced myself out of bed at 11h30 this morning, and took my sweet time actually walking out the door, which occurred around 13h00 (1pm).

The first thing I did was to stop in the café right across the street and order a coffee. The name of the place is Le Pinte Douce, and it is a sort of dive bar feel establishment with an incredible view of the city below.

It took me about another hour to collect myself and make sure I had food for tonight. Afterwards, I began the short journey down the hill to the mairie, which is essentially the town hall for the arrondissement (basically a district of the city). I was informed that they would speak English at the mairie, however they did not. One young lady spoke some, and between her English and my French we were able to figure out the next steps for enrolling the little one into school. This was by far my greatest test to date in communicating in French, and I must say I handled it very well! My French was better than her English, and my French is not good.

Tomorrow I will return to the office for an appointment where we will hopefully have everything figured out, however I have been warned it’s very common to not have a required document and therefore I may need to return. We shall see!

After the mairie, I walked all the way to the 5th arrondissement, which is called old Lyon. How old? Apparently parts of it date back to the time of Augustus Caesar, when Lyon was actually a Gaulish city under Roman rule. Today I did not see the structures that remain from the Roman era, as I did not want to climb the hill. Instead I explored the more recently built parts of the district, which were constructed during the middle ages and renaissance eras.

After so much walking and not great sleep, I started to weaken some, and I was very thirsty. I grabbed an outdoor seat at a large café, hoping no one would bother me so I could rest, however the waitress did approach me and started speaking to me in French. Without thinking, I ordered a water and a small coffee, however I did it entirely in French. This was my first real exchange completely in French, and without pointing at anything on the menu!

After the water and coffee I felt better, however I was till tired and depleted, so rather than continuing to walk I proceeded to the Metro station next door. An agent was standing in the front to offer assistance, however she did not speak a word of English, so I had to settle for her directions in French while referencing the map. Again, I surprised myself as I understood premise of what she said, and so I purchased a ticket and navigated my way back to my neighborhood. Three metro trains later I arrived back home.

It is worth noting that the trains here are not air conditioned much, so being on the train was a bit uncomfortable. The stations themselves however were quiet cool and I never felt uncomfortable while waiting; this of course is the opposite of the NYC experience. I’ve yet to be in Paris in the summer so I can’t compare yet.

Tomorrow will be focused on school enrollment, and I am going to explore the Lyonnaise transit system further, likely taking my first trip up the University I'll be working at. 


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