I have been taking advantage of the 60-70degree Fahrenheit weather after my internship for the past few days and have thus been able to discover more of Lyon. But while I am in a foreign country, and while the French are a bit different from we Americans, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a few things this week that reminded me just the tiniest bit of home.
Thursday night, I attended the premiere of Thierry BRUSSON’s “New York – horizontal” exhibit, which displayed panoramic images of NYC. Yeah, 360 degree photographs of the Big Apple and its surrounding areas. I had a hard time visualizing this concept myself, so of course I had to go and check it out for myself. Here’s a picture of Times Square, but probably in a manner that you’ve never seen before.
Pretty interesting stuff. This picture is also pretty nifty, or trippy as some might say. You take your pick and let me know.
Of course, it should go without saying that no French event would be complete without copious amounts of cheese, bread, and wine. I had the pleasure of sampling three box wines – a white, a rose, and a red, all of which were actually tasty. This was my second time trying box wine but I found it to be pretty decent and not terrible like I had previously heard it to be. The cheese was great as well, I discovered that Lyonnais people do not like Brie. Yes, I was shocked that there were French people who didn’t like Brie, but their rationale is 1. Brie is made in the north, 2. it’s a creamy cheese without much flavor, so therefore 3. if you must eat creamy cheese, why not eat Camembert which is also originally from the Normandy northern area but also has flavor? Ah, who knows. The French are the French.
Then, the other day as I was walking around centre Lyon, I noticed something a bit out of place amongst all the French cafes. I saw the image you see on the right. A Ben and Jerry’s ice cream cafe (complete with outdoor seating area under many umbrellas) and a Haagen Daaz as well (also with seating area etc)! I stopped to look at the menus and my goodness, in France they are so much more legitimate about eating their ice cream than we Americans are. Most people I know, myself included, just walk into an ice cream shop and walk out with our scoop or two in a cup or a cone. But in this country, people actually sit at a cafe, order a huge thing of ice cream or a sundae or a banana split. And they sit at these cafes, eating their ice cream. It’s a bit like Friendly’s I suppose, but everyone here seems to do it while drinking their afternoon beverage of choice.
Finally, the last thing that reminded me a little bit of home was the couple of city blocks with Chinese writing and Vietnamese/Taiwanese/Thai writing – aka, Lyon Chinatown! Not that I live in a Chinatown in the states, but I’ve been to the Boston, NYC, and DC Chinatowns a fair bit during my lifetime. Lyon’s pretty tiny and consists only of a few little blocks, but it was complete with roasted pig and ducks and all that yummy Asian goodness. How’d I find it? Well, I was looking for a phone/SIM card, which I was told I could find easily in Guillotiere (it’s on the East side of the Rhone, in East Lyon where I live), but I was distracted by the sounds and smells coming from a few blocks over. So when I walked over, I saw some Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants that I definitely want to try one of these days. I think there was also a small Asian-esque grocery store too, so maybe I’ll find some dumplings as well.
So there you have it, a little of NY, Chinatowns, and ice cream all in Lyon.