13 September 2008

La Braderie

From my journal:

Sun 07 Sept 13:53
Yesterday was fun and interesting. The weather was rather crappy. It couldn't seem to make up its mind. To be cold... or not to be cold? I got up at a decent hour to get my phone fixed at Euralille, but it apparently magically fixed itself, cuz it worked fine. Don't i look stupid? The braderie was already in full swing. There were stands everywhere. And in all prices, from dirt cheap to ridiculously expensive.

Weds 10 Sept 8:48
I bought lots of books on the way back from Euralille, all in french of course (i am a total book worm). And one dude had, what i'm quite certain, was a book by the Marquis de Sade. I found the french version of the big white all-about-horses book, for 3euros. After that I wandered for, oh, about forever. There was tons of jewelry (i got some belly rings from a guy who refused to speak to me in french) and clothes and on nearly every street there was some one selling scarves. And the awesomest knives ever. All decorative and stuff (both the retro medieval style, and some with cool sheaths with a picture on it) I wanted one so bad, and to get one for Ward (one of my (if not the) best friends). I asked this guy about a gorgeous, medium sized carved horse, and he wanted SEVENTY euros for it. I was ready to move on. Way too much for my budget. But he was convinced I needed to try to barter. So I told him the highest I would go was 15, in hopes he'd just turn me down (i need to learn to say NO). No such luck. We barted down to 25 and before I could make up my mind whether I wanted it, I had the horse in a bag, and he was taking my money.
By this time I was worried about getting to the meeting with Lalie (one of the french students) in time, but it was SO packed getting to my dorm. For a while there was literally NO movement. I was worried that someone would bump into me and break the horse. Even Rue d'Angleterre was busy- I ended up going a block out of my way to get there on time. But, luckily, I didn't get there late. It was a bit difficult getting situated in the group, what with all the new people. But I eventually ended up with Stu and Katryn, and frome time to time, Jen. I asked the french students about the dog-kids, they didn't even know what I was talking about. Grr. We stopped at Mme Bray's church's bake sale, and took pics and then headed to the train station in order to see the free concert. Rue Bethune was so packed- we lost the group over and over. We stopped for lunch/dinner (I hada ham and gruyere feluche, it was really good) and when we started again, Akiko Seinna and Jen got left behind.
There were these funky invisble whistles that were so piercing, and a shoe store that had boots with the arch open- like a cross between boots and dress shoes. It was interesting. At the gar, there were native Americans dancing and playing instruments. It was really cool, and about the last thing I would've expected to see in Europe. I wonder how authentic they are, and what brings them all the way to Europe. Do they live here? What generation are they?
So, we found the c oncert, and everyone wanted to stay near the stage, but OMG it was so loud. So we ended up sitting on the grass off to the side. Stu was very eager to begin the partying part of the Braderia, so we went to CarreFour. Only, when we got there, all the liquor was blocked off by huge pallets. And there were guards standing and watching us, like "i know what you're thinking. Don't even try it." There was a whole group of people standing there, like "what now?" So we went back with out Stu's liquor.
Stu bought a scarf at the braderie and was trying to put it on his head cuz he was cold. So I put it on him like a hijab. Let's just say Stu is really cute in muslim drag. (no offense meant to those who are, after all, I only know how to wrap one b/c I've worn one before).
And I found out that Jen lives in my dorm, so I officially know someone who lives here. She's from alberta, in a french speaking university, which is sweet! It got so cold at the concert that us girls were 'huddling' for warmth, and then dancing a bit. lol.
The last singer was quite interesting. He hit every note on the scale at least once in every song, and used cymbals in the first song rather than a guitar or something. And in every song he did this strange high pitched wail/moan thing. It was a wee bit disturbing. But he had a few really good songs, during which groups of people would bounce and run up to the stage and dance and stuff, it was cool.
During the concert there were random people/employees? with giant balloons strapped to their backs, and they LIT UP! It was awesome. Jen got a pic. They dropped these giant balloons filled with confetti from a bridge onto the crowd at the stage, and when they popped, they made a huge cloud of confetti. During the concert, the host chose a few girls (of course, girls, and attractic ones, not guys etc) to go back stage, and the security guards literally dragged them over the fence. And lots of people had these red balloon-sticks that they banged together.
We left the concert early to go to the bar (and to avoid the crowds) We made a chain so we wouldn't lose anyone. lol. Jen and I skipped and danced all the way back. And we saw a bunch of guys playing leap frog down the street! I wanted to join them, but they got yelled at by someone and stopped :(. There was lots of noise and lights and garbage and music everywhere. It was completely awesome.
We ended up at this jamaican-esque bar with fun tropical fruit filled drinks. Jen and I left 'early' (as in before everyone else, but it was already well into the AM's) I checked out Jen's room, which looks out on a back garden I didn't even know existed. And her room is strange- there are actually 2 rooms, with a doorway in the middle of the dividing room. But they're both tiny, just barely wider than the doors. One had the bed and sink, the other had the desk and storage space.
And I found out the international office has free dorm stuff!!! I could've had pots and pans and.. omg. Why didn't they mention this when I visited them! But at least I can go and get a comforter.

Weds 10Sept 15:31
I got up late, it was so good.
Jen and I went to the corner and found some scarves. I bought one for one of my sisters, and one for me. We went back down Rue de la Liberté and I found a cool bag for 3 euro. The guys there were all excited when they found out I was american and Jen's canadian. The first thing they wanted to know is if I'm voting for Obama or McCain. They were very excited. lol. They changed their selling pitch to include how awesome they were cuz they had an american and canadian and ch'ti. We saw lots of fun clothes, and knives. We managed to find the Porte de Paris. It was very pretty. Euralille was closed. I'm going to go back and get some eiffel tower earrings for another sister. The native americans were still there. Jen bought some cool coins at the Vieux Bourse (they havel ots of used books and stuff all the time).
I spent the evening in the computer room, as the internet continued to not work in my room. It's rather obnoxious, especially when you're the 4th+ person in and end up on the floor. Ah well.

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