I’m gradually getting used to these French people.
I don’t (much) mind being overtaken in a roundabout (I drive on the right, they go around the other way and hopefully they get to the chosen exit before me…)
I don’t mind not being able to use my credit card (because it’s not issued in France) at 24 hour petrol stations.
I no longer go into a catatonic state when people you’ve never seen in your life say “Bonjour MonsieurDame” (I DO like the prioritisation…) in the street, especially after the “avert eyes and scurry past” mode that Germans go into.
I’m coming to terms with the fact that people say “Merci” when you stop for them on the pedestrian crossing and – by the same token – come to a screeching halt if you – as a pedestrian – are within 10 metres of a crossing.
And I’m even getting used to their jumping in with whatever English they can muster when my French stops working after around 7.3 seconds. That’s new.
Their Orange mobile phone service has got me stumped, though.
On Monday afternoon – a mere 100 or so hours after I’d paid €35 for a sim card and a mere 90-ish hours after I’d paid for a month’s worth of all-you-can-eat internet – I’m still getting billed €30 an hour for internet access. (Note: I’m not using it very much…)
The nice young lady at Orange with the big
knockers er….eyes looked at the iPhone, looked in her system and assured me that I was now on internet illimité and that I could safely get a Recharge which I could use for phoning and yes they do say that it’s activated within 48 hours, but Saturday and Sunday don’t actually HAVE any hours so that explains it all.
So that’s OK.
Naïve as I am, I believed her. (With eyes – or whatever – like that, who wouldn’t….?)
Next morning, I rock over to the local supermarket in Roussillon on my way to visit the fashion model helping out at the bakery for a leer baguette and say in what goes for my best French
“Bonjour Madame, une Recharge pour Orange á dix Euro, sil vous plait”
“Pour DIX Euro, Monsieur?” she asks incredulously
“Oui (I can say “Oui” so immaculately that the locals think I’m one of them), pour dix Euro” I counter.
I’m convinced I’ve just ordered a €10 Orange top-up; she’s equally sure I think I need a massive dose of Vitamin C to fend off a scurvy attack.
“Alors” she says, grabs a bag and starts stuffing oranges (as in “peel and eat them” oranges) into it.
“Mais non!” I implore, pointing to a conveniently placed poster “Orange telephonique!”
Slaps her forehead, says something that I’d like to think was “It’s early in the morning” but was probably “Stupid fucking foreigner” and prints me out a voucher.
On second thoughts, I should have perhaps gone with SFR, the other provider.
Less potential for le confusion
Postscript: Despite having l’Internet illimite and having turned off anything that might suck up bandwidth (emails aren’t considered to be data – you have to pay extra for that. Go figure…), I’ve managed to rip through ANOTHER dix Euro in a matter of hours.
Je donnez en haut, as they say around these parts….