07 October 2007

France Wins Over the All Blacks

Boy that was a nail biter!! 20-18!! The closeness of the score does not reflect the reality of the upset! France - definitely considered the underdog in this match - not only held but took the match away from the All Blacks. Mike compares it to the feeling when USA beat Russia in the 80 Olympics. Everyone considered it a done deal that New Zealand would win. We definitely heard the French fans at 2 am! So much exuberance and spirit - the fortified sort. France now faces England. The fever has intensified.

06 October 2007

Rugby World Cup

We were so fortunate to receive six great tickets to the Rugby World Cup match between South Africa and the USA. Montpellier was host to a good share of the matches as rugby is very popular in this region...second only to soccer.

Rugby fever has just taken over the country. There has been a truck with a huge screen TV in Place Comedie every weekend for a communal watching of the matches...giving fabulous revenues to the cafes selling the rugby fan's favorite beverages - beer, beer and...beer. We have never seen so many anglophones in our area and well lubricated at that. Before going to the match, we had a drink with our friends while watching the Argentine/Ireland match on the big screen. The plaza was full of all of the South African fans getting in their last minute preparations before heading to the stadium. Their warm up consisted of amplification of their voices as well as repetitive use of their elbow bending movement. It was quite a spectacle to behold.

Yesterday, on the news, it was rugby stories about everything from an actual church called Notre Dame de Rugby replete with rugby players surrounding the Virgin Mary in a stained glass window to memorabilia displayed like saintly relics to the selection process of the jerseys to be worn in tonight's all important (and probably final) match for the French national team contre the all powerful All Blacks from New Zealand...The French wear dark blue and the All Blacks wear...all black. Neither fan base wants their team to wear their traveling jerseys, but since one team must, the French in their ever present sense of egalite (equality) feel that both should have to wear their traveling jerseys.
Our village is hosting a community big screen party to watch the match and the village should be quite alive until the final score is digested...expected to be something along the lines of 80 to not enough. It has been diverting and educational to say the least. We know so much more about the game than we ever did. It is quite an interesting and fun game to watch.

03 October 2007

French word of the day - Bizutage


Definition: (school slang) hazing, ragging

Beaucoup de grandes ├ęcoles en France ne permettent plus le bizutage - Many of France's prestigious universities no longer allow hazing

But evidently the universities in Montpellier still allow bizutage. This whole month since school has begun, the first year university students have been out in the streets experiencing bizutage. One group had the students tied together and one had a can of whipped cream and another had a plate. They had to go up to strangers in the Place Comedie and ask for money to buy their drinks for the night. In exchange, the person would fill up the plate and the stranger got to smash it in the face of whichever of the two students they chose.

Another bizutage had the students...first year medical students I think...stand behind a big piece of painted wood with only their faces showing and the person who "donated to the cause" got to paint their faces.

According to Melanie and Catherine - my french coworkers - it is a rite of passage. A bit intimidating and humiliating, but if you refuse, the rest of the year - and forever long their memory is - you are considered outside the group and a party pooper...although that was my addition as that does not translate well.

Mary's Favorite Street Musician


Whenever I see this man playing, I have to stop and listen. He is so great and he just loves to sit and play. Always a lovely smile and a warm "Bonjour" when you give him change. Nothing like it!