Ming the Mechanic:

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Everyday2003-08-12 17:24
picture by Flemming Funch

A few more tidbits from our life in Toulouse. We've lived here in the house for just 12 days, but it feels like home now. And, since we don't really have any money right now, we have to focus on the simpler things and actually be a bit more in touch with the local surroundings. I.e. we walk around or take the metro. I haven't not had a car for more than 20 years, so that in itself is sort of new. More work, but kind of refreshing. We get a lot of sun and exercise.

The Metro is about 10 minutes of walking away. It is called Arenes and is by some quirky architect designed to look like an arena. There's essentially only one Metro line in Toulouse at this point, and they're working on one more. We can take it towards the center of town, stopping at various squares, or the other direction, towards the Mirail university and a shopping area called Basso Campo. The most likely reason for us to go there is that there's a big hypermarché there. That's a supermarket on steroids and the French have many of those on the outskirts of cities. Several times bigger than the biggest markets I've seen in the States, and selling a mixture of just about anything. Nothing fabulous about it other than the size, but it is a practical thing. Somewhat less practical without a car, though. Yesterday we dragged a folded up table home in the metro.

We live in an area called La Cépière. I'm not sure what that means, but it seems to be the name of the horse race track which is very close to our house.

Today I walked to the center of town to see how far it was. Not too bad. About 45 minutes or so. All of it is pretty pleasant, but the more interesting parts are crossing the Garonne river over Pont Neuf and the walking streets and areas around the Capitole Square. Today I walked into the Capitole (Town Hall) and looked at La Salle des Illustres. It is a gallery with richly decorated ceilings and huge paintings, mostly illustrating various historical aspects of Toulouse.

We haven't particularly figured out how to blend in yet. I'm sure we look to the locals as obvious Americans. I'm sure that wearing white socks, a baseball cap, and carrying a water bottle in my hands and a map in my back pocket gives me away right away, before I even open my mouth to mangle the French language. But when anybody asks, I say we're Danish.

And as to the house. Everybody else in the neighborhood seem to be hiding behind closed shutters with the lights out, being very quiet. Where our natural tendency is to open all windows and curtains and have lots of lights on. Even in L.A. our house looked like the christmas tree or fishbowl of the neighborhood. Here I'm not at all sure what they'll think about us. And we aren't exactly quiet people either. But so far the villagers haven't shown up at night with torches or anything.

We don't have a TV yet, but maybe it would be useful after all to help with the language learning. Otherwise I have in mind that Marie-Therese and Zachery will attend an intensive French school from September 1st. Alliance Francaise probably. And Nadia will probably be in a local kindergarten when we find one. The language is really a big thing, and I'm looking forward to not being the only one who can answer the phone when it is in French.

Getting to know some people here is a bit slower than I would like. Of course the language is an issue there too, and it will help when we can go out and sign up for various activities where you're likely to get to know people. French classes or fencing or whatever. One isn't very likely to make friends in the Metro here.

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12 Aug 2003 @ 20:28 by Seb @ : Bon courage!
Bon courage Ming! Et continue d'écrire - nous sommes plusieurs à suivre ton aventure avec beaucoup d'intérêt.  

13 Aug 2003 @ 04:12 by ming : Associations
Yeah, we found {link:http://www.geocities.com/aitonline/|Americans in Toulouse} early on, and they're a great resource. They normally have a lot going on as well, but this vacation month is a bit slim.

In a new place I wouldn't normally think of particularly seeking out people from where I come from (U.S., Denmark). Like, in L.A. there was a scandinavian club, and we went to a couple of events. But really it was kind of like the worst of Scandinavia. Sort of a rowdy drinking club. Which is fun for a while, but not if that's all the people you know. We're more inclined to get to know the natives.

But here I think it will be quite helpful with some associations. We have more of a need for learning the ropes, and it helps meeting some people with a similar background, who've already figured out some of it, and who speak your own language.

The {link:http://perso.club-internet.fr/michael.abbott/hash/|Hash House Carriers} sound like a fun rowdy bunch.  

24 Aug 2007 @ 11:24 by Deb Slater @ : Just arrived in Toulouse
Hello. We just arrived in Toulouse a couple days ago. Our Internet connection, very vital to our work as graphic artists, has been mostly down. However, I wanted to say "hello." Perhaps we can meet sometime. I'd say more, but I feel pressured to get this off while still connected.

À la prochaine,


6 Sep 2007 @ 00:43 by ming : Toulouse
Hi Deb, I hope your connection is working by now. Feel free to drop me a line or call me, 09 50 50 20 50. And {link:http://www.americansintoulouse.com/|Americans in Toulouse} would be a good idea to join, whether you're American or not.  

Other stories in
2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

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