Okay, I’m not sipping a Bordeaux, but I am in Bordeaux. This place is magical. Cool, in a way that Paris isn’t. Yesterday went to the wine country and walked around Smith Haut Lafitte winery — the perimeter, that is (you need reservations for a tour). It took a full hour.
I’m still trying to figure things out. Grocery stores (maybe all stores?) close at noon on Sunday and are only open till 8 on weekdays. There are no 24-hour places here. The first time I went to the local grocery store (Atac, in Talence) I tried to get a cart but found that they were all chained together. Then I noticed that you had to put a euro in a slot on the handlebar to unlock the cart, so I did. Fair enough, thought I — a euro for a cart.
When I was done with it I left it outside so someone else could use it without paying a euro. The next time I came, a woman was wheeling her cart back to the cart place. I said, “Are you done with that?” She looked at me like I’d just stepped off a flying saucer. I said, “I’ll take it if you’re done with it.” She said, making an “O” with her thumb and forefinger, “You’ll take it if you have one of these.”
Puzzled, I held up a euro. “But I do,” I said, but she just rolled her eyes and kept pushing the cart. Turns out the euro is just to get the cart out, not to rent it. You get the euro back when you put the cart back. That’s two carts I left out with euros in them. They got a free cart plus a euro.
And then I went to the cash with my haul. Ten people behind me, and when he came to the first of my many vegetables he said “You have to weigh this before you come to the cash.” Huh? Turns out there’s a weighing machine that you put your vegetables on and buttons with each vegetable portrayed on a panel and you have to push the right button and it spits out a label with a barcode that he scans. Who knew. No vegetables that day.
Anyway, Bordeaux is great. Following are some pics that have no captions, as I don’t know how to make them. But check out the St. André's Cathedral, that makes the Oratory look like a shed behind your house.