Mountain (crashing) Biking

So lately I have been bitten by this fitness bug… What I am going to achieve from this I have no idea. At present I am going for scantly clad cheerleaders, buff body and epic awesomeness. A man can dream right?

It seems that you have to prioritise when it comes to Mountain Biking. As I flew over my handlebars for the umpteenth time in graceful slow motion, I wondered what accessories I would need to prevent said experiences from happening so regularly. As I am sure everyone knows, being airborne is only cool if you have a soft landing… as opposed to a landing filled with rocks, angry animals and general unhappiness.

So far I have a helmet and a camel back. I have broken down my needs into 3 further things: Shoes, gloves and shorts. Shorts would protect my delicate arse, gloves to protect my already partially shredded hands and shoes (with practice) to keep me on the bike.

I am leaning towards the shoes… as Saturday was quite a sight with me looking like a French hooker, my legs splayed outwards as I desperately tried to stop crashing. Although, Shoes lock you in… so if you do topple, the bike topples with you… adding to your misery.

Well, food for thought. I am off to Gym… hopefully I can drop weights on my toes to complete the process.

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Letters from France!

I decided to share my letters to my Family… hope you enjoy!

Dear Family (Formal yet effective)

The first week was a great experiences filled with loads of
experiences and adventures. It started off with what I thought was a
very late start to my school because the tram workers were on strike.
It seems that what the french hold dear to them are (in no particular
order) wine, cheese, bicycles, coffee and protests. I have decided
that when I get back, I am selling my car and buying a coffee machine
– there is nothing like it. Its quite amusing how instant coffee is
referred to my host family as “Merde avec de l’eau” Shit with water.

Anyways the tram was not working and it was raining so could not ride
and eventually ended up walking. I arrived to find that class had not
started yet so that was a relief. The class is made up of many
different nationalities which makes it interesting… some fun people
from Columbia, a lot of Swiss, Americans and a turd of a New
Zealander.

Anyways, I am making progress but have a lot of Language blocks which
is apparently normal. You could be half way through a sentence and you just cant think any more in that Language. Anyways the old case of broken telephone was apparent when I was asked by a lecturer why I had gotten up at such an ungodly hour… ungodly hour to the french is anything before 8. I told her (in my best french) that I was doing
homework that a lecturer had set me and I needed to finish it.
Apparently what I said was that I had woken up in the morning with the lecturer to do “homework” with her! I found that extremely amusing… and she is rather attractive so I cant complain.

Been exploring the town quite a lot. I am not really a fan however…
Its one of the most beautiful towns I have ever come across but I miss the pace of Paris, and the worship of bicycles in the town is a bit creepy. But all will be revealed once I have established interviews etc. And according to my very arrogant french friend “Paris is the most beautiful city in the word” I am making contacts in Paris so hopefully something comes of it.

Went out on Friday with a bunch of Spanish, Colombian and some rather
dodgy looking mexicans who honest looked like they had skipped the
border and were hiding out in France (Yes I know France is no where
near Mexico but still). Was good fun and great to see the student life at night.

Saturday night was another great adventure. Went to my first ever
football match which was absolutely amazing. The stadium was packed
with what must have been 30 000 people. Bordeaux was playing a home
game against Sochaux (no Idea where that is). Anyways when me and my
rather nerdy looking Swiss friend (who is saying with the same family) got to the game, the tickets were sold out. Clever me went around the corner and found another entrance that were still selling tickets. Very pleased with myself, we enter the stadium ready for the game. The whole stadium is divided by fences (to stop riots)and the field is separated from the stadium by a trench (I imagined them filling it with water and crocodiles). Anyways where we were sitting was the sochaux supporters box which was tiny compared to the rest of the stadium. There was this old Honky tonk who was proudly showing me his Sochaux supporters tattoos… There were literally 300 of us against 30 000. Quite amazing, but I loved the singing and the crazy
supporters. It is HUGE here and the atmosphere was incredible. Anyways end of the game arrived… sochaux lost 2-0 and we were met with riot police equipped for war. They were wearing helmets and banging the shields with batons… was quite amazing. Some Bordeaux supporters charged the fence and lit flares but were beaten with batons… was great fun. The rest of the night was filled with celebrations and some good times.

Today I went to this French expo thingy which was a bit of a snore but
at least I got to saw the rest of the town.

Love to all,

Christopher

Baiser anyone?

I had the honour and privilege of living in France for a year. I came out of the whole experienced a lot more enriched, with plenty of funny stories to share.

I remember being slapped when I was there because of the word “baiser”. A tricky word indeed, because if used as a noun, it means “to kiss” and if used as a verb, it means “Sleep together” to put it politely. You learn quickly.

Other random titbits – In France, driving test results are only released once you go home due to some very angry Frenchmen beating up the driving instructors after an unfavourable result. Also, if you had a few too many drinks and are riding home on a bicycle, the police are allowed to stop you and breathalyse you. I lived by the rule that I only stopped if they have cars / horses / bicycles… if they were on foot – I burn rubber.

There is nothing the French enjoy more than a good strike. What is hilarious is that the strike only lasts one day – a lot of table thumping, cheering, poster raising, fireworks… and then its back to work the next day. Funny thing is they recruit people in the street to join the cause. If you have nothing better to do, you could always join a protest you know nothing about. I did, briefly – was good fun until armed police showed up and I disappeared into a darkened ally and pretended to be admiring the brick colour. I asked my lecturer the next day if there was still a strike and she looked at me like I had just asked her gran out on a date and said “Of course not! That was yesterday”. Ah.