Flawless French…n’est-ce pas? | HumorOutcasts

Flawless French…n’est-ce pas?

July 20, 2016

What trip isn’t full of unexpected surprises?  What could be more boring than a flawless trip?

I convinced my brother to take me with him to the International Surf Film Festival in Anglet, France. It cost us a fortune. But once we put this boondoggle in motion, we couldn’t seem to stop the train.

Airfare was cheap the week before we left and cheap the week after we needed to be there. We threw caution to the wind, threw more money at the problem and eventually came home First Class! What the hell, if you’re going to break the bank, you might as well fly in style.

We landed in Spain and asked the taxi driver to take us to the train station so we could get  a cheap bus to Biarritz in France. He thought we asked him to take us to the train station in Biarritz….and this conversation was in English. When we realized our mutual mistake we just said take us to our hotel. It was a 60 Euro mistake.

Every single cab ride after that…where we went less than 3 miles cost us 25 Euro in France. We quickly learned how to take the bus for 1 Euro and returned to Spain on the bus for 7 Euro. Truly that was the kindness of the French people who taught theses crazy Americans how to save money.

Our biggest problem happened when my brother had to be at a filmmaker’s meeting at 3:00. We made it to the venue just on time. But nobody knew where Bruno, our contact was. My brother called Bruno, who told us we had to be at the lighthouse. We could see the lighthouse in the distance. We knew this would be another 25 Euro cab ride if we could get someone to call us a cab. See in these beach resort towns, there are no cabs. The only way to get one is to call…..and speak French. I’ve been practicing my French for years, and eventually, I did call…and they asked me to speak English. We managed to get to the lighthouse after realizing that the French for lighthouse is not “maison lumiere” but “phare,” which was on the map, thank God, because how the hell would we know that word?



At the phare, we still couldn’t find Bruno. I’d like to say we found cotton candy, cool rides and funnel cake, but it was just a phare.  My brother called Bruno again, and he said:

“Non, I said ze white house!” in a French accent, which is where communication broke down.

Of course, Bruno doesn’t know what a lighthouse is……it’s a phare, to him. By the way, we were standing in front of the white house when we called Bruno the first time. Seventy-five Euro later, we were too late for the meeting.

Everything else was perfect. The weather, watching a film festival on the beach in France, the surfing for aficionados like my brother, the food, the shopping, the wonderful,

French Surfing!

French Surfing!

wonderful French people.

Only two more things were unforgettable:

My brother is a vegetarian. It was a bit of a challenge to find anything without meat or seafood. But we managed and restauranteurs did their best to help us. So in a bold move, on our last night there, when the owner of the restaurant tried to make something for my brother to eat, we wanted to thank him for his kindness.

I said: ‘Mon frere adore tous les voitures francais! Il est magnifiques!

I wanted to say: “My brother adores all the French food. It is magnificent.”

If you speak French you know I said: “My brother adores all the French automobiles. They are magnificent!

Beautiful Spanish hotel with a bidet!

Beautiful Spanish hotel with a bidet!

And in Spain…… I dropped my toothbrush in the bidet.

“You Just have to Laugh….”

©CathySikorski 2016

cathy sikorski

After more than 25 years of caregiving and Elder Law, Cathy writes about the comedy of caregiving in her blog; "You just have to Laugh..."She is the author of "Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial (killer) Caregiver" published by HumorOutcasts Press in 2015.

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19 Responses to Flawless French…n’est-ce pas?

  1. Bill Y Ledden
    July 23, 2016 at 5:36 am

    This makes me want to go to France. I live just around the water from it!

  2. July 20, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Wonderful story! Wonderful experiences. Hilariously told. What great memories you will have.

    • July 21, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Thanks, Nancy! I love making special memories with my family… And my toothbrush!

  3. July 20, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    what an adventure! I so admire people who navigate their way around foreign countries using a foreign language. I’ve visited France and Spain once – but with a tour group – at least a few of us spoke English!

    • July 21, 2016 at 6:43 am

      Tour groups are great, Leanne! But it feels pretty good to just venture out and not end up in jail!!!

  4. July 20, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    So funny! I’ve never been to Spain or France or anywhere outside of the U.S. (Except Juarez, Mexico a billion years ago.) When I do, though, I’ll certainly be cautious with my toothbrush and chuckle as I recall you and your adventures. Fun post!

    • July 21, 2016 at 6:42 am

      You must go Lisa, if for no other reason than to see how kind people really are!

  5. July 20, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Yikes! The final insult..a toothbrush in a bidet.

    • July 20, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Thank God my brother took me home first class where they give you a toothbrush as soon as you get there. My reputation precedes me!!!

  6. July 20, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    You are hilarious! It would be so much fun to travel with you – I’ll bring you an extra toothbrush just in case 🙂

    • July 20, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      I have been waiting and waiting for you to invite me, Lois! My bag is packed girlfriend. Name the place!

  7. July 20, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    You gave me such a huge laugh! Loved this post and can so relate.

    • July 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks, Carol. I think I heard the echo all the way from Montana!

  8. sue
    July 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Bonjour! Don’t ask me to speak anymore French. I’ve forgotten all I learned at shool. Great post and my son-in-law would be so jealous of you surfing in France. He attended a surfing school there about 10 years ago and would love to go back.

    • July 20, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      According to my brother, the surf was amazing. According to the kind French people, I still need practice!

  9. July 20, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    You had to fly all the way to Spain to drop your toothbrush in the potty? This is such a fun post!

    • July 20, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      Of course I did, Donna. I heard all about those bidets. I just didn’t know they liked to brush first.

  10. July 20, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Merci, mon ami, Bill!!! Tu es tres gentil!

  11. Bill Spencer
    July 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Très amusant! Je devais rire.

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