What could get worst than falling ill in a foreign land? With a thousand beats rumbling in the stomach and no one around to moan to except pictures of friends in the computer, and a total hesitance to call the family just in case Mum freaks out at home thousands of miles away.
In France, the doctor comes to your home. It is very much what I have seen in the TV. It’s a good idea to treat the ill, but the shocking exclamation comes when you realize that you have to get your prescriptions in the pharmacy. How could any country make the ill walk to the pharmacy when most ill people are supposed to feel bed-ridden? Finally, I figured out why there are flashing green crosses on every street.
Pharmacies are situated all over the city.
Evening at Vieux Port
The shocking revelation’s how expensive it costs to see a doctor and get medication in France. It is 6 times the price I have to pay in Singapore, and the medicines prescripted are enough to last for more than a year. Is it another consumer-cheating scheme to boost the economy? Or are the French just paranoiacs who believe in the power of pills?
I start to miss Singapore and my comfort zone, and instead of feeling drowsy and consumed by the pills, I laid sleepless on my bed scheming to return home to the clubs and my ugly English pub.
I fantasized about eating cheap Japanese food instead of downing baguettes after baguettes in this city.
View from My Work Place - Petit Nice Passedat
I mean… I love the beaches that Marseille has to offer, and the amazing view of the forts and mountains that always amazes me. But being a city chick, I miss my modernization and high-rised buildings and the peace of walking along the streets and not having to look out for poop. If a new law in France has to be legislated, it is to fine all dog owners = all French people for allowing their beloved poodles or bulldogs poop on the street without feeling any sense of responsibility to clear the mess. Did they ever believe that their spoilt pets are any more sacred than our Billabong flip flops or Nine West shoes?
I am doing a job observation in Marseille (A shitty choice to ruin my vacation), and the law states that hospitality personnel are supposed to work 39 hours a week.
The other 99% of lucky French get to work 35 hours per week. After some clever Asian calculation, I have derived a regular work week of 55 hours for myself, and I feel extremely exploited, considering the fact that I work for free. I know it is the best restaurant in Marseille, but I bet a better organization within the company could definitely lessen the no. of hours worked per week. Didn’t the teachers in French hospitality schools teach them anything about work delegation and time management besides polishing silverware and making them shine like diamonds? Besides, lesser work hours = more rest hours = more energized staff = Less stoned faces at work. Everyone seems to be counting down to the next day off.
Way to Work - Corniche
I came to France with great expectations of its gastronomic wonders. Yes, the food in the restaurant is great with over metaphoric names for each item in the menu.
But the service is nothing comparable to Singapore. My tiny city has better servers. Better personalities I suppose. The captains in the restaurant could explain each plate to the guests with their perfectly polished descriptions. But where is the human touch? How often do you see the waiters chatting the customers up and welcoming them to the city or the hotel, and not just the restaurant? I believe in unobtrusiveness, but they could show more welcome in their facial expressions as well, and not stare like statues waiting to be solemnized as the great waiters of France. The only person that speaks to the guests would be the Maitre D’Hotel = the restaurant manager that everyone hates. Someone called him the furniture of the restaurant, having worked for more than 15 years in the company, and applying work methods that he have derived since. He is just another example of anti-modernism. I hate him too for wanting me to return to work when I am officially on sick leave and sitting in here putting my detest for him into words.
Abolishment of Slavery
If I were a true blue French citizen, I would have recorded his words down and send it to the union. I am refusing to return to work even if I feel any better today, and for any merde that I would get together, I have already figured out a way to bark at him for being totally unsympathetic to a frail lady far away from home, unpaid and overworked and threaten to leave. Did he really think it was advisable for any sommelier with gastric problems to taste wine and get any better? For God’s sake, I might be on a longer stretch of medical leave if I was captured back to work.
Other than the unfortunate industry that I belong to, I guess the general French public is lucky to enjoy a short work week, and it explains the packed Irish bars and brasseries along the Vieux Port. I also had the luxury of being invited to regular workers’ homes for dinners, and it is indeed a joy to enjoy home cooking, saucissons, pastis, and lots of cheeses over hours of non-stop conversations. Maybe life would be better working at MacDonald’s :p