Archive for April, 2007

Togo address

Friday, April 27th, 2007

This is what my address will be in Togo.

Rebecca Hunt, PCV
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 3194
Lomé, Togo
West Africa

warm spring days

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

The cherry trees are blooming, the daffodils are here, and the narcissus are almost out. We’ve had beautiful warm days. I’ve been doing an hour or two of biking nearly every day for the past 5 days. I’ve been exploring old castle ruins, 14th century churches, and verdant green valleys.  I’ve been pushing my way up brutal hills. Horses whinny and gallop alongside me in their pastures. Cows rush to the fence line to greet me. I’ve seen a fox, several sparrow hawks, and one brown squirrel. I’ve been passed by less than a dozen cars total in all my rides.

My camera battery died about a week ago. Unfortunately the proprietary Kodak battery charger was in my stolen bag, so I haven’t been able recharge my battery to use my camera. Still, it is pretty good that the battery lasted as long as it did – nearly 2 months and hundreds of photos.  I’m hoping to get a new charger soon.

Catch-22 of insurance claims

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

I bought travel insurance for my trip to Morocco and France. As you may know, my bag with all my goods was stolen in Morocco. I spent 2 days dealing with taxi police, police, and Moroccan officials, and was told I could only file a police report for my identification papers, money, and credit cards, but not for the personal items. I specifically asked numerous times if I could report my clothes and “valise” and was told I could not. So the police report was written up to only mention the driver’s license, money, and credit card.
Now, my insurance company – World Nomads – is denying my claim:
“The police report only list a few items that are not coverable under the policy. In order for the additional items that are being claimed, they would have needed to be listed on the police report, with out this there is no verification of these items being lost/stolen. ”
So, does anyone have any advice on what I should do?

French elections coming up

Monday, April 16th, 2007

The first round* of the French presidential elections are on Sunday.

My French isn’t quite good enough to follow the political discussions in the French paper or the news, so I’ve been turning to the BBC for help understanding the issues.

Here is a nice grid of the big-three candidates. Many of the employment-related issues are a bit mind-boggling to me, such as debates about whether one has the right to work more than 35 hours a week, whether someone who is not working and doesn’t want to work should receive unemployment, or when businesses are allowed to fire workers.

I also highly encourage a look at this BBC Q&A which helps explain many of the French issues for us Americans. Based on some discussions here, these particular statements ring true:

“Fears over joblessness and a stagnant economy are the main worries, along with anxiety over the rising cost of living…Globalisation is the one issue they all talk about, in varying terms, but rarely positively.”

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*From the BBC again: “The first round of the French presidential elections will take place. If, as is usually the case, no candidate wins 50% or more of the vote, the election goes to a second round between the two leading candidates on 6 May.

saying yes in French

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

If you studied French in school, you might have learned that “yes” is “oui”, pronounced like “we”. However, on arrival in France, you will be shocked to hear the persistent use of a word that sounds like “way” whenever you expect “we” . Answering mobiles, responding to questions, expressing excitement, this “yaah”-like response also has its own variations. There is the short and quick version, the long drawn out response, and my personal favorite – “mway” – when the speaker starts saying “ouai” before their mouth is open.

Speaking of slang, I was asked last night about the American expression “I dig it”.  I explained its meaning (“I like it”), but suggested it wasn’t really in popular use anymore.  Can anyone suggest a current version of this phrase?