So, my time in France has almost come to a close (a half day of skiing tomorrow followed by a 21 hour bus trip), and here are some of the highlights.
Let's talk about French food that you can buy packaged here, like chocolate mousse and quiche. We are talking above (American) restaurant quality in a package. This is good news because food otherwise is completely UNaffordable. For example, Daffy's Tex Mex Cafe (yes, that's right, they have Tex Mex here) is something along the lines of 13 Euros for a burrito (which translates into over $20.00). I am bummed because I wanted to know what French Tex Mex was all about. Instead I have been eating nutella and bread sandwiches and cereal (which is awesome; one kind has dark chocolate pieces in it).
I have also gotten stunningly good (so I think) at hiding the fact that I don't know French. I basically go mute everywhere and do a lot of nodding with a "merci" mumbled (to hide my horrendous accent) to finish. This worked until one of the lift operators was yelling at me in French. Apparently, the nodding was not the appropriate response. I probably nodded agreement to something quite offensive because he continued to follow me and talk to me in French. This language conundrum has been a good experience for me. I can be quite a language snob; like when a hotel (in Rome) sent me a message asking me to "specificate" my request. I thought that was quite funny and have added it to my lexicon of language. But I can't really criticize because I would have nodded via e-mail. (Perhaps that feature should be added to facebook in addition to the "poke" feature--which should be removed, in other news.)
Apparently, the French are also quite into energy efficiency (go Coppenhagan)--or quite cheap (don't you love these sweeping generalizations?!). Every hallway and stairwell is dark by default. You have to hit a switch to turn the lights on for about a minute. It took me a while to figure out this system. Prior to my realization, I would walk into a lit stairwell and then have to find my way in the dark after the lights switched off again. This was not really a big deal other than when someone would walk into the stairwell and find you walking in the dark. You look like the weirdo who didn't bother to turn the lights on. Any money saved by being so militant with electricity is lost in the wasted water that is required to keep the toilet in our room running 23 hours a day. It's like one of those annoying sound machines that help 5% of the population sleep and make the other 95% want to run over the machine with a car.
One more day of skiing and I have made it safely through the trip! When I have more time (and more distance from the traumatic event) I will update you on my journey down an off-piste double black. It is a tale of peer pressure at its finest.