Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Laon: in which I attend the WORST CHRISTMAS MARKET EVER and am reminded how much French people can suck

So on December 8 (I think. Also, I apologize for the out of order-ness of this blog. I would put it in order... but then I doubt anybody would find the posts... so this is how it's going to be), Tristan and I went to Laon for the day. Laon is a little bitty French town up on a hill. It's very classically French, but other than that, there is NOTHING there.
So why did we go? you ask. Well, that Friday as we were hanging out in Soissons having our classic frozen pizza lunch, one of Tristan's floor mates comes into the kitchen and starts talking about this Christmas Market that they have in Laon, and she pulls up the website and reads about it. And it sounds pretty fun. Also, Tristan had gone to Laon twice before because that's where he had to go for for his OFII (immigration) appointment and there was this american food restaurant there that he really wanted to go to again because it was really good. And it's also only like 7 euro (round trip each) and 20 minutes away from Soissons, so why not?
Pony attack! These ponies were in Soissons. So don't give any pony points to Laon, Laon was devoid of ponies.  Though they did have reindeer, which was pretty much the only thing cool about Laon.
Laon is up on this really tall hill, which we hiked up after discovering the restaurant we wanted to eat out wasn't opening up again until like 5 or 6pm... I forget which. Which means we have some time to kill.

Note how steep the stairs are... 
 Pretty much the best part about Laon is the view (other than the reindeer which are presumably only there for the Christmas Market)...

Whether or not it is worth the hike is up to you.

This is pretty much the entire Christmas Market. To the right are the reindeer, to the left was a roasted chestnut stand that sold the grossest chestnuts ever, and also the cathedral. Later we found some stands that were in a basement selling trinkets. And straight ahead (behind the Christmas trees was the worst vin chaud stand EVER).
So as you can see, there was not much to do at the Laon Christmas market. So this whole thing wouldn't have really warranted a belated blog post if the guy selling vin chaud/mulled wine/gluehwein hadn't been a total douche.
So it turns out I have been saying the word "vin" wrong for my ENTIRE life. I have been saying something like "vahn"- with a really soft n - more nasal than anything. Which means I'm really saying "vent" - which means wind. The ACTUAL way to say "vin" is something like "vehn" - with the same n thing. It's a hideous word. Coincidentally, this is also how you say "vingt" (which means 20) which I have ALSO been saying wrong all this time (yes, vin and vingt are said the same. I hate this language.). So anyway, I go up the vin chaud stand, and ask for "Deux vins ('vahn') chauds, s'il vous plait." and the guy working there says "pardon" or something like that. And I repeat myself. He responds "Ahhh, vin (vehn) chaud"  with a laugh -- in the most snotty way possible. Dude! The only thing you are selling is vin chaud! It's not that hard to figure out what I want! This would have been sort of annoying, but okay, whatever but of course that wasn't the end. He turns to his coworkers and is all (in french) "She ordered a "vahn" chaud-- hahahahaha" and they all laugh and repeat it. Seriously. And I was standing RIGHT THERE and I could hear and understand everything. I get it, hahaha, I ordered a hot wind. Very funny. But it's generally considered to laugh at people you don't know to there face. I mean, if I were working at a popcorn stand or something and a french person came up and ordered what sounded like a "poopcorn" or something, I wouldn't laugh at them to their face. 
And to add injury to insult (see what I did there?), the vin chaud (which I will henceforth refer to as Gluehwein because that's easy to say "glue-vine" and nobody ever talks about mulled wine in America.) was awful. Usually, it's like ambrosia or something: delicious, warming, and amazing. But this gluehwein was just -- bad. It was a tragedy. 
As we walked away from the market, a choir preformed in front of the Cathedral. They sung some carols in English, but I don't think they spoke English. A) they had terrible accents and B) I'm 99% sure they unknowingly blended two songs together. 
So that was Laon. Though it did end well, with a delicious american meal.

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