Sunday, February 04, 2007

The things you see in Bordeaux!!!

Today, let's have a look at some of the amusing things you see in downtown Bordeaux.

First, a shop I've been trying to fathom ever since it appeared here:

This is a beauty shop for black people called "So White!"

Is it just me, or is that weird?

I think if I were black I'd be embarrassed to go into a place like that. (Actually, even as a white person I'd be embarrassed to go into a place like that...). I think I'd be more inclined to go to one of the shops facing that one on the other side of the street: "l'esprit Black" or "Black Cosmetique":

Those seem to have a more positive attitude. Actually, though, I probably wouldn't go to any of them. I don't generally go to beauty shops, and I don't see why it would be any different if I were black...

On the other hand, sometimes I think maybe "So White!" is meant to be taken ironically, like the ironically named "French Coffee Shop":

I know the joke isn't funny if you have to explain it, but I'll explain it anyway since it might not be clear from the picture. "The French Coffee Shop" is a new chain of American-style coffee shops (à la Starbucks) that has started appearing in France. So they named it "the French Coffee Shop." In English. But it's in France. Get it? Haha!!!

Okay, it's a little strained, or at least subtle...

While I'm on the subject of ethnic oddities, the next on the list is "Southern Fried Chicken":

If you can't tell, this is a knock-off of "Kentucky Fried Chicken." (There's a real KFC a few blocks away from this place.)

The thing I think is funny about this place is random mix of cultural elements they have going on. The main theme is American-style fast food fried chicken, but note the very French sidewalk crèpe-and-waffle bar on the left. Plus, if we zoom in on the sign, you can see that among "Nos Spécialités" they offer a hallal chicken burger. ("Halal" is the Muslim version of "kosher.")

And I'll close with a random item you don't see every day:

It snowed here recently, and it was the first time an actual coat of snow stuck on the ground for a day in all of the six years I've lived here. And classic VW beetles are also incredibly rare (but the kids are big "Herbie" fans, so they love 'em!!!), so I didn't want to miss the opportunity to photograph them together.

Snow on a Herbie! Right here in Bordeaux!!!

The things you see... :D


Just one of many said...

What I'd like to see is in Bordeaux is my reflection in any shop window! Until then, I'll enjoy watching your boys explore the sites:)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey JOOM!!!

Just tell me when you're planning your visit -- I'd love to see you here!!! :D

Anonymous said...

The Southern Fried Chicken restaurant must be a chain. There's one here in Birmingham in the heart of the Hindu/Muslim part of town. Everytime I go by it on the bus it cracks me up.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey RipZip!!!

You may be right. I think I've seen "Southern Fried Chicken" in other places, althought I only know of this one location in Bordeaux.

Interestingly, even though they offer a halal chicken burger, it isn't in a predominantly Muslim part of town. Downtown Bordeaux is pretty small, though, so of course it isn't far from a predominantly Muslim neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post.

It proves my high school french teacher wrong - who claimed that the french were upset about English words that were creeping into their language. I guess there is a market for English and American themed restaurants/beauty parlors.

(and your son is definitely a good sport in all of this!!! :))

Freckle Face Girl said...

Wonderful pictures & funny shops!

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Aerin!!!

Actually, there are some French people who dislike English-word-borrowing (as discussed here), but most are resigned to it and/or recognize that in the end word borrowing enriches the language. The main reason the English language has such a huge vocabulary is because of so much borrowing from so many languages.

Plus, little Nico really was a good sport to do this tour of Bordeaux with me, wasn't he? He was starting to look a little bored by that last one, but he was kind enough to model all of the local sidewalk cafés... ;-)

Thanks Freckle Face Girl!!! :D

Anonymous said...

I'm not telling my husband that you have a KFC in Bordeaux, or we'll be in the car sharpish. OTOH, if you told me you had a Taco Bell, I'd be leading the charge. :-D

I've been reading your blog forever, but I don't think I've ever commented before. So, hi!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Wry Catcher!!!

Nice to hear from you!!!

I've been reading your blog as well, plus you're over on FLAK, aren't you?

Sorry, no Taco Bell. I think the only American fast food chains here are McDonalds and KFC.

Anonymous said...

We have McDonalds and Burger King, but whatever. I'm not that into american fast food, although it can function like comfort food sometimes. :-) I just miss Taco Bell for some reason. Maybe it's because there is no spicy food (or good mexican food at all) in Switzerland.

C. L. Hanson said...

There's not much spicy food here in France either. Another American here was saying that he thinks it's because of the French custom of drinking wine with essentially every meal. Wine doesn't go as well with spicy food.

I don't know if the situation is the same in Switzerland.

Anonymous said...


I think my favourite shop name in Bordeaux (if it's still there) must be "Athlete's foot" - a shop that specialises in.. sports shoes!

When I attented the Lycee Michel Montaigne in Bordeaux my favourite was "Le Snack Bar du Parking", a nicely bastardised version of French and English...

Mind you it works the other way too. Once I told my brother about jams without "preservatives" which doesn't have quite the same meaning in French.


C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Rudi!!!

Yeah, I think the Athlete's Foot is still here...

"Le Snack-Bar du Parking" -- LOL!!! I haven't seen that one...

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Am I the only one who thinks that "So White" shop should in actuality be called, "So PINK"???

Great photos here. A word of advice: don't blog at 12:30 am where they are talking about KFC and Taco Bell. God! I'm so hungry.

C. L. Hanson said...

LOL, sorry!!!