MONTPELLIER, France - April 13 and 14
As I said in my last entry, on our way (in the rain) to the Nimes train station we were invited to stay at the hosue of two girls – Bettina and Elsie. They met us at the train station in Montpellier. And they were so lovely! Bettina is 22 years old, is originally from Austria, but is studying abroad in Montpellier for the semester – till May. In addition to German (her native tongue) and English, she also speaks fluent French and pretty much fluid Spanish. These Europeans are so good at languages! I'm quite jealous. Bettina She is studying education, and plans to travel around Spain during the summer. We are going to check with each other and maybe meet up and travel together for a while. She was very happy to learn about helpxchange. I adored this girl, she was very lovely to talk to and stay with. She's a girl who's going places for sure.
Elsie her roommate was awesome as well. Her English level was a bit lower, so she was a bit harder to communicate with. However, in addition to French (she's originally from Lille, France in the North), she also speaks Italian fluently because she lived in Rome for the year before. She was sort of cute punk rocker chic. She had very short hair. We found out that her short hair was the cause of a dare. Her friends didn't think she'd do it, so she did it. She currently has a bet going on with another of her friends that if they cut their hair short, she'll dye hers bright blue or something. She has a really good sense of humor.
We shared all our meals with our hosts, which was really nice. Dinner the first night, Mei made a french veggie dish called Ratatouille. After dinner we went to a student, rather alternative bar, where a live band was playing sort of reggae trance music. At first the band was pretty horrible, but they got better as the night went on, and became pretty fun to dance to. There were a lot of dreadlocks in this place. The whole vibe reminded m a lot of good 'ol Maui Paia side. Ah Maui No Ka 'Oi! We got invited to an after party too at one of these dread haired people's apartments. We only stayed for about 20 minutes, but it was a still fun time. French and Spanish (yes Spanish) filled the air. Most people spoke English too, but we didn't hear too much of it.
The next day, Mei and I lazily left the house around 1 to walk around Montpellier. Unfortunatley, right when we left is when it decided to start raining again! So it was another rainy day of wandering! I like the rain, I really do. But it really does make wandering around a normally pleasantly sunny town a bit annoying. Still, Montpellier was a fun place to wander. Lots of European pedestrian streets. However, I must admit, what I've seen of France has left me of the opinion that all these south French towns all look more or less the same. Italy and Spain are, in my opinion, more interesting. Although the bakeries in France are still unbeatable, and possibly my favorite thing about France.
That night, the girls were curious about Hawaiian cuisine, so I tried my hand at making shoyu chicken. The store didn't have thighs, so I had to use chicken wings. But it turned out pretty good! It wasn't quite like the shoyu chicken from home, but still familiar tasting. And it was a nice change from all the french food we had been eating. Overall, I really enjoyed Montpellier. It was comfy, calm, and rainy, and a good time.