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Sunday, June 15, 2014

France vs. Honduras: 2014 World Cup in the 15th Arrondissment

I took a walk around the neighborhood tonight, to see what was up at the bars, brasseries, etc. for the France vs. Honduras World Cup (Coupe du Monde) game.  First, I passed by three bars with decent crowds - Au Dernier Metro, Les Prolongations, and Au Moka.  Each was open to the sidewalks, with one or two TVs inside, and the cafe chairs that usually face out were turned around to look into the bar.  All those were on Grenelle street, in the shadow of the train tracks of Metro Line 6.  Then I headed on down to La Motte Piquet, where I found Cafe Primerose pretty full, but the big surprise was the Haagen Daazs.  Yes, the Haagen Daazs shop had a huge crowd filling the sidewalk.  There were paying customers at tables turned backwards to face the TV, but a lot of other hangers-on standing behind them, such as myself.  The TV was actually set up outside there, so it was much easier to see than in the other places.

I settled in at the back of the crowd, next to a young couple using a parked car to lean back against.  I was right next to them, as that was the only angle I could see the TV from.  They were chatting in French and random strangers walking down the sidewalk were forced to squeeze through the back of the crowd to get by, some making comments on the score (0-0) as they passed.  The crowd was in a good mood, despite the lack of alcohol.

When France was awarded a penalty kick on a red flag, the crowd got really keyed up, and they all started a chant that must be what you do when you're actually at a soccer/football stadium.  One obnoxious guy actually started blasting one of those deafening aerosol can stadium horns.  I always thought that was a tacky American thing, now I don't know who got it from who.  When the team scored, the crowd jumped up, and airhorn guy blasted his horn, and some passing drivers joined in honking.

Soon after that, I walked home, but one other interesting thing happened first.  The girl of the couple I was leaning against the car with pulled a hand-rolled cigarette out of her purse and lit it up.  It didn't take long to become obvious that it was not a cigarette!  This is not the first time I've seen people toking up in public in daylight in this neighborhood. Just the other day, Jennifer and I walked past three affluent-looking high schoolers, two girls and a guy, hanging out on a park bench in the Champ de Mars, when one of the girls breathed out a giant cloud of thick white pot smoke practically in our faces.  I don't get what's going on exactly.  I mean why the people don't care that they are being seen by strangers or fear cops catching them.  It certainly isn't legal here.  I need to ask some French friends their opinion.

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