Monthly Archives: September 2015

73 - A Tamponnaise in America part 1 - Vocabulary

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

 

Recently I took my Creole husband and his parents on a guided tour around the US. We visited New York, (because it's New York!) Texas, (where I went to University and lived before moving permanently to Reunion,) and Michigan, (where my parents live, and where I was born and raised.) I had been planning this trip since January...and our itinerary was pretty good, if I do say so myself!! So I'm going to share it with you, just in case you ever find yourself in any of these places and you need to know the best things to do!!!

 

But first let's start with how NOT to fly to the United States.

 

As we were traveling in prime Reunion Island vacation period, I decided not to fly through Paris, since ticket prices were sky-high. Instead, I took us through Johannesburg, South Africa. It seemed too good to be true! One direct flight to Johannesburg, followed by one direct (15 hour...ugggg) flight to NYC. Clean, uncomplicated...and we saved about 800 euros each on the cost of a ticket!

 

So funny story...here's what really happened. Air Austral canceled our flight to South Africa a few weeks before, and rescheduled us to go through Mauritius, which added another day to our travel time. We arrived way too early in South Africa and had to wait the entire day in the airport until our flight to NYC. Not the end of the world, we thought, and we took turns guarding all the luggage while the rest of the family browsed the boutiques. After what felt like forever, we finally could check in our bags and go to the boarding gate

 

That's when the lady at the boarding gate informed us that my mother in law's ESTA Visa (which is required by French citizens to purchase before going to the US) was not validated. We found this a little strange, since all three of the ESTA Visas the Frenchies needed were purchased at the same time, and the other two were fine. "Go find a wifi connection and repurchase her Visa," they told us. Except strangely enough, we couldn't find a wifi connection. And when we did, we would fill in the info for the Visa and the connection would cut out every time JUST before the transaction was validated. This happened about 4 times, and the minutes were ticking away. I was freaking out, but there was no way I was missing that plane. I would be back home in my country in just a few (15) hours, I was sure of it.

 

We ran (and I mean RAN) all over the airport, asking, begging, employees of shops and cafes, the boarding people, ANYONE to help us, to let us use their interntet, to do SOMETHING. They just shrugged and said things like "I'm sorry, can't help you. You have to pay on your phone." I have never felt so helpless in my life. Finally, the boarding woman told us: "you've been removed from the flight. You can go get your bags in baggage claim." My heart broke. I really have never wanted to punch anyone in the face more than I did at that moment.

 

So we were stranded in South Africa and it was almost midnight. Someone at the information desk "had a friend" with a motel close to the airport and they arranged for us to go there. The motel was dirty and had these brown ugly carpets from the 1980's that smelled like smoke and feet. There were no towels in the rooms or any heat, and it was probably about 9 degrees Celcius that night. We asked for a heater and he gave us this dangerous looking thing that sparked when we plugged it in, and shook so loudly that we couldn't sleep with it on. I spent the coldest night of my life stuck like glue to Richard.

 

The next morning, we made some phone calls and found out that the Visa was indeed validated and that there should have been no reason why we were denied boarding. Armed with this knowledge, it was time for me to go to war. I called every single person that works for South African Airways, but no one wanted to help us get on the next flight. They kept telling me the flight was booked, or we would have to go to Germany for a connection, or even better...that we had to PAY to rebook our tickets!! So we decided to take a huge risk and continue the war face to face at the airport. It was almost the same story at the airport...we were being passed around from desk to desk, person to person, told to wait for some manager who comes in at noon, and so on. I don't fight my customer service wars by yelling or causing a scene, I do it by smiling politely, thanking people, and killing them with kindness. Up until that moment, that tactic has worked my whole life. I did not understand South Africans.

 

FINALLY THANK GOD we found the right man. He was a manager of something important and he actually had a heart. After catching up on our story, he looked at me and said "I'm sorry for what happened to you," and I almost burst into tears. (Oh funny side note, I was also almost seven months pregnant during this time.) He got us on the "completely booked" flight that night, and handed us tickets. We had won!! 

 

The 15 hour flight was awfully long, and we arrived in NYC early the next day with what I'm sure were high fevers thanks to our freezing night in South Africa. Actually we were extremely sick the entire week...but who cares?? We were finally in New York, baby!!

 

And I guess since this story got a little long...I'll have to make another podcast to tell you the rest!

 

So! To be continued....

 

Vocabulary

 

prime - principal

sky-high - au sommet

rescheduled - replanifié

browse - jeter un oeil

boarding gate - porte de l'embarquement

ticking - tic-tac

beg - supplier

shrug - hausser les épaules

punch - coup de poing

stranded - bloqué

sparked - étincellé

and so on - et cetera

catching up - rattraper

00:0000:00

73 - A Tamponnaise in America part 1 - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

 

Recently I took my Creole husband and his parents on a guided tour around the US. We visited New York, (because it's New York!) Texas, (where I went to University and lived before moving permanently to Reunion,) and Michigan, (where my parents live, and where I was born and raised.) I had been planning this trip since January...and our itinerary was pretty good, if I do say so myself!! So I'm going to share it with you, just in case you ever find yourself in any of these places and you need to know the best things to do!!!

 

But first let's start with how NOT to fly to the United States.

 

As we were traveling in prime Reunion Island vacation period, I decided not to fly through Paris, since ticket prices were sky-high. Instead, I took us through Johannesburg, South Africa. It seemed too good to be true! One direct flight to Johannesburg, followed by one direct (15 hour...ugggg) flight to NYC. Clean, uncomplicated...and we saved about 800 euros each on the cost of a ticket!

 

So funny story...here's what really happened. Air Austral canceled our flight to South Africa a few weeks before, and rescheduled us to go through Mauritius, which added another day to our travel time. We arrived way too early in South Africa and had to wait the entire day in the airport until our flight to NYC. Not the end of the world, we thought, and we took turns guarding all the luggage while the rest of the family browsed the boutiques. After what felt like forever, we finally could check in our bags and go to the boarding gate

 

That's when the lady at the boarding gate informed us that my mother in law's ESTA Visa (which is required by French citizens to purchase before going to the US) was not validated. We found this a little strange, since all three of the ESTA Visas the Frenchies needed were purchased at the same time, and the other two were fine. "Go find a wifi connection and repurchase her Visa," they told us. Except strangely enough, we couldn't find a wifi connection. And when we did, we would fill in the info for the Visa and the connection would cut out every time JUST before the transaction was validated. This happened about 4 times, and the minutes were ticking away. I was freaking out, but there was no way I was missing that plane. I would be back home in my country in just a few (15) hours, I was sure of it.

 

We ran (and I mean RAN) all over the airport, asking, begging, employees of shops and cafes, the boarding people, ANYONE to help us, to let us use their interntet, to do SOMETHING. They just shrugged and said things like "I'm sorry, can't help you. You have to pay on your phone." I have never felt so helpless in my life. Finally, the boarding woman told us: "you've been removed from the flight. You can go get your bags in baggage claim." My heart broke. I really have never wanted to punch anyone in the face more than I did at that moment.

 

So we were stranded in South Africa and it was almost midnight. Someone at the information desk "had a friend" with a motel close to the airport and they arranged for us to go there. The motel was dirty and had these brown ugly carpets from the 1980's that smelled like smoke and feet. There were no towels in the rooms or any heat, and it was probably about 9 degrees Celcius that night. We asked for a heater and he gave us this dangerous looking thing that sparked when we plugged it in, and shook so loudly that we couldn't sleep with it on. I spent the coldest night of my life stuck like glue to Richard.

 

The next morning, we made some phone calls and found out that the Visa was indeed validated and that there should have been no reason why we were denied boarding. Armed with this knowledge, it was time for me to go to war. I called every single person that works for South African Airways, but no one wanted to help us get on the next flight. They kept telling me the flight was booked, or we would have to go to Germany for a connection, or even better...that we had to PAY to rebook our tickets!! So we decided to take a huge risk and continue the war face to face at the airport. It was almost the same story at the airport...we were being passed around from desk to desk, person to person, told to wait for some manager who comes in at noon, and so on. I don't fight my customer service wars by yelling or causing a scene, I do it by smiling politely, thanking people, and killing them with kindness. Up until that moment, that tactic has worked my whole life. I did not understand South Africans.

 

FINALLY THANK GOD we found the right man. He was a manager of something important and he actually had a heart. After catching up on our story, he looked at me and said "I'm sorry for what happened to you," and I almost burst into tears. (Oh funny side note, I was also almost seven months pregnant during this time.) He got us on the "completely booked" flight that night, and handed us tickets. We had won!! 

 

The 15 hour flight was awfully long, and we arrived in NYC early the next day with what I'm sure were high fevers thanks to our freezing night in South Africa. Actually we were extremely sick the entire week...but who cares?? We were finally in New York, baby!!

 

And I guess since this story got a little long...I'll have to make another podcast to tell you the rest!

 

So! To be continued....

 

Vocabulary

 

prime - principal

sky-high - au sommet

rescheduled - replanifié

browse - jeter un oeil

boarding gate - porte de l'embarquement

ticking - tic-tac

beg - supplier

shrug - hausser les épaules

punch - coup de poing

stranded - bloqué

sparked - étincellé

and so on - et cetera

catching up - rattraper

00:0000:00

73 - A Tamponnaise in America: Part 1

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

Recently I took my Creole husband and his parents on a guided tour around the US. We visited New York, (because it's New York!) Texas, (where I went to University and lived before moving permanently to Reunion,) and Michigan, (where my parents live, and where I was born and raised.) I had been planning this trip since January...and our itinerary was pretty good, if I do say so myself!! So I'm going to share it with you, just in case you ever find yourself in any of these places and you need to know the best things to do!!!

But first let's start with how NOT to fly to the United States.

As we were traveling in prime Reunion Island vacation period, I decided not to fly through Paris, since ticket prices were sky-high. Instead, I took us through Johannesburg, South Africa. It seemed too good to be true! One direct flight to Johannesburg, followed by one direct (15 hour...ugggg) flight to NYC. Clean, uncomplicated...and we saved about 800 euros each on the cost of a ticket!

So funny story...here's what really happened. Air Austral canceled our flight to South Africa a few weeks before, and rescheduled us to go through Mauritius, which added another day to our travel time. We arrived way too early in South Africa and had to wait the entire day in the airport until our flight to NYC. Not the end of the world, we thought, and we took turns guarding all the luggage while the rest of the family browsed the boutiques. After what felt like forever, we finally could check in our bags and go to the boarding gate

That's when the lady at the boarding gate informed us that my mother in law's ESTA Visa (which is required by French citizens to purchase before going to the US) was not validated. We found this a little strange, since all three of the ESTA Visas the Frenchies needed were purchased at the same time, and the other two were fine. "Go find a wifi connection and repurchase her Visa," they told us. Except strangely enough, we couldn't find a wifi connection. And when we did, we would fill in the info for the Visa and the connection would cut out every time JUST before the transaction was validated. This happened about 4 times, and the minutes were ticking away. I was freaking out, but there was no way I was missing that plane. I would be back home in my country in just a few (15) hours, I was sure of it.

We ran (and I mean RAN) all over the airport, asking, begging, employees of shops and cafes, the boarding people, ANYONE to help us, to let us use their interntet, to do SOMETHING. They just shrugged and said things like "I'm sorry, can't help you. You have to pay on your phone." I have never felt so helpless in my life. Finally, the boarding woman told us: "you've been removed from the flight. You can go get your bags in baggage claim." My heart broke. I really have never wanted to punch anyone in the face more than I did at that moment.

So we were stranded in South Africa and it was almost midnight. Someone at the information desk "had a friend" with a motel close to the airport and they arranged for us to go there. The motel was dirty and had these brown ugly carpets from the 1980's that smelled like smoke and feet. There were no towels in the rooms or any heat, and it was probably about 9 degrees Celcius that night. We asked for a heater and he gave us this dangerous looking thing that sparked when we plugged it in, and shook so loudly that we couldn't sleep with it on. I spent the coldest night of my life stuck like glue to Richard.

The next morning, we made some phone calls and found out that the Visa was indeed validated and that there should have been no reason why we were denied boarding. Armed with this knowledge, it was time for me to go to war. I called every single person that works for South African Airways, but no one wanted to help us get on the next flight. They kept telling me the flight was booked, or we would have to go to Germany for a connection, or even better...that we had to PAY to rebook our tickets!! So we decided to take a huge risk and continue the war face to face at the airport. It was almost the same story at the airport...we were being passed around from desk to desk, person to person, told to wait for some manager who comes in at noon, and so on. I don't fight my customer service wars by yelling or causing a scene, I do it by smiling politely, thanking people, and killing them with kindness. Up until that moment, that tactic has worked my whole life. I did not understand South Africans.

FINALLY THANK GOD we found the right man. He was a manager of something important and he actually had a heart. After catching up on our story, he looked at me and said "I'm sorry for what happened to you," and I almost burst into tears. (Oh funny side note, I was also almost seven months pregnant during this time.) He got us on the "completely booked" flight that night, and handed us tickets. We had won!! 

The 15 hour flight was awfully long, and we arrived in NYC early the next day with what I'm sure were high fevers thanks to our freezing night in South Africa. Actually we were extremely sick the entire week...but who cares?? We were finally in New York, baby!!

And I guess since this story got a little long...I'll have to make another podcast to tell you the rest!

So! To be continued....

Vocabulary

prime - principal

sky-high - au sommet

rescheduled - replanifié

browse - jeter un oeil

boarding gate - porte de l'embarquement

ticking - tic-tac

beg - supplier

shrug - hausser les épaules

punch - coup de poing

stranded - bloqué

sparked - étincellé

and so on - et cetera

catching up - rattraper

00:0000:00

72 - Welcome to Mafate

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

Welcome to another podcast from anglais.re. Here we are in Mafate, in the heart of Reunion Island. Mafate is one of the three ‘cirques’. There are no roads coming into Mafate - this is one of the beauties of the place, which means it’s very calm, very peaceful - until of course the helicopters arrive and I’m sure that during this recording there will be a couple of interruptions! But the helicopters are the only way for the people of Mafate to get access to provisions and supplies.

The main activity here is tourism. There are many gîtes, which is a Reunionese word for ‘guesthouse’, where people come - they hike across the cirque, they spend the night and have some wonderful food and drink in the company of locals here.

As far as population goes, there are eight hundred people living in Mafate across various different villages called ilets. I am currently in La Nouvelle, which is the largest of the villages. There are two hundred people living here. There is a school. There is a church. There is even a Jacuzzi which has been put into one of the guesthouses. For the school, the teachers come in on a Monday morning, spend the week here with the children and then leave on Friday afternoon.

To give you an idea of the size, as I said, there are two hundred people living here, and the next village further on is called Marla. There are fifty people approximately living in Marla. To give you an idea of those fifty people, there are 13 guesthouses already, which is the same as there are here in La Nouvelle in fact. Of course, in La Nouvelle the capacity is a lot greater - they can sleep a lot more people in the guesthouses.

I’ve been staying with the team of the Rélais de Mafate, run by Mathieu Cernot and his wonderful team. Here in Mafate today and yesterday I’ve been doing English language training, teaching them the basics in dealing with their tourists who don’t necessarily speak French. A lot of tourists come from Germany and from Switzerland, not so many British, but quite a few South Africans as well are coming in, and good news: there are more and more Chinese tourists coming in.

So I recommend you come in, visit the place. It’s only a two hour walk in fact, from the car park up the hill and down into the cirque of Mafate, across a beautiful place called La Plaine des Tamarins, and I really recommend it for a wonderful break away.

00:0000:00

71 - La Reunion’s Love for the White Stuff - Vocabulary

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

So, today I'd like to tell you about my love-hate relationship with Reunion's favourite food: rice. Growing up in Australia, with a huge variety of Asian foods, I ate a lot of Vietnamese, Malaysian and Japanese foods. Dinner out with friends nearly always meant green curry with rice, or a delicious pineapple and cashew fried rice at the local Thai restaurant.

So, when I learnt that I'd be coming to an island whose staple food is rice, I thought it would seem familiar. But nothing could prepare me for the deep and passionate love affair that Créoles have with this little grain. There's just so much of it and it's taken very seriously.

I quickly learnt that rice has very special rituals and rules attached to it. For example, ask any local which brand of rice they buy, or whether they prefer basmati to jasmine  and you can bet you'll be discussing it for the next 20 minutes. And don't even think of buying that little 1kg bag. You need a proper big rice jar to store 20 kilos at a time in case guests come round unexpected. But that's not the end of the matter. You must wash it properly, scrubbing it between your hands for what feels like hours until the water is perfectly clear. Then add just the right amount of water so it cooks until tender but not mushy. For the initiated, that means using your index finger to measure the water up until the first joint. 

The first few years here, when eating at a friend's house or restaurant I'd serve myself a tiny portion of rice, and normal amounts of curry, beans and vegetables. But at home, I'd eat my curry totally rice-free, much to the shock and amusement of my Créole husband and in-laws. You see, even though I'm used to rice, I've always eaten it flavoured with spices or vegetables. Plain white rice just tastes like water by comparison.

Today, I'm able to blend in a bit better by eating white rice with my meal but I don't think I'll ever embrace the local way of filling up my plate completely with mountains of the stuff. Let alone eat rice 3 times a day like some people I've met.

The funny thing about this rice obsession is that we don't even grow it here. This is embrassing to admit, but being a naïve city girl, when I arrived on the island I assumed the sugar cane plantations were rice fields. I can't think of many other world cuisines where the main food is imported. So while I appreciate a scoop of rice when I'm eating out, at home I prefer a wider variety of starches. I'm not a huge fan of cassava or corn but give me taro, breadfruit or sweet potatoes any day. At least I don't have to worry about which brand to buy!

 

Vocabulary

staple food - aliment de base
deep - profond
brand - marque
scrubbing - frotter
mushy - détrempé

in-laws - beaux-parents
blend - mélange
stuff - truc
grow - cultiver
cassava - manioc

corn - maïs
sweet potatoes - patates douces

00:0000:00

71 - La Reunion’s Love for the White Stuff - Slow

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

So, today I'd like to tell you about my love-hate relationship with Reunion's favourite food: rice. Growing up in Australia, with a huge variety of Asian foods, I ate a lot of Vietnamese, Malaysian and Japanese foods. Dinner out with friends nearly always meant green curry with rice, or a delicious pineapple and cashew fried rice at the local Thai restaurant.

So, when I learnt that I'd be coming to an island whose staple food is rice, I thought it would seem familiar. But nothing could prepare me for the deep and passionate love affair that Créoles have with this little grain. There's just so much of it and it's taken very seriously.

I quickly learnt that rice has very special rituals and rules attached to it. For example, ask any local which brand of rice they buy, or whether they prefer basmati to jasmine  and you can bet you'll be discussing it for the next 20 minutes. And don't even think of buying that little 1kg bag. You need a proper big rice jar to store 20 kilos at a time in case guests come round unexpected. But that's not the end of the matter. You must wash it properly, scrubbing it between your hands for what feels like hours until the water is perfectly clear. Then add just the right amount of water so it cooks until tender but not mushy. For the initiated, that means using your index finger to measure the water up until the first joint. 

The first few years here, when eating at a friend's house or restaurant I'd serve myself a tiny portion of rice, and normal amounts of curry, beans and vegetables. But at home, I'd eat my curry totally rice-free, much to the shock and amusement of my Créole husband and in-laws. You see, even though I'm used to rice, I've always eaten it flavoured with spices or vegetables. Plain white rice just tastes like water by comparison.

Today, I'm able to blend in a bit better by eating white rice with my meal but I don't think I'll ever embrace the local way of filling up my plate completely with mountains of the stuff. Let alone eat rice 3 times a day like some people I've met.

The funny thing about this rice obsession is that we don't even grow it here. This is embrassing to admit, but being a naïve city girl, when I arrived on the island I assumed the sugar cane plantations were rice fields. I can't think of many other world cuisines where the main food is imported. So while I appreciate a scoop of rice when I'm eating out, at home I prefer a wider variety of starches. I'm not a huge fan of cassava or corn but give me taro, breadfruit or sweet potatoes any day. At least I don't have to worry about which brand to buy!

 

Vocabulary

staple food - aliment de base
deep - profond
brand - marque
scrubbing - frotter
mushy - détrempé

in-laws - beaux-parents
blend - mélange
stuff - truc
grow - cultiver
cassava - manioc

corn - maïs
sweet potatoes - patates douces

00:0000:00

71 - La Reunion’s Love for the White Stuff

Visit www.anglais.re for more!

So, today I'd like to tell you about my love-hate relationship with Reunion's favourite food: rice. Growing up in Australia, with a huge variety of Asian foods, I ate a lot of Vietnamese, Malaysian and Japanese foods. Dinner out with friends nearly always meant green curry with rice, or a delicious pineapple and cashew fried rice at the local Thai restaurant.

So, when I learnt that I'd be coming to an island whose staple food is rice, I thought it would seem familiar. But nothing could prepare me for the deep and passionate love affair that Créoles have with this little grain. There's just so much of it and it's taken very seriously.

I quickly learnt that rice has very special rituals and rules attached to it. For example, ask any local which brand of rice they buy, or whether they prefer basmati to jasmine  and you can bet you'll be discussing it for the next 20 minutes. And don't even think of buying that little 1kg bag. You need a proper big rice jar to store 20 kilos at a time in case guests come round unexpected. But that's not the end of the matter. You must wash it properly, scrubbing it between your hands for what feels like hours until the water is perfectly clear. Then add just the right amount of water so it cooks until tender but not mushy. For the initiated, that means using your index finger to measure the water up until the first joint. 

The first few years here, when eating at a friend's house or restaurant I'd serve myself a tiny portion of rice, and normal amounts of curry, beans and vegetables. But at home, I'd eat my curry totally rice-free, much to the shock and amusement of my Créole husband and in-laws. You see, even though I'm used to rice, I've always eaten it flavoured with spices or vegetables. Plain white rice just tastes like water by comparison.

Today, I'm able to blend in a bit better by eating white rice with my meal but I don't think I'll ever embrace the local way of filling up my plate completely with mountains of the stuff. Let alone eat rice 3 times a day like some people I've met.

The funny thing about this rice obsession is that we don't even grow it here. This is embrassing to admit, but being a naïve city girl, when I arrived on the island I assumed the sugar cane plantations were rice fields. I can't think of many other world cuisines where the main food is imported. So while I appreciate a scoop of rice when I'm eating out, at home I prefer a wider variety of starches. I'm not a huge fan of cassava or corn but give me taro, breadfruit or sweet potatoes any day. At least I don't have to worry about which brand to buy!

Vocabulary

staple food - aliment de base
deep - profond
brand - marque
scrubbing - frotter
mushy - détrempé

in-laws - beaux-parents
blend - mélange
stuff - truc
grow - cultiver
cassava - manioc

corn - maïs
sweet potatoes - patates douces

00:0000:00