Thursday, May 25, 2006

a little taste of vacation

Since Jube and I both have Thursday off, we headed out to our favorite réunionnais restaurant, L'Arum. We ate really good food, and had unexpectedly strong rum-based drinks for the apéritif (un ti' lapéro de la Réunion, anybody?). We stuffed ourselves until our stomachs protruded a bit, and when we quieted down for digestion, we could overhear the conversation at the table to my left.

"No, silly, it only works if x is variable here!" said the woman.

"But I don't get it, if we have to subtract 12%, how do you come up with 5 kilos as y?" said the man.

Laughing, the woman replied, "Well, you take 10 kilos, and then..."

Jube and I looked at each other and tried to disguise our amusement by talking in English.

When we left the restaurant, we started the walk to the car. On the way, we passed lots of teenagers out for the night. We crossed the street and saw a man calling up to a friend's apartment. "Shhhhhhhh! Fred! SHHHHHHHHH!" I thought it was kind of weird that he was trying to get Fred's attention by shushing him out on the street, but when I lived in Spain I discovered that to get a Spaniard's attention on the street, you have to hiss--"psssst!" So maybe this was the French version, I thought.

I was proved wrong, though. As we passed by, the man turned to us and asked Jube, "Excusez-moi, but do you know how to whistle?"

I struggled to keep a straight face as Jube showed off his whistling skills, which really are not the right kind for getting someone's attention--just for whistling songs. The man smiled and thanked us, anyway. When we reached the car, we heard a piercing wolf whistle. He must have finally found the right person.


helene said...

Reminds me of an NPR "All Things Considered" segment I heard about whistled languages. There are actually communities in Alaska, Russia and other countries that can whistle names, conversations, questions etc!!! Maybe you could add a 4th language to your repetoire and learn to Whistle with Jube!!

robin said...

whistling is such a cool thing to be able to do and can be so expressive as well. the only whistling i usually do is for my dogs, but i love to hear people whistle music/songs! my impression is that it's part of the french culture to whistle music but i don't hear people whistle much in the us. is that your experience or not?