We arrived having breezed through customs. Via bus, and metro (subway) we got to our hotels. Our first big surprise is that Marseille pretty much rolls up its sidewalks on Sunday. There were a few sidewalk cafés open but most everything was closed. As luck would have it, one of the open cafés was just outside of one of our hotels. We sat down to an good meal and mostly stared into space. We were majorly jet lagged. Once fed, it was time for a nap, exciting times!
A couple of hours later we went met up again and decided to walk down to the Mediterranean Sea. I can vouch for the fact that it is indeed there. So, our geography verified we were hungry again. We headed back.
Standing on a corner we took turns saying, “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” Right in front of me one of the ubiquitous mopeds wrecked into the curb and another moped. I lifted the bike off of this kid and tried to do the first aid thing, but he didn’t understand a word. “Stay down, stay down, don’t get up, well at least don’t get up fast, are you hurt, you’re laughing at me, so I guess not.” He gathered up the pieces of his moped and left, apparently unscathed.
After much deferential discussion, “you decide, no you decide,” we went to the same café where we ate lunch. Now at lunch I learned the French word for lamb, which I have since forgotten. But at this meal I was destined to learn a French word that I will never forget. I asked the waiter what andouillete was. He answered “pork,” so I, with visions of a pork chop, or roast pork, said, exercising the full extent of my French language skills, “andouillette por favor.” In the fullness of time it arrived. I was a little disappointed to see that it was a sausage, but I like pork sausage so it was still all good. As a rule, I TRY not to pay too much attention to what’s in exotic food till after I taste it. Without looking too close I cut off a piece of the sausage and popped it into my mouth. This sausage rates as one of the worst tasting, worst smelling things I have ever seen passed as food. It’s made from parts of a pig that never should be eaten. I had unsuspectingly stumbled upon the French “betcha can’t eat this food.” All societies have one of these, Mexican menudo, Scottish haggis, and French andouillete. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andouillette)
So I did the only thing I could, I offered some to everyone else, I had 3 takers. One even managed to put a little in his mouth, but not for long.
My folks visited France once. I tried to prepare them, with my high school French class skills, to order well off a French restaurant menu. I know there are many, many good things to eat in France (bouillabaise, coq au vin, chou croute, Cassoulet… funny how many horses were named after French foods!), and I tried to instruct my parents in ordering these. But somehow my folks ended up with… steak tartare! Which is, basically, raw meat.
Dad was not impressed; Mom was disgusted. I think they held off eating for the rest of the trip until they got to Hungary… where they could speak the language and nothing is served raw!