Expat 101 Lesson Six – How To Exit A Parking Lot

Before our move, this was obvious.  Drive. Pay the person.  They will lift the gate for you.  

He is in the midst of a masterful parking job, or just turning around like Austin Powers in a 400 point turn.

Land is expensive here and people want to make lots of money off of their nice parking lots.   Labor here is a bit more expensive than in the US.  Therefore, there is no attendant.   How are they going to rake in the big bucks?  

Machines.  You take the card you received when you arrived to one of these machines.  Insert cash (be careful to bring Euros with you if you go to France because they don’t always take credit).  Your ticket will be spit back out.  At the exit, insert ticket into a second machine.  It will raise the bar for you.

Under no circumstances should you tarry.  Do not under any circumstances stop to change the world’s stinkiest diaper on before putting that baby in the enclosed space of the car.  If too much time passes between when you paid, the bar will not raise.  Worse still, the machine will eat your ticket!  You will be stuck trying to explain (in a foreign language) the problem.  Trust me on this one!!!!  

Chartreuse, It’ll Put Hair On Your Chest!

France has a food and drink culture.  Apparently, every region of France has its own liqueur(s). He received some Chartreuse as a present.  Now, I know where the color Chartreuse comes from.  Even the cork is bright green.
Chartreuse is surprisingly good.  It is made from over 150 herbs, plants and spices.  One of them is anise, a spicy black licorice, flavor.  The Peres (fathers) Chartreux originally created as an “Elixir of Long Life” from a recipe given to them by François Hannibal d’Estrées, a marshal of artillery to French king Henry IV, in 1605.  Today, it is produced by Carthusian monks in the French Alps.  Only three living monks know the recipe to this drink and they’ve taken a vow of silence!

They didn’t skip on the presentation.  The numbered bottle came with seals in a special wooden box!  

The yellow version is sweeter and milder than the green, which will put hair on your chest.  V.E.P. stands for Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge, is Chartreuse aged for a longer period of time.  Its a high-end luxury liquor which means that even though it will still put hair on your chest, it’s a little more mellow than the regular.

Although I’d never heard of it before moving here, I understand that hip cocktail joints are using it in drinks.  The New York Times wrote an article about its increasing popularity in the US, proclaiming it “[a] fetish among cocktail enthusiasts, but obscure to the general public, Chartreuse has been steadily infiltrating cocktail menus in New York and elsewhere, with bartenders increasingly reaching for it to add depth and nuance — and instant classical cred — to their creations.”  Popular cocktails include: the Chartreuse SmashThe LumièreThe Beauty SpotThe Last Word, the Champs-Élysées CocktailGreenpointEureka Punch and CCR.

Chartreuse was originally intended as medicine and has a distinctly herbal taste.  I’m not sure if it will work every time, but it cured my cold!  As Brian Fontana said in Anchorman:  “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”