29 August 2010

“There ARE ugly places in France; most of them are universities”

The above quote is from the head coordinator of EAP in France, he went on to say that he wouldn’t name names, and we all laughed because we knew what he meant. I didn’t want to write this post first because I don’t want to sound like I’m not enjoying it here, or that I’m surrounded by a hideous landscape. There are many beautiful things here: the trees which were the first thing I noticed when I arrived, downtown Bordeaux and its historic buildings, Pessac and it’s French countryside charm. Bordeaux University cannot be listed among these. It is overgrown (which is beautiful, in a way), and it’s building are in various stages of disrepair. There are some buildings which are actually quite nice, there are some new more modern buildings at Bordeaux 1 and a building in downtown Bordeaux . But the buildings of Bordeaux 3 (where D.E.F.L.E (The Foreign Students Department) is located, and the area in which we are staying)  do not fall into this category. They can be categorized more effectively using the scale “a bit worse than south campus” to “is paint really THAT expensive”. Really, I’m not complaining, I’m stating facts and I have pictures to prove it.
This is my dorm:
Who doesn't love green shudders?

It’s a bit better on the inside: 
this is the sink/mirrior/closet area
As you can see I took this right when I moved in
This is a little garden area outside, someone lives down there

But only because you can't tell with pictures that there is only one plug (that has to be used if you want light because the other light is burnt out), and because I haven’t shown you the bathrooms. Specifically the toilets. Seriously, you don’t want to know.
Okay fine, I’ll tell you. You know how in America our toilets have seats? Apparently we’re living like kings because they’re totally unnecessary. There is also a final stall which just has hole and a button for flush (no, seriously), I’m assuming this is intended for the guy’s only (the bathrooms are co-ed). There aren't any sinks in the bathroom, you have to go back to your room to wash your hands. Then this morning the handle for hot water fell off when I was in the shower, and hit my ankle. It hurt. And then I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get it turn off, but it turned off easier than I feared (that was bit anti-climactic, wasn’t it?)
Here’s an ugly building (and believe you me, be glad I don’t have a picture of the alphabet building):

And some over grown empty space (they’re a big fan of empty space at this university, it’s like they had this gigantic (and I mean GIGANTIC) piece of land and were like “let’s build something!” and they couldn’t think of anything else to build so they just used the whole thing for a university):

So I guess it’s bit of a culture shock coming from UCLA to this. But I can’t say I was ever truly horrified, mostly I would classify my reaction to the dorm as closer to “vaguely amused”  (this may have had to do with being up for more than 24 hours, that makes EVERYTHING, vaguely amusing) and my reaction to everything else as “not quite what I expected, maybe it’s just because it’s deserted?"

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