17 September 2010

SPOILER ALERT: Spectuloos does not equal Peanut Butter

Wednesday, I walked all the way the home from downtown Bordeaux, despite the fact that there is perfectly good public transportation. I have no rational excuse for this. It was decidedly irrational behavior, though it started out slightly rational. After standing for about 5 minutes at the Musee d’Aquitaine tram stop, I was getting a bit impatient. This isn’t one of the nicest stops; it’s a bit dirty and some people around me were smoking (smoking, in general, by the way, is less prevalent and less bothersome than I expected). I wasn’t feeling super fantastic as I’ve had a bit of a rhume (cold) the last couple of days, and suddenly I wanted to be home immediately and began dreading the long tram ride (if you call 20 minutes long, sometimes it feels that way, other times it goes by in a flash. In any case it was sounding pretty long about then).  So I looked at the sign which told me the tram wouldn’t be to the stop for 4 more minutes. I looked down the street and decided I certainly had enough time to walk to the next stop before the tram would get there, so I did. I easily beat the tram to Victoire, the next stop, but when I saw the crowd waiting for the tram and shortly after, how packed the tram was, I decided to keep walking.
I reasoned that I would walk to Simply (a super marker whose slogan is “Be Happy, Be Simply”- that’s not a translation. Side note: Simply has some hilarious ads for itself in the windows, having customers say things like “I can shop here without being embarrassed!” (in french). I must be missing some sort of subtly or the necessary culture background, because I can’t imagine why anyone would be embarrassed to go to any super market.). Anyway, Simply is a fairly decent walk from Victoire, and about 3 stops off campus (there are 3 more stops on campus, before mine). But I thought a walk would be nice, as I hadn’t done anything all day excepting eating, sleeping, and enjoying the “authentic” designer UCLA shirt/ sweatshirts being sold at a store in Bordeaux (for more 40 euro and 90 euro respectively, and I thought the UCLA store was expensive), and I didn’t have anything else to do. Besides the tram would likely be less crowded by the time that it got to that stop, and I was going to go to Simply anyway to continue my quest for peanut butter which I had begun the day before.
I was thrilled to find that Simply did sell peanut butter, the only trouble was that it was tiny, tiny, tiny jar of Skippy and cost 3.75 euro. There was something that COULD have been peanut butter next to it, but I wasn’t sure. I decided to continue on to Casino (another grocery chain, and one I hadn’t been to yet) which I believed to be located one tram stop down, which OBVIOUSLY wasn’t worth the wait for the tram.
It turned out to be two stops down, but I walked anyway. I found that they didn’t have anything that was DEFINITELY peanut butter, but they had the stuff that was next to the peanut butter at Simply. It looked like it could be peanut butter, and it came in crunchy and smooth. So, what else could it be? I was slightly uncertain, because there weren’t any peanuts on the jar, instead there was a picture of a shortbready kind of cookie, and the story of its invention written on the back didn’t seem to be correct. But peanut butter goes awesome on cookies, and maybe they wanted to frenchicize the story of invention. Besides, I really WANTED it to be peanut butter, and who was I to say that Spectuloos does not equal peanut butter? So I bought the jar (and two bananas, so I could make the peanut butter & banana sandwich I craved) on hope alone. After buying these things (which was a bit of a fiasco, because how was I supposed to know that I was supposed to weigh and print out a price tag for the bananas?), I opened the jar of what I was then certain was peanut butter. I found it to be the consistency of peanut butter, and was already beginning to celebrate victory when – umm, that’s not peanut butter, or else it’s really odd peanut butter. In fact, it tastes quite a lot like the cookies pictured on the front. I feel disappointed and disenchanted. I wonder what anyone would want with a substance that is the consistency of peanut butter, but that tastes like these cookie things. (If anyone has any suggestions, let me know, as I know am the proud owner of a jar of Spectuloos.)
I put it back in my bag and continued to the tram stop. As I approached I considered walking the rest of the way, but I dismissed that as a crazy idea. But when I arrived and saw that it would be 12 minutes before the next tram arrived, I decided to keep walking to the next top, because it would be unbelievably ridiculous to walk this far because of a 4 minute wait, only to wait longer than that. And this logic carried me almost all the way home, and the belief that it would be ridiculous to take the tram at this point carried me the rest of the way. 
It was actually quite a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, and it was interesting to see the areas of Bordeaux which have been to me tram-over places at a slower pace.
Also, I finally took a picture of something I’ve been meaning to capture since the beginning: 
This is one of the university restaurants, I don't know why it's shaped like a boat.


  1. OMG WE TOTES ATE THAT SPECTALOOS STUFF IN BELGIUM AND IT TASTED EXACTLY LIKE GRAHAM CRACKER AND NOTHING AT ALL LIKE PEANUTS. I have definitely done large amounts of walking here because I've been too lazy to either figure out the public transportation or wait the few minutes for it to arrive.

  2. ALSO I totally own peanut butter and it's POSSIBLE I'm going to go eat some right now.


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