Tuesday, January 10, 2006

$1 = Euro$1?

Since I went to bed early, I got up around 6:30am. During the sleep I woke almost every hour or so due to the jet lag, but it was easy to go back to sleep. It was much harder when I go to China. After all, the jet lag was an entire day (12 hours) for that one.

I went downstairs for breakfast. Two of the students were there already. They told me they went to bed around 8ish last night. While waiting for the breakfast to be served, I picked up a copy of the local paper and tried to read. I could guess up to 10% of the content. One article that got my attention was that there was a tango concert paying homage to Astor Piazzolla, one of the greatest Argentine tango composers.

At 8;45, we started our walk to school. It took us about 10 minutes. The classrooms were nice and equipped with Wi-Fi access. This was the beginning of a new semester here, so we saw local students everywhere. They looked energetic, fresh, and cheerful. I sat in Bob’s class. He talked about international standardization of accounting standards. It was rather interesting because I could relate to many things he talked about such as WTO, GATT, ASEAN and their impact. Just right before the break for lunch, he asked a true accounting question: why did the French women manage to stay so thin?

In the afternoon, we did a walk tour of the city. The tour guide was really good and knowledgeable. He took us to the City Garden, the old part of city and Notre Dome (no, we did not walk that far if you thought of the other one).

It was really cold with a wind chill. Memo told students that they earned themselves a cup of hot chocolate for finishing the tour. Bob and I just went back to the hotel. After resting for a while, I went back to the school to get online. I didn’t get chance to use my computer in the morning because Bob used it for his class. To my surprise, I got an email from Miguel a local tango dancer informing me of a milonga (a place to dance tango) in Grenoble tomorrow night. It was cool that I could get to dance some tango while here.

I had an interesting dinner. I was supposed to meet Bob, Memo and students in the lobby at 7:45 but I couldn’t get up from an unplanned nap. When I woke up at 8:30, they were all gone. I decided to a Chinese restaurant near the school recommended by the handbook given to us by Julian. The food was not too much different from the one in the US. What happened next made the experience interesting. I went up to the counter to pay with my credit card, but was told that it would go through because it was a foreign card. I had no cash with me because my several attempts to change money had failed. The cashier told me that there was an ATM across the street. They were so trusting that they allowed me to walk out without leaving anything behind. When I got to the ATM, the Murphy’s Law was verified. The machine did not take my credit union ATM card. I walked back to the restaurant empty handed. They were very accommodating and asked me to come back tomorrow to pay. I was a little stunned. So I asked if I should leave something, like my driver’s license, with them. Only when the manager saw my DL did he realize I was from America. He said I could pay with $ with face value. I happened to have some bills with me. So I walked out a happy customer.


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