Un jeune américain de 20 ans, Nicholas D., en immersion pour quatre mois à l’université de Pau ! Suite...
Daily life is full of pleasant little surprises. It is much easier to be surprised when living in a foreign country, because so much is different. Having been in Pau for two months, I find myself constantly amazed by the little things that are probably completely normal to the Palois.
For example, the fact that the vast majority of businesses are closed on Sunday is an idea I had never considered. In the United States, virtually no businesses are closed on Sunday. Here, though, a walk through Pole Bosquet on a Sunday afternoon is completely different from the scene there just twenty four hours earlier. Instead of a bustling urban scene, the streets are quiet. One or two small cafes are serving lunch, but are hardly full. The only people out are usually walking casually with their dogs or children, especially if the weather is agreeable. There are virtually no buses running, so the stillness in the air is not disrupted by the sounds of urban sprawl.
I don’t know why, but taking the bus in Pau seems to be a decidedly feminine activity. Maybe there are just more women than men in Pau. Maybe there is a cultural rule I am not aware of that dictates men are not supposed to take the bus. The demographic of a typical bus ride is as follows : There are generally about twenty people on the bus at any given time. One American student (me), seven to ten elderly women, one or two elderly men, at least three high school girls, always listening to iPods, and the rest are either business-class people heading to work or mothers with small children.
These phenomenon are probably not surprising to the average Palois, but to a complete outsider like me, it is the little things like these that make Pau such a great place to live and study.