21st July 2013
Well you learn something new every day, and today I learnt that getting foils in France is different to getting foils in Australia. For those of you not familiar with what some of us go through in the name of trying to look a little decent, “foils” is a term for having small pieces of hair coloured to add highlights/lowlights to your crowning glory. Mostly I have it done to blend/cover all my grey hair!! Anyhow, among other things today I had my hair cut and coloured at a very upmarket salon in Arras, it cost me a fortune but it’s been the only place since arriving in France that could fit me in on the same day; and my last hair cut was almost 5 months ago, shock horror!
So, with my improving French and some actions I was all caped up and off we went. Back to the difference in technique for foiling, in Australia the little sections of coloured hair are wrapped in alfoil but here they just lay big strips of cotton wool between the sections. Not terribly earth shattering news I know, but I was sort of intrigued because cotton wool seems so old-school and France is always looked up to as very fashion forward. Granted this wasn’t Paris but it’s not the back blocks either. Anyhow, I had a lovely couple of hours feeling pampered and left there feeling more like my normal self that I had for quite a while. Sometimes I find it hard to believe I’ve been without a hairdryer or straightener for almost 4 months now, and other times when I look in a mirror I’m horrified that I’m doing it – but, sad to say, what the hair looks like can’t be high on the priority list for the duration of this trip.
One of the frustrations on international travel is still phone costs and internet access, most people I’ve spoken to while travelling say free wi-fi is very high on the wish list when booking accommodation and I’ve got to agree with them. I have a sim card for my phone that allows people at home to call me for the cost of a standard Australian call, it cost just $7 a month and I get reasonable call rates all over Europe. Data is not a real bargain but it’s not hugely expensive, however it seems to be pretty hit and miss for overage. I bought a Vodafone sim in England for my ipad but have been relying on wi-fi since coming across to France though I’m finding it more difficult since leaving Paris. Who’d have thought just buying a new sim card could be such fun! Took me 4 shops to find one that had the right size for my ipad mini but the young guy there was an absolute joy. Not sure if he’d have been so helpful to a French speaking person, I think he was extra helpful so he could practice his English. Mind you, I din’t mind in the slightest, it’s difficult to always be wracking my brain during even the simplest exchanges, let alone things out of the ordinary – still wouldn’t miss it for quids though!
I really loved exploring this little town, but my favourite spot had to be the cafes around the Place des Héros, I spent hours there sipping a coffee or wine watching the world go by or having a go at sketching the gorgeous facades. A lovely place to wind down after the hustle and bustle of Paris.