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Le Marché Noir 13/11/2009

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
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Cafe d'Albert

Cafe d’Albert is down the street on the corner of Ordener. Hours after landing I walked in, had difficulty getting the barrista to understand I wanted an espresso, and then drank two. The staff has since warmed up to my persistent presence with some members greeting me, “ça va” and one even agreeing to have a drink with me– all except the stuck up guy won’t acknowledge my existence because I’m not a blonde girl.

Prima-donnas aside, d’Albert would never be confused with your stereotypical Parisian cafe, all stiff shirts and linens. It’s down home, has its resident lost causes, and always has a sports game playing on the flatscreen. It’s comfortable, even if only one person there knows my name.

Dragging out my espresso last night, hoping the server would notice I needed change, a woman walked in. She started handing out stacks of what I thought were quarter page flyers so I hoped and prayed she would not approach me because I didn’t want to rudely dismiss her. Then I realized the two other patrons and the woman behind the counter were rifling through a colossal stack of bootlegged DVDs and hoped and prayed I would not be approached because I didn’t want anyone to mistake my refusal to sift as prudishness. And I wished I had my camera.

There was no pretending this was a big deal; DVDs were soon splayed out across the counter and the bootlegger was pushing a three for €5. Each disc came in a transparent plastic sleeve with a cassette-sized reproduction of the original cover. The barrista grabbed a bill from the register and selected a couple blockbusters. She also realized I was waiting on change so I was able to escape without any incidental interaction but it was worth waiting. It’s comforting to see such a casual illegal transaction on a quiet Thursday night.

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Comments»

1. kaxline - 26/11/2009

such lawlessness. i’m aghast! next time pull out your glock and start unloading. that’s how the locals do it. it’s like the wild west out there …

2. blaark - 26/11/2009

Believe me I’ve already settled into elaborate fantasies of ripping off the hash dealers at my local metro stop and rolling obnoxious drunks… There’s some advantage coming from the ultra-violent American culture I hadn’t anticipated until noticing the passive and uninhibited mannerisms of the French…


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