Sacha Distel, Edith Piaf, Nicholas Sarcozy and Zinedine Zidane. The French. Freedom Fry eating, cheese eating surrender monkeys. Some say. Good wine and even better cheese, arrogance and ignorance. Shrugging shoulders and fine food. All things that have been said about the French many times and things that will be said again.
There are a lot of French people in Australia, too many for my liking actually. That's not to say I haven't found some of them charming, beautiful, sexy, endearing, generous or funny, I have, but I didn't come to Australia to be surrounded by French people, I can board a ferry to Calais to stock up on booze if I wanted to be surrounded by them.
In Sydney I came across a few, as I did with lots and lots of other nationalities and until that point I hadn't met too many in my life. I have not been to France and so the few that I had met up to that point were the tiniest sample and so in Sydney it was in no way overwhelming. I met a very nice French girl in Sydney who has become a friend, one I am sure I will see again if we ever end up back in Europe in the future and the few others I met in my time in Sydney were also fine, as far as my recollection goes.
In Tasmania I met a few more and then a few more and found that aside from the odd individual they travelled in wine slugging packs around the country, speaking French, listening to French music, watching French films, clearing entire supermarket shelves of Brie and Camembert and shrugging their collective shoulders and turning down the corners of their collective mouths to indicate they didn't know or else didn't care about whatever was being talked about at the particular moment.
But Melbourne! Well let's just call it the Paris of Australia. This is the thing about French people, they are drawn irresistibly to each other like Gallic magnets, I'm not sure if they give off a scent that only they can smell (I can actually dispel that rumour that they all smell of garlic and cheese, only some of them do) but they find each other and sometimes, if the weather conditions are right they converge into a Gallic super cell where entire aisles of cheese are swept aside and pallet upon pallet of boxed wine is enveloped as this wave of shrugging passes through. Maybe this is not uncommon to people from say Ireland, who also have whole packs of fellow countrymen to latch onto but for me, from Wales, I don't and am unlikely to ever have anything more than one or 2 fellow Taffs to talk to about things back at home or to lament over the fact that we lost to England in Rugby. Again. Maybe this is my issue but this also happens to be my blog so I will skew it whichever way I see fit.
I thought I had been around enough French people to have become inoculated against their less desirable qualities but I was dropped into an almost entirely French zone when I landed in Corryong or as I have dubbed it, the French hole from hell.
The house I was staying in for, at the time of writing, another 2 and a half days is currently occupied by 4 French 'boys' and I use the term correctly as opposed to 'men' and a guy from Finland, who shares some of my sentiments about the French boys but is on his way to being assimilated into their collective mind as he has started forgoing the tradition of putting things in the bin.
The quartet of Frenchies though are something else. The most disgusting habits and levels of cleanliness I have ever encountered and I have stayed in a shared house in University. Flies have set up camp here and I am sure they are signalling across the vast and empty countryside that maroons Corryong from civilisation to their brothers to come as there is more shit here than in a field full of cows. And they come. They must number in their hundreds throughout the house, especially in the kitchen where none of the filthy bastards, the French that is not the flies, lift a finger to wash a single dish until they want to use it and leave all kinds of food items uncovered to fester.
The living room is worse in a way as the dishes that stay on the table for days at a time attract flies away from the kitchen which makes watching the TV unbearable as every 30 seconds a fly tries to land on you with its filthy feet that have been standing in god knows what all day.
So to sum up French people are disgusting. But not all of them.