Sunday, September 05, 2010

The sad truth about McDonalds

Early on at Kadin’s school I meet Liz, another American who is here on sabbatical. Her oldest son, also named Sam, is 7 and at Huille Blance. She has 2 other children: a 4 year old son and a 1 year old daughter. When I meet her she is getting on the bus with the baby and says she’s in need of a Quickburger. We chat, but I can’t help wondering why someone so fit and thin and seemingly normal would want a Quickburger at 8:30 in the morning. I let it pass, but the name says it all. Quickburger. It’s waaaay down on the list of places I personally plan to visit here in France. In fact, I could say it is at the top of the list of places I would avoid like the plague.

It comes out later in the conversation that the attraction had nothing to do with the quality of the food, but rather the quality of the internet connection. She too has no phone or internet. Though they have been here a month, they have just moved into their house. She is an expert at making do and gives me some vital insider information: all McDonalds and Quickburgers have free wifi. Hmmmm.

The next day, Greg and I spot a McDonalds. So we walk over to check it out. We stand outside on the patio and sure enough, before my eyes, my email is quickly and conveniently downloaded to my iPod. Sad but true, McDonalds has found a way to be appealing here.

There is actually a McDonalds within sight of our apartment, just under the train bridge. I was ignoring it, but I have tried email in several other places, and except for French Coffee Shop across town, have had little success. So I head on down to our neighborhood McDs. I am horrified to see that it advertises something called the Croque McDo. (FYI, the Croque Monsieur is the French version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.) Sad but true.

The one thing I think will be safe for me on the menu is the coffee. Black. I order my coffee with a glass up water and find that this McDonalds is actually, well, attractive. It has efficient service, interesting architecture, plenty of seating. It’s clean and friendly, and for just over 1 euro, I can sit for as long as I’d like and use my computer. It’s open until 1 am. I find a nice spot with a view of the street AND an outlet. Very nice. The coffee is even good.

I confess, this will be my new office until our connection at the apartment is up and working. Sad but true.

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