I seem to be graced with one Frenchman sighting per stay in Asia. In Taipei, it was a guy buying a baguette in Wellcome, the successful western-esque grocery store; I asked him whether he was French, in French, based on the baguette and a vague hunch.
Today I only asked my interlocutor his nationality as a formality. He came up to the 7-11 counter next to me wearing a leather jacket, a bright red scarf, and a Che Guevara hat. His left hand held a wine bottle; his right, a pre-made salad. And sticking out of his backpack was the classic telltale sign: a real, honest-to-goodness baguette. I’m not even sure where one finds those in China, where it’s known as a 法棍, which translates literally into “French stick.”
In a medium-heavy accent, he confirmed my suspicions about his nationality as we had a brief conversation in English before I headed out the door with my purchase in hand.
The only thing that could have made him more stereotypical would have been been a cigarette – though I suppose he would have needed a third hand for that.
And that’s today in observations.