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Each day in France, by numbers

If there’s any aspect of speaking French that scares me the most, it’s the numbers. Even scientific French snags a lesser spot on the scale of scariness. Smaller numbers, sure, no problem. Deciphering the numbers higher between 69 and 100 on their own, I’ve managed them quite well (I hope).

However, throw in the hundreds (cents), thousands (milles), millions (millions) and billions (milliards) altogether, I simply cannot interpret the numbers quickly enough. Especially when it comes along the line of “deux cent soixante treize millions six cent quatre-vingt onze mille deux cent trente deux” which if you try to break it down word by word, it’s “two hundred sixty thirteen million six hundred four-twenty two thousand two hundred thirty two”. Number-speak, it’s 273,691,232.

Spot the connection yet? Someone should really have came up with better way to say 70, 80 and 90 in French centuries ago which is not sixty-and-ten, four-(times)-twenty, and four-twenty-and-ten respectively. It’s not only I who had this problem, am I right Jo?

Nonetheless, given that I’m trying to stay put in this country for a while, I best get used to listening to the rattlings of numbers one after another. I don’t yet know how long this is going to take me to the point where I can accurately capture each figure in the first go, so practice practice practice, which is how this video comes in handy.

What is happening in 24 hours in France, day in, day out? An infographic video with clear narrative, but with continuous numerical information being fed throughout. Practice material! If you wish to attempt this exercise yourself, stop reading now. It’s time to play-and-pause the video a gazillion times (it felt like that to me) when I stubbornly tried to work all the numbers out until I finally decided I’ve saturated my effort for the day – and asked Frédéric to check it for me. Overall verdict, good effort but could do better with long numbers.

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2011 by the numbers

Weeks living in Paris: 43

Apartment moving: 2

Short (2-4 day) trips taken: 8

Long trips taken: 2

Number of flights: 14

Number of train rides: 6

New countries travelled: 3

New language, learning in progress: 1

New dance, learning in progress: 1

Books read: 107 (and some random shouldn’t-admit-to-reading novellas)

Opera attended: 1

Concert attended: 1

10K run accomplished: 1

New restaurants tested: A couple of dozen – sorry lost count ;)

Ice-cream places tested: 9

Food-related salons attended: 3

Festival launch (sort of) gatecrashed: 2

Museums and monuments visited: 30+ (should do a proper list)

Size of photo folder: 16G

Number of photos taken: 4,680

New movie releases seen at the cinema: 12

New movie releases seen via online streaming: 5

New non-English movie releases seen: 4.5 (3 French*, 1 Chinese, 1/2 Burmese)

Number of arrondissement in Paris: 20

Arrondissement featured in Project 365: 20

Arrondissement featured only once in Project 365: 3

Posts for the most featured arrondissement (6ème, by the way): 46

Cultural métro stations featured: 6

Posts with photo of Sacré-Cœur: 3

Posts with photo of La Tour Eiffel: 8

Weeks remaining in Paris (for now anyway): 61 weeks

* I saw the final instalment of Harry Potter in French due to an error in the cinema ticket reservation system. Till this day, I still haven’t seen it in English!

Travel, by the numbers

The Bean, Chicago

International passports owned (to date): 3

Number of years pretending to be an European: 12

Countries visited: 17

US states visited: 7

Number of years left of my US visa: 5

Longest period of time away on a single trip (weeks): 10

Bagpipers encountered: 3

Concerts attended abroad: 3

Operas at Arena di Verona seen: 5

Face-painting in the spirit of festival/carnival: 1

Abandoned fully paid non-refundable flights/train tickets: 2

Macarons eaten: > 50

Languages spoken: 4

Chinese dialects spoken: 4

Most expensive airfare for a single itinerary (€): 951

Most expensive garden admittance ticket price (CAD$): 25

Number of times London was visited: 2

Number of times Paris was visited: 22? 23?

Glacier hiked: 1

Ziplined: 1

Eaten in a 3 Michelin-star restaurant: 0

Eaten in a 2 Michelin-star restaurant: 1

Eaten in a 1 Michelin-star restaurant: 4

Argued that the highest number of stars Michelin awards is 3: 1

Chinese New Year dinners organised: 5

Chocolate fairs visited: 4

Art masterpieces seen: > 10,000

Salsa classes attended: 16

Lightest weight of the luggage for a single trip (kg): 6

Naturist offering to sell me clothes: 1

Passenger capacity of smallest plane taken: 40+

Passenger capacity of helicopter ride taken: 8

Hop on, hop off bus experienced: 3 4

Hop on, hop off boat experienced: 1

Most postcards sent in a single trip: 32

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