Random Musings Inc.

Here are some random rumblings about the things around me during my stay in France and USA.


Ever heard about TV tax, as in, you are required to pay a yearly amount if you own a TV. This used to be in practice before the advent of Big Media when there were no commercials. But apparently, the French decided to take the best of both the worlds, or rather impolitely have the cake and eat it too! BTW, I love French commercials (see below). This is unlike in UK where you do pay but there are no ads in these channels.

Un Café?

In a coffee shop: A double shot mocha in soy milk and vanilla syrup tipped with fat-free whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon. After Big Food and Big Media, here is the time for Big Coffee. I see that this phenonmenon is replicated these days all over the globe(e.g. India). But here in France, people still like to say 'Un petit café s'il vous plait? Ofcourse unless this becomes famous.

Need a driving permit

I always thought that one of toughest places to get a driver's license was India. I was mistaken. I was shocked to hear that you'll have to shell out upto a thousand green bucks to get one in France. Most of that money, I believe, goes to the driving schools. Amazingly, it is those schools who decided how competent you are (i.e. how many hours of "schooling" you'll need before you can appear for the "exam"). Do you smell a conflict of interest or what? Luckliy for me being a student, thanks to this, I don't have to endure this.


One of the things I needed to remind myself after I came here is to STOP tipping. Did someone say Yeah, we believe you. I am serious here. In France, except for high-class restaurants, you are not required to tip. This is a far cry from the good old USA, where even the suggested tipping amount is printed in the receipt.

TGV Trains

You gotta love this. Travelling upto at 500 km/h is as smooth as honey. You can do a Paris-Marseilles trip (approx. 900 kms) in three hours. While there is nothing like hitting an American Interstate, people in Europe tend to use public transportation more often. I wish in a large country like India, there is something like TGV. But wait, I heard about this ...

Online Travel Reservation

Have you ever tried to reserve airplane tickets in one of the websites referred here, here and here. To begin with, it gives you a good deal on the flight you want, when you click on "Achetez" (buy), it says they are not available and asks you to search again. The next results will spellbound you. The price will be atleast 5 times the original amount. Talking about real-time transactions processing ...

Nudity in Commercials

This recent incident, with its unwanted Hoo-Haa amazes me. This is a country which gave the world the First Amendment. Anyway in France, skin exposure is cheerfully is encouraged for the most obvious ones (skin care products, underwear, etc.) to ridiculous ones (tissue paper!).
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