'Dans le Noir'
Well, I promised to tell you about ‘Dans le Noir’, the pitch-black restaurant, and so I shall. When we arrived in the well-lit foyer the restaurant, the first thing we had to do was take all our valuables out of our pockets and put them into lockers. If we dropped our wallets or our house-keys in the darkness of the dining-room, the waitress explained, it would be very difficult to find them. Then she explained the menu; in this restaurant, you don’t order the particular dishes you feel like eating; instead, you just choose between four ‘surprise menus’ (one with meat, one with fish, one with both, and one with neither). When we had chosen our menus and also ordered ‘surprise cocktails’, the hostess introduced us to our waiter (who was, I think, blind). The waiter told us all to stand in a line and put a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us. Then he lead us, very slowly, into the darkness.
At first, as we shuffled through the dark restaurant towards our table, I felt disorientated and slightly panicky. However, this soon passed, and within a few minutes we were all laughing and joking about how cheap it must be to decorate a restaurant like that.
It was really very, very dark in there; you could close your eyes and open them again, and you wouldn’t notice any difference at all. Most of us found it impossible to use knives and forks in the darkness, so we ate with our fingers, and one of my friends took great delight in describing, in disgusting detail, how she was holding a big slab of meat in both hands and gnawing it like a hungry cavewoman.
The whole experience seemed to pass very quickly, and I think the lack of light must have altered our perceptions of time; we spent about an hour and a half in the darkness, but it felt like about fifteen minutes, and of course none of us could look at our watches.
To be honest, I don’t really think ‘Dans le Noir’ gave me a deeper understanding of blind people’s lives. I was only‘blind’ for a very short period of time, and I didn’t have to do anything more difficult than pouring wine into a glass. In fact, that wasn’t really the reason I went there anyway – I went because I enjoy ‘weird’ new experiences, and ‘Dans le Noir’ was satisfyingly weird.
Anyway. Again, good work on the blogs, James – your grammatical accuracy has improved significantly. You also have very good taste in cats. You asked if I could send Friday to you through the internet – well, the USB port in this computer is quite small, but I’ll try and fit her in there. Please send her back soon, though – Lottie is away at the moment (in Namibia, photographing elephants, the lucky cow), but she’ll be back tomorrow and she’ll be cross if she comes back and discovers that I’ve emailed her cat to Taiwan.
All the best,
PS Well done Adek, you got me, bang to rights. We use ‘downright’ with adjectives, and occasionally with adverbs. Well done!
Ooh, look at all this lovely vocabulary!
The entrance hall of a cinema, a hotel, a restaurant, etc., is sometimes called the foyer.
‘Valuables’ is a plural noun which means, simply, the valuable items which you own or which you are carrying.
If you go to the swimming pool, you probably leave your clothes in a kind of metal cupboard called a locker.
The word dish has several meanings; here, I’m using it as a noun to mean food cooked to a particular recipe, maybe as part of a meal. As I mentioned a week or two ago, my favourite dish is Thai prawn soup.
Cocktails are drinks (normally alcoholic drinks) made by mixing several drinks together. We can also use the noun ‘cocktail’ in a more general sense, just meaning a mixture of different things.
If you lose your sense of direction and feel confused about where you are, you feel disorientated (unless you’re American, in which case you feel ‘disoriented’).
The noun ‘panic’ means a sudden feeling of fear which is so strong that you can’t think straight. The adjective from this noun is panicky.
To take great delight in something means to enjoy doing something very much.
A slab of something is a large, flat piece of something.
The verb ‘to gnaw’ means to bite or chew repeatedly. For example, dogs like to gnaw bones.
Long ago, in prehistoric times, our distant ancestors lived in caves. We call people from this earlier stage of human development ‘cavemen’. Obviously, the female version of a caveman is a cavewoman.
Cross is another word with many meanings; here it’s an adjective meaning ‘angry’.
‘Bang to rights’ is a phrase you might hear if you watch British gangster movies. When the criminal says to the policeman, “you’ve got me bang to rights,”he means something like, “you’ve caught me, I’m obviously guilty, and I can’t deny it.”
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