carrefour means ‘crossroads’

I sat at Gelato Fruitty KLCC with raspberry gelato in hand absent mindedly staring at La Cucur. Half my mind was on the gelato, thinking that I did manage 4 ice-cream flavours in this month after all. The other half of my mind wondered how she would be like now. I have not met her in years. When we parted, both of us were pursuing our own things in different geographical locations. We were both at the crossroads of our lives.

Chloe and I met through films. She was an au pair from France who was working for an expat family in my hometown.  She hailed from Bordeaux and is a year younger than myself. Many years ago, we met through a website discussing  INDIE (independent/art films)  and travels, two things we are both passionate about. So from the website we became film mates, going for screenings and film festivals together. The other thing that binds us is our fascination with Java. For me, it is my cultural heritage. For her, she is just fascinated with everything Javanese. We wanted to do Java backpacking together but it never did materialise ( marriage was in the pipeline for me ) and she went with her mother instead. Her life long ambition was to become a stewardess so she could travel and get paid for it. The year I got married, her dream came true when she got the job with Etihad, the airlines for Abu Dhabi.

Friendship with her through the years was unique. Through films and travel notes, we learnt about each other’s culture and belief systems in a non judgemental way. It was also through her that I learnt that the word ‘Carrefour’ (which I know as a supermarket and which everyone here pronounce as ‘Care For’ ) means ‘ Crossroads‘ or ‘Intersections‘.

It was a nice reunion just now with the  insider’s scoop of the airlines industries. About what they, as airline crew see at their level, about pilots cheating on their wives with the stewardesses, arab men in dish-dash cornering the stewards/stewardesses in the kitchen area on air demanding for alcohol even in Ramadan but pretend to fast in front of their wives and kids, Indian passengers asking for toilets only for ‘British’ passport holders, about her meeting Arab sheikhs in Abu Dhabi with 4 wives and some mistresses and wanting to make her part of their ‘collection’ and many other PG-rated things.

Through it all, I noticed that nothing else has changed in her. She is still the village girl from Bordeaux just like how she was an au pair many years ago when I first met her. In fact she admitted that her colleagues and pilots find her to be the ‘queer’ French girl who is a stewardess but doesn’t do parties/wild night outs/frenzy shopping and pilot-screwing. So basically, they left her alone to work as a stewardess without all the ‘extra things’.

From our carrefour some years back, we have reached to where we are now. I am happy she has arrived where she set out to be and I have arrived on mine or rather still on my journey. When I look back, watching films was made a more enriching experience because many times I had gone with her and we came out with two different perspective on the same film. And just now, we recapped that the last film we went to watch together before we parted company was the film Le Grand Voyage. How apt.


4 thoughts on “carrefour means ‘crossroads’

  1. I think it can be very shocking for people, especially over on this side of the world, who hold Arabs in such high esteem as the ‘bastions of religion’ etc, when they finally find out what really goes on with these people. As for me, I don’t think anything they can shock me any more.

  2. Holding Arabs on high esteem probably refers to the Arabs who came first in this region and Islamised the Malay Archipelago. The wali songos and their gang. The ‘other’ Arabs are different story altogether…

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