Before you study this photo, look at the logo for my blog. A beret-wearing cow with a curly moustache, holding wine and a baguette. It’s missing a bike and a stripy top, but it’s pretty stereotypical of the French. I did once see a man in a stripy top riding a bike with a baguette in his backpack, but only once. I’ve done a mean thing and embraced an unfair stereotype about the French.
Now, let me rewind a little. When I first arrived in France and spoke only English, the most I could explain to people was “Australian”, complete with full Aussie accent and a finger pointing back at myself. Those who finally figured it out would usually say “Ahh, kangourou” (because the French do spell it differently), and just in case I didn’t understand the exact same pronunciation, they would often mimic a kangaroo with their hands pulled up near their chest. I love this aspect of human nature, and I’ve used a variety of hand gestures to mimic various words I don’t know in French when trying to communicate.
However, none of those French people ever said “Ahh cactus” for a reason.
I can only guess that some French man with no moustache who doesn’t like bread, refuses to own a bike and prefers soft drink to wine whilst wearing only solid colours without lines has got his revenge on at least one nation who keeps the French stereotypes alive. I can hear him now: “Bof! Zeez or-strah-lianz sink zhey are so smart. I will make up a stupit stereotype about zhem.”
And so, here is an American native plant stuck next to a sign about kangaroos. Good work, Jean-Michele (or Jean-Paul, or Jean-Philippe or Jean-Pierre or whatever his double-barrelled name is). I, for one, deserve it.