“Les salons de Modeste, c’est une spécialité de la ville de Fribourg. Une fois par an, entre 20 et 30 personnes ouvrent leur salon à ceux qui veulent bien leur rendre visite. Le principe: sur la base d’un choix totalement aléatoire, les personnes qui ont envie de participer à la Saint-Modeste se rendent dans l’un ou l’autre des salons ouverts à cette occasion pour une rencontre conviviale, sans autre but que la rencontre elle-même.”

Last night there was the “salons de modeste” in Fribourg. The selection criterion this year was “passions”. That is, you had to think of a passion, say “dance”, and then of it’s first letter, “d”. The local newspaper would then tell you which host would be “responsible” for you. Your host, which you’ve probably never met before in your whole life, would then offer free food and drink to all people who share passions starting with the same letter.

I went with a friend who’s keen on tennis and as I recently discovered tango, we decided to go for the host for the letter “t”, or actually for the prefix range “su-to”. A funny experience. You knock at somebody‘s (or rather Johanes’) door and that person is then “obliged” (… of course, these are volunteers) to offer you food and drink for the evening. So we got to enjoy homemade sushi (which actually tasted better than any sushi I’ve ever had in a Restaurant, including Japan) with 6 other people. What an absolutely brilliant “institution”! By the way, the place itself was also interesting and very original. It was actually a hobby garage with a somewhat improvised kitchen and “salon” on the second floor. Though this “floor” was more of a balcony, surrounded by a balustrade and with clear few on the two cars on the lower level. There was a clear smell of motor oil when you entered, but I stopped noticing it after about 10 seconds and it certainly did not spoil the taste of the meal.

However, the organizers made one mistake which might have unpleasant consequences for one of the hosts.

A 27-yr old girl living in a shared appartment also volunteered to be a host and she was responsible for “ru-st” (I think). As an example word from this range the organizers put “sexe” (the French spelling of “sex”). What’s worse, the address of the location included a remark “you have to go around the building” (so it sounded a bit “dodgy“) and she also gave her telephone number as the place is apparently not easy to find.

Now, obviously, the girl did not name “sex” as her passion to the organizers. And “sexe” was just one example word from the prefix range. But I really don’t want to know how many “prank calls” she got or what kind of people she might have accidentally attracted.

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