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Hope you are all safe and sane after the full-moon. Round here in Provence the air was just filled with the electricity of moody maniacs. Drivers on the road racing as if it’s F1, the locals kvetching in the village square about the emmerdeur at the next table who’s done them in, and the baby… baby acting all terrible-twos. Cuddly-huggy-kissy the one minute, happily shaking his booty to the MDNA album, and the next minute he’s possessed by the spirit of Voldemort. Scary. Very scary.

I’m starting to believe the theory that full moon can affect people’s mood. Nope, I have no scientific research results to confirm my feeling, but just to be safe I did avoid the big outdoors just a bit more than usual. Well, that was until 4th of July summer sales started!

Guilty, I cannot really say that I’ve kept my shopping urges totally under control until the summer sales. But seriously people, a mere grocery shopping trip to Carre Four (which is the Disney Land of Supermarkets in France) tears my emotions between glee over the cheap, high quality clothing on the grocery shelves (so much stuff I didn’t realize how much I NEEDED), and nausea over the children in Africa dying of hunger while another french family is picking up a 880g jar of Nutella to snack on. It sounds trite, and yet…

Anyhoo, somewhere a french family will also be picking up a steak from the Boucherie de Chevaline (horse meat butcher), and their donkey sausages from the market. They keep both horses and donkeys as pets. UGH!!!

So there!, you can always find a valid reason for reversing the pity and a reason to feel somehow superior to ‘the other’.

On the other hand, Paulo Coelho gives this valuable travel advice on his blog (Paulo Coelho’s 9 travel tips):

5. Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything – prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people – your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

So, on with just being open to experiencing the French lifestyle, here are a few of our adventures from the last ten days:

One bright morning we all set off for Cotignac, a neighbouring village (car-sick tablets in the system), and daddy-M was pleasantly surprised by how well the village has been restored. And it was here in Cotignac that we had our first enjoyable restaurant experience in a long time. Wayne checked us in on facebook, as one does, at La Table des coquelicots (the table of the poppies) and we had a superb meal and was just as positively surprised by our professional and attentive servers. I also found the most original postcards I’ve seen so far, and picked up a stash. For which Wayne started making fun of me again… Snail-mail and e-mail shouldn’t have to compete, I say!

Papa-G arrived back in France on Friday, and so we planned a special trip to an art and architecture exhibition we’d read about in a magazine for the weekend. An exhibition with a difference: Chateau la Coste is this wine estate in the region of Aix-en-Provence, which was bought by this Irish dude, who hired some rock star architect and artist dudes to create installations all over the landscape.

Yes, we did have to drive through the sticks to get there… you know, those kinda villages where Wayne didn’t even want to check in on facebook… but it was well worth the 90 minute drive.
So there you are, following the pathways to a range of giant sculptures and structures created by big names such as Michael Stipe (R.E.M), Guggi, Frank O. Gehry (Guggenheim architect), Sean Scully…  Mostly deconstructive in style, and in my opinion just mind-blowing with creativity. Oh, how I wished that my architect and artist friends could see this!

I was most entranced by Michael Stipe’s “Foxes” which reminds me of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s  Little Prince, meeting ‘the fox’ under the apple tree.

Chateau la Coste website

And then it was off to Nice for the beginning of the summer sales before dropping off Wayne at the airport for his flight back to the southern hemisphere.

Got my first close up view of the Med, and couldn’t help but think of all the months little-sis spent on those waters working on cruise ships. Unbelievably hard work, but a very unique experience.

The low-down on Nice high street fashion during summer sales: entirely underwelming. Could it be that my fashion sense is just not sophisticated enough? Possibly-maybe. Nice summer atmosphere: almost not a french person in sight. The U.S. economy cannot possibly doing that badly judging by the number of Americans swamping the French Riviera in summer.

Then it was off to Cote d’Azur airport, to drop Wayne at the kiss and fly section. Trust the french to make the kissing obligatory.

Sad to see Wayne leave after having so much fun together in France. You know, theorizing about how it could be that manual labourers in France are often so incredibly young and handsome. Pointing out the hot gardeners, builders and truck-drivers to each other… I’m still saying that they must be PhD students taking a summer break from the books. Okay, I wish…

Now that Wayne’s gone, who will entertain me with wildly inappropriate jokes, ironic quips, and sarcastic compliments? I feel a bit lost.

Wayne, on a scale from zero-to-Adele, how depressed am I that you had to go back home? I’ll SEE you Adele, and I’ll RAISE you Bon Iver. There’s your answer.

All the same, I WILL NOT be sending you a postcard. As Proverbs says: those who diss snail-mail will receive none.

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