Sunday, September 11, 2016

Day 5-Aix En Provence-observations-funny, frustrating and interesting

Today we were to take a 10 hour tour to Nice and Monaco. Somehow, we misread the time we were supposed to be present. We woke up to a call wondering where we were. There was no way we could get there on time, so we had to decline. First snafu of the trip. C'est la vie. We had made a pact that no matter what happened we were going to make lemonade out of the lemons. After a morning of feeling disappointed, we were able to do that. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule for Tuesday, although they weren't really too pleased with us.
Last night we visited with a man working here for 6 months from the U.K. He had a totally different view of Brexit and voted for it. He was our age and feels a huge sense of British pride and nationalism. Interesting conversation to have the other viewpoint. Even he, although probably much more conservative than the young people we talked to in Barcelona, is scared to death for the world with a Trump presidency. It seems to be a recurring theme.
Okay...some funny things. We walked into the city center today, because most things in this quiet neighborhood are closed on Sunday's. Another interesting thing for a Sunday in a tourist town. We found a cafe that was open. The table was small, and as I tried to cross my legs, I hit the table, which sent the glass bottle of water flying through the air. Jon caught it in mid-air! It was hilarious and all the people in the restaurant started clapping! It was really quite amazing.
We came upon an outdoor festival...we couldn't really tell the theme, other than fitness. Many martial arts displays. Also, many dancers...we watched Belly Dancers, Flamenco dancers and Salsa dancers. Very weird here in southern France, where there aren't many other nations represented.
It is so very hot here! Probably 90 degrees today. We are pushing water like crazy, but probably sweating so much out that our urine still appears dehydrated. Okay. TMI.
Language. Wow. It's hard here. In Barcelona, between Jon being fairly fluent, and me knowing the important words and phrases we did fine. Most people in Spain know enough English to help us. Here it is not like that. Jon also knows French, basic, but his brain has taken a day to make the change from Spanish to French. Here is me in France. I knew the word for bathroom-toilette- asked the guard at a museum today and he started rambling back in French. I looked like a dumbfounded tv
comedian. You know...the blank, mouth hanging open look. I couldn't catch a word. I asked him if he spoke English-he said "zero" But then he was able to ask someone else my question about the museum and have them translate. 40 years ago I discovered that if you made an effort to speak French the people would help you. But not if you just assumed they should know English. Thought it might have changed, but not really. So now I ask J how to say something and usually they will help me.
We ended up going to a Turner exhibit at a beautiful museum that used to be the home of French royalty. Turner is a 19th century British landscape artist who found refuge here in Provence. Nothing was in English, but Jon was able to translate most of the descriptions. Plus, I was able to use my knowledge of Latin roots to find words I knew that made sense.
Here is what I think about languages now. It is such a global economy that everyone should know a
second language. Probably Spanish. Wish I had pushed my kids harder. My dad made us take Latin to improve our English does, but the world is so different now. Spanish seems to be the alternate language in Europe now.
This is not the place to be 25 pounds overweight as I am. French people, women especially, are beautiful, as were the Spanish women in Barcelona. But no one seems body obsessed as we are, and so I'm okay loving the skin I'm in.
Another funny...yesterday in Barcelona a woman from England asked me if I was from Fargo. She thought I talked just like the woman in the movie. Oh my.
Also....every car is a manual transmission. The driver automatically cuts the engine at a stop light. Same in Spain. Here in Aix there is very little plastic. Everything is served in glass. Everything tastes better in glass I think.
Last, I think that Otis elevator company  owns the world. Every escalator or elevator is manufactured by them. Funny what you notice.
Tomorrow is a wine tour in the the countryside of Provence. We WILL make it this time!!

1 comment:

  1. Pax domini sit semper vobiscum ~+~
    Pace, pace, mio dio ~!!~