Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Return to the Tragi-comedy of All-Day Travel

This is our bungalo on the farm.
There was a point this afternoon when the tragi-comedy was swirling that I took out my note pad and began jotting this all down. There was an Laurel and Hardy routine sitting there waiting to be snapped up.

The farm's owner lives here.
This trip has had more snafus than the 8th Army, but this was ridiculous, Ollie. Sonya was standing at the Enterprise car rental counter in the small French coastal town of Brasiers (OK, cut the cute jokes), telling the clerk that we had walked half a mile uphill in the hot sun  dragging our ridiculous bags (I've learned my lesson, Leah; promise) to Avis. The Avis lady told us the car had been rented through Enterprise.

We trudged back down the hill to Enterprise where the clerk was away from the office--bathroom break, I'd guess--and upon return, he said he'd found the reservation but the car was at the airport--16 km away--and not at the train station where he operated. The cab ride to the airport was 30 Euros--about $40.

This old boy is part of a good-sized herd.
This came on top of what was already developing as The Day Hell Forgot. We'd awakened early (me 7, Sonya 8) this  morning so we could get a jump on the 10 a.m. strain from Paris to Aude Cathar County in the French wine country. We had rented a half of an old house here for a few days and were looking forward to getting out of the city, the stress and the unaccustomed large crowds. I knew this was going to be a slog.

First, we had to go half a mile through complicated Paris streets to the Metro. That meant arranging and carrying all that baggage. It meant climbing flight after flighty of steps at the Metro station. It means pushing the bags out of the train before we were trampled and getting a seat on the high-speed train before it took off. All doable, but we'd be cutting it close. That, of course, translates to stress, a constant companion on this trip. We finally got it all done. Sonya has said more than once, "It ain't always pretty, but I always get it done." Yep, true so far.

Just up from our bungalo.
So, we are totally tied up on the train for four hours arriving in this amazing county and we begin the absurdly complex trek out to the farm, where grapes and a number of animals live with an Englishwoman named Jilly, her son Oliver and her Iranian husband. Off the road and on the way to the farm, my jaw dropped and stayed there. Tomorrow morning, I will take the camera out. Tonight, I'm simply too tired and the light is gone. Sonya took me out to the front steps a bit ago to look at the stars. I'd forgotten there are so many.

LET ME MENTION that on the way to the South, we continually came across France's dependency on fuels other than oil, coal and the like. We saw huge nuclear reactors and giant wind generator farms all over the place in this wine county. France is just so damn civilized.

IT'S SATURDAY now and I took a bit of a walk this morning to get some photos in the glorious South France light, but alas, it's overcast. I'm still feeling puny, so I asked Sonya to head out on her own today and I'll stick with the farm, do some hiking here and try to catch up with my cold, which is keeping me up for much of the night. My guess is that Sonya will enjoy a day of solitude and privacy. I will, too. Close quarters like this cause a strain on even the closest relationship. I once spent 10 days on a sailboat in the Bahamas with some very good friends and by the ninth day, we could have all killed each other. This is Sonya's and my 13th day.

Scenic, but not especially useful.
The kitchen window.
The black dude's brown buddy.
This is the lock on our front door. Love it, or what?

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