We haven’t exactly left France yet, but our tiny taste is drawing to a close. We were just contemplating (read: blog post author just grilled everyone for ideas <wink> actually, the contributions flowed thick and fast and these thoughts represent a conversation that cannot have lasted more than quarter of an hour) what things we have discovered, things we didn’t know before.
- Fifi, the French poodle, is a myth. However, every other Frenchie carries a handbag dog, many of which are not much more than overgrown spiders
- the sky is unexplainably clear
- France is BIG
- and beautiful
- the south is much hotter and drier than anyone expected – almost barren-looking in places
- the Mediterranean holiday uniform is WHITE – white linen pants, white shirts and all I can think is obviously none of them are doing handwashing!
- there are toll toads for Africa
- from 12-2 everything closes – EVERYTHING. Driving through villages you feel as if you are in a deserted movie set, but if you walk round town at this time you hear the clinking of silverware on crockery, you hear the laughter escaping through shutters closed against the midday sun, you smell delicious aromas wafting out.
- at night everything comes alive – as we are settling children into bed fellow motorhomers are bringing out their evening baguettes and salads, tablecloths and wineglasses…..if you wander into town about 10 the cafe tables have spilled out onto the cobbled streets and are overflowing with people, children run round the square,
ratsdogs sit patiently at their owner’s feet in restaurants, live jazz music fills the warm summer air, and the back alleys are romantically deserted…..
- disturbingly (to the Kiwi psyche!!) men wear speedos. Kiwis don’t cope with speedos at the best of times, and after the modesty of Asia where we saw more people bathe fully clothed than in specialist swimwear, it is disconcerting to have the general populace wandering round in their undies, especially when there is no beach nearby! Mind you, it would seem the men wear more than the women. There are some big Mamas running round topless after their children or parading up and down, although this behaviour *is* restricted to the beachfront.
- speaking of Asia, we thought we had left squattie potties behind….but they are prevalent in the south. And I am glad. I actually prefer them – much more hygienic.
- clock towers are topped with swirly-whirly curlicue-y wrought iron structures
- they make great saucisson (sausages)
- the loudest cicadas in the world live here (well, the loudest that we have heard – at first we thought there were chattering monkeys in the trees – until we remembered ere we were – then we wondered if there were parrots here – but they turned out to be cigale)
- frogs are olive-skinned, beautifully tanned (see comment up a bit, I suppose!)
- frogs are also incredibly friendly and do not object (openly, at least) to you butchering their language
- “tant pis” (that’s Rob’s linguistic contribution – can’t say I’ve even heard it once!)
- the lavender harvest would be over….but we saw these:
- we didn’t know the cutest three-year-old would be the first to pick up oooh-la-la after a week….but we should have guessed that the novelty of everyone saying it all the time would wear off after another!
And now you know what we didn’t know. I told you we were ignorant!
Time on the road: none
Distance covered: 0km
Tags: 2008/09, language, postcard: France, toilet, weather