The flight home was ok. I sat between a couple, and nope, that's not a typo. She wanted the window seat and he wanted the aisle. Meanwhile Steve was across the way in an aisle seat of his own (at 6'2" he needs it.) First impression: "My, she really likes perfume." My first kindness was to offer aisle guy a mint, of which he was desperately in need. "I have plenty of them, and you can have as many as you want!" I said, enthusiastically.
At one point I went to the bathroom and when I returned "window seat" had taken my pillow and blanket. She was all cozied up and sleeping. I nudged her and whispered "Mmmm, I think you have my pillow and blanket." She was so funny! She thought the flight attendant had kindly left her two pillows and a blanket. I got them back and she cozied up again, in a complete stupor she was soon in 1/2 of my seat (I'd put the armrests up) and I was nudged over to her husband's seat. He looked at me with an expression that clearly said "Move it lady!" To which I nodded toward the seat sharing habits of his wife and shrugged my shoulders.
During the breakfast part of the trip aisle seat nearly sucked the plastic yogurt cup inside out and looked so longingly at my (free) yogurt that I gave it to him. You'd have thought I'd given him gold doubloons. He snatched it out of my hands toute suite!
Note to all men on airplanes:
PUT THE SEAT DOWN WHEN YOU ARE THROUGH.
Note to the "lady" (I use the term loosely) in the customs line, directly in front of me, at Logan airport:
IF YOU MUST PASS GAS PLEASE FOR-WORN THOSE BEHIND YOU...OR BETTER YET, KINDLY TOSS OFF TO THE SIDE OF THE ROOM, EXPELL ALL NOXIOUS GASES AND THEN RE-ENTER THE LINE. I WILL GLADLY HOLD YOUR PLACE. I GUARANTEE IT. 100%
Top it off with the lady who, waiting in line for the restroom (back on the plane) let loose with an enormous plerpety, plerp, plerp emission of her own, while dancing and doing what looked to be yoga/exotic hindu ritual movement therapy.
All this while I was harboring criminal intent at the United States of America customs border.
I had hidden (vacuum packed) 4 parcels of French cheese (noxious in their own, lovely, velvety way) in my suitcase. A friend had begged me to bring back cheese. She told me she did it all the time. Her suitcase was "full of cheese when I returned from Denmark!"
I nervously filled out my customs paperwork. I checked "no" to food. I checked "no" to diary. I checked "no" to plant materials and agricultural/farm exposure. I felt the pang of guilt. I imagined hoards of humanity being rushed to emergency rooms with bloated stomachs, looks of agony etched on their grimacing faces.
I watched the video monitors as I snaked through the lines at customs and took special notice of the uniformed men leading beagles on leashes to the suitcase carousel. I flinched at the yapping, excited beagle who pounced on top of a suitcase as it circled around...the uniformed agent grabbing the handle and grunting as he hauled it off the carousel. Unzipping the case he exposes...a cache of fresh oranges in a red-net bag!
Steve mentioned "dairy" while we were in line and I stomped on his toe.
We got through customs, got to the carousel area. I didn't see any dogs (they must have had the night off.) I sighed a huge breath of relief. We grabbed out bags, put them on a dolly and got into-yet another-line to go out, once and for all when I noticed a couple of beefy uniformed guys, again! Every so often they signaled a traveler to the side, where they opened a suitcase or two and rummaged through looking for contraband...like cheese.
I felt the heat of guilt rising from my toes to the tip of my head. My face flushed. I tried to play it cool and mumbled something about hot flashes at my age.
Next in line, the officer motioned us through. I nearly peed my pants.
I will never smuggle cheese again. I am not cut out for a life of crime.
Yep, I lost my cell phone. I believe I threw it in the garbage, in the giant community garbage containers in every French city and town. The ones that are sunk, 6-8 feet deep, in the ground. The ones that huge trucks with big cranes lift out of the ground...that rotate on giant arms to empty out in the those huge trucks.
Just as in the USA, there are giant grocery stores in France. I've heard there is one supermarche (sounds like super mar shay) that is so huge customers order online, make an appointment for pickup and show up at the drive-through-like area, where their purchases are loaded into the car.
I prefer the village markets and the smaller family-owned shops, or even the smaller (but still super) marche's, to the big places.
In St. Zach there are several bakeries (Patisserie's and Boulangerie's) and at least 2 family owned small grocery shops. They are small, like a 7-11 or Cumberland Farms in the U.S., but that is where the comparison ends. I've not seen any convenience "chain" stores, maybe they exist, but I've not seen them. The convenience store in St. Zach is family-owned, it's on the main street through town and is closed from 12:30-ish until 2:00-ish for lunch.
They are super friendly and don't mind the way I butcher the French language.
Super Fresh veggies and fruits, which you'd never see at a convenience store in the U.S. dominate the convenience store in St. Zach.
Other "regular" items include local olives and hand made sausages...and of course cheese.
Above the cheese's are pate's and spreads made with roasted red peppers, artichokes and other tummy stuff. Slather some on toast and sprinkle with a bit of that cheese and you've got a meal.
Don't forget the wine! This is wine selection at the little market. Amazing, affordable wines from the region.
Of course one can always go down the street and shop at "Super U," which is a larger chain store at the other end of town
People always bring their own bag or straw carrier. This gentleman was buying bread and chocolate.
The vegetable department is huge, and super fresh. Almost everything is tagged with where it was grown, if it is local and if it is organic. I went to the market late on a Saturday and the vegetable department was wiped out. The store is closed on Sunday and they get new produce on Monday. Late Saturday was not a good time to shop.
The cheese department is enormous and has varieties from all over Europe. The bottles above and below the cheese display suggest which wines are best with each cheese.
The other end of the cheese counter...
More cheese...the yogurt and butter counters are also enormous. More kinds of yogurt than I knew existed and all of it exquisite.
Lots of fresh fish
Super U also sells some odd stuff...
You can get photocopies, or have your picture taken at a photo booth.
You can recycle electronics.
You can buy some lumber, or a mattress or a small couch...you can even buy a washer/dryer or micro-wave or other small appliances. This is not a big store, it's not a department store either, but it has a hardware aisle, an aisle of books, some clothing...a bit of everything.
Word of warning! The French are famous for their strikes and protest's, especially French farmers, who take their profession very, very seriously. Do NOT piss off a French farmer!
My friend Corey and her husband Yann (affectionately called "french husband") recently bought a fisherman's cottage in the heart of Cassis. Overlooking the port, it is a pied-a-terre extraordinaire. We arrived later in the day and the light was not great. I did get some pictures and videos, though they don't accurately reflect the atmosphere of magical Cassis. I guess I'll just have to return. Did you hear that Corey? Yann?
Rocky cliff-tops sprout buildings.
photo via google photo
Their's is the place nearly smack dab in the middle, with the blue shutters.
Bonjour mon frere et ma soeur!
Two of the nicest people I've ever met...and through blogging of all things!
Cassis has an untamable wildness about it. You can see it in the sea, the cliffs, the ancient buildings...the cobbled streets.
Cassis as evening falls. Every glance is a photograph.