Monday, September 22, 2008

The Ego Has Landed

I arrived in France on Sunday on my semi-annual trip to visit my maternal homeland and my wonderful aunt, Arlette. I flew into Nice and then drove 95 kilometers to a small town called Draguignan to spend the night. I chose Draguignan for several reasons rather than spending the first night in Nice. Nice may be uber-hip and suave, but it sucks. And no amount of magnificent bare boobies on the beach is going to change that. Not that I ever looked. Needless to say I was a bit tired since I had been on the road almost 29 hours. The flights for once were uneventful and actually quite pleasant. No real disasters or adventures to speak of. Well, there was one Three Fingered Moment when my backpack's strap got caught on a seat handle while boarding and I almost went over backwards, feet in the air... You get the picture...

There was also the carry-on bag moment. I noticed one couple going through security at Sky Harbor with huge carry-on bags. Either the $15 fee for the bag check-in was too expensive or the wait at the baggage claim was too much to deal with but they were determined to get those bags on. I was wondering if flight personnel would prevent them and would enforce the gate check-in rule. So it was with great interest that I saw they were on my flight. His struggle to insert their bags into the storage bin was hilarious but he succeeded and fortunately did not prevent anyone else from storing their bags. So no harm, no foul, so to speak. They did hold us up in trying to pry the bags out upon arrival in Dallas. This was a pain because for some reason (TMI moment here) air travel makes my bladder go into overtime work mode. I was in the midst of performing a selection from Riverdance to the amusement of my fellow passengers when I noticed the wife was wearing an Obama for President button. Aha!!! Everything became clear as i realized that they had attempted and achieved the impossible dream because they had the "audacity to hope". Either that, or they were just plain rude and did not care a whit for their fellow travelers. I leave it up to you to make up your own mind as to which was the true motivation for their actions. The only drag during the trip was a layover of almost 5 hours in London but I found a great bookstore where I immediately bought three books. I had to leave quickly before I blew all my cash on books and over burdened my already overloaded backpack. Even though I wasn't hungry I still ordered a typical English vegetarian breakfast.

In retrospect it really doesn't look that good.

The drive from Draguignan to Saint Roman de Tousque, the small village of about 70 people in the Cevennes ( a mountainous area in the south-central part of the country) where my aunt lives was fun. I followed a group of Ferrais (proof I was near the Riviera) and a puke green Lamborghini on the highway for a while at almost 100mph. They must have had radar since they slowed down at the only speed trap.

Chasing a Ferrari at 100MPH while taking a picture:

I made a quick stop in a small town called Anduze for some of the best pizza around. Thin crust, and the perfect mix of sauce and cheese. After a liesurely repast of the pizza and a beer I drove the final 22 miles to St Roman.

Our house is the tall one.

I gave Arlette the obligatory hug, kiss, tears, and after a glass or two of champagne I casually asked her if she wanted to leave for Italy. It took her less than 15 seconds to say, "Yes!"

I normally relax and hang out and do not much of anything except eat and and and drink. (Of course, since I've become a vegetarian I have not had the opportunity to enjoy the absolutely fabulous local salami. But, the goat's cheese that is made in Le Pompidou, 12 kilometers up the road, is to die for and more than makes up for it. ) Within 30 minutes we were on our way to Grenoble so we'd have a good start to hitting the Alps before spending tomorrow night in Turin, Italy.

So, here I am in Grenoble on a Tuesday morning waiting for a sports store to open since I was in such a rush that I left my running shoes at the house. (I hate 3 Fingered moments). I also left my camera in the car so pictures will be uploaded in another post. Stay tuned for more.

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