Friday, June 17, 2011

conversations, boats and computers

I do not think it’s possible for a Soredian to pass a neighbor and not engage him (yesterday's photos were about the women, on this day, it's about the men) in conversation.

...About the bicycle.


...About today’s crop of apricots and nectarines (let me add my two cents: best ever, anywhere!).


And here’s another detail: men use the baguette excuse to get out and about. There are so many carrying the thin loaves in a characteristic back of the back position that you have to think it’s a conspiracy.

This gentleman paused in his baguette stroll to play with the dog. Unusual. Beautiful dog though. Even if Ed thought it was unfair of him to throw pebbles for the dog to retrieve from the stream. I suppose he’s right. Even the sharpest dog cannot pick out the right pebble from the rushing waters.


And speaking of streams and such, this afternoon (well, no, evening actually because it was 5:30 by the time we dragged ourselves out with this project) we drove up north a bit (some two dozen kilometers) to Villeneuve de la Raho, where there is a lake – a place to try out our portable canoe.

What makes it a canoe, given that we use kayak paddles for it? Well, you sit down low and it has the shape of a canoe, so there's that.  It’s built much like a tent is built – with segmented aluminum tubes, and then some inflatable bladders at the side. Ed bought it off of Craigslist and I am not convinced it hasn’t a leak, as the price was really quite low. If you break it down and fold it up, you can fit it in a very large tote. Weight of the tote, with paddles and life vests – about 37 lbs, well within the permissible limit for transatlantic flights.

Of course, if you break something down into such small pieces, you’re going to spend some time putting it back together. It took us a half hour. That’s okay – we were on a pleasant strip of grass, there were picnickers to the side, and men and cats out for an evening stroll, and other boat people to watch.


Oh, and lovely cars in the woodsy parking lot.


A pleasant if cloudy evening to be out by the water.

The lake isn’t large, but it offers nice views onto the mountains ascending from the waters of the Mediterranean...


...and a chance to glide by fish jumping around in the waters, and ducks doing their ducky things – all in all, it was a really nice little run to test the boat.

DSC07225 - Version 2

So it was fine. I’m in agreement there. A little tippy, but fine. But I am not convinced that the canoe can fit a few days supply of gear, not that it can manage a longer haul on the tricky waters of the rivers in southern France. More on that in the weeks ahead. For now, let me just enjoy the recollection of a quite enjoyable little spin around the lake.


In the evening, we face a continued malfunction of the Internet at our Soredian home. We feel a little pesky in our Internet queries. Our host is just an occasional user and if it goes down for a bit, he knows it will come back up eventually. An hour, a day, another day, so be it. And still, he is one step ahead of the rest of the villagers. Sorede is not in awe of the Internet. Most people here don’t have computers, don’t care about computers and do not parade with iPhones or any portable electronic devices. There is a computer that you can use in the Tourist office, but in all my visits to the office, I never find anyone using it. True, I rarely find anyone using the Tourist Office either, so there’s that.

I take a chance and ask at the Pizza-Bar if they have Internet. They do. Can we use it? Sure!

Our late hours of the day are spent eating pizza, drinking sangria and catching up on web stuff. Surely we look freakishly ridiculous with our laptops out on such a lovely evening, staring at our screens instead of each other or the world around us, but for us, it is a lovely meal. And the "Four Seasons" pizza (with seasonal veggies buried under the cheese) is extraordinary.


The meal is finished off by a Catalan flan which looks to me like a crème brulee, but hey, the taste is wonderful either way and so I offer no complaints.