Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Il Fait Chaud

Well, we've had a welcome respite from the heat. The temperature dropped yesterday from a high of 36 degrees to a mild 34 degrees.

Even the locals will say, "Il fait chaud" entirely unprompted. It is like being in Grade 8 French Class all over again. Personally, I'd like to hear a little, "Il fait froid!"

Spent the morning in the local market, buying produce and cheese and sausages and a little wine at a Euro a glass. In other words, after the Canadian currency conversion, a glass of wine is a mere dollar fifty. Driving a rental car, I have to exercise a rather extraordinary degree of self control. Or abandon all thoughts of venturing out onto the French roadside...

The locals are quite enthused about the Medoc Marathon. Although not as sophisticated as Bostonians, people in Bordeaux are nonetheless intrigued that people would travel from all over the world to run through the countryside.

Service in France can be a hit and miss proposition. Usually when you bump into someone in a large business and they hate their job and their boss and their life and all foreigners and anything that moves; well, you are at their mercy. And you could quite concievably die before getting any attention or God Forbid, actual assistance. But small businesses are usualy the exception. When you enter a store or a cafe or a restaurant and the person behind the counter is also the proprietor, they will go to great lengths to ensure that you either enjoy the experience or get what you are looking for. And if they don't have it, chances are they know someone or somewhere that does and they'll steer you in that direction with specific directions - often hand-drawn - of how to get there!

From the market it was too hot to do anything but go to the beach. So armed with a gigantic hat and 45 Sunblock I ventured out into the sun for the first time in months. I felt like a little bunny in a large field keeping an eye out for an eagle overhead. Very strange to not be able to blithely wander anywhere. Like a vampire, I usually bolt from shadow to shadow and conspicuously avoid the sunny side of the street...

So, slopped head to toe in Sunblock, and looking vaguely ghost-like as a white apparition, I even ventured into the waters of the Atlantic for a respite from the heat, starkers except for my French sombrero and sunglasses (I was surrounded by German naturists - so when in Rome). And I nearly lost those in the surf and waves that put the West Coast of British Columbia to shame. In the end I retreted to the shadows of the bunkers that dotted the beach and that the Germans so thoughtfully left behind after the Second World War.

In the late afternoon I returned to the Chateaux Gadet Terrefort and bought a case of wine for the week. I'll have to go back because the rest of my party - Seymour - drank it last night!

I miss my dogs, but have been informed, in very specific terms, that they are being little Hellions in my absence. I will have to beat them when I return home, and offer what promises to have to be an incredibly large bribe as compensation to their baby-sitter...


Anonymous dogfish dave said...

Hey Vince,

I am really enjoying your travels, and of course am insanely jealous of your exploits. Sounds fantastic! Enjoy the marathon.


2:41:00 AM  
Blogger Scooter said...

"starkers except for my French sombrero and sunglasses" - a bit more than I really wanted to know

5:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad your experience was not positive. Every other runner who's ever run the Marathon du Medoc has raved about it. Runners World rates it one of the top 10 in the world. Ah well, what do they know? Damn those duplicitous French for having extraordinarily hot weather on the very day Vince wants to have a good run.

Water was obviously a problem. What's the first rule of marathoning? Oh yeah, on race day don't change your routine. Did you train carrying your own water Vince? Hmmm, damned French.

Too bad about the wine too. The website said that there would be 17 wine-tasting stations, including some fabulous second and third-growth Bordeaux wines (not to mention first growth Lafite Rothschild). Yet you say there was only six. Tragic. I guess the other 11 decided it was too hot to be outside.

On the bright side you say Chateau Mouton Rothschild was pouring. That's fabulous considering according to the race organizers Mouton was NOT pouring. You're so lucky.

6:55:00 PM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

Oh great, another wanker comment from another "anonymous" wanker.

And as usual, a wanker who apparently can't read...


Not worth responding to when I am enjoying myself and having a "positive" experience in France.

3:47:00 AM  

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