Flying home with Mr. Blowhard

While in line for our return flight boarding pass at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, I was in the unfortunate cue position directly in front of Mr. Blowhard d’ American, who blabbered-on without mercy about his amazing travel acumen. At an unreasonably high a decibel level, I and everyone else within 20 feet learned about Mr. Blowhard’s brilliant car rental arrangements, how he avoids crowded beaches in Spain, how he orders food cooked just the way he likes it at home, and how smartypants knows the correct way to do pretty much everything.

As I prayed quietly to St. Jude for the appearance of a giant sock filled with cow manure to clobber this guy with, I noticed a boy standing with his mom’s suitcase. The little guy was adjusting the suitcase’s travel handle, so it would be exactly his height, which was about three feet tall. He would adjust and then move his flattened hand from the height of the handle to the top of his head. It was perfectly parallel. And he had an expression on his face that said, “The handle is not just for wheeling the suitcase through airports – it also measures the exact height of people like me. Voila! This is my great discovery.”

And I thought, my brain works much more like the little french boy’s than Mr. Blowhard’s.

And that’s fine with me.

Here is a poster of a photography exhibit that I really wanted to attend, but missed – one that appealed to the little guy in me.  Next trip to France, maybe.


The Rivers of Babylon on Bastille Day

At the crazy Bastille Day dance party by the town fountain last night in our tiny Provence village, between the hours of Midnight and 1 am, I heard only three songs that were not french: the Village Peoples’s YMCA (hugely popular with this young crowd); a DJ line dance version of Cotton Eyed Joe (no line dance was performed, but some french kissing); and my personal favorite – Rivers of Babylon. Two young french girls standing on the fountain wall sang along with this reggae classic. It gave me hope for the world.

“‘Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha song
In a strange land?

Sing it out loud!
Sing a song of freedom sister!
Sing a song of freedom brother!”

Chanson Du Jour: Volia l’ete (Summer)

Les Négresses Vertes – Volia l’ete (Summer)  

Heard this song playing outside at a wine tasting today, and it reminded me of a truly great band from the late ’80s – Les Négresses Vertes.

If The Waterboys had been born French, they would have sounded like these guys. Lead singer Helno Rota, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 29, in 1993, was the real deal – a great singer, performer, and hell-raiser.

This song is from the band’s classic from 1988 Mlah  

Hit the road at Festival d’Avignon

We had a fun day at the Festival d’ Avignon yesterday. There’s a wide range of theater productions happening throughout each day. You’d need a week in Avignon to see them all.

You wouldn’t seek out Avignon primarily for their museums, as you might in Paris. But there are great shops and boutiques, bars and restaurants everywhere, and a cool youthful vibe in the city.

As we were walking through the streets of the walled city, a young women who looked like Audrey Hepburn circa Roman Holiday, approached us riding on the back of a classic red motor scooter. Turns out, she was promoting her evening performance as – Audrey Hepburn! Pausing on her scooter, she sang a tune from My Fair Lady sounding much like Marni Nixon, and then off she went. Later, I snapped a photo of this poster hanging in a shop window.


Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn in Avignon


The majority of the shows were serious drama and as you’d expect, performed in French, so we didn’t buy tickets to any of the featured events, but saw dozens of street performances.

We had a tasty lunch and ice cream cones by the Palace of the Popes, the fourteenth-century Gothic palace built by the popes who made Avignon their home.

Here’s a group of young gals singing a bit of “Hit the Road, Jack” – a favorite song of Pope Innocent VI way back in 1352, hundreds of years before Ray Charles would record the song in 1960,  proving the pope’s miraculous powers. Or something like that.