Tuesday, July 5, 2011

People-Watching at the Airport

Just because Internet access was repaired on July 1 didn't automatically assure that time to blog came with it. It also didn't assure that I'd stay awake long enough to type what I've scrawled out by hand. This took two days.

Did I show you the big Airbus 380 we flew on?
Nice ride, live views of taxi, take-off, landing.

Our photo tour of Provence had us out fairly early in the mornings and French custom had us out on the veranda at the villa in the evenings. Rough life, huh?  But sharing a room with Sister, I tried to curb my extreme night-owl tendencies and get a little sleep for the next day.

Out our window in Sainte-Cecile-les-Vignes at sunrise.

Sunflowers along the road one morning.

Something else there.

A little farther down the road.  Not poppies.  No one knew.

Dessert as Still Life

Close up of  *FRESH*  lavender

Photos toujours (this one of Sister)

Lavender fields at sunset

Just a little later, vineyards in foreground

Market at l'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
Artists at l'Isle
 Today we left the villa, photo tour over. Sister flew off to Brussels (one hopes, having left her at the airport awaiting a delayed flight) to meet her husband for a week of motoring in the Morgan about Belgium and the Netherlands.

I've checked into a hotel in St Rémy de Provence to continue with a few days of French language studies in a family-run school. I'll have an aperitif with them tonight,then start class tomorrow.

Zinging toward St Rémy
I apparently forgot to bring a copy of the confirmation email for my hotel reservation. Scrounged through every piece of paper I have in my suitcase, sweating out whether a stern desk clerk would turn me away with hauteur, "I'm sorry, Madame. We have no record of your reservation." This town is, after all, very difficult to book at this time of year.

Instead, I arrived while "reception" was technically closed for the lunch two hours and was greeted by a tiny woman who found my name on a list (I hope, because the exchange was in French) and took me upstairs to my room. Tiny as she was, she had to carry my suitcase up. I can lift it on level ground, but not up stairs, and she disapproved of my dragging it up by the handle.

Now I'm sweating out whether that was a proper check-in, that maybe I'm an imposter in someone else's room, and I'll be found out when I go down to get a ride to aperitifs.

(Writers! We're not worry warts. We just have rampant imaginations.)

My room here is pretty roomy by French hotel standards. Serene creams and greens. A/C. Wall-mounted TV. A double-door closet with hangers and partial shelves. A safe. A tranquil view out the window, of greenery, stone walls, red roofs. Two chairs. Two bedside tables with drawers. A low dresser with drawers. A wall-mounted TV. A tiny but updated bathroom. (Love the shower, with shower curtain and rail to hold onto.) A luggage rack. One electrical outlet next to the hairdryer in the bathroom, to recharge all my electronic gadgets, besides the one high on the wall that the TV is plugged into.

View to the right from my window, with only
a little bit of sticking head outside

Self portrait at the hotel

But, returning to people-watching at the airport. Tour leaders Lisa and Amanda, besides chaffeuring us to trains and airports, were turning in two large cars, then renting a small one for the remainder of their stay in Provence. There was a line at Hertz. I stood under a shade tree with all my worldly possessions outside, including my back-pack, to wait for them. I'm lousy at standing, but apparently the back-pack supported my sluggish spine and I was quite content standing there, watching car-rental customers stream by en route to the various venders.

Two. I'll mention just two families that left me with that Omygosh-what's-their-story? feeling. Wish I had pictures, but taking them would have been rather rude.

Along came Dad, wearing an enormously large back-pack of the sort that totes a toddler and probably converts into a child safety seat. He was pulling a luggage train (what I call it when I hook up my smaller bag to be towed behind my bigger bag.)  Only his smaller bag was the same identical suitcase as my bigger one, which is what drew my attention in the first place. The big bag was buried under another enormous child safety seat. The prospective occupant of that safety seat was riding in a baby stroller, pushed by Mom. Toddler girl wanted to go with Dad to the rental counter, but Mom lured her back by proffering yogurt. It would be a long wait. They were speaking American English.

Amanda came out to make sure I hadn't melted into the pavement and we exchanged whispers that traveling with such little ones and all that gear can't be much fun. Guessing expats or overseas employees returning to France after a visit back home as their story.

I admire their fortitude.

Family number two, also a party of four, walking serenely down the alleyway. Mom, wearing a long skirt, a scarf wrapped around her neck, perhaps having traveled where a head scarf is customary. Dad, in a medium brown business suit. The girls, teen princesses in stylish clothes and platform shoes.

He is swinging a slender store shopping bag with the image of a tall, stylish woman printed on its side. The girls pull unusual little carry-on bags. Mom pushes the luggage cart with several large suitcases piled on. She is very good at it. On the slight downward slope, other cart pushers are hurtling down rather rapidly, pulled by gravity, almost out of control. What must this story be?

I'll see you soonish, I hope.


1 comment:

  1. It looks so sunny and serene there-just love it and all of your pictures. Although, the sunflowers and lavender take my breath away. Must have been spectacular there. Wow!