I learned to ride the tram. Altho it is about a 30 minute walk along the aquaduct to get to the tram, I’m beginning to love the walk more and more with each trek. The tram took over an hour to get to our destination, the Odyseum, which is a huge outdoor mall with gokarts, bars, bowling, ice skating, and an aquarium. I shopped the soldes and had an interesting encounter in the H&M dressing room with the attendant. I tell people I only know English and they continue to talk to me many times in French as if I may just magically understand them…… I also found Geaunt, the big French supermarket. The walmart of France, but classier. No one wanted to make a meet up time to go back home, so I was lost once again. BUT, I managed to make my way to the tram, and follow the aquaduct home like a pro, a true resident of Montpellier…..
Friday we left for Paris at 6am! The high speed train we took didn’t seem that intense, but I’ve gotten some sort of weird vertigo from all the motion of Paris’ vehicles. Straight from the train we embark on a 3-hour bus tour. Paris’ monuments and buildings are so beautiful, I found myself tearing up about 20 minutes in at the beauty of it all. It is like nothing I have ever seen or imagined. Every building has intricate carvings and ironwork. Every block there is something new and gorgeous to see. To think there are places and cities like this in the world, just waiting to take my breath away.
After over an hour bus ride, we arrived at Manade, a typical rural ranch in France where they raise bulls. Supposedly the bulls are used to fight, but never killed. We took a hay ride through the ranch, and the marks on the bulls where they were branded multiple times and the tags stuck through their ears hurt my heart.
After the ride, we arrived back at the ranch where we were greeted with authentic sangria! It was so delicious, the group wiped out the entire supply in less than an hour. There was also a huge barrel of mussels that many people were devouring. They looked similar to oysters, and I did not want to eat it, especially after looking at it in the shell. But I mustered up the will to stick it in my mouth and I was surprised that it was not that bad, but definitely too salty for me. During this time, we were entertained by a flamenco dancer and two gypsies that played instruments and sang typical Spanish songs. The Spanish influence on the ranch was refreshing…
After a while getting warmed up with sangria, we headed to the cowboy’s dining hall where the women of the ranch served us food. Although it is important to note the giant carafes of rose and red wine that they kept filling up.. The first course was a form of paella but it had shrimp, chicken, and mussels. Accompanied by more wine of course. Then it was a toast and more Spanish music. Eventually the whole group was dancing with the Flamenco dancer and dranking wine, even the ‘adults’. Second course was a salad- they serve it after dinner here. Followed by a pastry desert
We all stumbled back from the bus ride home and drank more wine in the courtyard until I passed out on the bed, clothes and all, around 3am. What a great opening party.
We all meet in the morning for coffee and pastries. This is our first official gathering and people line the steps of the building across the street. There are names after names and introductions one after the other. I am tickled with every new fun person I meet - so thankful to be out of the same humdrum life of new orleans….
almost the entire group was as amazed as i was by the cheap wine, and turns out a wine party commenced in the courtyard. as we got roudier and roudier (so new orleans, aren’t we?) the group decided to go to a local bar to finish drinking. i was hesitant, still hoping my luggage would arrive any moment, but it just took a little twisting of my arm to get me to go, even tho i was still in the only shorts and T-shirt that i had packed in my carry-on
turns out, not only do you have to bag your own groceries, but you have to supply the bag! fortunately they had some i could buy near the register. i bought wine and some other seemingly normal things like bread, cheese, and what looks like some kind of sandwich meat and start on the hot grueling treck back to my apartment to stock my fridge
on the first day we took a mini-tour of our town. we went to a grocery store to stock up on goodies and things started seeming a little different from the moment i walked in. my mind was first blown when almost every bottle of wine in the store was 4 euros or less. i bought a couple for 1.50euros. i walked around this store in a daze for a moment, not knowing wth im looking at because i cant read or speak a lick of french….
soOOo after a few *adventurous* moments in the world of air travel, I finally made it to Montpellier. when boarding for my first flight to ATL, i stumbled upon someone come up in the spot looking extra fly.
"a hip hop legend. i think i died in an accident, cuz this must be heaven."
i met kanye and thought this dude’s ballin, yeah that’s nice. after talking a bit, we set off to touch the sky on our way to atlanta, and i was legit feeling sky high all the way thru my next 8-hour flight to paris. i didn’t think i could i get much higher (so high), until i caught the glimmer of a grill when i was debarking in france. this is way too much, i need a moment. stop trippin, i’m trippin off the power. i tried keep my love locked down, but i had to find out where he is going. i told him i’d try to see him this weekend in paris, since he was disappointed in our earlier convo that i missed his performance at essence. paris on friday… the clock’s ticking, i just count the hours.
i looked in the mirror afterwards to see makeup smeared all over my face and my hair poking up on one side from sleepin…. oh well - maybe he will remember the 21st century schizo white girl from new orleans, and hopefully we will meet again in paris this weekend….
p.s. the other adventurous, not nearly as amazeballs moment was when *both* my pieces of luggage managed to get lost. then i discover Montpellier doesn’t “do” air conditioning, so not only am i sweating and smelly, but i am destined to stay in these smelly clothes until it comes in….
regardless of my lack of shower, i drank a lot of cheap french wine and went to a french bar on my first night, and had a lot of moments that will be saved for another post…