I admit to spending most of my time either in a museum, cathedral, or café. In Aix I went to a café I remember first reading about in Mrs. Hester's French class at Routt, Les Deux Garçons. Simply enough it is famous for attracting many celebrities and politicians including several Hollywood elite, British Prime Ministers, and, my favorite, Edith Piaf. I had the best, probably most expensive cappuccino in my life.
Worth it? Oh, yes and I might have passed off for another French person again if I hadn't been all photo-happy. Instead as usual the waiter inquired if I was British. I have never had any European guess my real nationality unless I'm with other Americans. Funny.
Almost every other day there is a huge clothing market on the main street that starts "early" in the morning at 9:00. I woke by southern standards then on Thursday, got a café, and discussed the fabric of Provence with a stall owner who could have kept me entertained all day why working out deals on table clothes and various textile goods. Charm seems to come naturally for the French as it did for this stall owner. That is though when they wish to show it. When it does show, it is hard to not fall for it a little.
That same market is also perfect for souvenir shopping as the typical things one brings home like lavender sachets and soap are usually a euro cheaper than at a place like Monoprix or Carrefour (think tiny French Walmarts). They are about two euros cheaper than at the train station. A general seems to be that everything is more expensive at the train station. Lesson to be learned: always go local because you tend to get the best price.
And when I got home, my books for my studies in England! At this point from Friday, I've finished Pride and Prejudice and am half-way through Wuthering Heights. I want to be clear though that the only reason I'm going through very complex plots so quickly is because I've already read them several times before in my life, Wuthering Heights especially takes me back to my days at Routt and the months I had to study it under Mrs. Kirkpatrick.
Along with that was my Mom and Dad’s latest care package where Mom sent me two “American” t-shirts including the red one with Wonder Woman, Super Girl, and Bat Girl. For a twenty-year-old it may be cheesy state-side but my host family approved heartily as things like Marvel comics are among the “cool” things that come from the States. Wonder Woman, Europeans seem to get. Baseball t-shirts….not so much.
Dad, the wonderful man, sent me organic, very, very American things like water crackers, peanut butter, and chocolate chip granola bars. In addition, he tucked in some Kellogg blueberry cereal bars. Only Dad sends me ANYTHING blueberry-flavored, like a kind of signature meaning “Love, Dad.” Mom got some peanut butter Kashi bars in there as well. More Orbit gum came as well as real Honey Nut Cheerios. I’ve seen them in French Grocery stores once and that was in Aix-en-Provence. However it looked, well, just not like my Honey Nut Cheerios.
Dad, clever and lucky man, succeeded in sticking it to air mail regulations and got one more bottle of nail polish to me; Sally Hanson “Instra-Dri polish in “Wined Up.” It is the perfect dark color for hands with short nails and pale skin. It was hidden in a bundle of precious individualized Arizona Tea and Crystal Light drink packets. These instantly intrigued Madame as I got the impression that she had heard of these low-calorie, wonderful-tasting packets of joy so I’ll have to have her sample some. I have NEVER seen or heard of them at least in France. They’re missing out! I have quite a few but even so, I must ration out to keep it lasting. Does it at all seem that I kind of like these things? (Insert here sarcastic voice)