Deauville, Basse-Normandie, France. August 1st, 1988.
Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic
Today after work, despite the exhaustion from my mysterious illness, I decided it was high time I did some cleaning. Considering that I’m moving out of this house in less than 2 weeks the reasonable thing to do would be to clean my room and pack a bit, but alas, I’m not always reasonable. So I turned to a place that I spend most of my time anyways, Facebook. After befriending the few French folk I’ve met here I began to realize that for the most part they don’t have more than 300 friends, I on the other hand was nearing 1100. Maybe it was the continuous stream of wedding updates and happy couples that keep popping up on my newsfeed or maybe it was a last ditch effort to emulsify (that word isn’t used correctly, is it?) myself into the French mode de vie, but I decided it was high time I go on a de-friending spree. A late spring cleaning, if you will (although it still feels like late fall in Deauville…)
This turned out to be quite an endeavor. It was not nearly as easy as I’d hoped it would be. First of all, it takes entirely too long to delete a friend. There is no mass delete button and therefore you must find each person individually and unfriend them. Secondly, I found that I had way too many emotional ties to these so called “friends” to end our internet connection forever. Now, after taking NyQuil to combat my aforementioned illness I will try to explain to you the reasons I couldn’t delete more than 120 people before I inevitably succumb to the sleepy waves that will soon be taking over my body. So here they are, the people I just couldn’t bring myself to delete:
1. “Friends” from experiences that I had away from home. Unlike the high school friends that I saw every day, I only got to know these people during a short period of time. But, even though we may have spoken only a handfull of times over the few short weeks we spent together (and probably haven’t spoken once in the five years since), in my mind they still deserve to be my friend. Sound crazy? It is.
2. “Friends” that I’ve known for a long time. Maybe they were my first friend in middle school or maybe we did girl scouts together or maybe their mom was my reading teacher in the 2nd grade but we have not made contact (besides the initial befriending) since. Maybe they write on my wall on my birthday and let’s face it, I don’t return the favor, but for some reason I feel like they deserve to pop up on my newsfeed every so often although I have no interest in what is going on in their lives. Perhaps I still feel a connection to them because I remember when they got their tongue pierced in the 9th grade…. I don’t know.
3. There are certain friends, mostly from college, that I still keep around as a potential networking device. Chances are I will never contact them about a prospective job but in the off chance that they are into something really spectacular, I’ll have an in.
4. People who have ridiculous lives. There are some people that I’m really not sure if we were ever friends outside of the internets but for some reason we are admitted friends on facebook. These people are always fun to keep around just to see what they are up to. Most of these peoples’ lives are so entirely different from my own that it’s almost like I check their page as if I’m there to study it. My very own field study. Most of these people have babies. God knows I love pictures of cute babies.
5. Potentially the worst of all is the ex boyfriend/ ex love interest. After a bit of prodding most girls will admit to the fact that they keep their exes as friends on facebook so that when (if ever, how could anyone survive after breaking up with her) they meet someone new, the girl can scope out the new love interest. We’re all guilty of it and I’m no different. Nothing beats finding out your ex, who is now 25, went to prom with a 17 year old a few weeks ago or that he is still single.
I suppose Facebook, and facebook friends, are kind of like a scrap book. Of course there are always moments in life that you don’t necessarily want to remember- those that are easily deleted, but then there are the ones that although mediocre that are simply there to remind you where you’ve been. So, maybe it was an unsuccessful day of friend-purging, but I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have a fun time remembering times I had with all of my should-be deleted friends.
As there is only a little over 2 weeks left for me as a resident of Deauville, I figured I should finish uploading my pictures from April break. The second week of my break was spent with the family traveling around the country. We started in Deauville with a day trip to Honfleur, then to Aix-en-Provence, and finally to Paris. Here’s some pictures.
Gram and an anchor in Honfleur
Aix. The last time I was there (2008) this was being renovated. Nice to see it finished.
The clock tower next to my favorite brasserie.
My favorite place in Aix, Pavillion Vendôme
I waited 4 years to eat here.
Notre Dame - Paris
This woman is goofy.
From the butte de montmartre.
famous guy I don’t know.
From the tour eiffel
Père Lachaise- Isadora Duncan
Père Lachaise- Oscar Wilde
Dancing in the Tuileries
Don’t they look so happy?
French flags everywhere.
As it’s taken me so long to post the other 2 parts of this trip that was only 4 days long, I’m going to do more pictures and less commentary.
The last leg of our trip was spent mostly in the car. We jumped in and started driving what was supposed to be an 8 hour trip with a pit stop in the mountains and ended up driving until the sun came up the next morning 18 or so hours later, mostly due to…wait for it… a snow storm. Yes, that’s right, snow. Anyways our first stop was somewhere in the mountains between Ouarzazate and Casa and it was quite amazing. The hills surrounding a stream were littered with restaurants and merchants. We didn’t eat there because we were told it was unsafe. Being that we were 3 girls with stomach issues on a good day, we figured we shouldn’t risk it.
the side of the mountain.
this was taken from the car, somewhere during the trip.
somehow we’re still smiling after our umpteenth turkish toilet experience.
I found this oddly beautiful.
shooting chalk. I missed.
We hopped back into the car and stopped at an amazingly beautiful place between 2 mountains. Looking up the clouds passed by so quickly and the sky was so blue, it reminded me of 127 hours during one of the montages. Luckily, no one had to cut off their arm, so that was nice.
saw this a lot while on the road. still not sure what in means but I’d bet my right eyeball that Allah is involved.
leg stretching break/photo op
127 hours moment - limb loss.
Before we really solidified plans for our Morocco trip, we had 3 things that we were determined to do: 1. spend time in the desert, 2. meet some berbers and drink tea with them, 3. ride a camel. Sadly for the most part our dream trip didn’t come into fruition, but we did get to experience all of these things to an extent. The last thing we had left to do on our trip, and the most important, was ride a camel. So, on the way out of the mountains we pulled over on the side of the road, met some berbers and rode their camels for about 10 minutes. It wasn’t the desert/camel adventure we had hoped for, but it will do until we can really make that happen.
new berber friends.
group shot. if i didn’t already have lice at that point, i might have objected to having a strange scarf wrapped around my head. but alas….
i’m not sure he really got along with the camel.
maybe my favorite picture from the trip. thanks zakaria!
camels are wobbly walkers. it’s rather terrifying at times.
The rest of the trip was spent in the car. I might have gotten 3 hours of sleep before I had to catch my flight to Paris the next morning, but it was worth it. For the camels.
Alright, commence part 2:
We woke up in Marakech and had an incredible breakfast and then hit the road for Ouarzazate after making a quick stop at a park. We didn’t arrive until late in the night so the day (after our morning in Marakech) was spent in the car. all. day. long.
yummy. I could never eat enough of this breakfast to be fully satisfied, I’d always want more.
photo op in the park
The next morning we got a chance to explore the city. Ouarzazate is a pretty amazing place. It’s known for being the site where many films are shot, Lawrence of Arabia, Babel, and Gladiator to name a few. The sand was blowing everywhere as we made our way into the Museum of Cinema accompanied by a friend of a friend who helped with the making of Gladiator. Inside we saw props from the movies, old cameras, and sets. There was actually a Berber film being shot on set while we were there. (I’m having a really hard time not typing half of what I’m writing in French being as those are the words that are popping into my heard first- 9 months is all it takes to finally start making some progress).
on a set used during the making of a movie about the bible. joseph, maybe.
fun in the props/costuming department.
in a chariot used during the filming of gladiator
While in the city we also go to go into a casbah, which was kind of interesting, but let’s be real, all I wanted to do was shop.
from the outside.
getting artsy fartsy with it.
the view from inside the casbah
This entry is called: The Great Moroccan Roadtrip a.k.a How to Deal With Lice While Living Out of a Backpack a.k.a The Road of a Thousand Turkish Toilets Leads to Happiness (and Urine Covered Shoes). Take your pick.
On Monday (9 April) I met with Julianne, Jenni, and Sébastien at Starbucks before jumping on a flight to Africa. The plane was packed and somehow I ended up in the nursery section of the plane. I was literally surrounded by 7 infants, many of whom screamed and cried the entirety of the 3 hour flight. We landed in Casablanca and went through customs. It didn’t take long for me to realize how white, blonde, and female I am. I usually don’t get nervous traveling to new places, but knowing that I would be in the minority was a bit unsettling. Seb’s friends met us with the rental car. They were extremely friendly and set our souls at ease. We went to back to their house and were greeted with a snack. We jumped back into the car and went to explore Casa for a bit. We saw the HUGE mosque, beautiful and ornate in all of it’s glory. Got back to the house around 11 p.m. when we ate dinner and passed out after a long, exciting day.
Around where we stayed in Casa
Something wasn’t right when I woke up the next morning. I could tell. On top of being covered in sweat, my scalp was itching incessantly. After digging my nails into my scalp for a good five minutes with little to no relief I realized that my head was a louse breeding ground. We got dressed and hopped in the car, 6 of us in 5 seats and started driving. I begged Julianne to check my head but she reassured me several times that I was just suffering from severe dry scalp. We blasted Celine Dion and drove for a few hours into Marrakech. I continued complaining (to the girls) about my pesky little problem and after much deliberation my fears were realized. But, alas we were in a car and there wasn’t much we could do so we agreed to find a pharmacy asap.
Having a moment
Arrived in Marrakech. The hotel was incredible. We were staying in a suite with a huge bed, a living room, two showers, two tvs, etc. I felt like royalty. The guys went out to get lunch while we unsuccessfully searched for a pharmacy. They brought back a tangine and pizza. Delicious. Afterwards we headed to the souks to do a bit of shopping.
In the hotel lobby
Tangine for Juju and Jenni, pizza for the vegetarian.
The souks were like nothing I’ve ever experienced up to that point. There were people everywhere you looked. Performers, merchants, tourists, and camels. Everywhere. The center square is insanity. There were women doing henna, men charming cobras, monkeys on leashes, craziness. After buying shoes we walked into the madness and immediately had snakes thrown around our necks. I’m not kidding. They come at you, arms outstreched, snakes laying limply from their fingers, and whether you’re in accordance or not you will have a snake draped around your shoulders.
The mosque on our way to the souks
A cat just begging to be photographed
My new accessory à la Britney Spears
We kept walking a bit and it wasn’t long before we had monkeys thrown onto us. This we accepted much more willingly, because hey, monkeys (although probably disease-ridden and insect-infested) are much more cuddly than snakes, especially when they’re wearing diapers and dresses.
We became friends pretty fast
We dodged women with henna needles on our way back into the alleys where there was more shopping. Luckily we had our own personal bargainers with us so we didn’t overpay for our souvenirs (yeah, mostly shoes). Found a pharmacy, discreetly bought the last of the poux shampoo, and headed back to the hotel to take care of business before dinner.
Entryway to a shop
Walking into the madness
Dinner was yet another tangine. It is insane how inexpensive it is to eat at a restaurant in Morocco. The tangine for 6 of us was about 350 dirham, or 3,50 euro or $4.50. Did I mention it was delicious?
The night ended with a boot on the car, an artisan market, and finally a well deserved slumber.
To be continued…
So it’s been a month and a half ago and chances are you stopped looking for updates ages ago. You can now praise whatever deity you choose to worship (God, Allah, the flying spaghetti monster, etc.) because your favorite blogger is back from her looooong hiatus.
Much has happened, too much for one entry (quelle suprise) so in the next few days (read “over the next month”) you are going to be showered with awesome adventures that you can read about and then writhe in jealousy. You’re welcome.
So the fun begins Friday, 30 March. I left Deauville for Paris after work to hang out with my friend Jon before my best friend Samantha Rae arrived the next day. Jon and I spent the evening at the Sacre Coeur, drinking wine and watching the city of lights from above as the sun went to bed. We weren’t the only people with this plan, the stairs and lawn were covered with other people and we were all sufficiently entertained by a man playing a guitar. It was quite magical.
Saturday morning I woke up and met with Sam (after much confusion: if you come to Europe and your phone company tells you that you’re iphone will work don’t believe them, they never do.) We walked around a bit, got some lunch, and caught up on our bff gossip. We napped at the hotel for a bit, went out for dinner, and then Sam went back to sleep some more (oh the joys of jet lag) while I went out with a friend for a while. Both Sam and Jon met me in the 5th so we could all go together to find the only bar in Paris that was showing the UL/UK game. My french friend did not understand why I would be watching a game on a Saturday night instead of going to a party, I assured him that it was in fact better than a party. He didn’t get it. We found the Moose after a while in the 6th and when we got in we saw both red and blue shirts. Luckily it wasn’t too busy and we also ended up running into a girl that I met through some Phi Tau friends in Canada a few years ago. It was a most joyous night and during half time the barman even made John Wall shots. We got home around 3 or 4 am completely satisfied with the night.
Throughout the next week I showed Sam around the area and she went on some pretty awesome journeys while I was at work. We went out to dinner one night and ate escargots (not my favorite). It was nice to have her to come home to after work and hopefully she didn’t get too bored in this tiny city.
The next Friday we left for Paris to catch our train to Amsterdam, from where Sam was leaving. There was a problem with the tickets after some bad advice from a woman at the ticket desk (VIVE LA FRANCE!) and we ended up taking separate trains and meeting in the hotel.
Saturday morning we woke up and headed to a nearby city to see the tulip fields. There were so many different flowers, all beautiful. The place was flooded with tourists taking pictures with the flowers, which I thought was a little ridiculous, but hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
We rode bikes around the area for a while: incredible.
Then we made our way back to the city central for a tour of the Heineken factory. Very cool, but I think I still prefer the Guinness factory. Afterwards we got some fries on the street (HEAVEN.) and we walked around a bit. The rest of the evening was spent eating and exploring.
Sunday morning we woke up and Sam left to fly back home. For the second time in my 24 years of life I was in Amsterdam on Easter Sunday. Although, this time wasn’t nearly as fun because I essentially just waited around for hours for my train, alone. The rest of my Easter was spent in Paris with Rachel and Jon having a wonderful time.
End part 1.
Satie is one of my favorite composers. Incidentally he was born in Honfleur only 45 minutes from here where he lived for about 10 years of his life. He was friends with Debussy, whom I also adore, and would play from time to time at Au Lapin Agile (still on my places to see in Paris). Listen and love.