Reclaiming Experience

This blog is a tool for recording my experiences as well as evaluating my day-to-day life. With my camera in hand, I will make meaning out of my life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 88: Memorable Places and People

What a day!  We cruised to Arles first.  Once again, it was a market day.  If your visiting Provence, I strongly recommend scheduling your stops around markets.  The towns really give off a different life on these days.  

This market was pretty large.  It seemed to go on and on.  I got into quite a bit of trouble because there were so many options.  I bought quilted bags, shoes, a shirt, and placemats.  Janey and I spent most of this morning together because we got separated from the rest of the group.  We went to the end of the market and worked our way back. 

Once meeting with everyone at the car, we realized we still had a half an hour before our parking time was up, so Linda, Janey, and I went to the Triomphe Cloisters. The guidebooks talk about how amazing it is, so we thought we better see for ourselves.  Once we paid our dues, we opened the door to the cloisters to find them under renovation.  Not quite the stunning views I thought we might see.  

After our time was up, we left for the Camargue.  We saw bulls and horses, but I don't know that any of them were wild.  We ended up in Saintes Maries de la Mer.  Food was the first item on our mind, so we went to a restaurant called Le Belvedere.  I don't think we could have picked a more wonderful place.  

The restaurant was decorated with objects from the sea and memories.  The restuarant seemed to be owned by a family and their pictures were all over.  Apparently the gypsy king's first guitar was showcased.  I couldn't exactly understand if the bartender was the gypsy king or if the gypsy king had come to this restaurant.

On a side note, this town is known by gypsies because of Sarah.  It is said that the Mary's, Sarah (their servant), and Lazarus came ashore in this town.  The gypsys worship Sarah, so once a year they all gather here.  Apparently the men that worked and owned this restuarant were gypsies.  It reminded me of Johnny Depp in Chocolat.  I think all of us ladies agreed that the men were up there with Johnny Depp too.

Beyond the eye-catching service, there was also amazing food.  Janey and I shared moules and gambas.  I didn't exactly know what gambas were, but they sounded like shrimp to me, so I went for it.  Our waiter didn't seem to understand the words shrimp or prawns, so I decided to brave it and see the surprise once it came.  It turned out to be shrimp, and big ones.

We decided this would be our big meal for the day, so we also ordered desserts.  The presentation was beautiful.  We thought we were done at this point, but then our waiter came out with shots.  Three were red and yellow while the other three were blue and yellow.  We cheered and took our shots.  We paid and left a large tip.  Unfortuantely it was time to go.  I did not want to leave.

Making our way out the restaurant, we walked down the streets to the church.  Sarah was definitely the main spotlight at this church.  I was hoping to see more about Mary Magdalene, but I suppose this isn't her "claim to fame" spot.  

We shoped a bit afterwards.  This has definitely been a shopping trip.  I bought some postcards, a Sarah figurine, St. Christopher pendants (saint of travelers), and a Camargue cross.

Finally it was time to put our feet in the Mediterranean.  The water was quite cold, but they got used to it after time.  I don't know that it would have been a good day to completely immerse myself in the water, so the feet were good enough.  I collected some shells and sand to bring home.  This day had been so amazing, I didn't want to leave.  The only adventure we had left before returning to the apartment was getting gas.  It was quite a site to see six grown women get out to fill up one car.  It was a learning experience for all.  In case you ever need to know, diesel is gazole in french.

When we got home I took a little nap because all of the fun had worn me out.  When I woke up, it was time to go to the movie we were planning on seeing.  The artist that sold the painting to Lori told us that there would be a movie on the back side of the Popes Palace.  We got the impression that it would be an outdoor theatre, but that impression was wrong.  We ended up going to a fairly traditional cinema to see 2 Days in New York with Julie Delpy and Chris Rock.  It was actually really funny and I didn't even understand everything that was said.  
As we were walking home a woman walked up behind us saying bon jour, bon jour.  We turned around to see who it was and she tried speaking to us in French.  We explained that we didn't understand, so she spoke in English.  It turned out she was from Austria and she didn't have enough money left for a hotel.  She didn't exactly say what she wanted, but I got the impression she wanted to stay with us.  During this time, I'm looking around carefully to make sure she was not bait for some bigger scheme.  Linda suggested she go to a hotel where we saw a bunch of Germans, but the girl just got aggravated and wondered what she would do with a bunch of Germans.  I suggested that she stay at the train station so she didn't have to walk around all night, but she did not like that idea.  She finally got frustrated with us and walked away.  It was definitely an unnerving moment and I know that Lori was disturbed by the situation.  It would be nice to think that nothing bad would ever happen on a trip, but it is so important to be careful.  Once cannot lose their sense of reality too much.

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