One of my favorite picnic foods in France is the rotisserie chicken. At many outdoor markets, they have a giant rotisserie machine with more chickens than you can imagine spinning away with their fat dripping over the potatoes that sit below. Less than 10 euros they are quite a steal. And, in the privacy of your own picnic, can be eaten with fingers alone. If you forgot a napkin (which you did because they don’t give you any) your mouth comes in handy for licking off said fat.
We left Paris on August 19. It was a hot crowded summer and we were ready ready ready to leave Paris. We had decided to go to the Bordeaux area which included Saint-Emilion, the Dordogne River Valley and Cap Ferret. We had some wine tasting, outdoor activities and beach time planned. Perfect to cap off summer.
The beach – Cap Ferret, not Cap Ferrat (that fancy place you see on TV) is a 2 hour bus ride from Bordeaux on the western shore of France along the Atlantic Ocean. I planned this part of our trip back in the winter and was really looking forward to some beach time.
As the bus was pulling in to town it was looking more and more like Florida. Flat ranch-style houses, dry grass, and those other vicious plants that only seem to survive in this type of climate. After the lengthy bus (yes, bus) ride, we needed some food. Passing many closed restaurantes we finally found the lot of oyster shacks that line the waterfront and settled in for some shellfish and wine.
Afterwards, we headed back to our chic little hotel/motel for some pool time. Admittedly, I was devastatingly disappointed in my planning. There was a “wild beach” with big waves and zero amenities that you reached after hiking over the sand dunes. Where were the people renting chairs and umbrellas?!? (insert annoying whiny voice here) At the pool, there was a woman swimming laps and I was in such an annoyed state I wanted to shred her.
One of the things about being in a foreign, non-English speaking country, is that you get a lot, and I mean a lot, of time to just be with yourself. Like REALLY be with yourself. All of my old venting mechanisms are gone and I have to find new ways to deal. Seriously. So there I am. I just get to sit there and be with me and my feelings. Lots of feelings. And at that moment, bad feelings. I’m pissed off. Why didn’t I research this more. What the fuck are we going to do for a week. I don’t want to trudge through that sand twice a day to get to the beach. I’m so entitled I can’t even believe I am complaining about this. And why is that lady still swimming? And now I have to find food for dinner?? I have to talk to someone. Again. In French. Sweet Jesus.
So, I let all of these things go in and out of my head and just tried to acknowledge them as being there. (I think they mention this in the practice of meditation or something) Shortly, I become more sure that if I just wait it out a bit they will go away and everything will be fine. And it did. And we had fun.
Back to that chicken and one of only 1000 “most stupid moments” I’ve had since arriving in France.
At the local covered market, we secured our own poulet roti. We found a nice little spot on a beach that wasn’t a 20 minute trek through sand and ate this most delicious chicken.
Upon returning to our hotel/motel, I had two tasks. 1 – get rid of this chicken carcass and 2 – hit the grocery store for some snacks. With some newfound confidence, I saunter towards the store sure that there must be a trashbin to take this carcass. Wrong. But there was a nice little bin just up the street that I figured I could put it in. So I rapidly (and with my new confident mood) approach this chest high trash can and quickly abandon the contents of my bag into the trashcan.
As I walk away proud of having accomplished my first task, I realize I have also trashed the hotel key. Shit. Re-opening the lid, I pray it is on the top of the trash. No. Oh no. The trash can is basically empty and the key is hiding all the way at the bottom. Because it is chest high, I can’t just reach in. No. I get to turn the trash can on its side and crawl in to the bottom. All the while hoping I am not being seen or discovered for throwing away my trash in this most inappropriate way. Confidence now abandoned and embracing complete embarrassment, I realize there is some possibility that Jon’s wallet was in that bag too. Oh my god I might have to go through that trash again.
Fortunately, the wallet was safe.
Maybe one day I’ll tell you the time I thought my French was getting ok and then accidentally accepted a date with my server. Oui oui.