Travel Boulazac - Game of Life - Postcard 40

Traveling across the hills of Switzerland and past the farm houses in France, ten and a half hours later I arrived in Pereguex. Pereguex is just outside of Boulazac where Tay was going to meet me.  At the train station there was no ATM machine and no bathroom clean enough to use. I realized then just how small the town was. Outside I set my luggage down and within a matter of minutes he pulled up.  We said our hellos and he introduced me to his friend Frank who was also in the car. We dropped Frank off at his house and my luggage off at Tay's. When we pulled up to Tay's house, a little girl on a bicycle came around the car and shouted, 'Bonjour Madame!' I laughed and said, 'Bonjour!'  We put my stuff inside and went to eat. 

Being around Tay made me forget we were in France, until we walked into the restaurant and they proceeded to take our drink order.  I laughed as I had no idea what they were saying and was quickly reminded I am still far from home.

  

After dinner we drove through the city to get back to his house, the town was simple and quite.  We decided to just hang out and relax for the evening because I was exhausted from traveling for twelve hours.  I was so excited he had the American basketball package on his cable and I was able to watch some of the Detroit and Cleveland game. I am used to watching basketball at least every other day and up until tonight it had been a month since I had seen a game. It's been interesting to see how the players of the Euro league live in comparison with the NBA in the US.  I would imagine if an NBA player switched shoes with someone playing overseas for one season, they would gain a whole new respect for the league.  In the NBA most games are played in big cities where there is always something to do if you so choose. In Europe many games are played in places that are hard to locate on a map, let alone offering much to do outside of playing basketball. Not to mention having to get acclimated to the diversity of culture almost every week in each new town. 

  

The next morning I slept in and we went to the grocery store. The thought of being able to cook and eat real food that I knew I loved, brought a smile to my face. Walking into the store I was again reminded that I have no idea what anything is. Tay went to grab some movies while I began shopping, after about fifteen minutes he found me and started laughing because I hardly had anything in our cart. I couldn't read the labels and the packaging was very different. We got stuff for breakfast, lunch and two big dinners. He wanted lasagna and I wanted stuffed chicken with mushrooms, Mac-n-cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.  The overall shopping experience in France was very interesting. When you pick your produce, you have to weigh it yourself and print out a price tag to put on each produce bag. When you check out at the register, you have to purchase the plastic bags you carry your groceries out in. I had never heard of such a crazy thing. I started joking saying since they charge you for everything I was surprised we didn't have to insert a credit card into the shopping cart for the duration of our time.  He laughed and said, 'No but you do have to insert a coin to get the cart out of the bin!' I couldn't believe it! How are the locals in the town okay with something so ludicrous? In the states that would never be allowed!

  

When we returned to his house, I put the groceries away and started to make us lunch. I decided we would have egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches. I pulled out the skillet, mixed everything up and turned on the stove. The stove was small and appeared to be out of place, for the simple reason it seemed entirely too modern for its location. The top of it was sleek and white. I had seen stoves like this in the states at friend's houses that had state of the art kitchens. I turned the burner up as it didn't appear the stove was getting hot. I waited four or five minutes, lifted the skillet up and noticed the stove top began to smoke, but it still was not hot. I put the skillet back down and went into the living room to ask Tay what was wrong with it. We walked back into the kitchen to find it full of smoke. He said, 'What did you do?' I said, 'Nothing I just turned it on!' I lifted the skillet off the clean white stove top to find a huge black circle beginning to grow. He said, 'Oh no, you have to lift this up the burners are under it!' I couldn't believe my eyes as he opened the lid to the stove, I saw the four burners. The one I turned on to use had almost burned a hole in the lid. The entire kitchen was thick with smoke and I couldn't stop laughing. I felt so bad for ruining his stove and so stupid to have not realized that it opened. Note to self, when something seems too modern to be in France' it probably is!

  

We ate lunch and he went to practice. I tried to clean the some of the black off the stove, but had no luck. So I decided to get caught up on work for a few hours.  I logged onto the internet and found I received an invitation to stay at the Hilton in Paris for a few days. I was excited about being able to enjoy the luxury of a nice hotel in a city I didn't have such good luck in a month ago. Amongst the forty-five emails received, there were two emails with missions for Paris. The first was from Janet. Janet is the mother of my best friend Jennifer who lives in Seattle. Janet asked if I could pick her up a four inch Eiffel tower when I go, as it seems she misplaced hers from when they went.  And secondly, my friend Joe who grew up in Paris and moved to the states many years ago wanted pictures of his old neighborhood. I was excited about having a beautiful place to stay and a few missions to mix it up.  Although I was bummed about having to cut my time with Tay short, as I would have to leave a day early to get to Paris on the May 11,  I knew I needed to go. I wished he was able to join me in Paris as his smile was like that of a child, full of life and adventure. I knew if he came with me there would be a lot of laughing at the craziness around us and a lot of smiles at the beauty that surrounded us.  I knew I must go since work and two missions were awaiting my arrival.

When Tay got back, I made dinner and we watched a movie. I went outside to see the sun setting over the hills in the distance. The air was perfect, it was crisp but not cold, it was fresh but not windy. The silence was loud; it reminded me of when I was in Delta Junction, Alaska. There was something about that moment that it seems you can only find in remote places in the world, this was one of them. 

  

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