13 February, 2009

A change of venue.

My three year old and I have headed north for a ski-free holiday.

I am hunched over someone else's computer, typing this out at the pace of an escargot. Ha. The letters, as well as everything else on a French keyboard, are set up in a completely different order, the logic of which is, to me, less than clear. It took me fifteen minutes to figure out how to produce the @ sign. I am typing this out as evidence of my devotion to you, my generous, unreasonably loyal reader. Perhaps also because I am a persistent old night owl (maybe old belonged in quotation marks, just for anyone who innocently stumbles onto this monologue and is unfamiliar with my habit of drastically overstating certain details).

As I was trying to say, after what seemed an interminable wait, we finally got radiantly clear skies in our part of the world, so we left them for the poor visibility and high excitement of The City. We have a week in the 69002--or deuxiéme arrondissement--of oldest Lyon. This, thanks to lovely friends, who suggested I come stay in their high-ceilinged, gracious and spacious apartment, while they develop their tans and capacity for caipirinhas. No doubt they assumed I would politely refuse. My reaction was more along the lines of Oui, oui, Joseph Guy!

It's ski holiday, and I am a hard-core non-skier. But who wants to be left behind at the farm while practically everyone else is shussing their way down the slopes?

My friends' tip: upon arriving in their quartier, get a spot on the dead-end, cobble stone streetlet leading up to the church of St. Martin d'Ainay, which is near their apartment building, because that very brief stretch of street is, according to them, the only place left in the whole area with unlimited, free parking. Might this be because the sober Romanesque and Benedictine church from the twelfth century is Lyon's oldest? Or is it because the young Blandina's remains are claimed to be buried here, after she had the anything-but-bland fate in 177 of being thrown to the lions in the Lyon amphitheater, who refused to eat her, so then she was killed anyway, her bones burned, thrown into the river, and finally saved by Christians who found the bones washed up further downstream? Dunno why; it's another minor unsolved French mystery to add to my growing list. At any rate, the odds of getting a non-payant spot, in the mixed-residential city center seemed, well, let's just say I didn't see it happening. But it did happen--I got a perfectly respectable, entirely legal spot. Flush with this novel achievement, I stepped out of my yellow Kangoo, just as the bells started tolling. For me. Well, that's what it seemed like to Max and I. We stared up with delight at the imposing, dramatically uplit façade of the building and sighed with pleasure at the deep, reverberating sounds.

It's an omen. This is going to be an excellent week. And that car isn't budging.

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