(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

fatigued ... fatigué

well, I'm suffering from fatigue...physical fatigue which has also translated into blog fatigue.

I'm working hard on a variety of projects and each night...I find myself tired, longing for a bath and some sort of mindless behavior. Now some might think that would mean blogging (especially MY blogging of late) ... but for me ... no. I haven't seemed to be able to muster up the steam to do it.

I have 2 or 3 posts sorted in my head ... but when I sit at the computer...I just can't seem to get it together.

My projects are...continuing with the renovation of the atelier I own in order to maybe have a small snackerie! Yes, there is such a thing - basically more of a café than full on restaurant, and it would operate only during tourist season.

The atelier is as old as my house and has required major cleaning and sorting out. The past week has found me in the grenier (attic) since I am the shortest of the duo ... first lugging and dragging the piles of wood that were stored up there and chucking them over the open 'loft' edge to the first floor. After that, I sorted and carried all of said wood to various destinations (storage or dump). Last night, I shovelled load after load of used sand into the wheelbarrow from the sandblasting project and hauled it to the garden area destined for a deck. I commenced about 6:00 p.m. and continued until dark (after 9 or so). During last week, several phases of exterior cleaning occurred with the stone using bleach, hydrochloric acid and some other special product only available commercially. It hasn't turned out JUST like we want, but we'll get there.

Today I climbed back up in the grenier and cleaned it. This was somewhat of a traumatic endeavor as I detest spiders and it was basically overrun with cobwebs and dead things. JY hauled the heavy-duty vacuum up there. First I vacuumed the rafter best I could so I wouldn't have a head full of detritus. Then I swept the ceiling and floor down, put the piles in sacks and hauled them down the ladder. Then I vacuumed the entire thing.

This afternoon (after preparing lunch, eating in the sunshine in the garden, and sharing a 30 minute or so siesta) we returned to the atelier. JY taught me how to mix mortar in a wheelbarrow and I mixed loads of it and slopped it into a bucket which had a rope on it ... he hauled it up to the makeshift scaffold and repaired the stone walls.

Several nights have been spent sorting a huge load of jewelry inventory that JY has donated to another cause. I'm preparing a stand that can be used at brocantes and vide greniers (flea markets) to sell on the weekend and generate some cash for our projects. Not sure how that will fly, but my attitude is plant several seeds and see which one takes!

I've also commenced preparations for planing my potager (kitchen garden); we've marked out the space and treated it, next week the area will be tilled and then we proceed with planting.

I also broke out the hand held jackhammer thingamajig and removed old, burnt stucco from the rear wall of the fireplace.

Week-end before last I took a lovely 3 hour walk around Brantome, exploring an area of the village I drive by and 'bookmark' but never went to. I've posted some pictures on flickr (sidebar) that include an incredible dolman at the entrance to town and a beautiful, privately owned chateau that I trespassed upon since no one was home. Well, I think I know who lives there (an old English couple) and ages ago when we came across one another in a restaurant he told me to stop by any time! So if I found the right place, I guess I was invited. It was incredible to me that 2 people could benefit from such beauty and it isn't shared more.

I still want to tell you about my African motorcycle adventure. And I will. As soon as I can muster up the chops to do it justice.

For now, I just have to beg tolerance with my blogging blues.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

she works hard for no money ...

hey folks, this has been a week of striving towards re-creation of a livelihood. with varying degrees of success. and then collapsing each night from sheer exhaustion! which can be a good thing for life in general ... but a bad thing for blogging.

various efforts are underway, all with the sole purpose of not going broke and getting kicked out of the country. yes, even I of the "never a regret" variety have to come to terms with the fact that I am NO independently wealthy (je regrette) and must land upon a means of survival. that does not include my former recent participation in the corporate rat race.

so, entrepreneurship may be the result. and some side jobs (for which I continue to diligently search) in the meantime.

I'm a modern day juggler, with various projects aloft in the air ... so, now you see me now you don't. My blogging rate may have slowed somewhat but that is a temporary occurrence and in no way asserts a lack of interest on my part. I think of my various stories each day as I labor (for my current pursuits involve a great deal of physical labor)... which means not only am I getting smaller, I am getting a little cranky ...

this week-end I resolve to complete the tale of my African motorcycle adventure. and share the pictures from a recent walk in the village, which resulted in me loving my little spot even more than when I began. and maybe some pictures of my newest schemes and dreams.

in the meantime, I leave you with ... a picture of my alter ego .... bwahahaha!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

le printemps.

all around the earth is rising from her slumber
limbs are bearing bud and tiny flowers
birds throatily greet the soft air
moist and dewy, the land flaunts her fertility
curves preening in the sunshine
prickles of green beckoning come hither

her skin is electric and alive like the spring
longing for a lover at arms length
devouring him when he's not looking
the cut of his tricep is mouthwatering
hazel eyes worthy of a swim
delighting in all the places, strong or soft
each tender act, a gift, a promise.

kindred gypsy spirits, edgy and afraid
fleeting hummingbirds, bound to fly away
dancing around the bond that is blossoming
convinced like the seasons, it may wither and wilt
bringing tears of disappointment, broken trust
doubting, hoping, longing for courage and love.

French translation (could a French speaker tell me how well this reads?)

tout autour de la terre se reveiller de son sommeil
les membres portent des bourgeons et de minuscules fleurs
oiseaux salue gaiement l'air doux
couvert de rosée et humide, le terrain affiche sa fécondité
lissage des courbes sous le soleil
piquants verts invitent venir ici

sa peau est électrique et vivante comme le printemps
désir d'un amant à distance
dévorant lui quand il ne regarde pas
la coupe de son triceps est alléchants
yeux noisette digne d'une nage
le bonheur dans l'ensemble des lieux, fort ou doux
chaque acte d'appel d'offres, un don, une promesse.

âme sœurs gitanes, nerveux et ont peur
colibris éphémère, lié à s'envoler
danse autour de la caution qui est en fleurs
convaincu, comme les saisons, il disparaîtra mai et le flétrissement
ce qui porte des larmes de déception, la confiance brisée
doute, dans l'espoir, le courage et la nostalgie de l'amour.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

last week, in no particular order ...

learned to prepare magret de canard ... oh. my. gawd. trés facile, trés delicieux.

attended a course at the chambre de metiers ... fortunately, we went together because it was a room filled with French entrepreneur-wanna-be's, conducted by a fast talking Frenchwoman. learned all I wanted and then some about microenterprise guidelines.

had a lovely Friday market day. discovered an old book, Culture Potagére ... tucked inside was a bona fide 4 leaf clover! JY bought it for me, insisting it was good luck for us both ... neither of us have EVER discovered a 4 leaf clover, although in our lives we've spent many a romantic moment searching...

sand blasted 3 of 4 walls in the atelier, and commenced with cleaning the exterior. this involves using a hand-pumped sprayer, dispensing eau de javel (bleach) solution. didn't quite meet the mark so now we'll try acid. this is my job! And of course, on the side ... I serve as the entertainment.

had another interesting day out and about, retrieving gardening equipment stored in various spots throughout the Dordogne. JY called and invited us to lunch at friends' house. Yes, you read that right. Never could I imagine doing such a thing in the states. 11:15 a.m. Kim dials Friend X on telephone ... "Hello, I'm in the neighborhood. Thought I'd come over for lunch. Is 12:00ish good for you?". um, NOT! Here we were greeted with open arms. We stopped for charcuterie to present as our contribution to the meal. We began with ti punch (rhum apero) and then on to red wine, charcuterie and cornichons, lentils with tongue and ham chunks, bread, beet salad, cheese, yogurt and fruit, coffee. not bad, eh? we roamed about the countryside a bit, I snapped some photos of a set of old wooden shacks that I now covet, not far from Hautefort.

spread a blanket in the garden and had an after lunch siesta in the sunshine.

washed the car (well, technically I didn't wash the car). still, it is washed.

bought 15 sacks of no. 1 sand for sandblasting. trust me. this is a lot of sand.

chose to accept my mission to locate J M Rhum from Martinique. mission accomplished. deux bouteilles.

franchement, à mon avis (this phrase is kind of a running joke for us), nous n'avons pas travaillé trop la semaine derniére. Le printemps à commencé et nous nous sommes ralentis un peu. (mrs. c, let me have it!)

moto story in production. ciao bellas!

Monday, March 16, 2009

ile ste marie ... nous arrivons!

we arose for our 6:00 am pick up and went on to the airport. After much teasing about the tiny plane we would be on, we boarded a plane that held about 40-50 people so not so bad.

when we landed, the usual gaggle of fellows awaited us, pressing for taxi service and touting the hotels they knew. We sat on the terrace and debated where to stay ... each of us consulting our guides (one French, one English)... JY's won out and we headed for le Mangoustan.

the road paving quickly disappeared and the ride was spent dodging potholes and rocks. Every glance out the window viewed paradise ... lush greenery and pristine waters.

le Mangoustan was positioned on a cove, the bar and terrace were quite welcoming. A week's bungalow stay was 36 euros. no, there is no typo there. Before you get too excited, let me tell you the accommodations were spartan. There was a sink and shower with cold running water but the toilets had no evacuation. So you had to fill a bucket with water and pour. The bed was clean and covered with a mosquito net. The bungalow exited to the sea ...

This little spot had loads of potential ... amazing position, charming buildings ... but the host didn't seem completely aware of all aspects of running the place. more on that later.

I immediately changed clothes and decide to swim a bit. this little islet wasn't far from the beach. I began wading out and discovered the ocean floor was covered with sea urchins in this spot. spiny sea urchins. I did have on my rubber diving/swim booties but they wouldn't offer great protection from the spines so much caution was required. I made it out to the islet and looked around. not much going on there! so I returned and strolled the beach. Thus commenced my two weeks of shell collecting. It is impossible to describe the treasure trove of amazing shells littering the beaches. Huge shells, shimmering porcelains, every shape and color ... so many in perfect condition it was hard to choose. and coral too. This was to be a daily pastime.

We rented bicycles from our host and headed for the village. This is a very poor country. As we rode, we observed many one room bungalows, wooden mostly though some were stucco. Some had dirt floors. Some of these bungalows had little shops set up in front of them. Basically a few shelves with bottled drinks, candies, a platter of home made food. I saw refrigerators in some, but when we stopped to buy a drink and asked for it cold ... we learned the refrigerators weren't operating.

We continued to town as we wanted to exchange our euros for some ariary, the local money. As we rode, we noticed the seats on our bicycles left much to be desired! especially with the conditions of the roads ... and the fact that my padding in certain areas has disappeared! who knew I'd miss my cushy ass?!

It was hot. No I don't have a thermometer reading but I'd guess it at low 90s. and humid. We rolled into town and parked our bikes. Four men in security-type uniform sat outside the bank so we felt our bikes were safe. We entered the bank around 10:30 and got on line. and proceeded to wait. By around 11:45 it was my turn and my 100 euros yielded 250,000 Ariary!! talk about a bank roll. it was hard to put in my sac.

We nattered around a bit and returned to the hotel. I'd guess the ride to and fro to be 2km. Our asses were chapped. We showered (cold water was good by now) and lounged about the terrace drinking beer and then rums. Dinner was really nothing special...in fact the food here left much to be desired. The owner sat with us most of the time, like we were long lost friends.

The next day we rented a motorcycle. This proved to be a big adventure. So big, I'll have to save it for the next installment.

Friday, March 13, 2009

spring has sprung...

more Africa installments coming soon ... but can I tell you I've been sidetracked by printemps?  yesterday, the sun began peeking and today ... glorious sun, glorious warmth... french doors flung open, birds singing, bumblebees buzzing and working outside in shortsleeves ... 

today was monsieur's birthday ... we lunched on carne asada I prepared and trimmings and I baked a banana chocolate pound cake because, as I told him, birthdays REQUIRE cake in America ... et je suis une americaine ... bah oui, bien sur ... I wanted to do a layer cake but I don't have proper measuring tools for recipe conversion and it was dicey enough with the cake I made ... which was yummy and simple by the way...from scratch of course.  on a side note, I'd recommend it ... start with 2 eggs, separate them and whip the whites up till they start to set then blend in the yolks, whip in about 3/4 c. of sugar and scrape half a vanilla bean pod in.  melt a stick of sweet butter and add it slowly, whipping and careful not to 'cook' the eggs.  after that, about a cup of sifted cake flour (the kind with the leavening in it)...whip it all together.  then mash 2 bananas, 3 or 4 soup spoons full of creme fraiche and scrape the other half of the vanilla bean in there too.  mix that well and fold it in to your batter.  butter your loaf pan, pour in the batter and THEN, take about 100 grams (or one large bar) of semi-sweet or dark chocolate and break it into bits and sprinkle it down the middle of the pan ... push the pieces down so they are submerged.  Bake 45 minutes in a 180 C oven or I guess about 325 degrees.  Delicieux, I promise... moist and yummy!

but back to spring springing...it is still beautiful out and I'm contemplating a stroll to the village and an aperitif in the sun ... peut etre, although I'm kind of wiped out from the work which has commenced on the atelier ... so maybe I'll just pour a verre and sit in my garden.
le sigh.  life is good.  my stories are backing up on me, I foresee some writing in my immediate future (otherwise known as the week-end).
ciao bellas!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

on to Madagascar.

we arrived at Kenya airport without incident. We thought it was funny to see the very same truck JY just sold on the streets of Nairobi! We tracked down the Kenya Airlines cashier and received reimbursement for our visas (we had to buy $40 visas for our one night at the hotel). We were then checked in to Madagascar Airlines with anticipation. The attendant chided Monsieur for not speaking English ... imagine me in the role of interpreter! it is a good thing he is a patient person and is entertained by my foul french, eh?!

we wandered through Kenya airport, noting all the little shops and the cheap items on sale ... great deals on ciggies, liquor and African trinkets. we decided to wait until our return before shopping much.

as we wandered, we stumbled across our gate! and they were checking folks in! we were surprised and somewhat confused about times, etc. not long after we went through security, they began boarding so we were grateful about our coincidental discovery of the gate.
Our flight was over 3 hours, so we were fed again! the food was actually tasty and actually REAL food vs. the food we are served these days on airlines. Yes the food was in foil but it wasn't the frozen stuff you get now. It was fresh chicken, potatoes and carrots ... a real dessert ... none of it tasted industrialized like the common airline fare.

We made good seatmates with much goofing off and giggling. I'm not sure our fellow passengers would vote the same ... but c'est la vie! life is much more enjoyable spent laughing ... trust me.

We arrived at Antananarivo (Tana) and it was a very familiar reception. I remember arriving my first time in Mexico and having the feeling of running the 'gauntlet'. In Tana, an onslaught of men pressed upon us...offering their services - taxis, guides, etc. They were friendly and not too overbearing. One set of three stuck with us despite JY's 'merci, nons' ... and actually pointed us to several spots in the airport we needed to be. I think they thought that helpfulness might convince us in the end.

We arrived knowing we still needed ANOTHER flight to get to our desired destination, Ile. Ste. Marie, a small island in the northeast of Madagascar. So it was monsieur's turn to navigate, we were in frenchland again. He sorted it out, we plunked down more money and he left with the name of the hotel we were to go to.

Okay. now we exited to fairly oppressive heat (I'd guess high 80s/low 90s and high humidity) laden with our full backpacks. I mustered up my internal zen and we began walking. As soon as we left airport grounds, we were in the midst of various cottages, huts and shanties as we trudged the road. Supposedly, our hotel was nearby. A few cars stopped and offered taxi services, but monsieur declined thinking our hotel was just ahead.

finally, we stopped and chatted with a fairly friendly guy who had a car who took us to a hotel in the center of the village. we took showers to revive and headed out to the neighborhood. where we discovered a curfew was in effect due to the political troubles.

Yes, we chose a spot where the mayor of the capital and the president of the country have been embroiled in a power struggle for a few months now. After a few tense weeks of protests, shootings and the like, a curfew was imposed and the military rolled in.

This hotel was located in a residential area, very poor and apparently slightly surprised to see our white faces! ha, we walked up and down a few blocks at dusk, realized no bar of any sort was to be found. So we returned direction the hotel and ate at a very simple restaurant ... (some sort of chicken/rice dish and beer).

We rose the next day and decided to move closer to the airport, since we were flying out the next day. The atmosphere was tense and we elected just to remain at our new hotel ... which wasn't half bad. It could have been in old New Orleans, or somewhere in Latin America ... or where we were. Kind of tropical old world charm. Terraced and gardens and walled in, you could almost forget there were political skirmishes underway ... we lounged around and sipped beer and played cards and laughed a bit. In between mosquito spray and goofin' off!

Dinner was hilarious. For JY. Why? well because I let him order for me from the local specialties. So pork and manioc it was. He on the other hand selected a "3 Viandes" dish which looked quite tasty. Mine looked like this ... and tasted just about the same ... I longed for my Air Madagascar chicken, I did. The only things that saved the night were the rhum punch and the father/son guitar duo who played so well through dinner. Oh. and the laughing till I cried. that helped too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

into africa.

I arose at 3:30 a.m. thanks to an early wake-up call from my travelling companion ... I drove to pick him up and we departed for Paris. It was difficult to stay awake the 1st couple of hours ... he is a morning person, I am not ... so it worked out well. I drove for about one hour of the 5 hour drive. as we neared Paris, he resumed driving as we were now in 'his city' ... ha.

we headed to his mother's house where we were leaving the car and getting a ride to the airport. it was cool to finally meet the mother I had heard so many loving comments about ... and his beautiful daughter. maman was sweet and kind and petite and cluck! clucking! around her obviously favored son. she puttered, gathering food and drinks and little touches as she gazed at him like a parched man in the desert, drinking him up as only mothers do their sons. Icing on the cake was the chance to meet three sisters, each unique.

one was so kind and welcoming, with three bises and patience galore with my bad French. one was ill and not much conversation ensued. the last arrived late, shook my hand (!) and nearly immediately launched into a heated political argument with my monsieur. at first I thought ... well, this is how italian families interact, with much passion and drama. but as the argument ensued, I realized she was just going on and on for who knew whose sake. It was tiresome and I soon developed a bit of a pain in the stomach.

luckily, just about that time ... the beautiful daughter arose and offered me juice and petit mots and eyerolls at the auntie's antics. she dressed and got us on the road.

we arrived at the airport with our neatly packed backpacks (yes my dears, I had ONE backpack for the 3 weeks, incroyable, non?!) we checked in and looked for a spot for a drink.

we went to Paul where we enjoyed 5 euro waters and clucked over the ridiculousness of the prices. our giggling commenced and continued throughout our journey.

let me pause here and tell you that 3 days prior to our departure date we received a call that our flight from Kenya to Madagascar had been cancelled and the next available flight was 4 nights later. Could we stay in Kenya? well, many phone calls later we just decided to roll the dice and go for it.

so we boarded our flight ... which first took us to London. We had agreed I would be responsible for all of the English speaking ports and monsieur would take on the French ones. Made sense. So there we were at London Heathrow (my first time) and let me tell you, I would have fared better in a french airport. there were these purple connection signs that literally wound us a kilometer throught the airport. when we finally arrived at what we thought was our gate, we were told we were not connecting with Air France but with Kenya Airways. Which meant we had to retrace our steps and recommence our trip. I was viewed dubiously by my partner, as someone who obviously couldn't even manage english very well. I recovered a bit when I accosted a security person and convinced him to allow us to re-enter without another security clearance. We finally found Kenya Airways (they didn't have a permanent location) and trust me it was a bit worrisome as the flight boarded just ten minutes after we arrived.

The point is, we DID make it and we even had 2 seats on the side vs. stuck in the middle. so we could goof off unimpeded! yay for us as we are nothing if not 2 big goof-offs. the best part of this leg of the journey is the media centre offered Chris Rock's performance, "Kill the Messenger", which is actually a compilation of 3 shows, the same material ... filmed in Johannesberg, Harlem and London. Fabulous I tell you. But very difficult to translate to a Frenchman. and unfortunately there was not a french version on the plane. I would have LOVED to watch that one together. but anyway.

we landed in Kenya (photo of us disembarking the plane) ... interesting that these HUGE planes are unloaded on the tarmac ... cool actually. Now, again it was my turn to take on the English speaking Kenyan airline agents and see if we could get things straightened out...or improved somewhat.

I carefully explained our situation ... one weird thing was I even had some trouble at first explaining in English. Apparently I am so in the habit of thinking things out in English, then coming up with a passable French translation in my head, and then bravely attempting an understandable set of French phrases to my audience. So it didn't seem normal to just speak straight off in English.

But ... I was successful. First the fellow took all of our paperwork (itineraries, passports, etc.) and pointed us to a waiting room ...telling me he would search for a solution. Monsieur JY was dubious and nervous about his missing passport. But he trusted in me and I trusted in the agent and lo and behold! he returned with 2 tickets leaving in one day vs. four, on Madagascar Airlines AND vouchers for a hotel room, all of our meals, and transport from and back to the airport. All paid for by Kenya Airways. with a smile! My companion was suitably impressed. Our hotel was modern ... all marble and retro cool furnishings and basically nary a traveller to be seen save the handful of customers whose flights had somehow been diverted by Kenya Airways.

We had breakfasts and lunch and dinner all on Kenya Airways. Unfortunately there was not time for a foray into Nairobi. The only glimpse I had was to and from the airport. Where we saw dozens and dozens and dozens of men alongside the road, either waiting for work or trying to sell some small something. We also saw many men doing work manually that in the states or elsewhere would be done by machine ... and probably require one person instead of three. there was a road beautification project underway with young men planting trees and moving stones.

the weather is so hot that work proceeds slowly, as does the pace with everything else. we waited 45 minutes past the arrival time for our airport transport.

but we arrived on time ... because everyone is on African time, no deadlines apply.

just sayin' ... no regrets for me!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (en Francais)
sung by Édith Giovanna Gassion Piaf

Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Ni Le Bien Qu`on M`a Fait, Ni Le Mal
Tout Ca M`est Bien Egal
Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
C`est Paye, Balaye, Oublie, Je Me Fous Du Passe

Avec Mes Souvenirs J`ai Allume Le Feu
Mes Shagrins, Mes Plaisirs,
Je N`ai Plus Besoin D`eux
Balaye Les Amours Avec Leurs Tremolos
Balaye Pour Toujours
Je Reparas A Zero

Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Ni Le Bien Qu`on M`a Fait, Ni Le Mal
Tout Ca M`est Bien Egal
Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Car Ma Vie, Car Me Joies
Aujourd`hui Ca Commence Avec Toi

Non, Je ne regrette rien (in English)

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things
That went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the grief doesn't last
It is gone
I've forgotten the past

And the memories I had
I no longer desire
Both the good and the bad
I have flung in a fire
And I feel in my heart
That the seed has been sown
It is something quite new
It's like nothing I've known

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
All the things that went wrong
For at last I have learned to be strong

No! No regrets
No! I will have no regrets
For the seed that is new
It's the love that is growing for you

Sunday, March 8, 2009

bonjour ...

I'm not quite ready to start the tales of Africa ... so I am here to tell you about my first few days back and how productive I've been.

In fact, the 2nd room in my house is complete. well 95% so. It is hereby dubbed "ma belle salle à vivre" ... and I love it.

Thursday (first day back I remind you) I painted all of the floor moldings, applied 2 coats of wax to the floor, vacuumed my upstairs, mopped the stairwell and landing, washed a load of clothes and began sorting paperwork for taxation.

When I got home, it was to a leak in my basement. not just a leak, more like a steady spray. JY was going to come and have a look but the battery was dead in his car (I actually think the jet lag was the reason)... so he told me to get "l'epanne" (spel?) and try. See, my dogsitter had discovered the leak and had got a friend to come and try to turn off the water but couldn't. When I got home, I didn't have anymore luck with the water main.

But I took l'epanne and headed into the basement and fiddled with the pipe where it was leaking and lo and behold I got it down to a trickle instead of a stream.

That aside, this meant I had no water pressure. So no shower after a fucking ALL DAY JOURNEY home. oh, sorry. so anyway, instead I did all of the above and concurrently waited for the tub to fill. After a couple of hours, there was enough for a birdbath, which I took. And then (yay Riana for inspiration), I mopped my floors and stairs with the water. Cos I'm cool and green like that.

Also on Thursday, JY arrived to me making coffee on the campstove (when I left all appliances were disconnected and moved for the floors to dry). So we moved the stove into the kitchen and he connected it. and then fixed the leak in the basement. And called the fioul (that's fuel for you non-Frenchies) man for me because not only did I have water problems, I had fuel problems because somebody (!) turned on the heat while I was gone because she was worried about the dogs and thusly all of my fuel was gone and I had no HEAT! After that, he was too exhausted and jet-lagged to continue so he left and I turned into Mighty Mouse and did all that stuff I told you.

Friday JY arrived to me attempting to move furniture into my new room. So he helped me do that and then spent the day working on his truck that we sold due to my ad on Le Bon Coin (so far it seems akin to ebay, but I have to explore further).

I arranged stuff in the new salle and went to the Friday market and then we cooked lunch together (chicken parma cutlets and penne with fresh tomato sauce and macaroons for dessert).

This week-end I further feathered the new nest and washed more clothes and had coffee with a friend. And I relocated the 2 wood piles to new homes and went to Fiddler's Rest for dinner.

This week we commence work on the restaurant.

As far as Africa. It is out there percolating. I have procrastinated blogging because I am still sorting out the experience and my feelings and blah blah blah. So I was at the point of not blogging because I didn't know what to say or if I wanted to say it. But it will come. I'm not sure if it will be one big story or episodes. but in time. in the meantime, I posted a bunch of pictures on flickr.com.

and it feels just lovely to be home.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

the eagle has landed. or the rhino has returned. or ... ?

yes folks, the weary wanderer has set foot in Brantôme, tired ... sunkissed ... happy to be home.  

we returned a few days early due to the escalating civil unrest in Madagascar and my travelling companion's severe longing to be reunited with his "petit garcon".

I'm not quite ready to form stories (maybe later today or tomorrow) ... but I have several.  I plan to spend some time catching up with all of you and your blogs and return to my own updates soon.  

I see some of my more fickle-hearted-fans disconnected from my followers' subscription.  I suppose I'll have to invest some extra effort towards consistency and bedazzlement.  

just as soon as this tourista syndrome dissipates.  I promise.