Tuesday, June 28, 2005

tripe and trivialities

Lille Horloge
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
It's been at least a week since I've had a decent nights sleep, the heat had been oppressive, and I have not stopped missing my precious overhead fans. As another Australian has been quick to clarify, it's not the HEAT that we are having trouble tolerating, it's the pollution, the reflected heat off the cement, the stale air that doesn't move. The only thing that makes air circulate in the greater Parisien region is the fumes coming out of exhausts.

So when I woke up on Thursday morning, to the sight of a pinkish brown haze out of my kitchen window, I figured a long weekend out of town might be in the best interests of my lungs.
With the heat and humidity becoming heavier, and a thickening dark cloud covering the sky in a very Mordor like fashion, we got a taste of the flipside of the heatwaves....storms. A decent tropical style storm. Except this isn't the tropics...and the water conduits are not designed for a months rainfall in 40 minutes. Roads flooded, cars became immersed up to their headlights. We were already on the way out of town when all hell broke loose. A combination of peak rainfall and peak hour. Water cascaded down stairs into metro stations. Traffic was blocked in every sense.

Well, onto the North. Where - can you believe it - it was even hotter. 41°C on Saturday. But cleaner at least.
Stayed once again at the pseudo inlaws. Lovely people, really. But Flemish down to their little meat and potato-toes. Call me finicky, but when its 36°C, give me a tomato and a carrot.Do not drown me beneath a barrage of creamy sauces, meat, potatoes and various other stodge.
One night at a restaurant - perfect occasion to order a salad, finally. Now I was the only person at the table that seemed to consider vegetables as a food group - but how did they foil my perfect enjoyment of my luscious salad? They ordered tripe that's what. THREE.OF.THEM.
Really, I'm fairly open minded when it comes to food, but I draw the line at fried pigs intestines. Well, nothing to do but smile weakly, discreetely cover my nose against the wafting sewer odours, and chomp down on my lettuce.

In pursuit of more tasteful cultural activities, we went to see the 'festival of the Giants' in Lille. Enormous wickerwork creations - every town or village has their local giant personnage, and it's a tradition dating back to the middle ages. Several times a year, they dust themselves down, and participate in any one of several regional cultural events.

But for now, back to repairing the nutritional damage of this past weekend, wait for the next set of storms (later today), and track down a nearby swimming pool.

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