Alps log: day 20

And as suddenly as I arrive, I leave tomorrow. Rosario and Lucas decide to spend my last day on a quiet beach over the mountain. They pack a proper picnic.

Our small car whips up the countryside. Lucas puts in a hissy cassette tape, and out comes old Spanish songs, belted properly by a cantodor, the accompanying guitar starting and stopping. The road is winding and the car dances around the sharp curves, its tail swinging with a flourish, to the music. The sun shines, the grassland is dry, everything is a shade of amber.

A few cars are ahead of us. We shares look of concern over our beach’s exclusivity. But no worries, they eventually turn off at a fork. “The tourist way,” Lucas sniffs.

It’s a short walk through brush, and voilà, small quiet beach, enclosed by rocks and warm shallow water, with a view of the Islas Sanguinarias. Apparently, unlike in the States, empty quiet beaches are a rarity in Europe. Lunch. Drink. Serenity. We play dominos on a beach blanket. It takes me a few games to grasp strategy. Dominos has elements of spades and Big Two, in that you have to count cards to calculate your ability to control a given round. After a few bumbling games, I win a string of three. Lukas wins the next one, and jokingly boasts, “Ah, do you smell that. A fragrance so sweet in the air. It is Victory.”1 Too comfortable and forgetting my status as Most Favored Guest, I retort: “It’s not something one smells very often.” Rosario roars in delight and gives me a high five, but I know I have awoken Lucas and tempted the fates. He wins the next 5 rounds.

A picturesque sunset and we’re home. I help cook dinner by peeling (read: butchering) carrots. Dinner: lentils, carrots, saucisse du marteau. Simple but delicioso. The addition of French mustard surprises me with its sublime heightening of flavor.

On the patio, we dine and talk. Given our make-up, our conversations are a mix of English, Spanish, and French. I only speak the first and surprise some with my occasional comprehension of the second. I try to tune into the French psyche, and, true to the literature, Lucas is game to wax on about the enlightment of France. We all know about the food, the long lunches, the generous vacations, the cultural pride. This suggest the French care deeply in their quality of life, refusing to sacrifice it even for individual material gain. They take seriously what they do, with a high degree of pride and care, demonstrated from the waitress to the CEO. There’s no concept of grinding out a living or checking the boxes. Or so he says.

  1. Trust me, it works in a French accent. []

One Comment

  • rabbit Says:

    your travels are AMAZEEEENG ~ a real proper adventure. i haven’t read your blog in awhile, but it definitely makes me miss your honest p.o.v., dripping with wit and sarcasm (haha is your ego puffed up a little now?). :) miss you, bear!

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