For the record, I love France. Love it. I have spent the bulk of this trip in southern France and think it is without a doubt one of the friendliest, most beautiful, most picturesque, most startling places I have been. The people, the culture, the history, the architecture, the climbing. All of it.
One more reason to love France: On the sign entering the departure ramp for the airport at Nice, its says Kiss and fly.
I am back in Nice for the time being. Gary has left for the United States of Jesus, and I have been fortunate enough to find a place a block from my hostel with a free wi-fi connection. I have been unfortunate enough to find out that it is a McDonalds. Lame.
Random note: I'm not so good with the translation, but I think they call them "Fuck you George" fries here in France.
Worse yet is that the connection won't let me use my IM apps, so I can't talk to either my baby or my resident Macintosh expert and former coworker. My beloved iPod, the backup drive for the thousands of photos I am snapping away like a Japanese tourist on speed, went belly up somewhere in France. Don't know why. Don't know when. One night it was working, the next day it wasn't.
I'm getting the sad iPod face when I try to start it, and my Powerbook can't see it at all. Thus I can't do a rebuild. Any thoughts/suggestions/secret handshakes from all you faithful in the know? I'll try anything short of mailing it to you.
This of course is ample motivation for me to run right out to buy that sexy, skinny, video iPod. However, I am still sans wallet, sans income, sans credit cards, and now over $2000 in hock to Gary as the result of spending three weeks in Europe on his dime. It seems like a lot, but diesel and tolls cost almost as much as the rental when you put over 4000 kilometers on a Renault in under a month. Add to that the loan of survival cash he gave me that is now tucked safely into any number of bodily orifices, and suddenly my climbing partner has dibs on my first born. Perhaps a $400 portable home theatre system isn't the most prudent of choices right now.
Ah, but who am I to talk about prudence. I left not one, but two beautiful girls alone in the USA this year just so I could go gallivant around the globe. Both times I have been left with regrets about those decisions. Frankly, the travel has been beginning to feel like more of a burden than a boon. It's become rote. Gary and I both realized it when we stopped taking pictures in the Gorge du Tarn.
Oh look. ANOTHER spectacular village. Whee.
Another rule of travel. When you begin to leave the camera it's probably a good time to leave.
More evidence? We drove all the way to Spain, spent a day climbing in Barcelona, and both of us felt like we didn't want to be there. So what did we do? We drove all the way back to France, and spent the last few days climbing in the famous Verdon Gorge instead. Nothing against Spain, but we liked France best. France felt right. When you feel it, you feel it.
Another rule: Always run with those unexpected impulses. You are usually right.
And right now, what do I feel most? A ticket home. Spend the next few weeks with my baby before coming back to Europe for my trip to Egypt. This big red pack of mine is beginning to feel like more of an anchor than a raft. I miss routine. I miss rhythm. I miss my girl. And two weeks with my girl can be had for under $600. Well, two weeks with ME. You cant have her. Back off, Tassy.
Im kidding Tass. You can totally have her. So long as I get to take pictures.
I've been moving around pretty much non-stop since January. Even when I was home I was rarely home. I left and found that what I wanted most was a partner. I think I have found one. She thinks she has found one. Which makes me wonder...just what the hell am I doing in a McDonalds in France?
Maybe I should listen to those impulses. They are usually right.