So, I don't know if I've ever mentioned that the last tenant of our apartment was an interior decorator. Our landlady has dropped some hints that she'd like us to do a bit more with the place than we have--including selling our washing machine and getting a new one so it fits in the bathroom instead of the kitchen, where it "disrupts the aesthetic." But our landlady is 83, shuffles around the property in slippers, and brought me paper towels once as a gift, so I'm not too worried about her judging my lack of decorating skills.
What I AM worried about is not enjoying our terrace to the absolute maximum potential. The last tenants used it like an outdoor living/dining room:
So, along with a few lawn chairs and a bazillion gorgeous potted plants, we needed a picnic table. I could have gotten a nice teak one like Mr. I-Made-The-Apartment-So-Much-Cooler-Than-You-Do had, and I would have. Well, I would have if I had found one on craigslist (actually the french version, www.leboncoin.fr) for forty bucks. Instead, I found this:
Covered in dirt and rust? No problem! I'll throw a tablecloth over it. It'll just get killed by peacocks anyway, and I couldn't dump disinfectant on wood like I can on plastic. I was super excited when "Sandra" called me back to say I could have the table...not so pumped when she gave me directions to her home...in a campground.
But it's been in the sixties, I want to start eating all meals outside, and I am not paying 200 bucks for a table and chairs at a store when I can get one for 40 from a trailer park. Because I am just that kind of girl.
Josh wasn't home, so I emailed him:
hey, just in case i get murdered by crazy people, after class today i'm going to the camping/trailer park "lou soleil" in carry-le-rouet to buy something off le bon coin from someone called "sandra."
Umm.... What is worth your life to buy in a trailer park?
Now, to do justice to trailer parks, I would have considered the possibility that this was a trap to lure in unsuspecting young women for some kind of depraved butchery no matter where these people lived. And you'd think the fact that Sandra was a female and clearly my age would have reassured me, but no. I was raised to always consider the possibility that I could be brutally murdered, and I do.
Unfortunately, I was not raised to always consider the possibility that my GPS does not actually work, probably because GPS hadn't been invented yet when I was being raised. Halfway to Carry-le-Rouet, or so I thought, I realized that the GPS screen was frozen and I had driven half an hour too far. This would be a good time to mention that we call our GPS Ms. Fairweather because she only works when the going is good and when we don't actually need GPS. We keep a map on hand. I pulled it out, and yay, the best way to get to Carry-le-Rouet was to drive back along the coast.
Now, since I was driving, I didn't take any pictures. These are shots I took of other times we were driving along similar stretches of coastline around here.
Something about driving through little beach towns with a warm sea breeze blowing in the windows just made my heart feel about three pounds lighter. Bout'Chou and I had some bonding time, since this was one of our first outings together, and I decided I needed to stop and get him an ice cream cone and eat it for him on the beach.
But first: the table. Turned out the "trailer park" was a gated community with italianate sculptures and a fountain in the visitors' parking lot. And it overlooked a beach. And had carefully manicured landscaping. The trailers were pretty much just trailers, though--some people were even just living in tents. And Sandra's family was really nice, and since the table was sitting in their yard all ready to be loaded into my car, they had no chance to lock me in the basement. In fact, they might be some of the friendliest people I've met here. I felt like I'd stepped into Wisconsin or Michigan or somewhere where people smile at strangers and load a picnic table into a girl's car for her. As Fabrice (Sandra's boyfriend) let me out of the community's pillared and cupid-sculptured gate, he even said, "See ya later!" instead of "Goodbye."
Since I'd overshot Carry-le-Rouet, I didn't have time to stop and find parking so I could feed Bout'Chou ice cream and walk on the beach. But then, I passed a grocery store...where I ran in and bought a box of ice cream cones (like drumsticks...but they come in about 10 flavors here. I got coffee). So Bout'Chou and I had an ice cream cone as we drove home, past the cute little beach towns and through the hills.
Now I just have to set up the furniture. But first, I think I'm going to call my old doctor in the US and make sure I've had my tetanus booster.