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Foreign Correspondunce

September 23, 2009
My Summer Vacation

By Jenna

My summer vacation forces me to ask: does the south of France even have the internet?

ist2_8522889-french-baguettes-and-wineI must begin by extending my apologies to Madame Editor.  My contributions of the last two weeks have been erratic, at best.  Excuses are always tiring, but if blame had to be laid, I’d blame France, or maybe more specifically, the southern part.  The boyfriend and I were off for what was meant to be a light-hearted few weeks of fun in the Mediterranean sun, but instead turned into injury, pain, isolation and despair, all laced with butter and cream.

Initially, we had decided to bring along a laptop in order to stay connected to the world at large…okay, that’s what we said aloud, but really, we wanted to watch season 5 of The Wire and we weren’t sure if our accommodations supplied a DVD player.  But at 4:00 a.m. on the morning of our departure, as we were scrambling around forgetting to pack toothpaste but remembering to pack no less than 4 blank notebooks (that upon our return were still blank) into our suddenly undersized suitcases, the boyfriend quietly made the decision to ditch the laptop in favour of the Norton Anthology of Poetry.  This change of plans was revealed to me once we were in France and I said, ‘Hey, where’s the laptop?’  To which he replied, ‘Didn’t bring it, needed room for my book.’  ‘You couldn’t have just bought a book at the airport?’  ‘They don’t have poems at the airport.’  ‘?’  Anyway, turned out our borrowed apartment didn’t have wi-fi.  So much for lounging around on the balcony, eating cheese and filing my report from a more foreign clime.

Right, so having been to this particular town last year, Sainte-Maxime, directly across the water from St. Tropez, I knew where the one internet café was located and I set off to write my weekly blog post and check for earth-shatteringly important emails.  But this being France, and the hot southern part at that, shopkeepers adhere to that charming continental custom of opening in the morning for a few hours, closing around 12:30 for a leisurely lunch and then re-opening whenever they damn well feel like it.  The hours posted on the door of the internet café said they re-opened at 2:30, but after standing in the hot Mediterranean sun for half an hour waiting for someone to come unlock the door and fire up the machines I began to think that their lunch was perhaps too leisurely on this particular day and stormed off to explore other options.  I quickly discovered there were no other options; they were the only online show in town.

Over the next few days I played peek-a-boo with Le Café du Internet, managing to once find them not only open, but open long enough to post an entire blog entry.  But on day 4 of our trip, the boyfriend met with an accident, an accident that could have been much worse, but as it was proved bad enough to change the mood of our holiday.  We rented bikes to cycle to St. Tropez.  Once there, the boyfriend met with an unfriendly dip in the road that launched him over the handlebars and landed him sprawled-out flat.  French cement is just as unforgiving as any other kind.  Before coming to a full stop, the road made contact with the boyfriend’s face, knees, hands, elbows and right hip.  It was, in short, a bloody mess.  We did, however, get to enjoy the drama of an ambulance ride and a trip to an authentic French hospital, something I’ll bet many visitors to the area have yet to experience.

The aftermath found the boyfriend taped up like an extra from Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy and me alternately worrying over his difficulty in walking and silently bemoaning the fact we wouldn’t be hitting up any far-flung flea markets.  The upshot is, I gave up entirely on the internet café, which I can only assume was really a front for baguette porn or laundering counterfeit camembert.

Good to be home, where the internet is everywhere.

South of France: 9/10

South of France with injuries:  4/10


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