May 14, Bordeaux


After, for catharsis, writing in excruciating detail of all my (mis)-adventures involving transportation, suffice to say I spent the TGV ride to Bordeaux in a comfortable little seat in the cargo area of a rail car. I had a great view out the window, and a trio of young soldiers were crammed together in a booth next to me. They played with their MP-3s and Blackberries, then all fell asleep, as trusting as puppies. Then two of them woke up, left, and came back, triumphant, bearing cans of Foster’s Beer. And being good Frenchmen, they produced plastic cups and drank the beer from cups. And, a young Franco-Asian carried my bag down two and up one flights of stairs without my asking. And another very nice young man worked the ticket machine for me for the tram into Bordeaux, as there was so much graffitti I couldn’t read the instructions on the screen. That is what I choose to remember.

Our hotel is a beautiful old building in central Bordeaux, and my room is lovely. There’s a tv, wireless, a big bed, a fridge which contained my lunch, courtesy of Exploritas, and a huge pair of 8′ windows that I can open. The bathroom has–oh Heaven! a bathtub, and even a built-in clothesline to dry laundry. And facecloths. The whoosh you feel is my contented sigh.

Bordeaux is an important port, and is located on a bend of the Garonne River. A walking and recreation area has been developed along the river, much like the bikepath by the Willamette. But I saw–honest!–two police officer, with uniforms and guns, but also with helmets, elbow pads, and rollerskates zipping along the walking path. One of them was even skating backwards! Zut alors!

We had an introductory Exploritas meeting in the afternoon. My group of fellow-travelers seems nice and interesting, and interested. We later went to dinner at L’Ombriere, where I took my only two photos of the day, the salad and the salmon. The delicious crepe had vanished before I remember the camera. Eight of us sitting together bought a couple bottles of wine to share with the meal. The waiter said the house wine was terrible, but I don’t know if he was financially motivated. Much discussion ensued, and the resident librarian made an executive decision. I thought both were very good, and different. I hope this continues.


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