Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Our friends also have a great sense of humour. Obviously.

A country road in Provence, almost as picturesque as that near Krautergersheim

Road trips are all about discovery. Discovery of new things – cities, countrysides, new foods and landscapes. But also of people – not least the people with whom you’re stuck in a car with for days on end.

So it was on our recent visit to Provence. Amynah and I had been invited by our friends Félicie and Yann, who knew and loved the region, and offered to show us around. Three days rolling around one of the most beautiful and sunny regions of France in a convertible with knowledgeable guides? Who could say no?

But the truth is, we were worried. A road trip is one of those friendship-testing experiences: will you all want to see the same things? Will you fight over who controls the CD player? Will some of you want to sleep in, while others get up at six? We’d hung out with Yann and Félicie several times here in Strasbourg, and we knew we liked them, but this was a major step forward in our relationship.

As it turned out, we learned much about each other.

Yann, just before taking a dip in the Mediterranean with his perfectly proportional noggin

(1) We learned that I compare everything I see in France to Alsace: Baux-de-Provence was “almost as pretty as Kaysersberg” the wine in Cassis was “slightly better than in Alsace” and the Cathedral in Marseille, while impressive, was “nowhere near as beautiful as Notre Dame de Strasbourg.” Félicie pointed out that if I was “more Alsatian than the Alsatians.” She’s from Moselle, so I’m not sure that’s a compliment.

(2) Yann and Félicie quickly learned that Amynah expresses affection for her friends by insulting them. At roughly the same time, we learned that (3) Yann is evidently sensitive about the size of his giant head.

(4) Strangest of all, we learned that Félicie, on arrival in a new city, cannot bring herself to exit the car without going the Ceremonial and Most Solemn Ritual of the Changing of the Pants. Given that we were visiting roughly three different towns each day, this meant that Félicie went through a lot of pants, much to the surprise and delight of a pair of older gentlemen who happened to stroll by our car in Marseille.

Amynah struggles to bite her tongue. Félicie, having changed from her market pants into her picnic pants, is ready to eat

Overall, it was an amazing trip, made all the moreso by our frequently pantless, large-headed friends. More detailed posts will come in the days to come….

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