Benita In Paris

Old Jun 12th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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Wednesday

70H is feeling somewhat better but decided to stay home and rest. Is still shaky on his feet.

I want to go to Menerbes today. If it was good enough for Peter then it's good enough for us. Started out down the mountain from Murs. We have the strangest GPS. Sometimes the lady comes on and gives us directions to somewhere when we have not even asked for directions. And occasionally she just says make a u turn when it is convenient. We think the people who set it up in the car, decided to just jerk us around a little with a screwed up GPS. So I pull over and try to put Menerbes in the computer. Didn't work. I had some idea where to go (actually drove about ten miles out of our way). Then stopped again and decided to change voice from a sort of nasty old thing to a man. Obviously, the man voice likes us better because it is now working. Strong rich deep tones with a slight English accent come from the speaker in the car and we are all in love. We are now on the correct road and we decide to name this sexy voice. We call him Lionel. 70 and 71 call him Li and I refer to him as Lay.
He is 6 feet 2 inches tall, nice build, about 55 years old with olive skin. When Lay tells us to turn right, we turn right whether we should or not.

Menerbes is absolutely picturesque. We walk around a little and take some pictures; 70 and 71 get sorbet cones. Of course, I am looking for a place to eat. We had lunch at Le Galoubet which was, again, wonderful food. 70 and 71 had chicken and veau and I had pasta with salmon and shrimp in an incredible sauce. Of course a bottle of wine and dessert. I also ordered french fries. I don't know how they cook them but they are like puffy sticks. Ketchup is definitely not needed. We did go into a cute antique shop. It has a bull in a bathtub in the back of the shop. Went into a clothing store. Saw a beautiful bed spread from Italy for 650 Euros. I passed on that purchase but it was lovely. They also sold Todd shoes. I didn't look at the price but probably cheaper in the states.

We went into a tabac shop and 71 bought 70H a newspaper. In this little shop was the owner and this other very talkative man. He told us he was a sailor and had been around the world three and a half times. He gets to the states several times a year because his daughters live there. I am assuming that he had a lot of property years ago which wasn't worth much and now probably has a very successful vineyard. Anyway, the man is rather scruffy but has the largest teeth I have ever seen. I could not look at him in the eye because of his not so pearly whites. 70 thought they were poorly made dentures and I thought they were his. Anyway, he is now referred to as tooth man.

Left Menerbes ( which is now another favorite Provencial town for me) and started back to Murs. We passed on olive oil store on the D900 just out of Coustellet so turned around and went back for a visit. I remember being there. Bought some Peach appretif and also Violet (for after dinner) wine. We had a sample and they were delicious. I bought a tube of some miracle stuff that cleans everything in your house and some black body soap for me. Will have to try the black stuff to see if it is as great as the salesperson said. I know I am a sucker.And also some traditionally made bread.

We got back in the car and you guessed it. The car wouldn't start. It is very tempermental and you have to crank it over about 30 times and wait about 20 minutes until it works. We now know the Peugeot people have something against us.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 12:30 PM
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The car temperature (I don;t know if it is inside temp or outside) reads 42C. 71 is in the back seat and is dripping with perspiration and wants out of the car. I have done something with the locks or another Peugeot person against us, and to get out of the sliding door, the front passenger has to get out and open the door. 70 jumps out and lets 71 out of the car and they both walk over to a shade tree to cool off. I am still in the car trying to get it started. 71 is walking around in a circle flapping her arms hoping that air conditioning flap of skin under her arms will help cool her off. Finally the car starts. They both run back to the car and off we go to Coustellet grocery store. We have now named the car: shitty shitty bang bang!


French women have such an array of lotions, potions, etc. No wonder they look so good. They are piling every conceivable product known to man on their bodies every night. We stopped for wine, of course. I think we have 15 plus bottles waiting to be drunk. Should keep us all going until 10:30 tomorrow morning. Still amazed by all the different stuff on the shelves. I don't know weather to eat it, drink it, or lather it on my body.

Car was slow starting. Only waited about 5 minutes. We are improving. I needed cash and when we stopped, 71 pleaded with me to not shut the car engine off.

I tried to take the easy way to Murs by not going thru Gordes. Forty-five minutes later we ended up in Goult. Followed the road up the very lovely way to the windmill. Told the ladies that I had been planning this all along. Ha. It is a beautiful windmill. 70 and 71 took pictures and were delighted to see it. Finally back to Murs for brats on the grill.

40, 12 and 8 have boarding passes in Boston for CDG. Don't know yet whether I am driving to Marseille in SSBB.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 01:35 PM
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Benita, I am so enjoying your report. We leave next Friday for a week in Puyvert (hoping to see some lavender) then 2 weeks in Paris. We love so many of the same places and I feel like I am there when you describe them.....and the car issues.
Looking forward to more when you emerge from the wine coma after the 15 bottles.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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Don't know if you are employed or not but a job of creative writing would right up your alley. Love your posts. Have been on several of the byways that you are navigating..beautiful,beautiful area! Thanks for lightening my days
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 05:52 AM
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Whew..I did one of those specify countries search and found this. Yay! I might have missed it.

Gordes.. I wish I could help you and your friends drink those 15 bottles of wine. I'll bring olives and cheeses...
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 12:14 PM
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"71 is walking around in a circle flapping her arms hoping that air conditioning flap of skin under her arms will help cool her off."
Hilarious, Benita. I'm thoroughly enjoying your report. Thanks so much.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 10:09 PM
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Friday

Today 40, 12 and 8 arrive. Their flights were not cancelled luckily. I must have taken the slow boat to China because it took me forever to get to Marseille airport. Lay was cooperating but I think he could have been more helpful. But his voice is so lovely I can't resist going in whatever direction he directs. Lots of traffic. They only had to wait about 15 minutes. Picked them up outside and off we go.

I have to pee like a church mouse. (I have no idea where that saying came from perhaps my family, maybe I heard something like it one day and changed it, but if you spend over two hours with me you will hear me say it). I stop to get some diesel and figure I can use the facilities. Of course, it is closed momentarily. I have no idea how long momentarily is so pay for the gas and set off again.

Traffic is going at a snails pace on the A7. Guess there was an accident 10K ahead. I didn't know there were rubbernecks in France!

When we were stopped for the 100th time, a truck driver next to us jumped out of his cab with a huge hammer and went to the driver's side of the truck in front of him. He was waving his arms around in the air with the hammer screaming at the driver. 12 and 8 are freaking out in the backseat. They are exhausted and this is their introduction to a foreign country. Finally the driver with the hammer came back to his truck and walked right past our car. He looked pretty angry, we just told 12 and 8 not to look at him. They, of course, being kids, wanted to know what happened. We told the it is the way of the French and probably the truck in the front stopped too quickly and made the second driver mad. The Hammer Man doesn't realize that OJ went up the river for not much more. Hope he forgets his hammer if he visits the US.

And then we meet the Church Lady.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 10:44 PM
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A little background on 40, 12 and 8. Three years ago 70H was retiring as a professor at a university in the midwest and 40 and her husband was leaving a 30 year career in the service living outside of San Francisco. 40 wanted to return to Maine and we just wanted to be near the grandchildren. After much much discussion and then some, we decided we would buy a house together in the Portland Maine area. After two trips to Maine to find the right house 40, 12 and 8 moved in with her husband to follow. We wanted our son (now 21) to finish high school and Eagle Scout so we stayed in midwest another year. 40 is now divorced and we have settled quite nicely with the six of us. 40 and I are best friends and really enjoy being together. Now if you told me I had to live with 26 (daughter) I would immediately slit my throat. I love her dearly but......

I don;t know if this is too much information to write on Fodor's but I think it is interesting to know something about the people on this site. And anyway, I have already talked to you about my bowel habits (as all older people seem to do) so this information is child's play.

We get thru the traffic and stop in Cavillion at Auchan for toilette. 40,12 and 8 picked out some yogurt they will drink. Off to Murs. They all love the house. I take a nap and kids go swimming.

70 wants to take us all to dinner. We go back to LaTerrase in Goult. We think it is the best bang for your buck. Four beers, bottle of wine, six dinners is 201E.

We go a little early to walk around to keep 40 and girls awake and that's where to meet the lovely church lady.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 05:32 AM
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Can't wait to hear about the church lady! Laughing about your name for the car! (I had one once that could have used that name--luckily it met its end with a bang--literally.)
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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70H, 70 and 71 go into the restaurant early and drink some beers before dinner. 40, 12 and 8 and I go looking thru some stores. We wandered into this cute shop. We had to step over the owner's dog, Charlie, to get in the store. Every item was new but looked old. The owner, a British lady, had some beautiful items. We started talking, of course. She had lived in Menerbes in a wine field and redid an old barn into a house. She said it was too much to take care of, so several years ago moved to Goult and opened her shop. She lives upstairs over the store. She was very proud that she was related to President Taft and her ancestors came to Massachusetts after the Mayflower and settled in a town in Mass. She said her relative sold alcohol to the indians and ended up in jail. She was even prouder of that. She had been to Sugarloaf in Maine many years ago doing some photography. She showed us a book with her picture with Bill and Hillary Clinton and told us how lovely they were when she asked them if she could interview their relatives. We were ready to move on to another store. She followed us outside. The church was right across the street.

The bells were ringing and I made a comment how lovely they sounded. She asked if we had been inside the church. When we said no, she was off and running taking us into the church. We asked about leaving her store unattended and she said Charlie will take care of everything. She will growl and the customers will go away. This way of life is so foreign to me.

Into the church we all went. It is a Catholic church about 400 years old. She attends the church and said there are even French who attend on Sunday. She and Charlie go to the church often and just sit in a pew where it is so peaceful for her.

I never go into a church without lighting a candle for my parents and friends who have passed away. 8 and I lit candles (for 8's grandmother and her friend who recently passed away at St. Jude's) While the candles are being lit, the church lady is giving 40 a dissertation that 40 should cross herself when entering a church. 40 told her she was not Catholic and didn;t do that. Church lady was quite annoyed and said she should always cross herself no matter what the denomination is. 40 held her ground.

We left the church and church lady gave 40 and I three kisses each. We were exhausted and it was time to eat. Thank heavens!

Friday

It took us nine hours to pick up 26.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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3 kisses! How nice! We liked Menerbes also--kept hoping to run into Peter. My GPS is Dundee--I chose a male Australian.

Really enjoying your report and your humor.
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Old Jun 14th, 2013, 11:48 PM
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We left for the airport about 9 a.m. We figured we would be early and could get some cafe while waiting for 26. The plane was late so we looked around at departure area and guess what-----bought six more pieces of nougot. (not as good as nougot man at market in Gordes). Went to Starbucks and got two lattes and two slices of lemon bread ($30-eeek). Waited for 26 by the appropriate doors (had to buy more coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice, which was delicious) to sit where 26 would arrive.

Finally she arrives. I almost didn't recognize her (and I saw her at Christmas). Tall. thin, new short haircut and beautifully dressed. And this is the girl who put us thru hell in high school and made me take happy, happy, joy, joy pills. And if this wasn't enough, she had flown from Minneapolis. 40 couldn't believe how she looked and started to cry. It was a proud moment for me. I must have done something right.

Went for luggage, what, no luggage. I sat and 40 and 26 stood in line to talk to agent. They could not guarantee it, but it might be on the next plane in two hours. We decide to wait since they said it would not be delivered until the next day and we don;t even know our address.

Decide to go to Marseille. We drove down some pretty iffy streets. There was no way we would have parked the car. Finally got on the better shopping street.

Saw lots of men in long nightgowns of all colors. Some with long pants some without. I do not know the correct terminology for their tops. No decisions on what to wear every day, I guess.

Must have driven by a Mosque. A huge pile of shoes outside a door, men streaming in and a very tall, about 6'2" man, outside in white, sort of like a guard. He had a turban on his head but it looked like a turban on steroids. Lots of white material wrapped around and around on top of his head. Which, of course, made him look even taller. We didn't have time to get our camera out before traffic was moving.

There is construction on every street. I had heard they were doing alot of work but this was crazy. We followed lay's directions to the waterfront. Lovely area. Lots of cafes full of people and a large walkway in front of the piers with beautiful yachts. I would have liked to stop for lunch but the baggage awaits.

Back to airport. Had to go to another area to find luggage because it was marked special handling. Plane was late. Stopped for slice of pizza and water. When plane it arrived, it took another hour to get luggage to lost and found.

On way to get car stopped for a pit stop. Down a long flight of stairs. Why are most toilettes in France either up a spiral staircase or down in the basement? Ladies area is being cleaned. All ladies were being diverted to men's room. Men's area had a large round room with urinals in a circle (I peeked) and about six stalls. The men are looking at the women like, what;s going on and the women are just standing in line for a stall. It appeared to me that the men ahead of me didn't know whether to go into the stall or open the door and let the lady go first. The lady behind me said something in French and I said, Americans would never believe this. She said, oh you speak English. She then said I hope this isn't your first experience with France. I told her no. If this was an American's first experience, they would probably be back on the first plan to America. I told her it was the experiences in travel that make it fun. She agreed.

Picked up car, waited another half hour for luggage. Finally at 4 p.m. we are on our way to Murs. 40 was concerned because 12 and 8 were left at house because they were sleeping when we left and we didn't think it was going to take us all day. But they were fine with 70H, 70 and 71.

Stopped in Cavillon for several things (ok more wine). Got back to Murs at 6 p.m. I was exhausted and just wanted to drink. 40, 26, 12 and 8 went to pool.

I don't have to go to airport until a week from Sunday to pick up 21.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 02:26 AM
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I love, love, love this report.

But, I now am even more intimidated about writing trip reports. Yours is so good and so funny.

LOL at your descriptions of the guy on the bench and the church lady.

Thanks so much!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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This TR is totally addictive!! I am dreading the day this crazy saga ends. Thanks again for sharing your wild adventure. You do have a way with words, Benita.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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Saturday

Gypsy woman

Beverly's daughter came this morning to clean the house and change all the linen. Then Beverly stopped by. It was wonderful to have a nice chat with her. She will stop by for lunch when 21 gets here. She remembers him from five years ago.

71 was not feeling well today and slept all morning. She is drinking now, so I guess she is feeling better. I am now totally convinced that wine is not only a necessitity of life but is good for every part of the body.

40, 26, 12, 8 and I went to Gordes shopping. When we parked the car there was a woman, short blonde hair, white top and white pants sitting on the curb. She immediately stood up and when we were all getting out of our car, this woman starts walking around and looking in all our windows and license plate. 40 asks her if there is anything wrong. She replies no. We start uo the hill towards Gordes (more junk shops) and we turn around and she is starting to follow us but then turns away.

We go in all the shops, find tons we want to buy for the house. Maybe living with 40 was not the best idea. We now want to redecorate the whole house.

Kids found some jewelry to buy and I found a ring. Beautiful green stone with silver. Wanted to take 40 to jewelry shop where the owner is the designer but it was closed. Stopped for ice cream by the church and they were putting flowers outside for a wedding. Well. I can never pass up a good wedding and good it was. Beautiful, big hats with flowers. Those crazy hats that look like flying saucers that Princess; Beatrix and her sister wore to the royal wedding. All the women were wearing the highest of heels. Every woman was escorted by some really handsome men. The women were clinging to the men for their lives coming down the cobblestones. One woman took her shoes off and walked down the stones and put them back on when she got in the church.

Finally, the bride arrived and everyone clapped. When in Rome.......I joined in and clapped too.

The bride, of course, was beautiful. Long simple white dress with lace. But her mother had a love straw hat (sounds tacky but was very elegant) and a coat of muted pink flowers all over. The dress underneath had a large border of the same flowered material. It was obviously very expensive. And the worst part. MOB, had a killer body.

Waited until the bride went into church and left. Forgot to mention that they had about a 15 person choir to sing in the church. Did not see any men with nieces (I was checking) but did see a very old man with his very younger wife. I bet he was loaded!

The convertible car for the bride and groom had flowers and tulle all around the car. A huge garland of flowers on the back where the roof is. Very impressive.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Your descriptions are sensational! I am also addicted to your report, Benita. You have writing talent galore!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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40 was going to buy 12 a scarf. I went to SSBB to see if it would start. Slow but made it. Got in car and who was standing beside the curb with three bags of groceries. Gypsy woman. But this time (about two hours later) she had a totally different outfit on. New hat, colored top and pants. I sat in the car and watched her just scan every person she saw. Grocery bags were not full so she could easily add more stuff.(like your wallet). Looked like every other tourist. Would have never thought she was a thief. Kids were amazed, asked tons of questions, 12 felt sorry for anyone doing that and wondered what kind of family life they had. That was Gypsy woman.

Went to grocery in Coustelet. FYI: no bathroom at store.

Home for hamburgers on the grill.

Going to Isle d'la Sougue tomorrow. Wonder if I will see duck man.
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Love it!
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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Maybe I am missing something, but how do we know that Gypsy Woman is a "gypsy" and that she is a thief?
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Old Jun 15th, 2013, 10:41 PM
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1. She was still there after two hours.

2. Changed entire outfit.

3. Followed us up the hill.

4. Looked to see if our car was a rental.

5. Looked in every window of our van (twice) with rather dark windows to see what was inside.

6. Was scanning every person she saw (head was moving like an oscillating fan).

7. Picked up groceries, moved around with groceries, put groceries down.

8. Absolute agreement from 64, 40 and 26.

9. This isn't our first rodeo.

10. We were not taking any chances by leaving something in car to confirm.

11. Maybe we were wong and I apologize to the person if I was but was just our gut feeling.
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