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Day-by-day Log of Pacific Crossing

Hi Everyone,

We made it! From Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to Hilo, Hawaii in 14-days.

The following is a day-by-day log of highlights and such. Some of it very likely won’t make any sense to you. But use your imagination anyway and see what you can conjure up. Perhaps the pictures I’ll post soon will help fill in the story. Or maybe not. Regardless, we appreciate you coming along for the ride in spirit.

Bottom line. We had a GREAT sail and are very thankful to Kevin and Marisela for inviting us to join them on their FIFTH Pacific ocean crossing.

With a big hug and lots of Aloha from the good ship Kālewa Tahiti-tied in Hilo.

Kālewa Pacifc Ocean Crossing Summer 2014

DATE/DAY: 6/14/14 Saturday

LOCATION: departed La Cruz at 1630 (PV time)

CONDITIONS: flat

RIGGING: main and jib

MENU: something yummy that Marisela made!

PHOTOS: departure

***: Conch shell blowing off Punta Mita

DATE/DAY: 6/15/14 Sunday, Father’s Day

LOCATION: dropped anchor at Isla Isabela at 0907 (PV time)
Las Moñas islands
Pulled anchor at 1530

CONDITIONS: sunny and crazy hot!

RIGGING: main and jib

MENU:
Snack: Marisela’s bean dip from leftover beans, chorizo, and the cooked salsa she’d made that afternoon AND grilled corn.
Pistachios.
Dinner: M’s grilled cheddar cheese and ham sandwiches.

PHOTOS:

***: Snorkeling, HOT walk on island, rainbow.
Another hot night. Sweated profusely and awoke in a pool of dreams.
Lightning all night off starboard side toward landfall; it accompanied us till dawn.

DATE/DAY: 6/16/14 Monday

LOCATION: at sea sailing to Cabo

CONDITIONS: bouncy at night, motoring most of the way

RIGGING: main and jib

MENU:
Oatmeal with raisins, dried apricots & butter and brown sugar for Kevin and Tony. With the fruit and yogurt for Sj.
Around noon, Marisela cooked herself up a yummy looking dish of chicken and this and that and two rolled up tortillas.
Margaritas for Kevin and Marisela, Beer for Sj & T.
Lunch: quesadillas
Dinner: Mexican penicillin i.e. Tortilla soup. Excellent!!! Sj & M first at the table, then K & T.

PHOTOS: dolphins!

***: Marisela saw tuna-sized dolphins during her nighttime watch.
LOTS of dolphins around noon. : ) Guys watched Superman under dodger.

DATE/DAY: 6/17/14 Tuesday

LOCATION: Tied up at 1300 local time at CABO SAN LUCAS (2-hours behind PV)

CONDITIONS: bumpy night ride, middle of night reefed main (then about 4 knots) and backwinded the jib, then motoring

RIGGING: main

MENU:
Marisela’s yummy breakfast sandwiches (with egg).
Nachos with margaritas and beer at restaurant during the game.
Boat treat: M’s cantelope agua fresca

PHOTOS: Pedrata coming into Cabo, at Soccer match

***: Saw a big seal when motoring into Cabo! México versus Brasil !!!

DATE/DAY: 6/18/14 Wednesday

LOCATION: in Cabo San Lucas

CONDITIONS: HOT !

RIGGING: n/a

MENU:
Brunch in town at a local fastfood place: huevos rancheros.
Joint Fab Four dinner at Mexican seafood place then cute little place up the road. Marisela got Pozole that she was wanting (normally it’s a breakfast dish, but the cute restaurant had it for dinner)

PHOTOS: Cabo

***: Practically heat stroke! Pool hang.

DATE/DAY: 6/19/14 Thursday

LOCATION: left Cabo San Lucas harbor at noon

CONDITIONS: crazy windy after turning the corner North

RIGGING: main and jib

MENU:
In town: fruit cup with tajine (pronounced: tah-heen)
Lunch: rice cracker & peanut butter
Dinner: hot dogs

PHOTOS: Pedrata when leaving Cabo, Kevin with needle fish

***: fish on deck

DATE/DAY: 6/20/14 Friday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: wind around 20 to 25 knots after made turn North of Cabo

RIGGING: main and jib

MENU:
Breakfast: Churizo, potato, eggs & tortillas.
Dinner: Meat chili and rice.

PHOTOS: orange moon rise (Sj’s iPhone), dolphins

***: LOTS of dolphins!
Marisela was getting beat up in her bunk.
In the galley, Sj & T serenaded Marisela to the tune “My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

DATE/DAY: 6/21/14 Saturday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: wind around 10 knots, motoring in the morning, flat, lots of clouds

RIGGING: main

MENU:
Breakfast: “leftovers” – Kevin had rice with an egg, Sj and T each had a Marisela-made omlette with leftover beef chili and cheese and tortillas.
Lunch: BLT’s.

PHOTOS: Pedrata with Kindle, Tony with hammock

***: Sea life: SAILing fish. One lone turtle with a dry circle on its back.
Kevin’s Ground Hog story. Sj & M painting nails down below.
Improv show on the Lido deck. Sunset green “double-dip.”

DATE/DAY: 6/22/14 Sunday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: flat, still motoring

RIGGING: main

MENU:
Oatmeal
Lunch: Chili Rellenos, Mexican beef aranchara.
Dinner: Tacos with freshly madeverde salsa and simple guacamole.

PHOTOS: Tony in hammock with Pedrata, Marisela under dodger and Kevin Port side playing guitar, Tony & Kevin Sunshine song, Pedrata mirror & with bottle message letter.

***: First group mail call.
Marisela’s phantom nighttime boat.
Breakfast forward while Kevin playing the guitar.
Tossed first message in a bottle (all 4 wrote something).
Thousands of fish held up lighters to Kevin and Kālewa.
Austin Powers III.

DATE/DAY: 6/23/14 Monday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: cloudy, now sailing (Marisela’s fav conditions – flat, going around 8 knots), the direction was around 270 (on the compass)

RIGGING: main and jib, then CODE ZERO in morning and then again in afternoon

MENU:
Ramos Fizz in the morning
Group meals down below:
Lunch: Nachos – oven baked with refried beans, olives, jalapenos & cheese.
Dinner: Thai curry noodles with veggies and chicken.

PHOTOS: Pedrata in green backpack, and Tony playing guitar.

***: Ramos Fizz “breakfast of champions.”
Out of the blue Kevin called out, “I’m so pretty!”
Sunset on the Lido deck with Tony serenading Sj & M.
Marisela’s 2 questions.
Crossed 2,000 knot mark at dinner time.
Nighttime code zero sounds.

DATE/DAY: 6/24/14 Tuesday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: Code Zero sailing (i.e. at night LOTS of phantom talking/gibberish)
Sailing around 8 knots or so, wind 12+ knots

RIGGING: main and code zero until 10 a.m. HST

MENU:
Oatmeal
Lunch: grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches (with jalapeno mayo for Sj & T).
Pupus: cheese, salami platter with a pear and an apple, crackers.
Dinner: homemade clam chowder.

PHOTOS: Pedrata at computer with Tony, Sj mango tongue, Marisela in galley with reflection, Pedrata in brace and at the wheel of the boat and under the step in cozies.

***: 1Q84 quote of the day, “Like fish that live at the bottom of the ocean, most of her dreams weren’t able to float to the surface. Even if they did, the difference in water pressure would force a change in their appearance.” Mail call: México beat Croatia

DATE/DAY: 6/25/14 Wednesday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: 12 to 13 knot winds, moving around 9 to 10 knots. Cloudy day. Hauling! Cold on deck. (220 nautical miles this day?)

RIGGING: main and Code Zero until 2 p.m. HST, then switched to spinnaker

MENU:
Breakfast: Marisela’s unique creation of pan-fried enchiladas (top secret combo!)
Lunch: Leftover enchilada.
Dinner: Leftover clam chowder.

PHOTOS:

***: 1733 nautical miles . . . going back in time.
“The air is feeling more moist,” said Captain Kevin.

DATE/DAY: 6/26/14 Thursday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: cloudy, sailing 13 to 15 knots sailing speed at times

RIGGING: main and spinnaker

MENU:
Tony’s pancakes with REAL maple syrup, fried egg(s) and bacon.
Lunch: tuna ala Kevin, tuna ala Sj, and turkey ala Tones.
Leftover pan-fried enchilada (and pretzels and an apple : ) for Marisela.
Dinner: doctored-up macaroni and cheese.

PHOTOS: half-way celebration, ballons in the ocean behind boat

***: HOT showers for the crew!
HALF-WAY celebration, i.e. chicken flinging with Hermano Pollo making eye contact with Marisela’s glasses!

DATE/DAY: 6/27/14 Friday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: started sunny and then turned cloudy, no ball at sunset but beautiful colors

RIGGING: main and spinnaker, 1915 HST stowed spinnaker and switched to regular jib

MENU:
Oatmeal
Nibbles. Pringles. Nuts. Dip.
July 4th meal of cheeseburgers and homemade french-fries with the last two potatoes.

PHOTOS: spinnaker stuff, Kevin telling the “cherry pit” story

***: 2nd bottle toss at noon HST.
1111 nautical miles at 1930 HST.
4th of July meal.

DATE/DAY: 6/28/14 Saturday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: cloudy (no “sun” at sunrise), turned sunny and hot, wind was around 17/18 knots in the evening, first time we had some rain, sailing a steady 8-knots.

RIGGING: main and jib, changed to spinnaker at 0530 HST, then back to regular jib to mellow things out overnight

MENU:
B’fast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Marisela’s Mexican tuna salad – diced tomato, jalapeno, cucumber (no seeds in these 3), diced onion, black olives, olive oil & lime juice with saltines and tostadas.
Dinner: Marisela’s experiment with rice, curry, chopped veggies, cilantro, and a can of Progresso soup.

PHOTOS: Pedrata and rubber chicken shots, rainbow

***: Broke the 1,000 nautical miles mark.
Full rainbow.
Marisela’s science experiment.

DATE/DAY: 6/29/14 Sunday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: sunny happy cloud day, perfect SUNday

RIGGING: main and spinnaker

MENU:
Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: Last two Bimbo buns for half-sandwiches with cold cuts (turkey, salami, cheese, onion, tomato).
“You have to have good buns to be a Bimbo.” +Sj
“Bimbo has good buns.” – Tony
Dinner: Chicken, bean tostadas with cheese, salsa verde, black olives, chopped lettuce and mashed avocado.

PHOTOS: Beer bucket shot

***: Broke 800 nautical miles on this day.
First rainy night.
Kevin’s getting ready to be home.

DATE/DAY: 6/30/14 Monday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: sunny the squally

RIGGING: main and spinnaker, dropped and then raised it now and then for the many passing squalls . . .

MENU:
Breakfast: Tony’s pancakes using this and that. Topped with a variety of things: maple syrup, Scandinavia berry preserves, peanut butter, and cream cheese.
Lunch: Leftovers. T – curry rice dish encircled with cucumber slices. K – brown rice ala Marisela. Sj – rice cracker with mustard and cheese also encircled with cucumber slices. M – ceasar salad.
Dinner: Spaghetti with artichoke hearts and last of fresh veggies.

PHOTOS: rainbows

***: Crossed over into the 500s.
A little “slower” per Kevin. CLEAR, CLEAR SKY Monday night, so many stars and Milky Way bow overhead : )))

DATE/DAY: 7/1/14 Tuesday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: clear and sunny, wind 14-20 knots, sailing a consistent 10-knots
(overnight when Sj was on watch, the waves rolled from starboard to port—sometimes reminiscent of being on Mapuana)

RIGGING: main and spinnaker (had it on Monday overnight)

MENU:
Breakfast: Marisela’s huevos rancheros. YUM !!! Sj’s fav!!!
Lunch: Kevin & Tony – leftover pasta, Sj – oatmeal.
Dinner: leftover pasta and salad with last of the lettuce.
Snack: popcorn

PHOTOS: Marisela with headphone-tissue-guard on®.

***: Broke 400-miles.
Lost a rubber chicken over the side : (
Tony’s syphilis letter.
ONLY day without music on the Lido deck.

DATE/DAY: 7/2/14 Wednesday

LOCATION: at sea

CONDITIONS: rainy off and on, the water is getting “bumpier” as we draw closer to Hawaii

RIGGING: main and jib, wing on wing

MENU:
Oatmeal
Lunch: quesadillas with the last of the Frieda Kahlo beans and chicken.
Treat: pineapple upside down cake
Dinner: fresh sushi (and for the boyz, a shitake-mushroom-gnocchi-asparagus-blue-cheese-topped-casserole started before we caught the fish)

PHOTOS: Pedrata at navigation chart showing Hilo, chicken close-up over the freezer, Pedrata getting ready for Hawaii, guys with fishing lines, catching a mahi mahi, Marisela’s sushi dinner

***: The wind was considerably warmer in the early morning hours. When Tony came down to get me he said, “The air’s really warm. I’m just wearing this.” He had on a t-shirt, my Dad’s long sleeved shirt, and long pants. (rather than a jacket or sweater or wool cap)
Kālewa encountered a presumed-to-be “logger” at 0400 HST.
197 nautical miles to go at 1100 HST.

From the 3rd mate, Sj:

At 0400 HST during my solo starry sky watch, a large noise on the starboard side vibrated up to my toes, torso, and ears as it thunked repeatedly, passing from the bow to the stern, leaving the movable rudder up in its wake.

A logger? A fish? An errant snorkeling giant? We’re still not sure.

2nd mate Tony Baloney, aka Hermano Pollo, came bouncing up from down below. First contact had been made not too far from his family jewels as he lay sleeping in the forward starboard bunk. “What happened? Wake up Kevin!,” he shouted as I was touching Kevin’s left heel (which was facing the stern as it rested on the starboard dodger bunk).

“What the!?!” Captain Kevin cried while pulling ear plugs out of his ears.

A beat later, the auto pilot jumped ship, the dials playing the hokey pokey.

Thank goodness the spinnaker had been stowed a short 4-hours earlier when Kevin and Tony were on watch, this 3rd mate thought to herself.

The navigation panel showed Kālewa’s speed as .01 knots.

What the?

Captain Kev quickly brought the jib to the starboard side; Hermano Pollo pulled in the sheet. Another THUNK! as the main sail decided to join in the fun. This final exclamation point got Marisela’s attention. She too joined us on deck with eyes wide open.

It didn’t take long for Captain Kevin to get things back under control.

“Now I’M awake,” said 1st mate Marisela as she made herself comfortable in a deck check.

After a few more enjoyable minutes taking in the little dipper that clearly shined off the starboard stern, I swapped places with her and went below. No more bumps in the night besides the standard sloshes and water slaps. I slept like a baby. Safe in the Millet’s well-built, comfortable, and original boat, Kālewa.

DATE/DAY: 7/3/14 Thursday

LOCATION: at sea until arriving in Hilo harbor at 1530 HST.

CONDITIONS: clear and sunny, lighter wind, sailing a consistent 5 to 6-knots until pulled out the spinnaker (then sailing around 7 to 8-knots)

RIGGING: main and jib (until spinnaker was brought out around 0930 HST)

MENU:
Breakfast: beautifully sliced fresh pear and apple by Tony, oatmeal
Nibbles: nuts, last pear and apple, and roasted chayote – Yum!
Dinner: Ken’s House of Pancakes in Hilo : )

PHOTOS: Hilo in the distance, hanging on the forward deck, GoPro arrival shots

***: Tony spotted Mauna Kea first at 0700 HST (about 45 nautical miles away).
Completing Sj, T & Pedrata’s FIRST ever Pacific ocean crossing and Kevin and Marisela’s FIFTH!!!
Meeting up with good buddies, the Okutani family, at Ken’s !!! All the way from Sweden!

LOG PAU for the moment!

We’re planning on departing Hilo tomorrow morning (yes, July 4th!) for the final leg – back to Kālewa’s home, Kauai-nei.

Captain Kevin says that we should arrive some time on Saturday.

Until then!

+Sj out

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No idea why this wouldn’t load right side up!

Kalewa green paletas

Girls Day Out : )))

Marisela and I

jumped shipped on Tuesday and hopped on an eclectic mix of busses—some with a/c, some without, some big, some small—and ventured forth to Puerta Vallarta.

What fun!

First, we walked along the boardwalk looking for a restaurant that Marisela remembered being good, i.e. “authentic” and not too, too touristy and expensive. We didn’t find the one she was thinking of, but we did get a good walking workout! Just what these two amigas needed.

When our mouths were beginning to get so parched that the spittle didn’t spit but stayed, we stopped at a farmacia for some agua. “Know of any good authentic Mexican restaurants that are a good price?” Marisela asked in her flawless Spanish. No was the sales clerks reply. “Nada. Todos son turistico.”

Okay den. On we went. Higher and higher away from the ocean and deeper and deeper into residential land. Just about when we hit a road dead-end (but not for pedestrians, we could have meandered further along the coastline), we saw a good looking local couple with a bambino of about 3-years. Ditto. Same question from Marisela. But this time we got a, “Si!” The nice looking young Mexican man recommended one back by the Cathedral.

Se acepta comúnmente que Puerto Vallarta fue fundado en 1851 por don Guadalupe Sánchez quien llegó a este lugar con su familia el 12 de diciembre, procedente de Cihuatlán, Jalisco. Got it?

Se acepta comúnmente que Puerto Vallarta fue fundado en 1851 por don Guadalupe Sánchez quien llegó a este lugar con su familia el 12 de diciembre, procedente de Cihuatlán, Jalisco.
Got it?

We said Gracias and headed on our way back down hill and back into turisto land. Perfecto, we both thought. We needed some more exercise.

Again, our mouths dried up. But this time we stopped for paletas. Strawberry fruit bar for me (REAL juice and fruit, delicioso!!!) and lime for Marisela. Yum! We had to quickly lick them, bite them, ingest them in whatever way was possible before the dripped onto the sidewalk or our hand. Again, yum! Just enough liquid and fructose to carry us on our way to Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Cathedral.

Hmm, we didn’t see a restaurant fitting this guy’s description. Onward. But before Marisela left me in the dust with her professional sailor walk which magically appears once she hits shore, I eyed some quaint buildings up the hill. Hola, amiga! Let’s try going UP! Good idea, girlfriend, she replied. So up we went . . . until we found Gaby’s. : ))))) That was da spot!

Friday Morning at the Market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A few weeks ago a group of us went shopping at the market. Why? Because we were to make the FLO kids’ meals the next day.

The menu? Egg scramble with lots of veggies and a baguette for breakfast (and some fruit, I think).

Lunch: hot dog with ketchup, homemade chips, and some fruit. (It didn’t satisfy them for long; they were all ravenous by dinnertime.)

Dinner: spaghetti Bolonaise. Now this one was a hit, and there was plenty for second helpings.

And now for a tour of what it’s like to shop at the local’s market in Phnom Penh; yes, thank goodness we had a local who was the one who really did the shopping.

No explanation needed.
Those are eggs.
That’s about $33 for 300 eggs.
Don’t try this at home.
That should do me for a bit.
They were moving.
And not just because she was stirring them.
Ze market.
Ze transaction.
Yep, those buggers’ll burn your socks off.
It looked so pretty to me.
Have we gotten everything?  . . . This dragon fruit is yummy!
Ze market take 2.
That’s our stuff on the cart.
And in the car. Next stop: FLO.

 Next . . . the cooking for the kids . . .

My last Sunday à Lyon . . .

date: Sun, Feb 15, 2009

subject: My last Sunday à Lyon . . .
           
Good Morning Everyone,
I’m sitting at Madame’s computer in her very large bedroom with the tall window facing la Saône on my left. The window begins at chair level and rises up at least 10 feet. To open it you turn the handle in the center and the two tall panels open towards you. There is a redish gate just outside the window made of iron with lots of nice curly-cues. 
 I suppose it’s to keep you from falling out (though the other day when I was doing laundry and I opened the similarly designed though smaller window off the bathroom–it’s right next to the john–to hang my wash outside, Lily jumped up and was about to jump out of the window!!–on to the 5 or 6 lines that run parallel with the window; but I grabbed her!!! 
You have to be REALLY careful not to drop your clothes when you hang the laundry. Remember, I’m several flights up!  Hopefully it would land on the neighbor’s little contraption for hanging their wash below, but if not, I’m not exactly sure how you’d get to the bottom of this tiny courtyard! I’ve already lost two clothespins . . .).

Madame left early this morning for Paris for 3 nights. She’s on a two-week holiday from work/school. She’s staying with a friend she hasn’t seen for about 10 years or so but with whom she talks regularly. Interestingly enough, this friend is German and is teaching German in Paris. According to Madame, this woman’s French is almost as good as hers (Madame’s).

—-T just called . . . I said good night and he said good morning!
It’s a beautiful day outside (though cold, maybe between 25 and 30° F, warmer than when I arrived ages ago) and I think later I’ll go out for an exploratory bike ride before and after visiting the museum about THE war. Did you know that Lyon was the most important city for the resistance? I’ve been twice in (I think this is what they are called) les traboule. They are underground passages that were used by the resistance for moving through the city, the Germans didn’t either know about them or didn’t know where they went exactly . . . they couldn’t look it up on the internet then, of course.
But for now I wanted to write a couple of emails that are in my head.
The first one’s subject line is:  Wow! Wow! and again, WOW!!!
The second one is: The most incredible weekend.
SUBJET:  Wow! Wow! and again, WOW!!!
Thursday night I passed dining with all the gang to go to a Vernissage à Musée D’Art Contemporain de Lyon. The Saturday before while exploring I deliberately went to two different galleries in the middle of the largest construction sight I’ve ever seen.
It reminded me of the no-man’s-land in Berlin that is now the hip place that it is with shopping centers très chic and hotels, etc. But this construction in the very south portion of the center of Lyon (called the “Island Lyon” in the many ads I saw) is incredibly vast. I managed to perservere (how in the heck do you spell that word??? Looked it up, perservere is an alternate spelling of persevere) and find these two galleries. I loved the first one. 
The second one . . . it was cool too.
The artist is Stéphane Braconnier, 
born 1958, lives and works in Lyon.

There were an assortment of colorful chairs with these black “twigs” dressed around each one. I was told by the very nice receptionist Chloé that they represented legs. Some were more masculine, some more feminine, etc.  The artist’s name is Georges Verney-Carron. Chloè told me about the Vernissage to be held the following Thursday evening.

I thought it was going to be a talk about the art exhibit, which was opening the next day. Okay, I thought, I won’t be able to understand it all, but it’ll be a cultural experience, so I went. Boy, was I ever in for a treat.  After waiting an hour in the cold (yes, an hour. I don’t know why they didn’t open at the advertised time, but I had a pleasant time talking to a woman named Claude who works as a food expert for lunches in Lyon . . . in the schools, I believe. Remember, if I can get 50 percent on the conversation, I’m doing well! For all I know she might actually be the person who makes the mayors’–there are many in Lyon–lunches each day) I entered the museum with what was now a THRONG of people. After 3 very fine speeches on the importance of art by 3 very distinguished gentlemen, we gained admittance into the museum, for free!!! And here’s the kicker. We were allowed to take pictures for this night only. So, I took ALOT! I thought of you Dan as I looked at the perverted (though very well done!) graphic comics, and I thought of you BJ while looking at all KINDS of things. And Jocelyne, there were some really fascinating sculptures.

The exhibit is composed of 3 parts: 1) Quintet, art by Stèphane Blanquet, Masse, Gilbert Shelton, Joost Swarte and Chris Ware.  It’s all very modern and interesting.
2) N’Importe Quoi, I don’t know why it’s called nothing of importance but it was all pretty fascinating. There were works by MANY artists. 
My favorite was a series of photos (maybe 20) of the same scene, a kitchen. But in each photo there was something in the foreground out of focus. It had been tossed up in the air (or perhaps dropped) and captured at the instant it was in front of the camera. Maybe I liked it best because I know how hard that is to do . . .
The third exhibt was not open. Hopefully it will be when I return with the school next week. This third area is focused on young artists . . .
I took LOTS of photos. You can look at them someday when we put the thousands (and I do mean thousands) of photos on the net.
SUBJET:  The most incredible weekend. (6.02. 09 à 8.02. 09)
After writing to you all last week Friday, I walked home in the DRENCHING rain. Along the way I stopped at a store and bought chocolate powder for making hot chocolate. It was that kind of moment.
When I got back to the apt. and removed my wet clothing, I found that my feet had been dyed blue to match my socks (which I had swiped from Dad, by the way, he gave me permission last November . . . I like wearing his socks. Now, 9 days later, my little toenails are still blue . . . :) That night I dared to venture forth and meet my new friend Monika. She’s from Switzerland and is all of 35 years old.
Monika from the back . . . we were exploring Lyon 
and discovering lots of wonderful graffiti.
We had several fun excursions together. Alas, she departed for home yesterday after 3 weeks of school. (There are lots of saying goodbyes, and hello!, here . . .  :) et :( .
Last week Friday night Monika and I decided to forego the party at “the” appartement.
(It ended up being a good idea I think, to skip the party, that is; sounds like it got rather wild because all the school got a good talking to on Monday morning, pretty classic really . . . but I don’t mind that I missed it, I’ve been there literally and metaphorically before many times . . . )
I met her at her side of the river beside la passerelle saint vincent.
We wandered uphill towards the region called Croix Rousse to hear some blues. It was great! It was a trio, female singer/guitar player who could hold her own, a male guitar player and male bass player. She had the quality of voice similar to Janice Joplin.  We stayed for over 3 hours, it was that good.
Then Saturday I read in bed until 12:30 p.m.! I just couldn’t put down the book Lisa had given me, so decided what the heck? Why not finish it? It was miserably wet and cold outside. The title?  “The Guersey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society.”  You can search online if you’d like to know about it. I’ve sent it on to Mom to read.
Looks cozy, doesn’t it? Even Lily the cat joined in the fun.

Then, after crawling out of bed, I went out into the cold (but not cruel at least!) world happy to find that it had stopped raining, well, mostly stopped. At least I wasn’t concerned about dyeing my feet again. I found a nice place for a very proper lunch of salade chevre chaud (warm goat cheese on toast and salad) and saumon avec haricot vert et riz (salmon, rice and green beans). I topped it off with a warm chocolate cake a lot like the ones I make (and love!); and then to be really proper, I had an espresso, albeit decaf. Afterwards I made it my mission to find some art galleries. They make it fairly easy with a brochure with a map of broad strokes. And as I already mentioned, I perservered and found the 2 galleries in the boonies.

Needless to say, afterwards I dug into my purse for one of the many metro/bus/tram tickets I had purchased for the long ride home.

That evening I took advantage of Madame being away and watched some Simpsons en francais with some pasta I whipped up (bow ties with spinach, garlic, butter and a slight sprinkling of Uncle Mike’s fab salt). Afterwards I climbed the hill to Croix Rousse and found yet another gallery on the main boulevard. When I stepped into the warm bar my glasses immediately fogged up. It was just as well because I found myself yet again in the world of the 20 something year olds. On another night I might have ordered a cocktail and joined the fun, but that night I chose just to check out the art as my glasses defogged, and bounce to the techno music for a bit. When I stepped outside, the cool air was actually a relief. I found a new way home and yet another view of la fourvière (elephant on its back) and Lyon’s answer to the Eiffel tower.
I began the next day (Sunday) like the previous day and finished yet another book. This one though was in French and quite basic. It was a fun read about a journalist Alex Leroc who works in Brussels . . . I’ve read 3 of these little books already. They come with a CD and I was able to have a listen since B was away visiting her parents. I plan to do the same later this evening.
Then I spent the afternoon at the theatre!!! I read about this play in the weekly journal and thought it’d be just right for me and it was. It was in a tiny theatre on the same street with loads of art galleries (rue Burdeau if you feel like checking it out on google earth). 
This particular theatre is called Production Espace 44–44 for its street number. The tiny space reminded me a little of the small theatre on Kaua‘i, in that the seating was on 4 rows of benches in what felt like bleachers.  However, the benches abutted the tiny space, probably the size of our dining room straight through to the couches. The play was “Un Roi sans divertissement” (a king without distractions). The star, and lone performer, was Jean Giono, a funny little bald man with a very flexible voice. The stage was simply a table and bookshelf (sr) covered with dusty objects one might find on travels to Africa or the far east . . . The actor entered the stage, took his time taking off his hat and coat, dusted a few objects, sat down and then realized we were there . . . he then opened a portfolio and took us on a journey of a tale from long ago . . . at least that’s what I think happened. Maybe it was something all together different, but I enjoyed the ride anyway. Along the way he transformed into the different characters in the story. I especially loved it when his voice boomed into something completely different and funny . . .
I topped the experience off with a scoop of Haagen Daz (yes, HD; there’s a little shop next to Hotel De Ville). 
I got a flavor I’d never seen before, very European. Chocolate with hazelnut and toffee. Yep, it was delic.
When I returned I had about 3 to 4 hours of really intense study. It was great! It was the kind where you have an objective, you meet it and get completely lost in what you’re doing. I was quite content. I was wanting to have the tenses that I’ve studied clear in my head because the next day I was starting my first week in the harder class. I did just about all I could stand and then it was 9 p.m., just the right time to go out to dinner in France . . .
Since I’d eaten my “dinner” for lunch I decided to check out the restaurant I’d noticed several weeks before and have a pizza made in a wood fire . . . and lots of conversation with the adorable waiter. Yes Tony, he was, adorable that is. Believe it or not I haven’t met that many adorable people, so I indulged in fun conversation.  Then it ended up that the chef has a little business in Honolulu (yes! honoruru!) with his brother. He proceeded to come out and chat with me for over 20 minutes. I noticed that no one was served their dinner while we spoke! Seems he and his brother have a year contract to sell French chocolates to Japon Air; it’s called Padovani’s Chocolates and is based out of the Dole Cannery area close to Sam Choy’s .  . . . and yes, he knows Sam Choy. It is indeed a small world.
Writing about all this now, I’m not sure it comes across as nice as it was for me . . .
blues with a new friend
reading in bed (with my new friends on Guernsey)
lunch out
art galleries
the simpsons
late night walk with a view
reading in bed again (this time with Alex Leroc)
followed by listening to the CD of the same
au theatre en francais
Haagen Daz
several hours of intense studying
pizzeria with fun conversation
So, now it’s time to get up off my tuff and explore Lyon.
I thank you all for being so kind and taking the time to read my rantings . . . it’s so cool to know I have so many friends literally all over the world traveling by my side . . . merci beaucoup.
à bientôt,
Susan

Big news pour moi (And, this is a LONG one ! )

date:  Fri, Feb 6, 2009

subject:  the end of the 4th week . . . a LONG one!!!!

           

Greetings to you All from rainy, and I do mean RAINY!, Lyon.
It’s Friday afternoon on the 6th of February and I have now completed 4 weeks à l’école suisse de langues.

Sigh. Wow, where has the time gone?  . . . time to take a pause. My grand café crème décaféiné has just arrived!

Back to the topic at hand–time. In all honesty, it feels like I’ve been here for 3 months or more. My life has settled into a pleasant routine and life on Kaua‘i seems far, far away (yes, I know it really IS far away!):

6 a.m. – Get up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to go for a 30 minute jog along la Saône.

This I’ve done for 2 weeks now. After diving into the shopping frenzy–who could resist all the SOLDES signs everywhere?–and finding some absolutely fabulous and fun lingerie (yes, lingerie-and again, who could resist buying FRENCH lingerie on SALE in France!!!!) and noticing that my muscle tone was practically non-existent after being in Tennessee for almost 2 months and in France for 2+ weeks, or so, I decided to start an exercise program. Hence the early time to me lève!
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying jogging along la Saône. It’s quiet and dark. I’m alone with the dozen or so poor souls who are waiting at the various bus stops I pass. I get to see the top secret things like the vélo man stocking the stations with red and grey bikes, the road cleaning guys who (I think) are hosing down dog poop, and the dog walkers who loyally treat their canine pals to an early morning stroll. For 4 times now (but who’s counting,) I’ve seen Fido, Emma and Yanda’s younger sister taking a stroll and early morning pee. How that warms the heart of a dog lover like me!

7:10 ish – Shower in the incredible shower along an authentic rock wall with artistically placed adjoining stone.

Though I had to pass on washing my hair this morn. Yesterday as I waited and waited for the water to turn warm, I decided to just wash the “necessary” parts when lo and behold the water turned warm for an instant. I then proceeded to VERY quickly wash my hair. I had just about made it when it turned cold again.
Right about then Madame knocked on the door and said, “Susan, ATTTENTION the heat isn’t working!” 

“I know,” I replied.

Ends up the heating throughout the entire apartment wasn’t working. The repair man was supposed to come by this afternoon, but when I stuck my head in around 3:30 p.m. there was no sign he had arrived. Alors, I might just have greasy hair for the weekend . . . ca va.

7:30 ish – Make tea and prep my lunch.

Oh my goodness!!! did I ever find the most wonderful camembert this week!!! It’s made from sheep milk. Tones, I bought the last one they had early this morn. It went off in the mail around 13h. . . . I’m sure you’re already waiting with bated breath!!!

Fix my muesli . . . though the other morning Madame was out of muesli and j’avais très faim!  So I boiled an egg and then picked up a croissant on the way to school . . I wasn’t about to eat that horrible white bread . . .

8 ish or so – Depart for school.

8:30 ish to 8:50 ish Arrive.

Depends on how I feel that morning, sometimes it’s nice just to wander a bit.

Something pleasant: a beautiful morning in Lyon
Something not so pleasant
9 to 12:30 – Class (with the half hour break, which starts at 10:30)

Today was Marion’s 29th birthday so besides the croissant we were treated to each Friday, we had some gâteau au chocolat that Marion made this morning and a bit of wine she brought. It was all very nice. 
 
We also didn’t return to class after the break but rather stayed in the petite cafeteria to play a game, loup-gour (not sure if I have that completely right—I didn’t, it’s loup garou or werewolf in French. It’s essentially a game where 3 people are werewolves, 1 is the sorcerer, and the rest are villagers; we’re given cards which determine which part we play; it’s all TOP secret. Alors, BOTH times they voted me DEAD in the first round!!!!  Either they really like me or really hate me. I’m not going to think too hard on that one . . . both times they did not find nary a one werewolf, though BOTH times I guessed 2 of the 3. They thought I was a werewolf because . . . well, I’m not exactly sure why . . . maybe you can figure that one out for me!

12:30 to 13:30 – Lunch break

I chose to eat in the cafeteria (in name only, it’s simply a room for dining or hanging out in; it’s up to you to provide your own lunch) each day this week; though today I spent a good bit of the time sending off a very important package! Seems Jean-Laurent likes camembert too so I shared some with him today. (I very discreetly knocked on the door of the teachers and officer workers’ space, it’s a real no-no I think to bother them, but the times I’ve frapped on the door they haven’t minded (again, I think!) because I had a treat to share.) BTW Tones, Jean-Laurent thought it was a most excellent fromage too!

Lunch has been really fun this week hanging out with the other students. In fact, this week has been my favorite so far. It was the most “steady”. This one woman who had a big heart but was incredibly fragile and was here week numbers 2 and 3 for me, fortunately left on Monday. Without going into any detail, I’ll just say that I was very nice to her, patient, kind, listened to her stories etc. SOME! . . . but I’m very glad she left . . . nuff said. Though Torun is gone and she and I had three really fun evenings together . . .

Moi et Torun

13:30 to 14:15 – Conversation class

Today’s activity was a little “test” regarding what’s proper when you go to a collègue’s house for dinner. (someone who you work with but don’t know real well, not a buddy).

Here’s what I learned: taking your shoes off is considering SHOCKING and a real no-no (okay my Kaua‘i buddies, we’d flunk out right away!); you should arrive 15 minutes after the time you’ve been invited, NEVER early, and not longer than 30 minutes after; NEVER go into the kitchen, another real no-no (it might be a complete mess! and probably is); bring an ODD number of flowers as a gift (as in an odd number, not strange flowers Dan!), and they should be wrapped in pretty paper; don’t start eating until the hostess does . . . I think that was the most of it. So fortunately Marion has saved us all from committing some major faux pas!!!

14:15 à 15h00 – Two days a week I do an extra session with Jean-Laurent on the computer/internet for gratuit. I’ve always gotten something out of these sessions.  Sometimes it’s simply reviewing the basics, as in the present tense verbs.

15h00 – Each Mercredi there is a DVD to watch all together in a class room if you want. 

The first one (L’Auberge espagnole) was GREAT! I definitely recommend that you watch it. It’s about a group of foreign students studying in Madrid; they’re sharing an appartement. The second film was also very good (Odette Toulemonde). It’s about a lady (qui s’appelle Odette) who adores an author, she travels to see him and have her book autographed . . . it’s a very fun story, especially for women. Then we saw (Un balle en plein coeur). It’s a very good but very sad movie about two friends in Sarajevo who have to choose different sides during the war in the 1990’s. Tony and I had already seen this one. And this past Wednesday we saw (Le coeur les hommes). It was okay. It was very difficult to understand and there were nary a subtitle. Believe me, we ALL needed subtitles!

15h00 – Each Thursday there’s an excursion.
I’ve been to the musée about the frères Lumière who are from Lyon. We toured their family home (a beautiful 3, or was it 4?, story home with incredibly high ceilings, and magnificent broad staircase, large rooms . . . I especially liked the “Florida” room, which they called their room for winter. There were all kinds of old film cameras to took out and lots of old movies rolling in each display room. Needless to say, it was very interesting.

One week we walked to the Parc de la Tête d’Or. I’ve been back to this park several times. It’s quite large with wide wandering boulevards and smaller meandering paths through the gardens, animal park, etc. and around the lake.
Stefan, Hugo, moi et Marie

If you want to see the video to match this shot, go to youtube. Search for l’amour Lyon. Bear in mind that this video was a hit with teenage boys.
Another week we went ice skating. I think that was my favorite by far in terms of an activity. Jean-Laurent accompanied about 6 of us. It was loads of fun, though not necessarily for Ricardo (the 26 year old Brazilian who works in advertising) who fell many, many times. Though by the end he was doing very well. 
He actually showed us his bruise the next week at the rip-roaring party that Friday night in the students’ apt. It WAS rather large!!! And this was more than a week later!

 A drawing of how this area of Lyon appeared in 1550
Another week we week to see the Greco-Roman musem but got shut down because of the teachers’ strike. And then yesterday we went to the Museum of Tissues. There was a special exhibition of paper dresses, models made for making designs. They were extraordinary. There must have been at least 50 of them. They filled two large rooms bordered with displays of ancient tapestry (some we saw were from the 3rd century!! VERY old).  All the dresses were very colorful and formal, long gowns to be worn to a fancy ball, I think.
We also saw the standard display in this incredible 4-story home which was built around 1750 for a very wealthy family. They occupied the 3 bottom floors and rented out the top (where their kitchen also was).  It was similar to the Lumière’s home–large chambres, high, high ceilings and a beautiful wide staircase. The design was of a square with the private courtyard in the center.

And then once a week there is an outing (if you want) for a dinner.  I’ve already bored you with the many details of the two restaurants I went to with the group (the first week it was for fondue, and I’ve had fondue en Suisse and really didn’t care for it), so I won’t venture there again. BUT, I will tell out about this past Wednesday evening. A small group of us women (6 to be exact, 4 Suisse (one of Turkish origin and one of Albanian origin), 1 Irish young lady and moi, ages? 19, 19, 19, 35, 19, 48 in that order–I’m really enjoying hanging out with such young people!) decided to find a less expensive restaurant. Two of the four Swiss chose an Italian restaurant. It was perfect. 
Two of us had a pizza (moi-champignon, fromage avec un oef, I loved eating an egg on a pizza! Janine-quatre fromage), 
the others had pasta . . . carbonara and I’m not sure what else.   
Our waiter was an absolutely adorable man of about 60; he kindly took a photo of us . . . with EACH camera! Très adorable.
AND when I talked about the food I forgot to mention a couple of things.

1) Madame prepared a lentil dish one evening with sausages. It was very good. Apparently it’s a native dish where her parents live.

2) Last Friday I joined 3 other ladies for Gambas à GoGo.   
Essentially it’s a heaping mess of all the shrimp you can eat with pommes frites (very good Dan, but I’ve yet to go to kebab place and eat frites . . . I think that’s where they also rock.) 
The restaurant was an Irish Pub the German gal who now lives in Ireland with her Irish husband had chosen. The restaurant portion was in the basement. It was a really cool cave with stone archways with boxing paraphernalia hanging all over the place. We essentially closed the place down. Fortunately there was no school the next day . . .

And then I’ve searched out music . . . I had actually thought today as I was walking to school that today’s subject line would read “la musique” and Char had even put in such a request . . . alors, that will have to wait for a later date.

And another petit sujet is le sculpture . . .

To close I have BIG news to give . . . I’ve been speaking a bit more, well . . . I think I’ve been using a bit more complicated sentence structure AND I did better on the test today . . . . so . . . Marion has invited me to join the more advanced class next week ! ! ! I could sense a great deal of hesitation on her part. She said if it was just conversation, no problem, but she’s worried that they may speak too quickly for me to understand. Alors, I told her, “Je voudrais essayer.” So, try I will!! I think most of you know that I like a challenge now and then . . . and they made it clear that if I’m completely lost, I can always return to Jean-Laurent’s class. So, I shall give it all I’ve got and see where I land. Personally, I think it will do me good to be around people who speak fast (with a teacher in the room, the only catch is that the Swiss can be very hard to understand with their accent). I told Tony last night that the biggest problem I’ve had is understanding the French when they’re together because they talk SO VERY quickly. One-on-one isn’t so bad because they hear right off that I’m an Anglophile, and they then speak more clearly and slowly . . . Alors, je vais voir!

So, now I shall venture forth into the POURING rain!! and work my way back home. On my way to this very chic café (which I had noticed on other promenades) I meandered past some very cool art galleries and shops.  BJ, I got a couple of cards for you . . .
These shoes move . . . or talk, if you will !
These shoes fly . . . more or less !
 And these shoes are a little stuck in a rut . . .
AND the agenda for tonight is BLUES at a club qui s’appelle L’Absinthe. Tony recommends I order an absinthe! 
 They were good; the girl was especially good !
Last night was BACH! And last week was bluegrass! So you see, there’s quite a bit on the agenda for “la musique à Lyon.”

Un bon weekend! Have a blast at the yacht club opening Tones! I look forward to being able to check out some photos next week!

So, for now, au revior mes amies!!!

Susan

In regard to the cuisine . . .

 

Lily the cat on my pareau on the heater in ma chambre

A friend wrote the following in response to my email about the food . . .

date:  Tue, Feb 3, 2009

subject:  Re: la cuisine
                       
better make sure she doesn’t have a cat that’s starving…  btw how are the french fries there?
And I replied . . .
date:  Tue, Feb 3, 2009

subject:  Re: la cuisine
           
so far the cat has not be included with the cuisine . . . yet!
in class we discuss all the things they eat . . . it ain’t kansas here!
ciao
At that point in time I don’t think I’d had any fries.
I did later and they were very, very good.
-out : )

La cuisine . . . as experienced by moi

date:  Tue, Feb 3, 2009

subject:  la cuisine
           
Bonjour mes amis!
A few of you have asked about the food . . .. alors, Lyon is known for its food, its (notice Mary Hunter, c’est parfait comme ca) gastronomie.
Where to begin?
Okay, I’ll start at the apartment first.
The French do no eat breakfast.
****I should add a disclaimer right off the bat that this email contains MY views only and are in no way to reflect those of others . . .
Instead of breakfast they smoke cigarettes. They DO drink a lot of café espresso with sugar and maybe they will drink a cup of orange juice. When asked what I normally ate for breakfast, “Muesli,” I replied. Thank goodness I said that because the bread she has for toast is très horrible! It’s the ultimate in white air-bread, even worse if that’s possible. My hostess is very nice but she is a bit of a space cadet at times. Fortunately Teri had given me Anahola granola to give friends. That’s what I had for breakfast for about the first week until she remembered to buy a box of Muesli. Alors, for breakfast I eat a bowl of muesli with yogurt, a banana and for a hot beverage I have a pot of tea (which I also brought along–the tea that is, not the pot–thanks again Marty!) and then I also bought some tea later.
Lunch.
Seems like tout le monde eat sandwiches these days, and they even CALL them sandwiches here. I can imagine many professors of French rolling over in their graves.
At school we have a separate room where we are to hang out and eat lunch (or a snack on the break). There is a microwave oven in there that we are free to use. In the hall next to the bathroom is a machine which dispenses warm beverages for 40 cents (about 60 American cents, I suppose). There are a variety of beverages to choose from: espresso with or without sugar, with or without milk, with or without vanilla, hot chocolate, etcetera. But MOI, I bought a white cup (actually I bought 3, it was a set and it was THE cup I liked the most, the 2 office gals are now happily sipping their beverages in similar cups! Maybe that’s why Marthe let me make a print copy yesterday in the office workers and professeurs’ bureau . . .).  I leave it on top of the microwave and make hot tea when I wish. But of course I do BUY a coffee now and then, this is France after all, and the sweets which are occasionally passed around do taste better with coffee.
Back to lunch.
Today I ate half of a most wonderfully crispy and fresh whole wheat (just a little really, whole wheat that is) baguette which I purchased this morning.  On top I spread some butter (I just bought the 16 little packets of butter yesterday.  I figured life was too short to not enjoy the wonderful French butter!) and then I had 2 different types of hard cheese which I bought last week and have stored in Madame’s fridge.  I also had a hard boiled egg with a little bit of Uncle Mike’s wonderful Kauai-made, guava smoked salt. In addition I crunched on a raw carrot (to clean my teeth, of course). I brought an apple too but I was satisfied, so I stopped. Now I have a snack handy for after class.
Lunch during a weekend bike exploration

I have also gone to a couple of restaurants during the hour lunch break. Once I had a demi-pizza margharite avec une salade.  It was good. Not the VERY best pizza (compared to the place in Sarasota that Tony and I went to twice, but very good). They also served a complementary apéritif . . . I think because it was the new year.  But Tony and I have a saying. I don’t really know why they gave me the apéritif for free, AND I’ll never know.  I went back to the same place because I had a hankering for spaghetti bolognese.  Mistake. It was terrible. One day I went to a café and for 3 euros got a simple jambon sandwich on a baguette. It was very good and the bread was incredibly fresh. The grand café crème was very good too.
Before I got a hang of the buying cheese and bread on my own I bought a sandwich or two at the place called “American Sandwiches.” That’s where most of the guy/male students get their lunch. Needless to say, I decided to get my own supplies.  They’re giving us Americans a bad name!
I did one day buy a petite quiche avec champignons et fromage. It was very good. I heated it in the microwave and the cheese dripped all over the mushrooms. C’était super!
Time for class . . . I’ll continue a bit later.
Okay, I can hear you all groaning, we don’t want to hear about what you eat, what YOU prepare. What about the “French” food?
Okay, la Madame makes a very wholesome dinner every evening. There is usually a meat, a vegetable and a carbohydrate. And lately, there is usually wine which is a good thing. If I want to know what she’s going to prepare for the evening, I just crack open the cabinet where she stores her square glass dishes. 
On top of a plate is either a chicken (frozen and set there to thaw) or a filet mignon de porc (like last night) or some other type of red-colored fleshy stuff. 
Looks like it’s poulet from the South West tonight !

When the plate is empty, I’m left to wonder.
She has made potatoes au gratin, squash au gratin, haricot vert boiled in water and then slathered with oil or butter and garlic, pork cutlets, frozen hamburger meat thawed and then fried in a pan (this usually goes with the green beans), spaghetti bolognese (hers was good, just lots of meat and light on the sauce), plain ole rice (that was with the pork chops), steak (sometimes tough, sometimes not; again, simply fried in a pan), creamed spinach and a couple of hard boiled eggs (this was Saturday night, it was quite good but I think I’d make it with less cream) . . . . and with all of this we sometimes have salad.  The salad is either simply just that, green leafy lettuce, or a mélange of lettuce with corn, tomatoes . . . and I think that’s about the extent of it. Oh, we did have a casserole one evening that was endives covered with cream and fromage and at least 2 times we’ve had a roasted chicken, once simply with garlic and once with lemons. And she made a pot-au-feu once. When I told her it was like my Mom’s pot roast that she bakes in the oven she became offended. It has to be cooked slowly on the stove-top, not in the oven!
But it did taste just like Mom’s pot roast, complete with carrots and potatoes. It was good.
When I write this now, it seems that it might appear that I’m not happy with the food, but au contraire. I’m quite satisfied with it. Granted, it’s a lot more meat than I’m used to eating. The only odd this is that she must cook with a lot of salt because many mornings I awake with puffy eyes. This especially happens after eating out in a restaurant. Unless they cook with a lot of MSG here, that’s another possibility.
And oh, we had saumon one night. Those of you who know me well know I love salmon.
We usually eat anywhere between 8 p.m. at the earliest and 10 p.m. at the latest. Though we have been eating at 8 more regularly, which makes me happy.
Mom asked why so late? It’s their custom to eat between 7 and 9 p.m. (at least that’s what my trusty little guide from the school said). La Madame usually stretches out on the couch between 6 and 7 p.m. to possibly 7:30 and smokes her petit cigarettes (I figured out what she meant when on the day of my arrival she said that she smokes “a little.” She meant a little cigarette. But trust me, she smokes a lot. Perhaps that’s why she’s so thin.)  Around 7:30 she jumps up and says something like, oh the dinner!
But to be very fair to her, she very kindly peeks her head in my room where I am usually studying or reading and asks, “Un verre Susan?”  “Bien sûr,” I reply. “I would love a glass of wine.” Sometimes it’s cider but usually it’s wine.
And also to be fair to la Madame, she has a lot to think about with her parents. Her mother who is 90 years old is blind and I think is suffering some from Alzheimer’s.  Her Dad is a young 77.  Fortunately, he is in good health and can take care of his wife, but this must cause la Madame a good deal of worrying.
Okay, and finally on to the restaurants.
I haven’t eaten out a lot because to be blunt, I’ve paid for dinner at the apt. and will be in Paris with Mom later in the month when we will have to eat out (or cook dinner for ourselves at the fabulous loft studio apt. I found for us).
The St. Jacques (scallops baked in a little dish) I had in Paris was by far the tastiest morsel I’ve imbibed during this trip. A close second was the fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and pesto salad, which my friend from Finland ordered (she left Saturday, she works for an aide company in either Senegal or Kenya . . . she asked if Tony and I would be willing to travel to Senegal to make a video  . . .  Bien sûr!!! I replied.) before we met the others in front of the opera for our night out at the “swanky” restaurant run by the best chef in Lyon.

That meal was “okay.” But it really wasn’t magnifique like we’d been led to believe. I had the salad of meat followed by the fish, which was fried in a pan. It was fine but nothing to write home about (so why AM I writing???)  Nothing like the fabulous poisson I’ve eaten at Roy’s or Sabella’s or Pacific Cafe. To be honest, it felt like a tourist trap.

 Angélica, Dominique et Marie–happy just to be here !

Tony and I were happily able to come back to Lyon 10 months later . . . we dined out at a sister restaurant with Jean-Laurent and a friend. It was the wonderful meal I’d been wanting during my solo trip. But I didn’t see any students dining there. Maybe they indeed did take us to “tourist traps.”

The next week we ate at a typical Lyonnais place that serves their regional cuisine.
It was a much finer restaurant but vegetarian beware! They served tripe and liver and sausage of porc . . . lots of meat.
 
Presentation is everything . . .
The classic salade Lyonnaise is essentially tiny pieces of bacon with a bit of lettuce and croutons.
Perhaps I exaggerate . . . I enjoyed it the most that evening, and the roasted potatoes; they were very good too. I entertained the idea of simply ordering something I knew I’d like but chose instead to do like the Romans. I ordered the meal with all the typical dishes; I copied my nice teacher Jean-Laurent.

Do I have regrets? No, but I don’t have to try that stuff again. The next restaurant I want to go do is on rue Lantern next to quai de la pecherie and le Rhone. It’s a pizza joint très elegant where they make their pizzas in a wooden fire. I can see Tony drooling already!

 A good time was had by all . . .
So, I think that’s it for the food for the moment. Oh, and the meal I had 2 Saturdays ago. It was very, very tasty and satisfying. To remember that meal go cherchez in that other email . . .
So for now, au revoir mes amis and best wishes for a very pleasant day.
aloha,
Susan
One of the many cheese carts at the open-air markets