“Our” villa in Brusc is about a kilometer from the sea, and the open floorplan, well-stocked kitchen, giant pool (covered now), cat, lemon tree heavy with fruit, and outdoor built-in bbq fireplace makes me wish it was summer and that the cooking gang was here. It’s pretty perfect as long as you’re not trying to get any sort of internet connection. Or change the channel on the TV. We’re all having our separate tech issues: b1 with her hand-held “Brailleberry” that’s supposed to connect her to the internet, read her books, and be a notebook and calendar. b2 with the house computer, which he needs to consult with Rinpoche in Indiana and the editor in New York for their book that’s on deadline. Literally 12 minutes to boot up. About 7 minutes to connect. 45% of the time this crashes everything and you have to start over. b2′s gotten good about walking away while it does its thing (good buddhist practice), but if he gets wrapped up in a TV program in the meantime (oops, just blew the image of him meditating), he has to start the whole dance over again because after about an hour everything jams up and needs to be rebooted.
And me, trying to get connected to French internet so I can use my own laptop and avoid the horror….quelle disastre! Fuggedaboudit. I think I’ve managed to purge the 37 MB of French CDs I loaded fruitlessly and I’m praying our host doesn’t return to exhorbitant internet bills. Well, clicking on the thing that kind of sounded like, “are you willing to enjoy payments by the minutes?” was the only way to keep me moving forward, at one point…Who knows what I agreed to? As tech incompetent as I am in English, following instructions in French was quite the adventure.
So I’m working to change my expectation and “goals” of these first ten days. I’m tapping Havi!
We set aside our frustrations and jaunted to the top of “our” mountain to check out one of the six fortresses which gives Six Fours les Plages its name, then on to the supermarket to stock up on headcheese, wine and other staples, including a huge-ass can of cassoulet (vs the big-ass tin of confit du canard), to which we’d add to our own beans. That all punctuated by a long and loud debate about the relative merits of different brands: how big will the chunks of duck be? How much will we get? Remember the time we got that brand and the meat was microscopic? Oh but then the last time, what brand was that? It had tons of duck. I think it was from ___________. The best comes from ________. Let’s get the one from __________. But do we want cassoulet or just the confit?
The French canned food aisle has me mesmerized. Instead of Chef Boyardee and Dennisons, there are rows and rows of tinned foie gras, confit (of course), and tripe stew. Six different brands of that at last count.
Up til now b1 & b2 have been working their way through the prepared foods the stores have to offer. Instead of General Tsao’s Chicken and mac ‘n cheese it’s been Boullabaise, poulet au provencal and tripe. But tonight I cooked a bourguignon with mushrooms so I could use the host’s glorious blaze orange le Crueset.