Saturday, December 30, 2006

A cheval! A cheval! My kingdom for a cheval!

Why the long face? There are these whites horses along the road in our town. I stopped with my camera and they came right over to me. We had a pleasant chat.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Joyeux Noel everyone. Last night was Christmas eve and we took a walk into town after our traditional fish dinner which my wife did an excellent job on. I brought my camera and tried to do some night shots. This morning (Christmas day) we walked down to church and on the way back we found a market that was open we bought some peppers and clementines and then we found a bakery that was open and we bought a couple of croissants, a baguette and a little buche de noel. It's a traditional Christmas cake shaped like a yule log. It's a beautiful morning here. Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Palavas Les Flots

The tower at Palavas. this is the next town (about 8 minutes) from us. We were walking during the day and went for a ride to the top. It revolves one turn per hour (I think.) The lower level is a bar and the upper level is a restaurant . I want to go there for the novelty of it. The locals curl their nose at the cuisine but say the view is worth it. I want to go for dinner some time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Roofing in France

There are a lot of carpenters in my family. This one is for them. I have been intrigued with the tile roofs since I got here so when they were roofing on the lot next to my house I had to take advantage. They don't seem to leak and they're very sturdy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Annoying Habits

I collect things. I have to bring something back from all my vacations. When I was first married it was little statues. I brought back tiki statues from Hawaii , Inca statues from Mexico etc. etc. I had them on my shelf in my den. My wife is not a big fan of bric-a-brac but she tolerated this character flaw. One day I realized I had too many statues when I was trying get the dust off them ("they're your statues, you dust them.") So I shifted to baseball caps. This too became cumbersome by the sheer volume of it. ("you have so many damn hats there's no place to hang my coat.") When I came to France I realized that before I started down any path I had better think it through. What I came up with is town stickers. Every town we went to has these coat of arms town stickers. They're actually post cards but the coat of arms peals off. This is great. I can scan them and post them before my pictures in my blog and even if we visit 500 towns in two years I can bring them home in a Kleenex box. Problem solved!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The beach

On the drive home from Mauguio we swung by the beach. The wind was whipping and the skies whispered rain. This was an angry Mediterranean sea, but beautiful none the less.


We went on a road trip to a little town called Mauguio. All the towns in the South of France are quaint and this town is no exception. This town carries a bull theme because of the big bullfighting arena which is there (go figure). There is a different type of bull fighting in south France that is more conducive to the bull because he gets to stay alive in the end. The matadors who are dressed in white, go running by the bulls and try to grab (hook) rings that are on the bulls horns. Of course this causes the bull some anxiety and he gives chase. The object is to get the rings off the horns and make it to the perimeter of the arena and scale over a wall before you feel the business end of the bull. I spoke to a guy at work that used to do this and he drew out schematics of the arena and the exact angle the bull should be at in order for a successful ring hook-age and horn avoidance.
It was pretty interesting.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Neighbor's House

It was around 6pm and I was grilling on my back patio. The west sky was beautiful. The steaks were sizzling and the red wine was delicious. I felt like playing with my camera.

Monday, October 30, 2006


We went to Paris. What a great burg.
You can rent a little sailboat for the pond.
We stumbled onto a street market on the back streets.

The ever present security.
I took this shot so I could say this line "I ate the last mango in Paris." My apologies to Jimmy Buffet.

And the Louvre. .Jam packed with some of the finest art in the world.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Eiffel Tower

We went to the Eiffel Tower and I went to the top. . had to. ..Once anyway. It was a beautiful day. I took a couple shots of the entire tower but then I thought everyone in the world knows what the Eiffel Tower looks like so I tried to get some different angles and perspectives. I hope you enjoy.
This guy shot me right after I took this picture. He only winged my shoulder and I managed to duck into the crowd. . . . . . . I'm kidding. . . . We actually became friends and he left his machine gun with my wife and we went up the tower together. . . . . .I'm kidding again.
The mighty Arc.
Gustave Eiffel himself (he's the one on the bottom.)

A view from the top. I held my camera out as far as I could.

I'm attracted to shiny objects so I loved these telescopes they had all over the tower.

The Champs-Elysees

This couple cracked me up. My Wife and I were taking turns photographing each other standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe. I noticed my Wife laughing while taking my picture. When I went to get my camera back from her she told me this couple was hamming it up behind me while she was taking my picture. I figured they must want to be photographed so I turned my camera on them and they started posing. I was laughing, My wife was laughing and even the woman on the bench in the background was laughing. It was a good moment.

We walked down the Champs Elysee from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre. What a street!

The trip home

This is typical of the views you see from the train window. I wish I knew the history of this castle.

This was sitting in the train station in Paris. The trains were clean and fast. Paris to Montpellier in 3 hours.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And then the lights went out.

Ok, we went to Paris. We had a great time and I took a lot of pictures.
I will post them. But when we came back we had problems. We came home from work on a Friday night, I opened the mailbox and there was a slip in there. It was a from the electric company and it was marked up like a lazy student’s test paper. I had a feeling it was not a good sign. The power was out. This is what happened. Our real estate agent did her job and faxed a contract to EDF (Électricité de France.) They lost the fax, apparently. We have been living off the previous tenant’s electricity. They found this out and cut our power. This pissess EDF off because they realize they just got screwed out of 3 months of power money. Ok , this is Friday. We call a colleague for help and he jumps in to help us. EDF says Wednesday of the next week. We had many people call to fix this but Wednesday was carved in stone and Wednesday it would be. We lasted 5 days with no power.
The EDF guy showed up today (Wednesday). . ..he walked over to the little white box on the curb outside my street and inserted his key and opened the door and threw a switch. Wa-la we had power. Five days we took cold showers and sat around candles at night. We were being punished for their fault.
Good things that happened: Everybody at work tried to help us. They felt bad for us and generally had bad things to say about EDF. .’s a monopoly.
A guy at work took all our freezer food and put it in his freezer.
The same guy insisted we come over for dinner and we did and had great time with him and his wife and two kids.
We got three months of free french electricity.
I made my my first French joke .. . EDF stands for Electricity Doesn’t Freakinwork.
It got a few laughs at work. La vie a belle (life is good.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sète Photo Three

So ends our day trip to Sète. A quaint little French fishing village on the coast of the Mediterranean sea.

Sète Photo Two

Clash of cultures:
This was a sign outside a restaurant. To the average European it is a colorful advertisement which promises great seafood from a reputable 'fisherman' character.

I thought. . . ."Village People?"

Sète Photo One

We went to the seaside city of Sète. It's about 40 minutes from us down the coast. It was a nice little fishing village and a fun place to take photo's.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The modern side of Montpellier

We were up at the center of Montpellier again. The ancient architecture always grabs my attention. France has modern malls as well.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Circus is coming to town.

The Circus (or Cirque) is coming to town. They have these signs all over the town. I've been annoying my wife by saying "ZAVATTA!" every time we pass one. It's fun to say, try it.
Za-Vatta! . . .See?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Eating is Beautiful

This is up at Comedee again. My wife and I were siting across from this dining party. I don't drink coffee after dinner so my inlaws have me drinking Sambuca. They don't have Sambuca in France so I figured it was something that I would have to get "un-used to." At the same time my co-workers were telling me I can't live in the South France without drinking "Pastis." So it was this dinner that I tried pastis for the first time. Guess what? Pastis tastes a lot like Sambuca! It's anise based.

The street musicians are fantastic up at comedee centre (center of Montpellier). This area is Europe coming at ya!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Soccer ball tree

It was a busy weekend but I feel guilty for not posting.

I have a tree in my yard that grows soccer balls. Soccer is called football in France so I'll honor that. So I was out doing yard work this weekend and noticed my football tree. The mower makes a heck of a racket when you hit one of these footballs.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The "Carbonnière Tower"

Off in the distance you see The Tower of Constance. This structure has walls that are 16 feet thick. I would hate to have to run cable vision though that. King Louis IX
(Saint Louis) stayed here when he was in town. It was also used as a prison and many of its 'guests' were French Huguenots. Because I am subject to whimsy on occasion I thought maybe some disgruntled Huguenot prisoner got out of this prison and decided he wanted to put as much distance between himself and this tower as he could. So, he left and founded the town of New Paltz. . Maybe,.. maybe not, don't know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Aigues-Mortes, the entrance.

This is one of the entrances. It was odd because the side we were on was quiet and open and when you went through the door you were in the center of a thriving village. If you click on the picture and enlarge it you can see the village inside.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Our trip to Aigues-Mortes, the walled city.

We took a trip to the walled city of Aigues-Mortes. Pronounced Egga-Mort. It's huge walled city about a half an hour from us.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Buda Castle

My wife went to Budapest, Hungary on a business trip for a day. Now, that's a sentence I never thought I would say. She was very impressed with the city and gave it the thumbs up for a future weekend trip. She surprised me and wanted to take pictures on her trip . I tried to offer her camera's of quality, but she wanted small, small, and smaller . I came up with this crappy digital about the size of very fat credit card. She was happy with it. She came home with this picture which I thought was great. She a resourceful and crafty woman and that's only 2 reasons why I love her.

Budapest, I come to find out is actually two cities. Buda and Pest with the Danube flowing between them. My wife said it was very clean and the shopping looked plentiful. Unfortunately, her business meeting and flight schedule prevented her from doing much shopping. Hence, the green light for us to go back.