Monday, May 11, 2015

la vie est belle


The Vieux Port is getting busier these days. A couple days ago a huge yacht was tied up there, dwarfing all the smaller boats who thought they were cool until the new three-masted kid showed them up. I was curious and asked one of the employees guarding the gangplank what all the pomp was. He told me it was a cruise. So I looked it up a minute later when I was back home. He was right (imagine that! Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the surprising thing is that I understood him correctly!). Check out Le Ponant for your next yacht-cruise. You know, if you don’t own your own yacht, that is.

It’s a new thing to be confident enough in my French to ask extraneous questions. This may be more exciting than seeing strange boats in the neighborhood.

Yesterday I finally noted that more of the smaller vessels that are docked in the Vieux Port are heading out to sea. I guess the weather—it was AMAZING this weekend—is finally good enough for pleasure boating. I’m new to this whole living-by-the-sea thing, so my mountain-born self thought people would be hitting the high seas the minute the winter rains ceased.

Life is beautiful.

~*~

I’m enamored with the Vieux Port. It’s only been around since 600 BC when Phocaeans from Phocaea (modern-day Fo├ža in Turkey -- not to be confused with the Phoenicians from Phoenicia in modern Lebanon, Israel, and Syria) saw its value and opened a trading post nearby. Vieux—“old”—is practically an understatement. Today it’s the biggest gold mine for people-watching. Especially in the evenings, it’s just full of a fascinating variety of people. Lots of families, with parents from all over the world all warning their children away from the water’s edge. Apparently, children of every nationality have to be taught that bad things happen when you run full speed ahead off the edge of something that borders water. Once everyone is safe, parents can be spotted helping their small kids spot the fish swimming below the fuel-stained water. 

Tourists and picture-takers abound. And people lounging on benches. Young and mid-aged men of Arabic descent. Cute, withered old couples. Joggers of both genders. Men, sometimes with a child in tow, fishing. One day there was what appeared to be a mom and three teenage daughters kicking a soccer ball around in a circle—dressed in normal casual attire, not anything particularly sporty. Usually there are two or more groups of musicians enamoring the crowd and earning tips. There’s the guy that sells the chocolate covered almonds (or some other nut, I haven’t verified which one) from his little white cart with stickers on the sides. They smell scrumptious. Maybe one day I’ll drop a euro there.

Life is beautiful.

~*~

Seagulls regularly soar past my fourth-floor windows (as if on cue, one just swooped past as I started typing this sentence). Yesterday around 7:30 pm the light coming from the west and shining on the building across the street was gloriously golden. And instead of seeing the seagulls themselves, I watched their shadows swoop along the building opposite. It was a show I wanted to watch for a long time.

But I had to return to my work.

Like I do now.

Life is beautiful.