9/9/08

Le caprice

Most of today was spent at the mercy of the weather and the bus system, neither of which do I have any particular fondness for at the moment. I tried to take a bus that, as it turns out, only runs on Wednesday - something to do with the school system. My bus schedule is gaining asterisks and arrows and circles at an amazing rate. Hopefully I will full comprehend it soon - of course, by that point I may have discovered that there are never any buses to Mignaloux. So anyway, I spent four hours more than planned in centre ville, in a pretty ridiculous rainstorm for the first hour or so. Without my rain jacket, of course, because it was nice this morning (and is currently practically cloudless). I think it's time to invest in an umbrella, à la française. Because raincoats just aren't chic. 

It wasn't all bad, having extra time - I retraced my steps from a few parts of the tours and spent some leisurely time in Notre Dame la Grande and Ste. Radegonde. I adore old churches, in case I hadn't mentioned that before. It also reminded me that I forgot to mention, in my earlier post, that when we were in Ste. Radegonde during the tour, there was a baptism going on - priest, flowers, infant in white, the whole deal - and they were playing Rufus Wainwright's rendition of "Hallelujah." During a solemn Catholic sacrament. It was a little...disorienting.

Anyway, in reverse chronological order:

This morning I met Lauren in town, and we visited le jardin des plantes (literally, the garden of plants - descriptive, if not poetic), which is quite lovely, and the Église St. Hilaire, which is more than lovely. It's more romanesque, whereas a lot of churches we've visited have been gothic. Also, it had a weathervane on top of the spire. Complete with rooster. I'm sure that's of great doctrinal importance. We were going to go see more touristy things, but were prevented by a deluge, which we (mostly) waited out chez Lauren. Then sandwiches from one of the boulangeries with which Poitiers abounds, and onward to aforementioned misadventures with the bus.

Yesterday, Elizabeth and I climbed the very long (217 ± 1 steps) staircase up the cliff that surrounds Poitiers for some pretty amazing views of the city. It was sunny all day for the first time since we arrived, and the rooftops and church spires of the old city make for some excellent panoramas. There's a large statue of the Madonna and child looking out over the city from the top of the cliff, blessing it, and we wanted to climb the spiral stair to the top of the statue, but alas - locked. Still, yesterday was pretty excellent.

Jumping back to the present, Christelle, the daughter of my host mother, arrived back from the U.S. today. I haven't had a chance to talk to her much yet, but she seems nice. I'm looking forward to having someone my age in the house. I think a few friends are coming for dinner tonight, which means I absolutely won't be able to follow the conversation, but it's still fun to watch and (try to) listen.

Still in the future: finding a Nalgene or Sig or some equivalent, which seems to not exist at all here. It's quite a shock, coming from Vermont where they're practically mandatory. Also, I really need a haircut, but I'm worried that I won't be able to communicate what I want to the stylist and something disastrous will happen. Language barriers and scissors do not mix. Although I've generally seen a lot of good short haircuts here, so hopefully it won't be too much of a problem...when I work up the nerve.