October 28, 2009

Motoring, Mud Fights and Wine

We we Noche and the French Canals. A year gone by, and she didn't look that bad, but boy did she smell. The first night back in La Rochelle my buddy Patrick said, "Its like camping, campfire smell and all". You do all you can but after all the salt air, the flat screen tv seized along with every zipper from trouser to raincoat to my favorite backpack. The only thing that got better was a stash of Dominican Rum, but not the mayonnaise or the carton of milk next to it. Sunny weather welcomed me off the plane so drying her out and enjoying the boat again was a breeze. Leaving La Rochelle and all the good people there was difficult. I know everyone is tired of hearing about "La Rochelle" and how great it is, but if you have a boat, and can handle castle turrets, and old clock towers illuminating around you as you have that glass of wine at sunset its the place to go. Waking up to the smell of fresh bread in the air and having an organic vegetable market a block away makes the good things in life right at your doors step.

Bordeaux...but not yet. There are crazy tides and wild Kiwis before lazy canals and cheap wine. Jon and Paul happened to be in the neighborhood. One carbon tiptoe for Jon from London to Toulouse, and Paul happened to be ridding his bike through the Pyraneese mountains on a month holiday from his mega yacht in the Med, so we met up and took Noche into the Garronne river on the rising tide at eight knotts to the walls of Bordeaux in one day. Well... all in one day, meaning we stumbled back from a Cuban dance bar in Royan at two in the morning and wanted to take the boat out...we left the car at the dock, and believe it or not Paul fell as sleep on the couch as Jon averaged about four knots out into the river and into the night. Having three "Captains" on board was luxury cruising so I crawled into my fart bag and when Paul and I woke up, Jon had done the hard watch and as the sun came up and burnt off the fog the tide changed and we started to reach speeds of eight and nine knots.

Bordeaux, pretty similar to Royan. We closed down the Irish pub and then danced the night away in a sweaty club with no air or elbo room to familiar Caribbean music and Mojitos. Somehow the wonderfull bar tender Anna,
from the Irish pub ended up with us the next day and we took a leisurely drive though wine country and had a mud fight in front of peaceful family vacationers in a sleepy beach town in autum. Its always so much fun with those guys.

Then the possie came down from La Rochelle for a monday night. Chris, another bar tender...came down first from LR, and thought I could use a fresh shirt so he took me shopping... meaning you go to little chic-shops looking for a t-shirt that's to small but comes wrapped in a fancy bag that you carry around town making you feel fancy for the rest of the day. We bought a few bottles of wine, and made reservations at a street side Italian restaurant for latter that night. Then we got Macaroons, a regional cookie that comes in different colors and flavors and again it is served with a white glove and boxed up like a wedding ring. Half of the experience is presentation.You select a baguette and they tie a paper bow around it. Everything is done intently and with great importance. Greeting people is the same. A greeting starts with "hello", then two kisses, you chat and then two more kisses, "good bye", and then "good journey". In this region life is one sensational moment after another.