Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Part One: Montpellier

We had a week off for All Saint's Holiday. Catherine and I wanted to take a trip. We couldn't leave the country, as neither of us had their carte de sejour and we had to find someplace cheap -- so, not Paris. We chose Montpellier - an equal mix of "student city," "south of France," and "I haven't been there before."

This is the social center of the city, called the Place de Comedie. Inside this grand building is a movie theater. That's where we saw Wallace et Gromit on my birthday. I wouldn't really recommend it, especially if you're planning on watching it in another language.

We ate out more or less every day. We kind of had to, as our hostel didn't have a kitchen or a fridge. While it is, of course, expensive, it was a nice treat for me -- I gone to restaurants only 2 or 3 other times here, and never in Poligny.

One day, we decided we should just wander off the map. "The map" was a small one of the centre ville that was in my Lonely Planet book. Montpellier really isn't that large of a city, especially if you only stay in the LP limits. So we wandered, finding mostly slightly dingy residential streets. We happened upon the 'ethnic' area -- I guess mostly Middle Eastern -- but even that was pretty small.

The best part was that we found the large city garden and a pretty church. Even better, we found a university. We both really needed to find a bathroom, so we ducked into the University and sought one out. It was clean! and free! Searching for a public bathroom here that is clean and free is like a quest for El Dorado. There isn't the same option of ducking into Starbucks or McDonalds. God Bless America for that.

Most days, we just hung around the city. We thought it would be warm and sunny, as Montpellier is right by the coast, but it wasn't. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was warm and sunny everywhere else in France that week, except along the coast of the Mediterranean.
We poked around in a bunch of stores, walked around the centre ville, which is mostly pedestrian, tried out different coffee shops. There was one in particular we both like, tucked away in a small almost-hidden square. One day, Catherine taught me to play chess (which I've been taught before, but this is the first time it made sense). I almost beat her! Actually, we were almost at a draw, but some old guy came up and directed all of the moves until Catherine won. "This is my first time playing it," I told him. "Every time is the first time with chess," he replied.

This is a gorgeous, large pavilion just stuck somewhere in the city.

This is also Catherine's lower half.

We had a really nice time together this week. Sometimes, you can get sick of a person once you travel with them, share the same towel and deodorant, eat all meals together, etc. But we didn't. In fact, I think we were having more fun by the end of the week, since we didn't have to mind our manners in front of each other. It became Stream-of-consciousness Fest 2005, as a matter of fact.

On second thought, I guess I don't really like Catherine. In fact, I hate that bitch. Just look at her. I'm not even going to post my version of the picture, as I look like a 45 year old mom from Nebraska, waiting to pick up my daughter from volleyball practice. Not that there's anything wrong with that.... well, there is, if you're 24.

Tomorrow: Part two!


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