Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tomorrow Joedy, Malko, and I are driving south into the Basque country, where we'll stay in a 16th-century farmhouse for two nights. The owner of the farm agreed to put us up if we helped clean the pig sty, chop firewood, darn socks, thatch the roof, and peel vegetables for the meals we'll eat with his wife and nineteen children; the web site advertised it as a "genuine 16th-century French farm experience," minus the plague, and I can't begin to say how excited I am to develop blisters all over my body from all that fun hard labor.

On our noontime break we hope to drive into a town called St. Jean de Luz, which is on the coast just above the Spanish border and which quite simply seems to be one of the most charming places in the world, nestled as it is between mountains and ocean (not unlike a certain Southern Californian city) and reknowned as it is for its light, which sounds so freaking romantic that I'm getting all misty-eyed just thinking about it. I keep imagining Joedy and me walking along a lonely strip of beach to the sound of gulls and windswept strains of Edith Piaf, but then I remember that we'll have Malko, aka Birth Control, with us, and our conversation will be less about finding a place to make out than finding a place to change a poopy diaper.

This part of France, the southwestern-most coastal region, is an area Joedy and I have been wanting to visit for a few years and for a few reasons: its proximity to Spain, year-round good waves, and physical beauty have led us to think we might be happy living there--and hey, if we could make it work, why not? We planned a visit there three and a half years ago, but the trip fell through; needless to say, I'm totally chomping at the bit to go there now.

While we're gone, Lula will stay with my parents in Cap Ferret, where we've been since Monday (Joedy DID arrive, WITH his passport, WITHOUT having to sleep in a strange bush), and if I had any fears about leaving her for three days they vanished this afternoon after this brief exchange:

Me (to Joedy): "I think Lula likes being on vacation with her parents!"

Lula: "I do. But I like being without you too."

Um, okay. I didn't think that stuff kicked in until the kid turned thirteen--a little earlier if she's been listening obsessively to Pink Floyd The Wall--but whatevs. This way I won't feel too bad at night, thinking about her missing me, and we'll be able to settle into this little jaunt solo with Malko, which should at the very least be "interesting."

Between threshing hay and carding wool, back at the farmstead, I'm going to try to fit in some more devil-may-care sunbathing. I say "devil-may-care" because apparently I'm one of the only female people still doing it without the upper part of her bathing suit, a realization that filled me first with terror, then a sense of freedom, and then the desire to eat more butter. Which I did, and which I will, even if it gets all rancid and smelly in the sun--that way, at least, my herd of sheep will know where to find me.

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