What Adventures Today!
Gotta type quick. Can't believe I've got Internet access for a moment. On a trip around France filling in details on my new manuscript and trying to find my way. I don't think it would be possible to accomplish more than I am, but I'm still running way behind schedule. Language is a big challenge, but the people are very kind and try to help.
Today in Gap a policeman ran into the road and waved me over. They'd clocked me going 82K in a 50 kph zone. I wasn't being dangerous, just trying to get things done. The fine was 90 Euros. That's about $125. YIKES!!!
I didn't have that much and they didn't want dollars. Go figure. The world has changed. Three of them surrounded me and they definitely wanted their money, now. They kept motioning kissing their fingers. Finally, using a little computer translator I have I realized they wanted me to go to town and buy a "tobacco stamp" while they held my license and registration. I didn't want to because these cities were built to confuse enemies, and these days they do an even better job of disorienting tourists. I had a 0% chance of figuring out who sold tobacco stamps and then finding my way back. Eventually two of them offered to lead me by bicycle. The first guy took off and I followed him. He kept looking back past me, presumably for the other guy. We made lots of turns and finally reached a bank. He motioned for me to pull over and we waited. After a long time he came to my window looking frustrated. He handed me my licence and registration.
"You go," he said. "Leave."
I took my papers and scrammed, then spent nearly an hour trying to figure out where I was and how to get back on my route. Many people tried to help but none spoke much English and their French was fast and complex. I had little hope, but eventually I stumbled my way out of town.
Just before 9:00 p.m. I reached a village called Riez and stopped to read my map. I was running out of sunlight and noticed people camping in a dirt lot. I pulled in thinking that it would be so enjoyable to explore the town. Then I noticed a flier with today's date and something about an event at the cathedral costing 12 Euros.
I packed my maps and papers in a backpack, grabbed an apple, and headed off. Can you believe that I walked in the very moment a 16 piece orchestra started playing a concerto? I gladly paid my money and sat in the back row of about 100 people to do my paperwork. What an atmosphere! You can't imagine the accoustics in that place.