I exaggerate: I had two hours of english.
I managed to drag my altiste friend through Old Nice despite her chronic fear of muggers (it's a sunny day, at 10am, I'm not the crazy one I assure you!) where we fell upon an adorable little market. We allowed ourselves the indulgence of a hugely over priced basket of strawberries, and other more reasonably ticketed fruit for a picnic on the beach.
On our way down to the pebbled shore, I, who am distantly but surely related to crows, was mesmerized by a jewellery display. I had been oogling for a minute or two before I realized that the guy running the bicycle stand was speaking to me in a misshapen french. Poor thing, I told him I spoke english, and he was so relived to find a fellow Anglo-Saxon that he started recounting the hardships of a vendor in a tourist town come january. He hadn't had a sale in 4 days, and was willing to give me a deal on his handcrafted wares (6 euros a peice, 2 for 10 euros) three for 10 euros.
Inspired by the sunshine, and perhaps egged on by the perplexed and horrified look on my friends face, I told him Id be back in a bit. The friend and I went for another "stroll of the marketplace", just an excuse to get her to pass by the bakery with me to grab him a mini pizza.
We came back to his stand, and picked out our eclectic and unique accessories, and were chatting in english, complimenting his work, when a flock of young tourists came by, and heard us gushing.
His smile was priceless as he was swarmed, and we discreetly slipped the grocery bag on his bike handle and were off, me beaming at the break in his bad luck streak and on a doing-little-things-for-strangers high, the friend shaking her head and deeming me very, very bizarre.
I've been treated of bizarre a few times since I've been here, and honestly if doing things like stopping to call the numbers on runaway dogs collars is bizarre, then I am absolutely, positutly, bizarre!
One way or another, one passageway after another, we wound our way to the beach, and sat, and basked in the 16 degrees and sun.
I realized, sitting with my hair down that I was surrounded by three kinds of people:
the brazen tourists, speaking loudly, shouting after children in their own languages, making themselves at home and bringing great joy to the souvenir merchants.
old folks, who have worked all their lives, raised their families and are now spending the rest of their well earned lives soaking up the sun and love of grandchildren
But look, they're both on vacation in reality, and make up the vast majority of the population of the beach! What do they have that the workers on lunch break don't?
In fact, the ones who have their priorities straight, the ones who have something right, are the
mothers, sitting on the rocks despite sore backs, and drained expressions, and playing with little ones, who drag strollers up and down bumpy shorelines to find a sandy spot for their munchkins to plop down in. They are the ones taking time out of their busy lives, to breathe, and to remind themselves that there is life beyond ones priorities... In fact, I think they're the ones who have realized that to live and be fully alive is a priority.
These are my daydreams, as the turquoise waves crash on the shores with an absent minded vigour, and a metronomic pulse...