Most of today was taken up geocaching and trying to immerse myself in the culture and daily life of Duras by doing a weekly creative workshop. The caching kept us moving and warm, which was good because on Thursday’s the most popular cafes are not open, therefore no hot drinks. The Tourism Office didn’t speak English, strange that, but a visitor spoke both languages and was able to tell me that my workshop wasn’t on, however considering my inability to speak French, I could go to the children’s one (we think that is what the lady from the Tourism Office said). She indicated it had nothing to do with her and then we realised that confusingly there are three organisations responsible for looking after cultural and tourist events, being: The Office of Tourism, the Mairie or town hall and the Office of Culture. All of them, like the cafes, have random opening hours and I imagine no English speaking people. Considering that the town attracts a lot of English I am surprised that they don’t have some understanding of the language. Most markets and cafes are full of English speakers so much so that the blackboard menus are not only in English but they cater for their diets of curry and fish and chips.
Another sign of the presence of English people are the free book exchanges. You can see these anywhere in the world, Duras is no different, they have three of them and a lot of their books are in English. I have already made my first exchange.
After our 3.00 to 5.00pm lunch break, random time in keeping with the French way of doing things, we went to Allemans du Dropt to do a multi cache around their historic sites. The cache starts at an old church with rediscovered frescoes, passes the bakery and ends at a lavoir (washhouse). Bakeries keep strange hours also; they open early in the morning and close before lunch. They then open again after school finishes, say 3.30 and stay open until 6.00 or 7.00pm for the home traffic to pop in for the baguette to accompany the evening meal. So in we went for our taste of France and bought a bun each and a loaf of bread sliced. The lady serving us understood everything we said in English but couldn’t really reply in English; based on service and taste well worth another visit.
Our French word of the day if ‘fichtre’, a translation dictionary will tell you it means ‘whew’, however I brought from NZ a translated geocache which said it meant ‘fuck’. Now all I need to do is learn the pronunciation, not that it was needed for today’s caches.
A couple of people who decided to try living in France for three months, to absorb some of the culture and to try a diet of Baguette, cheese and wine.