Saturday, October 11, 2008

3 very different days

When I went to the intermarché (oh what day was it...I swear I am loosing track) by myself to get supplies for my apple/pear tarte I had to ask a woman where I would find the crust for the tarte, I told her that I was looking for crust and that I only need crust not the whole tarte (and I did this in french).  She understood me and I understood her and I found the pre-made crust.  I was so proud of myself.


So on Friday we decided to get pizza from the pizza van in the village of La Fouillade, which is about 3 miles from our house.  The van comes to the village every friday and we have heard the woman makes really great pizzas from 5pm - 10pm, you order in advance and come and pick it up 2 hours later (yes, 2 hours).  But the pizzas are amazing and you can choose from so many toppings and the grand pizza is only 7.50.  So we ordered 2 pizzas - a grand Les Traditionnelle, tomate-lardons-emmantal-olives and a petite tomate-jambon-champignons-emmental-olives. We sat at the café and i had a glass of rosé and bruce a coffee.  We took the dogs with us and they were a huge hit, we met so many people because they would come up to the dogs and pet them and talk to us.  We met the woman who owns the café, she is probably in her 60's and so nice and we spoke with her for a long time.  We didn't know that it would take so long to get the pizza, so we decided to go back home and come back to pick it up when it was ready.  Bruce told me that I should go get the pizza, good practice.

Now let me tell you, we live in the country, the woods, in a valley surrounded by forest.  The short-cut road to La Fouillade is basically 1 lane that winds up and around many hamlets (small commune of houses, like maybe 2 or 3) and there are no lights, no signs, no directions, nothing....the short-cut road takes you out to the 922 which is a 2 lane road, once I'm there I'm fine, it's getting there that was the problem.  I took Stella with me (as my co-pilot) and we headed off.  Now I can't see very well at night (where did my glasses go???) and you come up to a hamlet and there are like 3 different roads going straight, left and right...we have only taken this road 2 times and I was never driving.  I turned left and ended up on a dirt road, had to reverse and go back, hum, tried straight and ended up at someones house, so backed up and went right - yes!  I made it to the 922 and into La Fouillade.

Our pizza was to be ready at 8:00, and it was now 8:05.  So I went to the van and said to her in french.  My husband Bruce made an order for 2 pizzas, un grand lardons and un petite reine. Easy enough right? no.  She spoke so fast and said something and I had no idea what it was.  I just looked at her and told her that i did not understand.  So she said something else, didn't catch that either.  Crap.  Here I stand, in the middle of fricking nowhere just wanting my pizza! I finally said to her "the pizza is not (oh what is the word for ready)...so I said,  the pizza, not now" - how's that for caveman talk and she said no, may, pas plus de dix minute.  I think I got that...it will either be ready in less than 10 minutes or more than 10 minutes, oh I don't know?  I got the 10 minutes part so I said OK and went back to the car to wait for dix minutes.  Stella and I sat there and I told her that i was frustrated, this should have been easy, right, just come pick up the pizza.  I know it's only been 8 days, but I felt so confident at the intermarché, now I feel completely deflated.  argh!  I walked up to the van and she points to the box and said your pizza.  YEAH!  It's ready....13.00 for 2 pizzas and off we went.  Only to get lost on the way back home, took a couple wrong turns, but finally figured it out.  What an experience.


So, yesterday we decided to join the local cycling club in Villefrance-de-rouergue (the largest village about 5 km from us) for a ride.  We arrived and there were about 15 men standing around talking, we got out of our car and everyone came over to us and said "bonjour" and shoot our hands, they didn't even know us, but made the effort to come and say hello.  Nobody spoke english either.  Thank goodness Bruce's french rocks, because he did most of the talking. Their ride was going to be around 45 miles and they would be happy in we joined them.  By that time 10 other men and 1 female (thank god another woman) came and all said "bonjour".  Then we noticed that the mechanic we visited on Thursday (who we are seeing today) was there and he looked at Bruce and said "ah, bonjour" and then saw me and kissed me 3 times (it's 3 kisses in the Aveyron).  Everyone laughed.  They asked us if we were from England and we said no, America.  Ah...America,  ah, California.  Then as we were pulling our bikes of the Claude (our 1985 Peugeot station wagon) we heard many of them telling others in french, no they are from america.  I don't think they get many americans here.

The ride started off casual but then we hit the hills.  Now, we are in/around the Aveyron gorge, so nothing is flat here, everything is hills and valleys, so if you go down you know you have to go up.  It was really hard, Los Angeles isn't known for it's hills.  Sure, we've climbed in Palos Verdes, climbed Latigo, Mandeville, but this ride was like doing all of these climbs, twice in 1 ride.  I had a lovely time riding with a Francois, who is 63 and a very sweet man and 5 others (including the woman) we were the slow group, mostly because of me and Francois...great me and the 63 year old.  I do great on the flats, can keep up no problem, but then I hit a hill and that's when I slow down, these people know no different, they grew up riding this hills, but it's going to take me a bit before I'm strong.  I spoke the best I could and listened to everything everyone was saying.  They were such nice people, all of them.  3 hours of riding and we ended up at the bar drinking 1/2 rosé and 1/2 limonade....yummy.  We are riding again with them on Thursday and will probably join the club.  Great way to meet really nice people and ride really hard, you don't have a choice in the matter, you keep up or you get lost in the countryside.

Three very different days, but all of them great experiences.

13 comments:

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

We have a couple of those pizza trucks that come here, but I was disappointed in the pizza. I'm not sure why, what to expect from pizza on a truck? but the crust was like some tortilla thing and didn't appeal.

We also have a pizza restaurant in town with a brick oven and they STILL use premade crusts that is like crackers. A bit better than the truck because it goes in a brick oven, but still....

Jean Yves tells me there is no good italian food or pizza in the Dordogne. My quest begins.

Got a phone yet?

La Belette Rouge said...

Pizza van? Hilarious! I have never seen pizza vans in France. But, I have only peen to Paris. Even though it challenged your language skills it sounds like that pizza was worth the effort. That woman could have slowed down a bit when she saw that you were struggling. Well, I suppose even those moments are good practice and you did get your point across even if you were speaking cave man.

One of the things I love about where we are living is this amazing pizza place just across the street from us. We had a Moroccan calzone with fire roasted eggplant, pesto, pine nuts, garlic and cheese. Delicious!

Oh, how did the tart turn out? Is this tart #2 or the tart you spoke of last week?

La Framéricaine said...

One crust forward, two crusts back... Sounds just like real life only in French!

I love it!

I am so pleased that you have found a good riding group right in your foresthood. That is so exciting. They sound like a great group of people.

Bisous,

Randal Graves said...

Heh heh, your linguistic dilemma is much funnier back here in America. I would be even more lost, thus I am allowed to laugh. ;-)

Betty C. said...

We have a pizza van here on Saturday evenings and we're big customers...

Get used to people assuming you're British. Some of my colleagues still forget that I'm American and start asking me questions about tea and crumpets...

Our Juicy Life said...

hello my skype freind...great to hear your voice, finally, sorry my connection is so slow, we are working on that.

The pizza here is really really great, no pre-made crusts, it will every friday for us.

Our Juicy Life said...

LBR - you need to come and visit and try out the pizza van, you won't be disappointed. You doing OK with the fires, are they near you?
same tarte....it turned out so good.
time to make another, because it's gone.

Our Juicy Life said...

LF - miss you tons!!!! You OK?
The group was so nice and friendly, we will join for sure and ride every Sunday and Thursday.
I like the one crust forward and two crusts back....

Our Juicy Life said...

Randal - laugh all you want...I'm sure you'd probably do better than me. But it's fun to try and the people are so friendly and nice about my trying and they correct me which is even better. Only been here for 2 weeks and I can already see my french improving, I say 2 months and it will be so much easier.

Our Juicy Life said...

Betty - glad you are a pizza van fan....it's wonderful and we are hooked.
british - there are a lot of them around these parts and no many americans. we went to the local bike shop and the guy said he has only met 1 american in many years....i'm sure in our little village the crazy americans are the talk of the town - word gets around fast.

Barbara said...

Hi Alicia & Bruce,
Congrats for your successes ! Give yourself a kind word or two when things go well, but be kind with yourself also when there are pitfalls.
You will fall upon the person that speaks too quickly, or really accented or even someone with bad teeth that mumbles.

Expect it all ; chances all, you will get it !
Very,very nice for the bike club and the new friendships that will sprout from this common hobby.

I think that things are coming along fine ;)

Our Juicy Life said...

Barbara - we have encountered many old mumblers with bad teeth!

Megan said...

Sounds like you are having a great time! Don't worry about the language- people appreciate that you are trying. I remember getting so frustrated at the beginning. I tried to buy strawberries once and the guy could (or maybe WOULD) not undertand me. Small? Red? Round? Fruit? No?