Monday, May 24, 2010
The Camargue on a windy day
The Mistral had been blowing for days. Nights I curled up under three covers, socks, pjs with long pants, the works. During the day, we wore light sweaters and leather jackets to break the wind. Sun glasses de rigeur.
They liked marshlands they said. Okay, shall we go to the Camargue in the evening? And off we went. Down the long stretch of road outside Arles. Due South. And landed thereupon a world that is flat, with a restrained palette of colors, peopled by horses, bulls and flamingos, oft covered with vacation rentals and ranches (manades), where not seemingly barren. Yet teaming (on a normal non-windy day) with an array of mosquitoes to impress biologists and tourists alike.
This day the sun shone fiercely. The sky was scraped clean. Our hair was tossed about mercilessly. The horses stood facing south, their backs to the whistling warrior winds. We gamely left the car and explored on foot.
In the distance the flamingos, on the other side of a ditch the white horses, and at our feet, salicornes, the edible salty plant often pickled and delightful atop carpaccio sliced beef. - Of course I harvested some to bring home and pickle myself!
It is another world down there, at the edge of the sea. You can go no farther and remain on the European continent. From this point, the sea and over there, Africa. It's tempting...