dimanche 14 août 2011

Things of Normandy....

By Khairi Janbek.

- For decades, and since the times we used to live in Amman and come over here for holidays, I always wanted to visit on route to Normandy, the Chateau du Robert le Diable near Moulineaux; from the age of the Norman Dukes. I also wanted to visit the Champ de battaile; the 10th century battle field which established Normandy's independence. I never managed to do it, not even this time. I guess it will remain one of those things like, wanting to show dear ones some places and you never come around to do it, or wanting to take a loved one to a place which means something for you, but it never happens.

- For the last few years, gazing out of our flat's balcony on the 4th floor, at the opposite building, I have developed a distant relationship with an old man and his wife; the relationship was so distant that we never actually exchanged greetings. me and the old man were usually up by 9 am. While I have my coffee at the balcony, I used to see him sitting on his deck chair reading a paper. What fascinated me is that, even when he wanted to do the most mundane and simple thing in his house, he used to wear a blue overhaul even if the task required a few minutes. he kept being shouted at usually by his; I suppose middle aged daughter because supposedly he never wanted to move out of his deck chair on the balcony...reminds me of my realtionship to my couche.... Well, this year I didn't see him.

- It is said that mother nature hates vaccum, but then again the French seem to hate it also. I am fairly convinced now that my country fold have a different realtionship to space than me. Always as a rule even when the whole beach is empty, you end up with people coming right up your nose to settle with their stuff. I guess they assume if you are sitting in a particular spot it must be a prime location, when in effect you could be just sitting there as a random choice.

- Each time I passed a camping site, I wonder how it would be to live ina holiday caravan. I mean in our crammed Yildiz palace, 2 rooms Normandy place, and we are 3 people, sometimes it feels like a crowd. How does a holiday look like, with kids, and doing everything in the caravan without getting suicidal???.

- Well, the real fish market is actually in Dive and not in Trouville. I always wondered why other half got up at 7 am to go to Dive..I did it this time, I found that it is mainly the catch of the day on sale, with reasonable prices to match. In Trouville you have fish coming from all over France really, and very little fished in the area. One is not a great seafood fan, but I like occasionally a haddock or a cod.

- Actually most people on the beach over here do not swim. They just soak the UV rays having a nap on the beach. I guess, for pareants its easier to have the toddlers right up in front of them rather than having to chase them up in the water..

- The woman whom sold me the shoes on the market, told me that the month of September is the high suicide season in Normandy. I asked why, but she said she didn't know. She said that September is particularly a depressing season for the residents of Normandy. As I left, I thought she is an itinerant trader, and wished her luck somewhere else, but she said that she lives in the area, so I tild here to be careful then, and she just gave me a strange smile...

- Of course no trip to Normandy is complete without paying homage to the towns of the D-Day landings for the liberation of France. Courselies [ Sword beach; British troops], Arromaches [ Juno beach; Canadian troops], Porte en-Bessin [Gold beach; British troops], pointe du Hoc [ Omaha beach; U.S troops], and Crisbeck [Utah beach; U.S troops].

- The Gun Emplacements of Mont Canisy in benerville; part of Hitler's defense of the Atlantic from Cherebourg to Le Havre, is a fete of military engineering genius. 15 meters underground, 250 meters of tunnels, 25 chambers for multiple use, and 6 stairwells to go down.

- You never count of the French sense of service; well, it doesn't exist. In Normandy it is much worse. What can be generally defined as rudeness, in Normandy is a matter of fact. The locals keep complaining about the tourists and the foreigners, despite the fact that if it wasn't for all those starngers, people of the region would be living on collected cockles from the beach, and when lucky, have a fish or two.

- All around you on the beach, water-skiing, surfing, para-skiing, ski jets, and God knows what else other machinery of entertainment. I kept wondering what did actually happen to the just swimming, or building things in the sand??. Simple pleasures associated with the beach normally. I suppose traders are capitalising on the fact that people have lost increasingly their attention span, and cannot bare the fact that there can be solitude.

- Being in Normandy gives you the sense of being frozen in time. Perhaps it is the endless stretch of beaches in low tide and the sunset on the horizon. Perhaps also, the limited contact with people consolidates this feeling. I don't know for me it is just like turning around in the middle of a crowded place without actually bumping into people.

- I find that the sea has its particular calling. If you gaze long enough over the horizon; at one point you'll get the urge to just go into it. I guess for anyone with suicidal tendencies, this long gazing can be dangerous.

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