Saturday, November 3, 2012

Moliets et Maa

Here I sit for our first morning on the IKEA chair at the IKEA table.  The living area behind me is furnished with the same IKEA futon that sits in our third bedroom slash my office along with a chair identical to the two in our living room.  The little coffee table and small dresser are IKEA.  The kitchen is outfitted with IKEA cutlery, cups, glasses, dishes, pots and pans and knives.  The beds are IKEA and all the accompanying furnishings are IKEA.  We’re living comfortably in an IKEA showroom.

 The television is a smallish but nice flat-screen LG—an enormous improvement over the old box in Lagnes that hurt Cindy’s eyes.  There are no English stations, so we will be forced to wean ourselves from Inspecteur Poirot.  However, our French will be greatly improved by the end of the trip. 

Cork tree
View from apartment
Out the sliding glass doors is a grassy lawn sloping past a lighted path, towering cork trees, an edge of small shrubs and an almost invisible fence with the 17th and 18th fairways beyond.  It’s off-season here, so the view is further empty of neighbors and the pool is drained.  Most of the other apartments appear to be empty and closed with few exceptions here and there.  We’ve arrived in the first week of a school holiday at the end of which, there will probably be even fewer apartments occupied.  We arrived yesterday on a bank holiday, and there were many people scattered about on bicycles, walking, running.  Many dogs out for a stroll with their owners all bundled up as the day was damp and cold.  

17th hole
 Today the sky is blue, the fairway and the tops of the trees are bathed in sunlight and it promises to be a wonderful day. 

Approach to beach
We’ll explore the area by camera, car and foot, seeking out the market that was closed yesterday making it difficult to settle in entirely.  By day’s end, however, we’ll have it down pat.  We’ve figured out the t.v., the heaters, the dishwasher.  We’ve hunted down the closest bar/restaurant along, aptly enough, Avenue L’Ocean, which leads to the town beach, the nearby local surfing towns (not that we’ll be doing any surfing), the boulangerie (which was blessedly open when we went out), and the driving range, which is within walking distance unless you’re carrying clubs.  We’ve walked to the beach between the two golf holes, and over the hill in the distance to find a raging surf and vast beach.  There will be many more of those walks. 

The Atlantic in all its glory
Architecture in this part of France is very different from the Vaucluse.  There’s a strong Basque influence in many of the buildings sporting colorful shutters, large timbers and stucco.  Often at the peak of the roof on the front, the house is identified with a Basque name.  Other houses, often made of brick, appear to have large footprints with one story and low-peaked roofs.   There are even half-timbered houses, the likes of which we might find in Normandy or Brittany.  The names of the towns appear in both French and Basque.  And in this area, the names are foreign to our English-speaking ears—Hoosegar, Maa, Hondarribia, Irun.  There are none of the rows of houses in the towns that feature so commonly in movies about World War II.  Houses are free standing, but humble.  More about the architecture in another blog.

The nearby communities combine tourism (much of it surfing) and fishing.  There are still fishing boats in the harbors near all the fancy sailboats and larger sleeping boats.  And fish is sold along the quais.  Moliets’ old town is not located on the ocean so we will travel to other towns to buy fish—none of them distant, and some of them about four kilometers or so away. 
I will struggle with lack of internet, but will figure it out enough to stay in touch and post blogs for those who are interested to see.  This is my opportunity to concentrate on writing—not blog writing.  The proof will be in the trip’s end.  

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