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the socialists gather

Last day in Montpellier – the excitement, going to see a rally for Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate in the upcoming French Presidential elections, who’s at the moment the top candidate in the polls. Sarkozy, a most unpopular man, is way down. Hollande is an unprepossessing little man with glasses and (in photographs) acne, looking like an insurance agent; he has a hoarse, raspy voice for a politician, but his speech provoked lots of cheers in the crowd. He spoke at length about the maintenance of “la laicité” – the secular state, the separation of church and state, which is so vital to France. If only the Americans could wrap their heads around that! He said many good Socialist things about Justice, Equality, Solidarity, Reform and la Republique – promises about jobs, housing, health, and youth.

Speaking of whom – I watched the kids streaming away during the talk, and many sauntering past, chatting, completely unaware it was happening. In front of me, a twenty something with dreads, wearing a Superman t-shirt and holding a can of Pringles; many teens in American-style t-shirts imprinted in English, the coolest t-shirts. I hope they are engaged in the process, but obviously, many, comme chez nous, are not.
Hollande is shouting about “change.” We want change! “Nous pourrons changer le destin de la France.” But Obama he’s not. And as Lynn pointed out, Sarkozy ran on a platform of change five years ago, and won by a landslide.
After the talk, Madame and I went to her favourite creperie, where we had a lunch crepe and then a dessert crepe. I didn’t even want to get the latter, full from the former, but ordered one with lemon, which is the way my mother used to make crepes. Omigod. I must come back soon. To die for.
A little shopping with my friend – “Bright lipstick for an older face!” – and some grocery shopping – we’re having duck and endives for dinner. Now I’m packing. Tomorrow I get the train to Lyons, where Lynn’s oldest daughter Sarah and her husband Jean-Marie, from Burundi, have just had twin boys, to keep their 4-year old Maude company. So I’m visiting them, and Lyons. I’m staying at the friend of a friend’s, not sure about the internet. And then on Sunday morning, I fly to Bristol, England.
Hope to be in touch soon. The only sure thing is that the next time I write, I will have eaten and drunk extremely well. Again.
PS It’s six p.m., and I just went out to buy us our baguettes for dinner and tomorrow, then stood in the sun at the Place de la Comedie. The beautifully decorated trams sailed continuously and smoothly past, and the outdoor cafés were packed with people taking l’aperitif in the sun, thousands of others strolling or walking quickly home across the vast open space with groceries. No cars, just bicycles and pedestrians, and me, ripping off hunks of fresh baguette, admiring the scene. Divine. Especially the bread.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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