Brasserie Le Surcout, Villefranche-sur-Mer

Darlene, a.k.a. Fifi, works on her homework this morning at a sidewalk cafe 10 minutes from our apartment.

While I was at the newsstand next door buying Le Monde and Liberation, she had a moment of hope. She saw a pretty blue bottle on a table next to her, and spontaneously asked the proprietor if she could have the bottle for her little flowers. He said yes, but he continued to clear the table and then took the bottle away. At this point, Darlene thought he was probably going to bring her a new bottle of water, or perhaps a steak. Instead, a few minutes later, after she had given up hope of being understood, he returned with the empty bottle, which he had apparently washed and brought back, complete with the cap. She was so surprised and delighted to have been understood, that she grabbed the surprised man’s arm and said, “Vous connaissez mon français?” He smiled and said yes, giving a thumbs-up sign and saying “Excellent!” At this point, I returned and found Darlene very excited about her encounter. She asked me to take a picture of the man, an official photo of the first person who had understood her French. But the café was very busy and he was waiting on all the tables and the bar himself, so it didn’t look as if he would be able to take time out for a photo, however historic.

Today was a brilliant, sunny, fresh explanation of why they call this the Côte d’Azur . The beach was packed, and we optimistically bought a beach towel, straw mat, and sun tan oil. The deep turquoise of the ocean exerts a trance-like attraction. Sometimes my mind is startled by the scene nearby, and I wonder how long I have been staring out at the water.Posted by Hello

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