Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Parking Wars — Avignon

             An alley In Avignon

"You know what's the worst?
Being sick in the summertime."
~ Unknown

For the most part, today was a crappy day.

Please excuse my being blunt, but let's call a bad day a bad day. The rain, cold and damp (and Mike's cold) finally caught up with me and hit me with a vengeance during the night. I spent so much of the evening coughing and sniffling that we gave up on going to St-Remy-de-Provence today. :-(

It was bound to happen. I catch everything at the drop of a hat, unfortunately, and the weather just added to it. (Hence the reason why I hate cold so much.) At least I came prepared with antibiotics, so hopefully I'll be okay within a day or so.

The day was not, however, wasted. We continued our walks around the historic area of Avignon and found some charming little alleys and arches we hadn't seen before. We also had some dinnertime entertainment.

"I'm constantly amazed," I said as we sat on the steps in front of the Palais du Papes, "at the age and condition of these buildings."

                             View from where we ate dinner

"Do you think the popes would have ever imagined that people would be eating gelato on the steps of their palace 700 years later?" Mike asked. "Or skateboarding or having a cappuccino?"

Since the temperatures were in the 80s again today, we decided to eat at an outdoor cafe tonight. About a block from the palace is a huge square lined with the city hall, government buildings, a bank, and more than a dozen little cafes. We chose one, ordered, people watched and, when I could, took photos of the people.

"You need to make up captions," Mike said after I had taken a few photos. We threw a few out, but unless you were there, you wouldn't get them, so I'll just say we were laughing over our salad when two couples walked by us. The girls were wearing stilettos (Can someone please tell me how anyone can walk on those things on flat pavement let along on cobblestones???), short dresses and expensive jewelry, and the men looked like they had just stepped out of an ad for rap singers. One guy had his hat on sideways to the back.... I'm sure you know what I mean. All four were smoking those skinny French cigarettes that make me gag when I'm feeling okay and even worse when I'm not feeling well.

"That guy looks like an idiot," I said of the one with the stupid hat.

"He never did anything to you," Mike replied.

"He walked by me smoking a cigarette and looking like a fool." I can get nasty when I'm sick. "If you ever wore a hat like that, I'd pull it down over your ears and throw you out the door."

"I don't think that's the right look for a 60-year old man," Mike said.

"I don't think that's the right look for any man. He looks like a hoodlum." I was pretty agitated, can you tell?

We dropped it and went on to other things over dinner, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two police officers standing near two cars that were parked near the edge of the square. (If you look at the photo of the Mistrau cafe above, you can see one of the dark cars on the right side of the photo.) Suddenly, a tow truck backed up and yanked one of the cars up on the truck bed and quickly took off. The whole incident took less than two minutes, and had I not been enjoying dinner, I might have thought to take a photo.

"Someone is going to get a surprise," I quipped.

"It looks like the cops are waiting for the truck to come back and get the second car," Mike noted.

"I hope we're here when the owner comes out and sees his car gone," I said. "That should be a shock."

"It's Parking Wars — Avignon," Mike said.  "Where's the camera? Vair eez my cahr? Vhat happained veet my cahr?"

We were finishing dessert (I think mine was low-cal.) when I looked up and saw the owner of the now-gone car standing there looking for his car. Stupid hat man. (There is a God,)

He stomped his feet and threw something into the second car before pulling his cell phone out and calling someone. We figure he was calling the police to see where they took his car.  His three friends piled into the other car and sat there for a bit while he huffed on the phone for three or four minutes.  The two cops who had been there when they towed the car walked up, and the guy tried to talk to them.

At this point, the driver of the second car backed into the street, blocking it.  He put down the convertible top, and he and the two girls just sat in the middle of the street watching their friend talk to the cops and make more phone calls.  Suddenly, the tow truck started to back down the street again,   The hat guy threw his arms up in the air, yanked the door open, and slammed his body into the passenger seat as the driver took off.

                      The two cops leave the scene

"He'll go to get his car out of impound, and they'll tell him they close at 6," Mike joked.

"Ve air sew-ree, meez-tair, boot if shjou deedn't way=air sooch a stoo-peed hat, ve cood get shjour cahr." I was enjoying this way too much.

The excitement over, the tow truck left the scene, the two cops walked away, and we paid for dinner and strolled home.

I'm loathe to say that we're planning to go anywhere tomorrow since I seem to jinx our plans each time I do that, but we'll see how we're doing in the morning and decide from there.  Keep your fingers crossed (and cars legally parked).

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