What trip isn’t full of unexpected surprises? What could be more boring than a flawless trip?
I convinced my brother to take me with him to the International Surf Film Festival in Anglet, France. It cost us a fortune. But once we put this boondoggle in motion, we couldn’t seem to stop the train.
Airfare was cheap the week before we left and cheap the week after we needed to be there. We threw caution to the wind, threw more money at the problem and eventually came home First Class! What the hell, if you’re going to break the bank, you might as well fly in style.
We landed in Spain and asked the taxi driver to take us to the train station so we could get a cheap bus to Biarritz in France. He thought we asked him to take us to the train station in Biarritz….and this conversation was in English. When we realized our mutual mistake we just said take us to our hotel. It was a 60 Euro mistake.
Every single cab ride after that…where we went less than 3 miles cost us 25 Euro in France. We quickly learned how to take the bus for 1 Euro and returned to Spain on the bus for 7 Euro. Truly that was the kindness of the French people who taught theses crazy Americans how to save money.
Our biggest problem happened when my brother had to be at a filmmaker’s meeting at 3:00. We made it to the venue just on time. But nobody knew where Bruno, our contact was. My brother called Bruno, who told us we had to be at the lighthouse. We could see the lighthouse in the distance. We knew this would be another 25 Euro cab ride if we could get someone to call us a cab. See in these beach resort towns, there are no cabs. The only way to get one is to call…..and speak French. I’ve been practicing my French for years, and eventually, I did call…and they asked me to speak English. We managed to get to the lighthouse after realizing that the French for lighthouse is not “maison lumiere” but “phare,” which was on the map, thank God, because how the hell would we know that word?
At the phare, we still couldn’t find Bruno. I’d like to say we found cotton candy, cool rides and funnel cake, but it was just a phare. My brother called Bruno again, and he said:
“Non, I said ze white house!” in a French accent, which is where communication broke down.
Of course, Bruno doesn’t know what a lighthouse is……it’s a phare, to him. By the way, we were standing in front of the white house when we called Bruno the first time. Seventy-five Euro later, we were too late for the meeting.
Everything else was perfect. The weather, watching a film festival on the beach in France, the surfing for aficionados like my brother, the food, the shopping, the wonderful,
wonderful French people.
Only two more things were unforgettable:
My brother is a vegetarian. It was a bit of a challenge to find anything without meat or seafood. But we managed and restauranteurs did their best to help us. So in a bold move, on our last night there, when the owner of the restaurant tried to make something for my brother to eat, we wanted to thank him for his kindness.
I said: ‘Mon frere adore tous les voitures francais! Il est magnifiques!
I wanted to say: “My brother adores all the French food. It is magnificent.”
If you speak French you know I said: “My brother adores all the French automobiles. They are magnificent!
And in Spain…… I dropped my toothbrush in the bidet.
“You Just have to Laugh….”