Friday, October 3, 2008
Overheard "En France"
Sadly, the 7 years of French that I studied from junior high school through freshman year of college were of little avail while in France this week. Seriously, where does all that lost information go? Thankfully, by the third day, I figured out how to communicate this om gal’s key phrase for survival, “Puis avoir du thé,” meaning, “May I please have some tea.” For me, a morning in any time zone without it is a dark, groggy, decaffeinated place. Nevertheless, there were plenty of perplexing yet entertaining pieces of conversation overheard in my own native tongue. Below, 5 intriguing (and, yes, ironic) phrases uttered in Provence during the bike trip on which I was teaching yoga all week:
1.) Me to a guest inquiring about the program for the afternoon: “Yes, you’ll have plenty of time to do both the afternoon wine tasting and the 4:30 p.m. yoga class.”
2.) Me to the class while demonstrating a standing split: “You may recognize this version of hanumanasana as the pose Ron did earlier today en bicyclette.” Indeed, the bike was moving . . . down a one-lane country road. You know the kind, a quintessentially European, winding route prone to gravel, mopeds, speeding cars, and the like? Perhaps it's worth mentioning that Ron is 56. (He calls this daredevil move the "chien chaud;" that's English for the "hot dog").
3.) Our oh-so-lovely bicycle tour guide to the chef prior to dinner: [en Francais] “In terms of dietary restrictions, we have one guest [referring to me] who does not eat red meat.”
The Chef: “Pas de probleme [no problem]- we’re serving veal!” Regardless of its classification, I wouldn't partake, but it made for a funny situation nonetheless.
4.) Me to the class after a request to feature poses that reflect elements of the trip, whose mantra is Bike. Eat. Drink. Sleep. “This is half-pigeon pose- which is the closest I can get to duck- like the one you had for dinner last night.”
5.) A guide, upon being asked about incidents involving poorly behaved guests: “We had a guest throw a temper tantrum once. At the top of a big hill, she threw her bike at a guide . . . She was a yoga teacher.”
[Photo: Two cyclists test-drive a partner stretch that we practiced earlier that day. I was so proud; I had to snap a photo].