I would like to start this segment off by apologizing to every single French teacher that I have ever had. You were right, I was one. One day I did need to speak the language, and because of you fine and patient people I was able to have an enjoyable time on my 25th birthday. I would also like to give double thanks for one of my father’s friends wives who taught me how to tell people off in French. If you keep smiling, Veronica thinks you are just having a conversation.
Calvi isn’t just your normal tourist spot. Calvi is one of the few Meta tourist spots in the world. It is so aware of the fact that it is a tourist destination that even the people living on Calvi itself seem to be tourists. While asking if the woman getting the ice cream for two (in french), the woman asked me “what?” I repeated, held up fingers and she simply replied with, “Oh, two!” Interesting that after the entire transaction the women spoke no French, and had a cleaner American accent then I did. Either she was a pirate holding the place up, and still serving customers or she was an America Pirate who loves ice cream. Either way, she was a pirate.
Side note: After Napoleon was defeated in his first attempt at world domination he was exiled to this island. He would write many things in his diaries about how wonderful it was to be returning home in the spring to smell the fresh flowers. Too bad that he was insane and made a failed attempt to regain what he had lost after exile, and that to this day his castle is locked to not allow the casual visitor inside. Also I believe that he was in the habit of punching babies. This love for baby punching is what would cause the French to never have another war, ever again.
History is fun and diverting from the story side note: This is “rumored” to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. By rumored I mean that no one really knows where he was born, or what he did before he discovered America. It seems that a ton of places claim that he was born there, including Jersey City, New Jersey, that claims he got a notice of eviction and was just returning to claim his three week old kitten when he discovered America. While the Jersey story is full of holes, it is the only retelling that takes into account his love of kittens.
So far on the trip no place had made me feel like home the way that Calvi managed. I can’t put a finger on it. I don’t know if it was the way that the ocean breeze just seemed to whip up the coast and refresh you at every stop, or the way that the army helicopters seemed to be constantly flying overhead. Maybe it was the way that everyone there pretended to speak French, but managed worse then myself.
No, it was just the store named “Au Sable”.
Side note: It seemed that no matter how many shops you walked into in Calvi you always discovered that they sold knives. Not kitchen knives, or knives that you could convince yourself had a hunting purpose, no, knives that were made for stabbing, possibly babies. You walked into a store that sold shot glass, cups, ash trays, and knives. You go to another that seems to only have bake goods, wait, there are the stabbing knives! Oh, look at this clothing store! That one has a real life ninja star in the window. Knives!
Side note compounding on previous note: Every store that you come to has some kind of crazy name. I know that France probably has a couple thousand years of naming stores and everything, and naming a store must be some kind of monumental challenge, I don’t see “Bootshoe” as a great name for a shoe store. In the picture we also have (what translates to) “Perfume [town you are in] institute of beautiful”, which while not named as simply as bootshoe shows that these people really just reach into the good old scrabble box and agree to name the store whatever God deems it.
Mainly because both of us are tired of my mother telling us to go into churches throughout Europe and pray for world peace and everything that we can think of, we entered the one here in hopes of getting her off our backs. We didn’t manage to light a candle or anything, because even with instructions the entire process of “donating” the amount “requested” required no less then 10 steps, two of which involved waking a sleeping priest. While both concepts of stealing the candle to pray for the world, and asking a man who could very possibly have been up all night giving last rights to break a 100 euro for less then 2 did seem interesting, we decided we would just hit up the next church for the candle.
This marks pretty much the first time during the trip that I had a “huh, I guess we are in another country” moment. Even though almost everyone spoke perfect English, and it was possible the one country that I have been to that everyone secretly wanted to be an American, it was also the first time that I walked around and said, “Knives and baguettes, you really can’t those two things in the same store in America. Huh, they don’t ask for ID either.”