Monday, July 2, 2007
Salsa Soiree in the South of France
The place to be Saturday night in Leran was the Place des Tilleuls. The event was Fiesta Salsa and included an imported dancing troupe, Tyka Toucan, le plats mexicans, buvette, bar, and tombola. Our Aussie friend Lee-anne was one of the masterminds of the whole shebang, and her stress level was rising visibly as the date approached. She must have sold her soul to the devil in exchange for good weather, and it was well worth it. It would have been a good time to rob anybody except the older housedress crowd of Leran, because the turnout was fantastic.
The young couple in formal black served sangria as we arrived, and her crown apparently signified that she was 'royalty'---what royalty I have no clue. The family in the blue chairs looking looking back at the camera are Nellie, Thiery, Virginia, Laura, and Johan of Le Lera Bar---ah yes, they know us well. Also in the photo are Nellie's older daughter and her parents. The very intense man controlling the music board is Andy, whose house I slapped on a few brushes of limewash. I told him later that he hardly lifted his head to see the action, and he countered that he must have because he drank five beers. Unless you were sitting directly in front of him and can no longer hear anything, the sound system spread throughout La Place perfectly. His wife, Amanda, painted and donated a watercolor of Cours St. Jacques for the tombola table. Other 'tombola' to be raffled off later included donations from local businesses.
Le menu satisfied both carnivores and vegetarians alike. Guacamole, salsa, burritos, chili, all tenderly prepared by local cooks who know what they are doing. No one went hungry. During dinner conversation with a Brit couple visiting Billy and Sally we got on to visiting the USA, and Chris indicated that when she had been to NYC she went in to a restaurant and after dinner asked for the "pudding menu". PUDDING MENU??? This request elicited a ripple of laughter only equal to mine.
The events really revved up when Tyka Toucan headed on stage. Lines formed and I suppose there was some sort of information being passed from dancing troupe to 'student dancers', but you'd never know it by their imperfect syncronicity. Doug claimed to have a doctor's written excuse for not dancing (his knee), but I claim his theory is that dancing is a mating ritual. Sally interpreted this to mean that dancing is a prelude to sex. If any of you would like to pursue this further, you must take it up directly with Doug.
The dancing was not quite 'primal', because of course, this is France. But the evening was glorious, festive, and a prelude to the onslaught of fetes yet to come. Beginning this Friday, we understand the marche gourmande begins---Cours St. Jacques will be lined with banquet tables, food vendors come to town so that we can buy our slab of meat, Francoise has his huge grill set up to BBQ it, then you take it over to the table and feast! This is all new to us gringos, of course, so we will just do what the locals do. Which always includes good company, good food, good wine. In the meanwhile, we are trying to figure out how we will celebrate July 4th on Rue du Four????
Click on the photos to enlarge.