My dear friend, D., has been my ally and friend through thick and thin, through my young, silly mother phase, to a more mature, tranquil outlook on life, without ever making me feel inadequate or lesser than her brilliant self. D. and J. have an absolutely kid-friendly, welcoming home and always invite fascinating people to share dinner with when we visit. This time was no exception. The hospitality was warm and we all enjoyed ourselves to no end. We were given dinner and beds and told we had wonderful children, what more could a mother wish for?
The next day, under a scorching sun, D. took us to the brand new (to us) tram for a mini-tour of Bordeaux. For those of you who knew Bordeaux back in the 90's and early years of the 21st century, it has changed significantly. The mayor, Alain Jupe, obliged all of the building owners in the center of the city to clean up the facades of their property. Instead of a blackened mess, they are sparkling cream, as they were originally built. Many surplus, old, dilapidated structures were removed to make room to enjoy the classical, Parisian-like architecture that characterizes Bordeaux. A pond that changed the city was added, really! It was not meant to be a pond, but D. took us to the new "Mirroir de la Bourse" to see and join in all the the people splashing barefooted in the reflecting mirror of the Place de la Bourse.
In any case, that second evening, I picked up my daughter who had spent two days with her best friend, daughter of one of my favorite friends, in Andernos. We made the most of the short time we had by meeting for a cool soda at the train/tram station before each heading in opposite directions. Our sons found that they got along as well as they had when they last saw each other and it was fantastic to see my friend again. We arrived home to late to help with chopping up vegetables, but in time to learn how an Algerian friend of D's cooks couscous "the right way." It was appropriately hot in the kitchen, but she stood for at least two hours with her couscous; rinsing it, running it through her fingers, steaming it, and repeating the whole process two more times. She made a soup/sauce and kosher lamb to go with it. Delicious. The conversation was interesting, all about an Algerian view of the United States, with a little bit of French opinion thrown in and the Americans mostly listening, we're used to being the center of attention, both good and bad, and don't mind it as much as we did twenty years ago. The night ended way too late, but no one minded, especially not the children who were permitted to stay up late, late, late.
The next day we set off for la Vendee, up north three hours by car, and that is another story!