The Fete continues unabated in St. Remy de Provence! Last night we attended the grand ball or dance on the Place de Republique. This is a large square that has been largely converted to a carnival site. A stage sits on one side and last night that stage was set with four tiers, curtains, flashing lights, a fog machine, a seven piece band, singers, and scantily clad dancing girls. They were the only ones dancing at this dance. The show was a poorly lit and amplified Las Vegas-style revue with mostly American popular music that you would hear in Las Vegas. We came home early and made plans to skip town today to paint in the mountains overlooking Les Beaux, a beautiful hilltop castle nearby.
Our plans for the day came to an abrupt halt this morning with the closure of all roads in and out of the old part of the village where we are staying. The ring road that surrounds our enclave was to be the site of bull running. We couldn’t get to our car. Therefore, we settled down to watch a few bulls run loose on the ring road while hundreds of testosterone-crazed young men taunted them to a chase. I saw not a single woman taking part in this. Perhaps there is hope for our species. The bulls are few and scattered, sometimes prodded along by horsemen with poles, but mostly running free after any guys who dare stray too close. One fellow strayed more than close and soon the ambulance stationed across from our street was summoned. However the ambulance could not go out into the street with the bulls and young men. Therefore, the horsemen hustled to run the bulls back to their pens so the EMTs could do their work. In the end the horsemen were serenaded with the national anthem. You will note the steel bars in the photos, behind which we remained safely barricaded throughout the event.
Despite the rabble rousing events of the Fete taking place around the city, our little ancient village inside the old walls remains somewhat quiet and calm. These are the views that inspire us to draw and paint.
This afternoon is the grand bull fight in the main arena. It is supposed to be a colorful pageant, but we are skipping it. (No, they do not kill the bulls here, at least until it’s time for them to become entrees on the local menus.
Time for ukulele practice. Bye for now!