Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oui mais non

This is the Waterloo outdoor Sunday market in the Winter, right now it is warm and wall to wall people. I found when we go there even though I don't speak french yet I have to pay attention to what everyone is saying. Anne will tell me "they are talking to you!". So now I listen carefully as I stroll the market. As we step up for service I hear, bonjour madame et monsieur. Of course a response is required. Now I am learning by listening even as we walk around I hear things. The details are interesting. I know "oui", Amelie taught me "oui mais non" this is very Belgian I am told. Yes but no. It reminds me of a cartoon with a small yes and a big But about to come rolling down a big hill at someone, yes BUT. Today I heard "mais non" I thought this might be a quick way to say "oui mais non" but Anne said it is different. I figured it's a soft no, "well no" rather than "NO". I am finding without a lot of guidience new languages are very difficult to truly understand. And as everyone knows even in our native languages we are misunderstood, I truly feel that anything I say in french has little chance of being close to what I wanted to express. Having a french speaking girl friend helps you with some of the basics. Bisou, kiss, Je t'aime, I love you, Je t'aime bien, you're a good friend, Je t'aime beaucoup, can be I love you a lot, or you are a very good friend. I have just read two books, "A Year In The Merde" and "Merde Actually", they both point out a few things like this that can get you in trouble.
Off to see an art show and take a community walk, they do these frequently, they map out some routes and half the town is out walking around.


It's all about food quality with Anne, as it is with my sister of . So as we Americans have come to believe they shop everyday in Europe, small refrigerators fresh food everyday. Well at this house it's different than that. We shop a lot of days but we have a big freezer and we go to different markets on different days for special things available only at these places. Today is Sunday and we go first thing to "boulangerie" the bakery. Not the one you can walk to in the neighborhood where we could get it fresh everyday but to the master "Marc Ducobu". This is a little painful for the weak willed. Not only does he bake the best breads but he is a master with chocolates, pastry, and Glacier, thats ice cream maker. I decided that it would be good for me to venture out on my own, try to find my way to downtown Waterloo, its a mile a way, and be forced to communicate in french. The first week I took a list from Anne, when I got there and it was my turn in line, we aren't the only ones that have discovered Ducobu's, well I couldn't read the note, the man next to me spoke a little english and with a smile wished me good luck. I just gave them the note. Week two I wrote the note myself, this was a great success, I had learned to count in french at the age of 6 so un pistolet, quatre croissants, une grande brioche non coupe, douze chibatas, et deux petits pains blancs coupes. Coupe is cut or sliced. This was great, and every week it changes so I practice on Saturday night and get myself a little psyched. This morning the church parking was full, not for church but the bakery, I got in and the desserts looked great. My turn came and I didn't get the one english speaking counter person, I freaked. Ok start with the easy one, I calmed my self and got through it remembering the Chibata only after I had a total, no problem. They are so proud of me when I arrive home with the right stuff.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Leaving the Gate

Photos, Belgium via Mexico

Larry helping with the new berth/sail locker construction
Michael, the crew, awaits the pancakes at Bahia de Muertos
Anne and the Kids, furry ones are adopted Anne and Ed sailing Mucho home. Not really but people told me that was an ugly picture of us so Anne told me to use this one from Genoa
A latte every morning helps the crew motivation

How it all Started

So, your going through life and you've got some goals. Your making plans and things change along the way. As we all know "The one constant in life is change".

Well after a few bumps in the road of life, I pulled myself out of the ditch on the side of the road and continued my journey. Living on a great boat which I had purchased for a world cruise with my wife, "major bump" I was now alone and needed a new plan. Winter was really wet last year and it didn't give me much good weather to work on the boat so why not take it to Mexico. I really should work on learning Spanish. A goal of mine, "learn foreign languages". And the weather is better to work on the boat.

Getting the boat some good ocean exercise is good also. You get a real idea of what you need to work on to get ready for a world cruise.
So as I start this plan a client of mine gets busy with new boat plans of his own. In stead of working on getting Mucho Gusto, my boat, ready for Mexico, I was traveling around the Caribbean and Europe, working on finding this client a new boat and getting his old boat ready to sell.

While in Genoa I start a conversation with a woman on the boat next to us. We are comparing notes on our favorite spots to sail. Her's Tahiti, that started me telling her about the Sea of Cortez and how Europeans miss that on there fast track from the Caribbean to French Polonesia. I talked about full time world cruising, she said, "well isn't that everyones dream?"
That was interesting to me because, no it's not, and if it is your's it should be a plan not a dream.

So I guess she liked my "plan" and the stories of the magical land of Mexico because she left me her contact information, which I gladly started using.

Continuing on with the plan I get Mucho to Mexico with plans to have her and her kids visit for Christmas. Well that wasn't very practical so we decided I should come to Belgium for the holidays.
Not bad kinda nice here, so that turned into a few months. Why not stay and learn French instead of Spanish this year. Anne and I can hang out here and fix the boat later to world cruise together.
So we decided to take the boat back to San Francisco from La Paz, put it away for awhile and I would move to Belgium get a job and "LEARN FRENCH AVEC MOI"