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June 2 – Sete, Castlenau –


Returning to Sete from Cannes on a bee-line across Provence, peage Autoroute 8, fighting an Mystral headwind the whole way, slipstreaming trucks up the hills. The wind phenomenon across South Eastern France known as the Mystral is a constant 20-30 mph wind out of the North/West, bending everything in its path but making for great windmill industry. The hills  here are rust colored due to bauxite, the source ore for Aluminum. Passing Aix, the looming, mountainous ridge, Croix de Provence, is a giant tilted slab of it – contrasting with the conical volcanos forming our Oregon mountains. Much of France is sedimentary limestone ocean floor formed millions of years ago from calcium shelled sea creatures, making dramatic uplifts when broken & exposed, great building blocks when quarried. Errosion, like old age, tends to make everything look alike.

When I arrived, Sete was warm but windy;  Frederic & Damien insisted on making a yummy fish Couscous:

Chop chop

Cook cook

Serve serve

Eat eat

Frederic and I had many discussions about the evolution of Buddhism, the Sangha and Thich Nhat Hanh. He is traveling a lot – first Cuba, now to Columbia – and won’t be in Plum Ville much this summer.

Courte Point (Short Point) was the title of Agnes Varda’s first film. Originally a poor fisherman’s neighborhood jutting into Basin de Thau, the large inland lagoon where the Setois raise abundant oysters and muscles - recalling Gate 5, Sausalito. Actually, My original interest in Sete came from another film, Abdellatif Kechiche’s The Secret of the Grain, a family drama about couscous.

After a brief lunch visit with Elizabeth Riley, a fellow Eugenean living in Castelnau-de-Guers, near Beziers, I again made it upwind for le Dordogne & Plum Village. About that, later.
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