Day 133: Christmas Shopping

Mon. 24th December 2012

Christmas shoppingChristmas Eve is finally here and we start the day by writing a shopping list – we have not done that for a long time! We need to get to the supermarket before noon as the regulations here do not allow alcohol to be sold there after that time – most unfrenchlike. We are splashing out on breakfast and dinner in the hotel tomorrow, but lunch is planned to be a picnic on the beach. We also need lunch for today to save eating out again.

However, as Dave mentioned we are not paying the hotel price for breakfast so first up is a trip out for breakfast. We were not organised enough to buy in advance yesterday, with changing hotels and so we find a cafe and sit out in the sun. Straight after breakfast it was our first family Skype session (yes I have a list for that too as it is difficult to get our heads around the 11 hour time difference). It was 11pm on Sunday evening for Steve but 10am Monday for us!

Time is marching on and it is getting as stressful as a usual Christmas Eve at home! The best supermarket is a bus ride away. Unfortunately the bus is elusive again and with no timetable at the bus stop, we have no idea when the next is due. There are plenty of dedicated buses going by for the cruise ship passengers but none for us “residents”. We are just starting to wonder what Plan B should be when one turns up.

Away we goThe supermarket is busy and we just manage the shopping in time, but with our load all we can do is head home and stock the fridge (the advantages of the junior suite is it has its own kitchenette).

On checking our emails we find that our Christmas email to everyone has stuck in the email outbox and so Dave has to so send 6 at a time (with much swearing and more stress), giving me time to fill the baguette with cheese and ham for a picnic lunch.

Neat kitWe definitely need to chill and so head off with our lunch to find a shady spot and watch the world go by. Yesterday we saw kite surfers in the distance so we head out of town along the beach for a better look. At the peninsular there is a small sandy beach full of kite surfers. We sit under the shade of a tree and admire their ability and the determination of some to master the art of jumping as high as possible.

DSC05625 There are a few spectacular wipe outs and a few ropes tangled on re-entry to the beach (no kite surfers were harmed during the taking of these photos!) It was fascinating to watch them all and one guy had a very cool end to his session, he leapt in the air and landed neatly on the beach, dismounted and walked off to pack his kit away. The kites neatly fold into a big backpack (bigger than mine) and to open them they are unfolded and the leading edge is pumped full of air to form a rigid side to the kite. All you need then is to strap on the essential harness and get a mate to hold it steady while you fill the sail with wind and walk calmly to the waters edge. They make it look so easy. As an ex windsurfer (too much like hard work to do it now!) I can appreciate the art of finding the neutral spot for the wind in the sail so it does not pull you, while you prepare for the off.  Some have perfected the beach start but others are still on the get wet first and scramble onto the board whilst holding the kite in the air approach, all very interesting to watch.

Kite surfers from Dave Hornsey on Vimeo.

After a while we head further along the beach past the Meridien hotel, which costs twice as much as here but four times as much as Le Pacifique we were in originally. Looks impressive but we were not tempted.

We have an enforced sit by the pool so our room can be cleaned, the cleaner finally got to our room just before 5pm and in a hurry as it is Christmas Eve, which the French celebrate rather than Christmas day. We again comment that although the room here is good, the service is perfunctory rather than the standard expected for the price – perhaps we should have gone for the Meridien for our Christmas pampering?

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