Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The red-as-lips walls of Alba, Italy.
In French language software: TeLL me More French -- Used everyday in more than 10,000 academic institutions.
le baiser (beh zay) noun masculine
Un baiser est un tour délicieux conçu par la nature pour couper la parole quand les mots deviennent superflus. A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous. --Ingrid Bergman
* * *
No one speaks English in Alba, Italy. And why should they? Their mouths are busy speaking Italian (when not wrapped around truffles or trembling lips...).
Jean-Marc has pulled the car over three times to ask for directions. The Italians walk right up to the passenger window and, with their whole body engaged in a hula hoop motion, seem to indicate a roundabout, or road junction. With that, their hips settle before a chop chop chop of the right arm. That means "straight on!" I say to Jean-Marc. Grazie!* we say. Prego!* they smile.
Two roundabouts later, Jean-Marc parks next to a bustling outdoor market, red brick buildings all around, and we make our way into the ancient quarter of town. A grandmother with an American accent is chatting to a baby in a poussette.* I have the urge to say something but I'm not sure what. The last time I said "Hi, I speak English too!" (at my local market) the English couple looked at me as if my pants zipper was undone.
With a sigh, I pass the American and hold on to my husband's hand and that's when we run into the kissers. Jean-Marc's eyebrows shoot up and down, up and down as he draws my attention to the steamy scene. I look over to find a couple of Italians standing in the middle of a high traffic pedestrian lane. Apparently handholding isn't original enough and so they're linked at the head.
"Remember when we used to kiss like that?" I say to Jean-Marc, only kidding him because we never used to kiss like THAT.
I'm still staring at the couple, staring as only a traveler can when she's an ocean away from home and when cultural rights and wrongs are still blurry enough that one might stare until the Italian cows come home. Jean-Marc doesn't seem to mind my staring, in fact did he even hear my comment? I clear my throat: "Remember when we used to kiwmmmmmmmmmmmmmhhhmmmm--"
I feel a tightening around my waist and notice my feet have left the ground. The buildings are spinning around me as I twirl along with my husband who seems to feel that handholding is no longer original enough.
References: Grazie! (Italian) = Thanks!; Prego! = (talian) Please! (You're welcome); la poussette (f) = stroller
Hear French: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, recite today's quote: Download baiser.wav
Un baiser est un tour délicieux conçu par la nature pour couper la parole quand les mots deviennent superflus.
The famous kiss by Robert Doisneau: Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville
L'Occitane Shea Travel Treasures Set
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