Monday, May 17, 2010
An ewt in Ramatuelle... read on
énième (en-ee- em) adjective
: umpteenth, steenth, nth
Audio File & Example Sentence:
Larmoyante, elle a fait son énième mea culpa.
Teary eyed, she excused herself for the umpteenth time.
("Naomi Campell: Le Mea Culpa de Trop" Gala magazine)
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Words & Expressions Learned (or revisited) While on Vacation
faire le pont = "to do the bridge"
Because Ascension Day falls on Thursday, the French arrange their agendas to allow for a vacation "bridge" (to cover the following work day...) one in which Friday becomes part of the passage to the weekend—and no longer part of the obstacle (work, ever the obstacle!).
And so it was that we skipped work on Thursday and Friday... in time to join a group of friends along the Blue Coast for our annual May getaway.
une hutte (noun) = hut
On the outskirts of Ramatuelle, near St. Tropez, along the sandy Pampelone beach with its turquoise sea and undulating eau de mer, hundreds of bamboo bungalows face the Mediterranean. Similar to the sailboats anchored across the horizon, these abodes are amovible. I overhear fellow vacationers refer to these "chiqued up" mobile-homes as huttes (which the French charmingly pronounce at ewts).
"Quel numéro de hutte as-tu?"
Moi, I have number 47, three rows back from the sea. Our hut does not have a seashore view, but is one in a circle that faces a half-dozen identicle huts—all occupied by "Les Marseillais" (the group of friends that we join each year. This being our 10th meet-up....)
griffes de sorcière (noun, f) "witches claws"
These modernized and elegant ewts are surrounded by succulents commonly known as les griffes de sorcières (Carpobrotus edulis). The pulpy plant's flowers, in pastel yellow and pink, stretch out over the sizzling sable, mimicking the barely clad beachgoers.
Speaking of bare-clad...
My friend Sophie and I have arranged ourselves on the beach, contorting barely clad bodies into inconspicuous positions, only, in so doing, we become conspicuous. I borrow Sophie's Gala magazine for cover. Though it won't hide my entire body, it will conceal my face (rendering my body inconnu if not "ni vu").
As I lie there, incognito, my nose to the spine of the magazine, ink bleeding onto my cheeks, I notice a story about a famous model's latest meltdown or run-in with la rage, wherein the superstar shows, once again, her very own "claws" or griffes de sorcière—only they aren't as soft as those flower "griffes" that embellish the ewts at the top of the beach.For a grateful moment, I think about anonymity and this gift of lying inconspicuously by the sea. Who would want to be a star or a tabloid sensation-stalked celebrity? A few extra kilos no longer hold the same oppressive power over me and I wouldn't trade this heaven... for "Tall, Thin and In Trouble with the Paparazzi Again."
eau de mer
"ni vu (ni connu)" = neither seen nor heard
note: deadlines! deadlines! I ran out of time for the vocab section! Anyone like to help complete it? Thanks for volunteering a word or definition here, in the comments box.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety