on the road, day 8: bourges to limoges.

This is a photo of something I would never in a million years do. A bee landed on Terrie's finger while we were having coffee after our quite awful lunch in Bourges. Actually, the bee landed on his arm first and walked its way up to his finger with Terrie coaxing it along. I myself would've been halfway down the street after the bee landed on me...I have a well-documented anti-stinging insect policy.

It turns out that Terrie's bar for insect tolerance was set extremely high during the year he spent driving around Africa in 1995 or so. He and Emma toook a Land Rover to the Sahara and basically drove around for a year, also hitting the Congo, Chad, and plenty of other places where no one does this. Some of the roads they went on hadn't seen a vehicle in 6 years according to locals. I'll get to that in a minute.

But when Colin and I cringed over the fact that Terrie was letting this bee have its way with him, he said: "Bah...when we were in the Sahara, hoor, that was heavy. Some days you really had to run for your life. Because the insects were so thirsty, hoor, if a bee or wasp found out that you had something like a tomato with you or in your car, they would go back and tell all of the other bees or wasps, and in 10 minutes, they would all show up for the tomatoes and start stinging you without being provoked, because they needed the tomatoes. and you just had to run (maniacal laughter)."

"They also had these little bees called sweat bees that wouldn't sting you, but they wanted your sweat. And as soon as they found you, your face would be black with them, crawling up your nose, under your eyelids...you just had to wipe them off like shaving cream, hoor (maniacal laughter). It was crazy! Some days we had to stay in the car all day and only come out after dark because they were so bad."

"But the most aggressive insects were the termites....Emma and I were sleeping on these foam mats and one night we heard this tack tack tack tack tack (mimes large mandibles chomping) and we looked down and they'd eaten half the mattress (maniacal laughter)."

He then went on to talk about how you couldn't leave oranges in your car because the elephants would tear your car apart looking for them....and not to get between a hippopotamus and the water. But anyway that's why Terrie's not bothered by bees.


Terrie is bothered by undercooked pasta and bland cream sauces, however. As are the rest of us to varying degrees. The most damning piece of evidence with regard to how bad the food was in Bourges is that Kat said it was "smaakloos", tasteless. And as Andy said: "if Kat complains that something is tasteless, then that's really saying something".

It had started promisingly with a good-sounding recommendation from the desk clerk at Kat's hotel, French home cooking with local ingredients. But we couldn't find it. And then someone who shall remain nameless spotted a place that advertised "fresh pasta" and went in. What followed was a splendid illustration of why it's worth spending a little time planning a lunch spot when on tour.

This was just 100% form over content. There were glass jars of artfully arranged dried pasta everywhere, wine bottles galore, Tuscan yellow on the walls and tablecloths, but wow what an absence of love in the food. They first brought out some bruschetta mozzarella that really just screamed Pizza Hut in every way: industrial, mass-produced, probably frozen and reheated. Then the pasta came out, accompanied by Parmesan granules (not grated parmigiano reggiano, but "Parmesan")...and everyone's pasta was uniformly undercooked, dry, and completely, weirdly tasteless. I myself had veal Marsala, which was OK once I salted and peppered it. But in general this was the worst restaurant meal I've had in a long time.


Then it was off to Limoges. The venue was cute and downright petite, part of the university...it was a 10 year anniversary party, so the atmosphere was festive. More exciting than this was the fact that the opening band sounded like they might not totally suck. Dinner was better than average, brought in by a cook who was very proud of his work: a tomato-less ratatouille, a strongly herbal and spicy couscous, pork in a mustard sauce, and a nice green salad. The gig was fine, the PA was a little small, about the size of my home stereo, so the sound didn't really fill the space so well. Also, this was the smokiest night of the tour, and after this I would finally succumb to lung duress...I've been coughing and sneezing ever since. The opening act was in fact good and they was some nice people too.

1 comment:

MEM said...

u fuckin; rock dude. i miss ur leetle face but not ur good writin'. kutgw.