There should be a word for that feeling when one sees a familiar face after a day of being shuffled around with massive amounts of complete strangers. Relief comes close. Hugo picked me up at the Rennes airport after my 18 hours of travel. It had been an awkward ballet of failed sleeping positions with no intermission.
He took me to the apartment where I’d be staying, which used to be a suite in a very old hotel right next to the city center. I spent the afternoon fighting off jet lag, reading and touring Rennes on foot.
For a day, I felt sick to my stomach and could barely eat anything. I slowly replaced my bloodstream with Coca-Cola Light (suspicious of the tap water by this point) and some God-given medicine called “Spasmocalm.”
Sounds dumb, but really: It hits like a drug, the realization of how far away I was from anything I knew.
St. Malo, beach
There is so much mica that the beach looks like two parts sand to one part glitter. Rows of algae coated tree trunks stand ready to break breaking waves that could wash over the street. The ocean is freezing, but it’s a welcome jolt after the long walk from the only quasi-legal parking spot left thanks to hoards of French folks ready to bask in the high temperatures.
Vintage sunglasses and earrings, A wear sweater, American Apparel shorts, Bisou Bisou bikini
Seagulls swoop, I read a few chapters of Into the Wild, get covered in sand and freckles, etc.
I wish I could claim responsibility for this sand fortress.
In the time it takes to walk into the city, peruse shops, eat two crepes (one crispy, with finely chopped vegetables wrapped in a black flour pancake, one sweet with a caramel unique to the Brittany region), and saunter along stone walkways, the shoreline has receded 50 meters, accommodating more sun bathers.
If the sea can come so close to lapping at the city streets, only to take it all back, I’ll be a little fickle, too.
Fort St. Pere, music festival
La Route Du Rock has a pretty great set-up. The music runs from about 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Who shows up to these things at noon, anyway? It helps that noise ordinances mustn’t have been too strict at the makeshift venue, which was accessible by long dirt roads through wheat fields. The camping area had rental huts with locks available to patrons with interests such as sex and not being stolen from. The first few hours were shadeless and therefor kind of miserable. I heard it would be cold here. The first band is some bad electro group that America back-washed. In fact, all the music (except for an excessive set by Dominique A) is in English. Alt-J puts on the best show.
Here’s some good footage from Rennes TV, though I can always do without musicians denying they have a genre and analyzing the “internet age.”
Between sets, I affectionately watch the interactions of a group of drunk teenagers. The most outgoing girl kisses everyone, but saves the public make-out session for the boy she (presumably) likes most. They grope in a sunny, open area right by the stage. I’m smiling to myself, but the next time I look over, a visibly wasted girl has taken their place and is trying to vomit with the disturbingly involved encouragement of two friends. Maybe 18 is a bit young for the legal drinking age, after all.
As soon as the sun sets, it gets very cold and I can’t ignore how exhausted I feel. A photographer comes by. I smile broadly because I like the idea of looking ecstatic in a French magazine I’ll never see.