Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Midway up a hill, just across from the musical instrument store secured by huge wooden doors painted the colors of sunflower orange and scarlet, sits a restaurant. Bright yellow umbrellas shield small clothed tables and white wood chairs from the sun. Brightly colored paintings, some still wet, rest on easels and pigeons scavenge for breadcrumbs on the narrow cobblestone street. Inside the restaurant, people are packed in like poppies in a spring field, raising their heads above the rest and yet still close enough to catch the scent of one another's breath. The French are used to it. It's the Americans who feel the crunch the most. Their comfort zones are compromised. But as the evening unfolds, fruity rose wine flows freely and course after course of Meditteranean delicacies a la Provencale tease the palate and perfect strangers become friends whether they can speak one another's language or not.