Trip Start May 27, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of France  ,
Friday, June 16, 2006

Probably the least cool town of our multi-city/multi country jaunt, Montpilliar offered little to see in our three hour layover. The town has a very diverse (for France) feel with a fair amount of middle eastern and Northern African influence (both in food and the faces seen walking the streets). We found a Patisserie, Boulangerie and Allimantassion (pretty sure I spelled that last word wrong) and constructed a lunch of baguette, Jambon (ham), Fromage (Camembert cheese) and Orangina (popular French orange drink). We were tempted to pick up a bottle of Bordeau wine given our proximity to the region but (clearly being older than most of our backpacking compatriots on the train) opted against it, recognizing we had several transfers yet to sort out in Spain, in a language neither of us can very well fake...

After lunch we found a shady spot in a park near the train station and spent a few hours playing guitar, singing songs known and improvised, and seeing what we could create inspired by our surroundings. As often happens in such situations, several strangers stopped by to watch or heckle (there were a few winos in the park, and a few interested or board people waiting for their trains). One lingered a long time, reasonably well dressed and rather nervously reviewing his train ticket, but not saying anything. At the end of a song I lifted the guitar strap off my shoulder and wordlessly offered to him, with the appreciative response coming in French seemingly as bad as mine. He played for maybe 10 minutes, a solid if not brilliant display of "finger picking" in a somewhat but not completely western style. We listened appreciatively and, when he handed it back, asked (in English) "Where are you from?" He said "New Caladonia", which I have now learned (through the magic of Internet searching) is in "Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia" and seemingly as far from France as one can get.

Not much verbal communication, but a great reminder of the ability music has to bring people together.
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