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Suzanne White

Author • Adventuress • Astrologer

Life on the Run

DRIVING HOME FROM PARIS 2014

by Suzanne White - on Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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When I come home from the US after a house swap in California I always rent a car in Paris airport and drive myself home to Provence. This vignette tells the story of the second part of my journey. Home at last! 

Yesterday I left Lyon at 10 am. The trip to Aups from Lyon usually takes a normal driver about 4 hours. I got home at 4pm. First, I took the wrong road and was headed back to Paris by mistake. Lost half an hour. Then I drove south for awhile and felt sleepy. Pulled into a layby with trees and slept about 40 mins. Woke up wondering where the heck I was. Got bearings and slid back onto the road for another hour.

Then felt hungry. Stop at Autoroute restaurant/boutique. Grab sandwich (in plastic), small packet of chips, a Coca Lite and an apple. Drive another 50 kms and decide to stop and eat. Find a leafy bower and listen to France Inter radio doctors telling about the placebo effect whilst munching on plastic foods. Then I rig myself a garbage bag, chuck in what I don't eat and ditch it in the designated poubelle (FYI Monsieur Poubelle invented the garbage can).

Then I drive straight into a rainstorm fit for Noah. Sloshed around for 45 mins then made another pit stop. Got another apple and some of the local nougat (honey country) at Montelimar. If it hadn't been raining so hard I would left the highway and taken the Nationale #7 so as to see my Lady France bursting with Spring. Neon yellow fields of colza (rape) glowing patchwork all across the landscape which is, itself, peppered like a quilt with a 100 different-colored rolling green fields - pea green and lime green and bottle green and racing green and grass green - all of them screaming: LOOK AT ME! I AM SPRINGTIME! SPRINGTIME IS RIGHT HERE!

With the masses of wildflowers blooming along the shoulder, you expect a full-sized Easter Bunny to stand up out there and wave his basket at any moment. But instead of joyfully gaping at the landscape, I stayed on the super highway and dodged trucks. As on holidays no trucks are allowed. yesterday on the highway (Tuesday after Easter Monday) was a truck jamboree.... like the Teddy Bears' Picnic only no bears. Just huge double-barreled container trucks and logging trucks and dangerous chemical trucks and trucks full of wine and of cement and gas and oil and water and vegetables and dirt. Some from Poland and Bulgaria and others from Spain and Italy and Russia and UK... all of them too big to see my peanut Peugeot 208 from their cabs. I drove (swam) slowly through the puddles and I ducked as the next behemoth truck passed me and swamped my windshield.

When I glimpsed the vast orchards of fruit trees along the road at Avignon, I began to feel that I was almost home. Then came the Montagne Sainte Victoire at Aix. Finally, my exit at Brignoles hove into view. I got off. Paid an extortionate fee to use that soupy trucking road and breathed a sigh of relief to see ahead my sinuous, teacherous, lovely twisty, windy, narrow road homeward through Le Val and Carces and Cotignac and Sillans and finally to Aups where the livin' is easy. My neighbor had turned on the heat and my friend Patricia had cleaned. House was perfect. I was exhausted. Slept from 6 to 8 pm. Then I got up, ate two slices of toasted Fig bread slathered in real Roquefort, drank a glass of local rosé, ate another apple and went to bed. Phew. Home Sweet Home. ©sw2014

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Author Suzanne White

About Suzanne White

Suzanne White is the High Priestess of Chinese and Western Astrology. She's American and has lived in France for 50 years. She spends some months in America every year on house swaps. Suzanne says: One day I'm a rip-roaring Yankee and the next day I'm an dainty, elegant Parisienne My totally bi-lingual life is a kind of "managed schizophrenia". It's fun. I live for fun. I will probably die of it too.