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Monday, 01 December
Avignon, Meal Two

You try to not violate your travel rules. Inevitably, you fail.

I don't know why this is hard. The wife and I learned this early on: Do not eat anywhere close to the town square, for you will be served fucking garbage. We violated this rule on our trip--again--and paid.

It was nearing ten o'clock in Avignon, and we had not eaten. Yes, we were in the fucking town square; yes, we were hungry; yes, we fell prey to the siren song of a godforsaken eatery on said square. We sidled up to it like you might approach a bored whore.

It should have been a sign all by itself. A waiter hollered to us--we apparently stink American, since he didn't even bother to try our awful French--"You better get a table! We close in fifteen minutes!" He really was very friendly, in a harried kind of way; I like to think of him as the Luc Besson of waiters. He didn't really care about the overall experience of his clients, but was mostly concerned with how efficiently he could cycle them in and out of his worldview. Which is why I suppose we were served the gastronomic equivalent of The Fifth Element.

I ordered a simple steak, which turned out to be, in Moe Scyszlak terms, the size of a toilet seat, generously marbled with copious amounts of gristle. The wife opted for a truly grievous pasta pomodoro thing, which she proceeded to salt the everloving bearfuck out of. I must have stared a little bit at her, since she eventually hissed, "It doesn't taste like anything." I dipped my head ruefully and continued sawing away at my sinewy colossus of pure meat; an unappetizing gruel of over-sauteed vegetables stared at me accusingly and greyly from the side of my plate. I ignored their vegetized grumping and concentrated on chewing my astounding gristle-slab while the wife continued to strafe her dismal dish of bloodied pasta with killing fusillades of sodium.

It's simple. Don't eat on the public squares. This is a lesson that we should have learned--we have learned--over many years of shared travel. We still fuck this up.

Roam | Skot | 01 Dec, 2008 |

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I corroborate this testimony. It is eerily similar to an episode I had in Nice in 1985. Wanted dinner too late...ate in town square...cordial owner (an American woman, I think). I ordered pork.

The next day my friend and I drove through the Alps. I have few remembered visions of stunning peaks. My more vivid images are vomit on roadside gravel.


Comment number: 017671   Posted by: on December 2, 2008 07:38 AM from IP:

Great travel tip. Also, don't eat at restaurants with translated menus. Also, it's good luck if the word "chat" is in the restaurant name. As long as it's in France that is.

Comment number: 017672   Posted by: edward on December 3, 2008 01:41 PM from IP:

I stumbled on your blog via Defective Yeti and I am still hysterical over your hot chocolate and rum adventure. Good stuff.

Comment number: 017673   Posted by: nicole on December 4, 2008 02:20 PM from IP:

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