22 March 2010

In which I eat too much, go to thermal baths, and watch Romeo & Juliet

Last night we finally had the dual birthday party for me and Thibault (Lupita's boyfriend who shares my birthday). After all the date changes, it was a very belated party, but very nice nonetheless. We squeezed 22 people into Thibault's parents' living room and ate for THREE AND A HALF HOURS straight, what with all the side dishes and salads people had brought, various cheese courses, quiches, charcuterie course (meat + meat), chocolate mousse, fruit salad #1, fruit salad #2, two birthday cakes, and then there were the beverages: spiked punch, limonade, corona, red wine and champagne (my head tells me this is not a combination for readers to try at home). After the massive meal, which had begun to walk a fine line between pleasure and a new torture method (like water boarding, just with food), we all played the French version of Cranium, which, as it turns out, is nearly impossible for foreigners to play, seeing as none of us grew up watching the same tv shows, and we have only a cursory knowledge of French music from the '70's (uh, Serge Gainsbourg, uh...). It was 3am before we made it back to the apartment and this morning I've enjoyed lazing about in my pajamas, reading Junot Diaz's awesome new short story in the New Yorker and watching Fado videos (I've recently become obsessed with Portugal, and I'm sad that I don't think I'll be able to travel there this time around). Here are two good ones so far:

 Mariza's Rosa Branca
The video itself is really lovely, and she's beautiful to watch...Here are the lyrics in English, though I'm sure it doesn't do the Portuguese justice:

From: http://lyricstranslate.com
White Rose:
With a rose at my breast on the dance floor
I danced with whoever was there
I danced so much
That the rose fell to pieces
Whoever has, whoever has
The gift of love
Picks the white rose
Puts it at their breast
Oh rose bush, little rose
Rose bush in my garden
If you love roses so much
Why don't you love me?
Whoever has, whoever has
The gift of love
Picks the white rose
Puts it at their breast

And this performance is incredible, though not for the faint of heart/ear:
Mariza Primavera

In other news this week, I got to go to a bain thermes (thermal bath) in Luxeil, which was fairly similar to the baths in Budapest, but with far fewer people (this was a Weds pm, though) and slightly newer facilities (the baths in Luxeil were built in the late 1800's, whereas the Rudas ones in Budapest were truly OLD). Here's a photo of the baths on the left; on the right, a photo of one of the many 19th century hotels built for the wealthy bourgeois crowds who came to take the waters, but are now falling into aesthetically pleasing disrepair (an interesting side note: the waters in Luxeil are supposedly renowned for curing "genital difficulties." VD? Fertility problems?? I don't know, but it made me feel kind of germophobic, I'll tell you that...).
The baths were very peaceful (and cold, unfortunately) with high ceilings above the jacuzzi, a hammam, and a heated pool with jets of all sorts grouped in different stations, allowing you to rotate to the foot station, the back station, etc. We all came away feeling decidedly more relaxed!
Also this week I got to accompany a group of kids to see a performance of Romeo and Juliet,  a special adaptation for three actors that was done by the European troupe Theatre en Anglais, who travel all over Europe performing English language works in English for school groups. I am normally pretty wary of watching Shakespeare's tragedies performed, since it seems really difficult not to overact those roles, but these three actors blew me away, they were incredible performers, and struck just the right tone for our high schoolers, keeping it light and funny in places, yet showing emotional depth. They highlighted R & J's youthful immaturity (and whining) balanced with the characters' enthusiasm--bravo!

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, I'm just back from New Mexico and very happy to see that your culinary adventures continue; with gusto! I think I would have enjoyed the thermal baths. Ken