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However, I do go out from time to time, and today was the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I worked very hard to miss by 48 hours, having been in Berlin until the 7th. I had to content myself with our fair city's pathetic attempt at it, and so I wandered onto the Esplanade about 4 this afternoon. The crowd wasn't as big as the one in Berlin probably is, but then, this is France.
(I especially like the evil cop being menaced by the hammer-wielding guy with a West German flag on his shirt).
The event, and the Wall itself, was sponsored by the Maison du Heidelberg, a cultural organization from one of Montpellier's many twin cities, and one of the guys from there gave the first speech, in which he noted that Montpellier was the only city in France with a "hard rock" replica of the Wall. "Other cities have them made out of styrofoam and cardboard, but the one here is hard rock." Concrete, actually, but who's picking nits at a time like this? "There are many Germans in Montpellier," he said, "and there are a quarter-million French people in Berlin." This, although true, will probably come as a bit of a surprise to some Berliners, because they keep to themselves so thoroughly that nobody knows they're there. A friend of mine was out with one of her friends, a French woman who suggested they go to the bar where she used to work. There was a guy at the door who said the French woman could go in, but the American couldn't. They also have their own free newspaper, which, as someone who tried for three years to start a free English-language newspaper, I have to admit chagrins me somewhat. (Okay, a lot).
Anyway, my notes after the Heidelberg guy stepped down read "speeches speeches speeches." There were also a lot of people protesting the wall in Palestine, which is both just and annoying, since after 15 years in Berlin, I feel a little bit of pride in the Germans (true, not Berliners, but largely Leipzigers) who brought about the change in East Germany, and I didn't like their unsung achievements being overshadowed, especially because the Palestine folks are out on the Comédie at least once a month.
One of the speeches was by Montpellier's mayor, Hélène Mandroux, who is tiny. During her speech, the wireless mike began to go out, and the Palestine people were pressing closer and closer. It was also getting too dark to photograph, but just as I walked away, they started playing Beethoven's setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy," the last movement of the 9th Symphony, and handing out sparklers. I tried and failed to get a shot of that, and walked behind the wall in time to hear some very pathetic hammering going on over on the other side. One thing became clear: the Montpellier wall was not only too small, it was also hollow. But something must have happened, because when I passed by the Esplanade a couple of hours later, it was clearly not there.
Instead, I tried to photograph the sunset on the Comédie, because I'm trying to do a banner for this blog. This won't be it, but it's what it looked like about an hour before I typed these words:
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I got it into my head on Saturday that I could chase this flu with soup. In the distant past, I'd always bought Progresso Minestrone, but I know from experience that I can cook a better minestrone than that, and so I did. I made about four gargantuan portions in the process, but I used up a lot of the market vegetables I had lying around, so I hope I'm in some kind of shape to get down there tomorrow. (Although if not, I'll live).
One vegetable that went into it was those spherical carrots I wrote about a while back, and for those who disbelieve, here they are after I got them back from the market:
The sink looked like I could plant some more carrots in it when I got through scrubbing them, and they still had to be peeled, but they were really good. I'm going to get some of the other odd carrots they have down there when I see them.