Thanks to the heat wave currently sweeping through France, we all suffered last night and got minimal sleep. I blame either my sleep deprivation or short attention span for getting bored 20 minutes into our first activity in Marseille, the MUCEM (Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée). It took all of my self-control not to wander off from the group and the tour guide. But I am weak, so I failed. For me, the only interesting part of the museum’s interior was a way-too brief section on Algers amidst a sea of white, masculine history. At least the rooftop views were nice?
After the beautiful air-conditioned museum, several of us followed the program’s director to Les Terrasses, a beautiful air-conditioned shopping mall. We made a brief pit stop at L’Espérantine de Marseille, an artisanal chocolate store where I ingested the most delicious chocolate I’ve ever eaten, made especially rich and smooth thanks to olive oil (which you thankfully could not taste in the chocolate). Tragically, I did not buy any because I didn’t want to end up with a puddle of melted chocolate in my tote bag. I did, however, buy a tin of loose-leaf strawberry tea after lunch because I couldn’t resist the smell.
Thirteen of us then participated in a guided visit of Nice, which I actually paid attention to but now can’t remember anything other than tidbits about Marseillais soap. This time, I blame the heat. I do, however, vaguely remember the port and the colorful streets that reminded me of my year abroad in Nice. Oh, I also remember the Cathédrale La Major, a stunning cathedral, because we spent a good amount of time seated in its wonderfully cool interior before the director treated us to free ice cream or cold drinks at L’Espérantine de Marseille for being the brave few who tackled the heat.
I think a good portion of us passed out on the air-conditioned bus on the ride back, given that it was still 90 degrees in Avignon last night and no one has AC here. This year has had too many weather extremes for me (-10°F in Ithaca in January and now 113°F/44°C in Avignon). If I ever get rich, I’m moving to some magical land where the weather never dips below 40°F and never rises above 80°F. It’s way past my old lady bedtime, but the idea of moving both myself and my fan is just too much effort.