With all one hears about the legendary Corsican pirates, I imagined I might be carried off today by swarthy, rough brigand with large hands whose shirt kept opening to reveal a flash of nipple. But no. There was a sailor keeping an eye on things outside the Eglise des Marins, but he was about eighty-six, visibly soiled, and missing all his front teeth. One appreciates older gentlemen, to be sure, but one has one's limits.
Dolores, no surprise, stayed on board nursing her buttock. I hit the street early on and had breakfast at the public market. It struck me, wandering past the stands of spices and meats and cheeses and baked goods, that you can stand in the middle of my local supermarket all day and you never smell anything except disinfectant. Here, in Ajaccio, the scents were intoxicating and I was busy inhaling I almost forgot to take pictures.
I studied French for about four years in high school and college under the august tutelage of Mesdames Dufour, Plessix, Benard, and Croissy. But until today I'd never set foot in a Francophone city. I screwed up my courage and decided to lose my parlez-vous virginity at one of the baker's stalls. The lady running it looked sort of like my Sicilian grandmother, God rest her soul, which I found reassuring.
"Bonjour, madame," I said. "Tarte a l'oignon, s'il vous plait."* She smiled. Mercy me, I thought, it worked! I'm speaking French! Get me, Charles de Gaulle! Je suis cosmopolitain! Oh, la la! Allons-nous a la plage!
"Is okay. Hi. I spik de Inglish," she said. "What you want?"
Attention, Mesdames Dufour, Plessix, Benard, and Croissy: I expect a full refund.
*Lee Ann: Before you give me any shit, I'm typing on a PC and have no idea how to put the accents in. Just go ahead and use your Sharpie right on the screen. Bisoux!