You'd think I'd have plenty of time to update the ol' blog regularly but, well, you know...
My class at the CAREL has ended and I think was well worth the time and money spent. It was good to have to think and speak French for five hours daily and it helped me cement what I already knew and introduced me to more natural ways of speaking. I still have trouble, but I am able to string together enough simple vocabulary words so that I can communicate my overall need or opinion. Bryan may give the CAREL a go if he has time to when he gets back. One activity we did was to watch the news and then describe who was talking and what they said. It was to help us practice speaking indirectly: He said that... She said that...
Aside: The news programs here are like an NPR radio report with visuals; they are creative, complete and interesting to watch. They also give credit at the end of each segment to the people involved with the direction and reporting of the segment. Each one is a work of art.
This particular news report was about the bear repopulation effort in the Pyrenees.
Aside #2: Did you know there are only six bears in all of France? Six. Wow.
One of the men speaking was a tour guide who lead people on walks through the mountains. He was saying that more bears would be good for business. The teacher asked me who was talking and what he said. I didn't know the word for tour guide so I said "L'homme qui marche dans la fôret avec les touristes," which loosely translates to "The man who walks in the forest with tourists." The teacher smiled - I felt like a seven-year-old.
Meredith, Dave and Allyson are here visiting and tomorrow we head down to the Pays Basque and San Sebastian for a little sight-seeing. We'll be staying in a chambre d'hôte in St. Pèe for the night.
Yesterday we went to La Rochelle, a medieval port city just north of here about 45 minutes. We got lunch at a stand and ate down by the harbor with the high school students.
Monday we visited the Royan Zoo, La Palmyre, which is the largest zoo in France and blows doors on some of the sad US zoos we've seen. I have photos to prove it.