Monday, April 23, 2018

Hail, Caesar

Roman amphitheater at Orange, France

We have a long history of theater in Downey. But it doesn't compare to the history of theater in Orange, France. Here, the Romans built an amphitheater in the early first century A.D. It is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters, with the entire face of the stage still existing. The theater is still in use today—the current production is Phantom of the Opera.

"Playing a major role in the life of the citizens, who spent a large part of their free time there, the theatre was seen by the Roman authorities not only as a means of spreading Roman culture to the colonies, but also as a way of distracting them from all political activities.

"Mime, pantomime, poetry readings and the 'attelana' (a kind of farce rather like the commedia dell'arte) was the dominant form of entertainment, much of which lasted all day. For the common people, who were fond of spectacular effects, magnificent stage sets became very important, as was the use of stage machinery. The entertainment offered was open to all and free of charge." (Wikipedia)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Farmer's market

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Today we visited the farmer's market in Apt. While Downey has a farmer's market every Saturday, the market in Apt really outshines. These tomatoes were referred to as ancient...they were seriously as big as my entire hand. And, the cheeses were pretty impressive.

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The spices were beautiful and colorful and the lavender is always a favorite as it is so typically Provençale.

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IMG_5616But one of the booths I found intriguing was the one with purses, jewelry, belts—all sorts of accessories made out of can pull tabs. I love new uses for old things and have noticed the creative use of things as we have visited more of the south of France, but this one was unique and cool!

Friday, April 20, 2018

The wild horses of the Camargue

Camargue horses

I've always loved horses, and the wild and free beauty of the horses of the Camargue region in France was especially appealing. (You can see an example of how these horses are typically photographed here.) I should have known that the odds of seeing the horses in this environment were about as great as the odds of seeing a bear in Yosemite in the winter!

Many of these horses have been domesticated, and we did see a lot of them in pastures or stables, available for horseback riding throughout the region. Even domesticated, they are still beautiful.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mouse hands

mouse hands

When you think of hands, naturally you think of holding a mouse. Thirty years ago that meant you were holding an actual animal. Since the mid-1980s, it has meant wrapping your hand around a plastic device with two buttons that make moving the computer cursor faster and more accurate. But even that device will soon go the way of the floppy drive. Touch pads and touch screens are making the mouse outdated. But no matter what pointing device you use, you will always need your hand to do it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Humans of Downey - Joseph

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"The way I see it, that we all are the same, is that we all have the same chance, we all have the same opportunity, we all have the same way to get toward something. Whatever our dream is we can go out there and accomplish it. The other way we are all the same is that we can converse with others and share ideas. Conversations are the great equalizer in a society. We all may have different dreams but in conversation we can share how we are achieving our dream.

"I am mostly shy. I ended up going through a different path to come to where I am today. When I was young, my mom would tell people that I was shy. When I was 18, almost 19, I actually started to be open to learning things from others that I was closed to before. I'm also unique because I like to struggle. When I find something is hard for me I want to go through it even more just to get through the resistance. So I actually started loving the struggle, the resistance, things that were hard. Even If I stuttered, I wanted to learn more and more. I have found that I want to learn more about people than I think they want to learn about me. I think I'm unique because most people want to talk about themselves but I would rather listen to others because I haven't lived much of my life yet."

~ Joseph

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Chateau d'If

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As Pam mentioned yesterday, we are out of town, spending some time in the South of France. For those of you who have read (or watched) The count of Monte Cristo, Chateau d'If may sound familiar. Originally a fortress, but for many years a prison, the Chateau was the island prison of Edmund Dantes for fourteen years. Although the story is fiction, Chateau d'If exists on a small island off the coast of Marseilles, France.

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We spent some time there today and had fun exploring and learning a little about the prison no one was supposed to be able to escape from.

Evidently it was seagull nesting time, so all over the island we came across the birds sitting on or guarding their nests hidden within the wildflowers.

It made for a beautiful day.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Narrow streets

Clermont-Ferrand old town

Two-thirds of DDP is on the road again, visiting the South of France. (So please forgive us our occasional internet-related delays.) Today's picture is of a narrow, winding street in the old-town section of Clermont-Ferrand.

Laundry in Clermont-FerrandReading about the history of this town reminds me yet again of how young my city is. In Downey, "historic" is something from the 19th century. Clermont-Ferrand, on the other hand, is one of the oldest cities in France, being mentioned in Greek and Roman times over 2,000 years ago.

Of course, the downside to all of this history and quaintness is a lack of space and modern conveniences.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Rives Mansion redux

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Finally, the Rives Mansion seems to be in the process of renovation. I must assume that a hand-y man is helping to do the restoration! (Sorry for the bad pun, but I forgot to take the picture I had planned for today and we have a theme of hands for the week.)

Perhaps the reason behind the face lift is that the mansion has changed hands recently. It is nice to see it being restored to looking like the iconic building it is.