Friday, August 07, 2009

Beach Days

Pezenas is about an hour south of Montpellier and inland a bit. If you drive directly to the sea from Pez you would get to the beaches near the town of Agde. I had heard these beaches were crowded and touristy. After the drive down to what were supposed to be the nicer beaches south of Perpignan and not loving them we decided to hang at our local plage at Cap D'Agde. We hit Jungle Beach the first day and stuck with it for the rest of the week. It is a wide beach with great sand and a shallow reef that went way out which was good for the kids. For some strange reason the French don't really appear on the beach scene until about 3:30 or 4:00 pm. There are a few people there earlier but most of them head home for a long lunch around 12:30 and then don't reappear until late late in the afternoon. You will see a difference in the number of people on the beach in the following pictures and you will be able to tell without a doubt what time of day they were taken. While the beaches did get crowded the one thing that SJ and I noticed and loved is that the French seem to love to play. They are always joking around and yes sometimes that can be annoying but they all seemed to be having a nice time together. The groups were always of families and never groups of families. Just several generations of one large family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all together for a month at the beach. Parents were constantly playing with their children. I have never seen so much collaborative work on sandcastles. Oh and paddle ball- everyone is playing it all day long! In the US I think we are very guilty for the most part of taking our kids to the beach and asking them to entertain themselves while the grown-ups read a book. For the most part, fathers were never sitting down but always up and doing something with the kiddos. Grandparents were in on it too, sneaking snacks and treats to the grandchildren. It was nice to see.

This was dead center off the beach and made for a beautiful view every day.

Sweet Pea playing in the calm waters of the Med.

Buddy hanging out in the refreshing water.

This guy was our favorite Beignet vendor on the beach. What might you ask is a beignet? A donut. Yes, the lithe, thin French eat freaking donuts in the hot sun in their bathing suits. Their speedo for men and bottoms only for women bathing suits. I swear they have their own secret genetic code for not gaining weight. Anyway, this hilarious guy would walk up and down the beach singing and dancing to sell his beignets. There were a few other vendors also selling donuts but they were far less entertaining.

Of course we had to sample one. Buddy did the honors of ordering. I handed him a 2 euro piece and he bolted for the nearest beignet guy and fearlessly ordered a beignet in French. That kid will do anything for food.

While it was good, the ice cream cones from the lady walking up and down the beach with a rolling ice chest were much more refreshing on a hot beach day.

The sun is hot here. We kept focusing on Buddy and his transparent skin and in the end his sister got the burn. Whoops.

We had a big storm one night and the water was rocking and rolling the next day. Everyone (except me who fell that morning) had a great time playing in the waves......

I hobbled in on my poor leg briefly to cool off though.

This is what the beach looked like at 5:00 pm when the crowds had really arrived. By then it was time for us to go and enjoy some cold rose in our beautiful town of Peznas.

This is a sign posted at the entrance to the A9 autoroute. The signs behind never gave an indication of what color the traffic would be. I thought it was a better system to describe the day of a parent of young children. When asked how was your day you could simply say "yellow".

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