dimecres, d’agost 10, 2005

Rainbow Tour 2005 Travel Log - Day 9 - Friday 7.15.05

This was the last day of class, and I was honestly downtrodden; we had done nearly a semester's worth of work in just five days, and the people, and the course itself were both a lot of fun. The format of the last day was a little different in that we stopped at 12:15, and then all ventured to a small Maghrebin café-bar on the street behind the train station. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, and we later learned the Skol uses this place for Breton conversation groups during the week. The owner prepared a typical Maghrebin beef roast for us with artichokes, peas and potatoes as a side. It was very tastey, and the coffee they made was excellent as well. We had a nice lunch all of us teachers and students together, and I even got to tell some English and Welsh jokes, including the one about Arty choking two for a pount at Safeways.

After lunch we returned to the school and I got a chance to talk to Fañch in more detail about his own experience with the Breton language. He had been raised in a family in the far west of Brittany where the language is still fairly common on the ground. His father spoke Breton and his mother spoke Gallo; Gallo is the local latin based language in the same family as Francien which gave rise to the standard French we learn today in schools and is used as the French designated in Article 2 of the Constitution of the 5th Republic. He himself didn't speak much Breton as a youth, but took it up in college where he met his would-be wife who was also studying the language. Eventually they married, and now he and his wife use Breton as their main language, and they plan to raise their children with the language when they have them.

During our last afternoon we were given teams and recipes in Breton and supplies to make the desserts featured in the recipes. This was a dangerous experiment which only half worked, but we assembled our sundry desserts as best as we could and then went outside and played "Palais" a local Upper Breton (eastern part) game a little like horse shores, only played with a wooden square as the base for the target and metal disks. One person from each team tosses the target disk, and the team with the target disk on the wooden base first gets first crack at tossing their remaining disks nearest the target. The local folks did pretty well by large and far, but we Austro-Yanks did pretty poorly. Once or twice we nearly clocked Tifenn on the head with a disk as she rushed to collect ones that had gone astray. The school had two sets of Palais disks. Apparently it's a bad thing to mix the sets of disks up as they are waited slightly differently from set to set, as people who are very serious about the game are able to judge how hard they should throw by the weight of the disks. Should the sets be mixed up, they might forget to feel for the weight and have a bad throw.

After Palais we went back inside and tries our more or less successful desserts, and then we said our good-byes after each receiving a copy of "Les premiers 1000 mots en breton" and a certificate proving that we had successfully completed the course. Sam and Raja planned on contacting me once they reached the Eisteddfod in a few weeks and I had promised to email photographs I had taken of the class to a couple people once I returned to the States.

That evening I went to the little sandwich shop in the station and got a "suprème" loaded with chicken, egg and mayonaise on the same lovely bread, and another slice of yummy flan naturel. In France, even the crappy food tastes great! I returned to the hotel and copied my last set of notes and packed my bags.