Friday, March 28, 2008

I know (I KNOW) - two posts in one day?!?! What the...?!?!?

When I was in high school - i think it was sophomore year - I was an exchange student to a family who lived outside Lyon, France in a town call Vaux en Velin. I stayed with the Ponceblanc family and their daughter, Nadine, later came to stay with us.

Highlights of my trip (that I still remember 22 years later!):
  • visiting the Rolex factory (Madame Ponceblanc knew some high level exec in Switzerland)
  • skiing in the Alps
  • riding to school in a Porsche (they even gave me a key as a souvenier - I still have it)
  • playing with their dogs (a Boxer and a German Sheperd)
  • having a napkin placed on my head (some weird French tradition my friends also experienced)
  • riding to the top of the Eiffle Tower at night
  • having a friend get rubbed against by a dirty frenchman on the metro
  • smoking French cigarettes on the plane home (and getting sick - ewww)
  • eating LOTS of great french bread (and smuggling some home in a poster tube!!!); and
  • listening to some great French music

Mrs Ponceblanc gave me a cassette (cd's weren't available yet) by an artist names Daniel Balavoine - the song I remember most is "Le Blues est Blanc". Still, to this day, I remember the tune and some of the lyrics. The way I remember the story of Daniel was that his young wife had died and it was a tragedy for the French people. The song, again as I remember, is sad, but since I don't remember the interpretation I just recall that I liked it.

About a month ago I dug through my cassette collection (yes, I still have it and am slowly weeding through them downloading the "must haves" from iTunes). Les Blues est Blanc is now playing at work - a quiet Friday and I've decided to research the past for myself - and you, my faithful readers!

Interestingly...I had the story wrong - his wife didn't die...HE DID!!!

In the 80's, Balavoine fell in love with Africa and started using his fame to fund the building of water wells for the Sahel. He participated in his first Paris-Dakar motor rally in 1982. Four years later, on January 14th, 1986, while flying over the rally, Balavoine died, along with Thierry Sabine and three other people, when their helicopter crashed into a dune of Mali.

Well, I suppose that isn't a happy ending to the story at all - but I'm happy to have revisited that time of my life.

Have a great weekend y'all!


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