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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Carnival at Dunkerque ...

I went out to get du pain, du fromage et du vin.  I got the first two but decided on a warming cherry liquer in the end.  It's very cold here, made worse by the humidity in the area, If your brass monkey looks like a eunch, you now know why.  I got back and promptly tucked into the bread and cheese with a cup of hot earl grey tea ... nice!

While I was ordering tea I got talking to a nice french guy called Emanuel.  He's an architect in France somewhere.  Any way, he was telling me about the carnival on at Dunkerque today and I asked if I could follow him up.

We got there befoe the start of the carnival but the mood in the whole area was one of joviality and community.  I asked a couple of the people that I photographed about the reason for the carnival and I gleaned the following (though I apologise if I have any of it wrong):  It's a time when men can let there feminine sides out.  Most of the men were wearing skirts and wigs, as they showed off their stockined legs.  Some even wore false breasts.  I gathered that there was also a human rights  element to the occassion but I'm not clear on that at all and wondered if gay rights were an issue that was also raised or celebrated at the event.

I didn't stay for the main event as I still avoid large crowds wherever possible but I hope I have some nice shots of the merriment.  Part of the ceremony of the day later will happen about 5pm.  The mayor of the town will throw out fish to the assembled crowd.  Apparently this was a custom amongst the fishing community many years ago.

I'm back in Calais now and have just finished off the bread and brie and am relaxing with some of the cherry liquer ... and remembering the trip when I brought Josh and Laila to France.  I walked by the restaurant where we all shared a lovely meal.  It was the first time that we'd all been out for a meal where they actually decided on what they wanted.  We talked, made fun of eachother and I listened to stories about their lives.  It was a pleasant evening.

It's Valentine's Day and I'm wondering whether the whole town will be a version of a couple's night only or whether I'll be able to get a nice meal somewhere without feeling a total plonker for being the only one on his own.

The french are a very tolerant people, providing you at least own up to your ignorance of their language and try to speak some of it.

Time for a nap.

Au revoir

Lupe :o)

Osprey - Nature section

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