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on seeing the vieux port in marseille in black and white

The Vieux Port in Marseille is wide open. No trees. The buildings are four to five stories. The highest point is inland, and it is la basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. It is too far away to cast a shadow on the Port.

That means the Mediterranean sun lights up the Port and reflects light off the water. Many, many boats are moored in the port and they are white. Not all of them, of course, but enough when I write that all the boats are white on the Port. They reflect the light as well.

The buildings that line the port are pale and creamy and look unwashed. When the light is at a certain state, the edges of the buildings are indistinct from one another from a distance.

Go along the coast, let’s say to Martigues, and there one sees a strong, iron blue water, and set against it are the burnt orange and blues and ochre of the buildings. Many of the boats in the harbor are painted with bold blue and yellow hues.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

The color at the Vieux Port really is in the clothing. And that is seldom bold. All right, I do see the occasional red jacket, and the jacket I wear is bright blue, purple maybe.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

But wait, there’s more!

on looking at 2 images in one photograph

Taking photographs with two images in one frame that are connected to each other is fun.

These photographs are divided into two parts. Each one is precisely divided in half with a “line” down the middle.

One side will have a discreet image and the other side as well. Sometimes a wall separates them. Maybe it will be shadow. An edge of a building or a post will do the same thing. A wall. A tree. What separates an image into two parts side by side can be anything really. Although I have not included an example, a person can separate two worlds, the two images within one photograph.

Sometimes it is fun to take the hand and cover one half of the photo and look only at the other half. Is that image a world unto itself without the other side?  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Then repeat the trick but on the other side. Then take the hand, or a piece of paper or a note card away, and do the two side work together to create a third, bigger image? (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Two images making a third for the price of one. 

But wait, there’s more!

on walking rue dignan and on remembering where bourdain drank

A straight and narrow street cuts across a central portion of Marseille. It is rue Dignan which slices through the first arrondissement from the Jardin de la Colline Puget to near Cours Julien. It is sandwiched between Boulevard de la Corderie on the west end and the small street rue Estelle on the east end.

Rue Estelle meets the Escaliers du Cours Julien. In French “escalier” means “stairs” or “steps.” The escalier is known for its street art.

Elaine Sciolino, a former New York Times correspondent, wrote a book on rue des Martyrs in Paris titled “The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue Des Martyrs.” She has said, “It’s a half-mile of magic.”

Elaine Sciolino lived nearby for a number of years on a small feeder street into rue des Martyrs, so she knows rue des Martyrs well.

I have often wondered if rue Dignan might deserve some recognition. Maybe it might not rise to the stature of rue des Martyrs as Sciolino lived it. However, rue Dignan shape shifts enough that someone clever could write an account that challenges its anonymity.

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The economic fortunes of rue Dignan changes from the Jardin de la Colline Puget to Cours Julien. It seems to be middle class in the area near the Jardin, moves into a more boutique and upscale look in the middle, then becomes decidedly poorer as one approaches rue Estelle and then climbs the stairs to Cours Julien.

Pausing on the overpass that crosses Cr Lieutaud and looking around, it is easy to see that money has not been invested in the area.

But wait, there’s more!

on eating baby goat and pigeon and baby duck and some frogs legs and . . .

While I am making a list, I will add pig (ham in various cuts and types) and entrecôte and baby cow and many kinds of fish, lieu jaune, loup, sole, rouget, dorade, cabillaud, morue, saumon, to name a few and let’s not forget the crustaceans, moules, huitres and palourdes and crevettes, gambas, coquille Saint-Jacques and let’s add the birds, chicken, duck, canette, pigeon, and, of course, foie gras and snails.

I have eaten everything from the list during the lunch hour either in Paris or in Marseille or both.

During a side trip to Antibes recently, a friend asked what I missed most during my 15 months absence from France due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were eating lunch at a restaurant, and my first response, without thinking, was to say, “Eating lunch in a French restaurant.”

I was among friends I had not seen for fifteen months, and they had organized this lunch at one of our favorite restaurants in Antibes, La Petite Escale. Quickly I added, “But most important above all are the friends I have not seen in such a long time. I have missed them most.”

I have missed the friends and acquaintances whom I have not seen for over a year. Everyone knows. My life and their lives changed when a significant interruption occurred.

But, I had missed eating lunches in France. Eating lunches, and dinners for that matter, are different from eating lunches in Portland, Oregon, where I live in the States, and so are the dinners, although I do not have much experience there.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

I do eat lunchs at restaurants in Portland. When I want to eat at a restaurant in Portland, which is not as often as my stays in France where I will eat lunch everyday, I will think first: “What dish do I want to eat. Will it be a hamburger? Pizza and salad? An unusual taco(s)? Thai food? Sushi?”

I know the Piedmontese Short Rib taco at Carlita’s. I know the chirashi at Yama Sushi. I will go to Bhuna for the Chettinad Chicken or the Kashmiri Lamb Rogan Josh. I know from week to week that those dishes will be there, in those restaurants; and if I go away for three months, let’s say, and return to Portland and return to those restaurants, those dishes will still be on their menus.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Those dishes are tasty, and I can try other items. But basically, the menus and the dishes are structured in the same way. But wait, there’s more!