I have found my calling in life and it goes: oink. As you may have noticed from the photo, our HelpX France Edition took place on a pig farm. What a hoot. Every day Kelly and I would help with the feeding and watering of the pigs. What a great job - food/water twice a day and then just sit back and watch them walk around, oink and dig in the dirt. Much better than a camel farm, where I believe spitting is involved. Gross.
But do not underestimate the pig. One of the first things we heard from Marlene (and then Gary) is that they are a great way to get rid of your dead bodies and that the mob has used pigs to make people "disappear." They eat everything but the hair and teeth. "Do not cross a pig farmer," our hosts warned us. I chose to hear this as: "welcome to France!"
Marlene and Gary (former pub owners in England) were great. Kept us well fed and watered. We tried foie gras (tuna), duck, chicken, their homemade sausage and cracklin. Never had cracklin? It's the pig skin (and fat) crisped into a hard, crunchier bacon. Can also be used to chisel marble. Well worth an artry-clogging taste except that my piece (and I found out later, Kelly's as well) still had hairs from the pig in it. Yes, this being the very same pig that I fed at the beginning of the week and then helped load onto the trailer bound for the Bergerac slaughterhouse. He sure was tasty, though.
While with them, I also learned how to mix cement and build a wall (the cinder block hauling I already knew how to do). Kelly spent a day in a tree cutting branches and riding the lawn mower throgh the grass. I tell ya, she looks cute riding a mower.
We also watched some TV from London with Marlene and Gary. They like Friends and reality TV. Yes, reality TV is everywhere. Simon Cowell on both sides of the Atlantic. Here it's called the X-Factor, though. So maybe that makes a difference. They also have a dancing show on, like, four times a week, a remodeling show and Sex in the City.
In Paris, we tried to watch a little TV but couldn't make out any of it - though one show was definitely another version of American Idol. There was also CNN, which is everywhere and in English, but all they ever talked about was the election and the fincial crisis. Over and over and over again. Eventually we gave up and watched a black and white French movie where a lady looked heartbroken and a good looking man stared contemplitevly off into the distance. Obviously very heavy stuff.
Also in Paris, we wandered into a brassiere (bar/grill?) for drinks only to find that it also doubled as a gambling house. Horses. The ever-inquisitive Kelly A. ventured into the gambling side of the bar. Immediately the men swarmed to encourage her gambling and show her the ropes. I'm pretty sure she is the only female to have crossed into that part of the bar. Ever.
I love the bread they eat in France, the fact that everyone drives a scooter and has an attitude. I would recommend France. Except, more than that, I would recommend the unconditional love of a pig when you're the one carrying the slop bucket.