Wednesday, 16 July 2008

16/07/08: Rennes-Les-Bains

Today has been yet another slow day. "Slow day" isn't all that accurate. The day seems to have gone really fast (probably because of my late morning rise from bed), yet we've not really done anything of interest other than seek out nice views and explore the area.

We've spent most of the day precariously driving along narrow mountain roads that are adjacent to unnerving cliff edges. We stopped once for a picnic for an hour or two and I just read my book. I am determined to finish it soon. Yesterday the reading took a turn for the worst. The book (Saramago's Blindness) is not the most pleasant book to read, though it is bloody brilliant. It is about an epidemic in an unnamed city - an epidemic of 'white blindness'. It starts with the first case (a man sat in a car at traffic lights), then follows the wife of the doctor who examined him - the doctor also goes blind - who has a strange immunity against the "white evil". All the blind people and the people suspected of "contamination" are quarantined. The group that the narrative follows are held in an abandoned mental asylum. It follows their battle to survive as the asylum is overrun with blind thugs and finally burns down so the blind are left helpless to wander the streets. It has some black humour in it that makes in bearable, but reading it is at times hard to stomach. It examines the lowest of imaginable low points that the human race could experience and it's very provocative. Last night I read through (what I hope is) the lowest point for the characters in the book and it was far from pleasant, but I wanted to see it through. I did and I'm "enjoying" it again.

Anyway, other than reading, we also visited a town called Rennes-Les-Bains - not far from Rennes-Le-Chateau - which was really picturesque. It has a river running right through it which is a natural source of mineral water and is said to have healing properties. It seems to be very mysterious and superstitious like a lot of things in this area.

There sadly aren't any photos from our visit to Rennes-Les-Bains. I did take photos, but, ultimately, I didn't like any of them.

Once we returned home, we had dinner and I edited my pictures and blogs. I had a backlog today, I needed to finish the photos and blogs from the past two days.

After our meals had settled, we went for a walk around Couiza and walked along the railway line before coming back in a big circle at our apartment. We passed an old abandoned factory on the way round, it was quite cool.

Back at the apartment I continued with my photo / blog editing. Mum went to bed to read and Dad fell asleep in the living room. He was later disturbed by a phone call from Ellie Scott! I couldn't stop laughing at his semi-conscious grunts and I had a good catchup with Ellie. It put me in a brilliant mood.

As I chatted to Ellie I was sat on the window ledge looking out over a sleeping Souiza. The traffic was still noisy below me. The people in this area seem to have an annoying supestition where they must honk their carhorns just before they cross a bridge. Each to their own, but it's infuriating for us people right next to the road who have to put up with it all day. Nevermind. My phone went dead and cut my phone call with Ellie short. This was annoying, but only the beginning. As I continued to finish my photos, I regretted sitting on the window ledge. I was being eaten alive by midgies, mosquitos and flying ants. The humidity added with a slight fear of creepy crawlies and a dash of paranoia gave me the sensation of being itchy all over. Whether I was actually being bitten or not was not the point, I was very uncomfortable. To make things worse, as I got ready for bed, I was suddenly struck with a heat-induced nosebleed. It's not my night tonight.

Unlike the past two nights, I did not go to sleep with such ease.

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