Card Games and Tradition

One of the most quintessential French card games is: La Belote.

It’s a games played with a deck of card in which the 6 through 2’s have been removed. It is a point based game that is played by trick. Whomever is the dealer will deal first three cards starting with the player to his/her left then another two cards such that each player has five cards each. The dealer will then turn over the card on the top of the deck and players will decide to take it or leave it. to take the card means to determine the Atout. Essentially which of the four suits will act as a trump in relation to the other suits for that round. once the Atout has been determined play will then start with the player one the left of the dealer. These are the rough basics of the game. What I find to be most interesting about the game is not only the complexity of higher-level play by also the cultural heritage that is attached to the game as it is something that is passed down from generation to generation. Just something I found to be cool.


A Note on Fauna

One thing that I have noticed during my time in France is that animals. When one thinks of France animals is not necessarily the first thing that jumps to mind. However, that has been one of the biggest differences I have noticed here in Chateau-Gontier. Starting with house pets, the relationship with house pets is a little different here, at least for cats. Cats here are either serve a functional purpose or are boarder line wild, as they spend what seems to be a maximum of time outside. This seems to be because there are lots of farms and pastures and mice can be a problem. Moving onto dogs, when it comes to dogs they fall into two categories, similar to cats, a functional one, guard dogs, and the ‘companion’ when it come to the companion dogs the labrador is the be all end all. However, the role of guard dog is not only limited to dogs, geese, domesticated geese can also accomplish the same role and are arguably better at it. My final observation is the birds, I have really noticed the difference in avian species here, at night it is not uncommon to hear the owls in the distance, and you know those coo-coo clocks? well there is actually a bird that makes that noise. While on the subject of nighttime noises the sounds of the countryside are always sung upon the backdrop of the crickets.

What will I remember?

While I am upon this voyage, I find myself pondering a most curious idea… Later on in my life long after I this voyage is over, long after my high school career is over, long after my ties with bush have receded into the ever changing permanence of memory, what will I remember from this trip? Something tells me:

I will remember, biking to the lycée every morning, the cold biting my white knuckles as they firmly grip the handlebars of the ancient bike.

I will remember, standing in the courtyard in the morning listening to the birds of the bises chirping on either side of the students rosy faces.

I will remember, the annoying hum of the fan in the bathroom, that becomes just a little bit fainter when one closes the door.

I will remember, the feeling of cool, evening air flooding into my room, as I open the wide window with crack and rest myself on the bed.

I will remember, the must of age, permeating the bones of the library, as it guards its tomes of teen fiction and comics.

I will remember, the agonizing boredom of the lunch line, waiting while watching others eat, eager to rest my feet.

I will remember, running up the edge of the world and peering out over a vast hamlet, roofs ablaze as the sun sheds its dying light.

I will remember, the voice of elton john permeating the cracks between classes, as I gaze a vast ocean of light, blue stretch from either side of my comprehension, above my head.

Indeed, something tells me that I will remember a thing or two.