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Paint Fox, Ship Rouen (Read 2456 times)
Feb 29th, 2004 at 8:54am

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"English?" the guy behind the bar asked.  "Oh, no, we're Americans," I tell him.  I go on to say we came to Rouen to paint the ships.  He looks at me incredulously. "In Rouen?" he chirps.  His mother, the cook, eyes us suspiciously.

When I sit down to write artnotes, I think NOTHING interesting has happened this week.  It is FREEZING, still, with snow predicted for tomorrow.  We changed our house around completely -- the office is now in the bedroom, and the bedroom is in the pink room.  It's warmer.

Rouen is the inland port of Northern France.  They have a large variety of ships -- I selected to paint a vessel which carries cement for concrete.  An impressive cloud formed around the nozzle, as it filled the gunnels.  Freezing rain covers the windshield of our rental car.   Rouen is an old-fashioned, rugged port, except for the cruise ship (large) traffic that comes down from Le Havre, and up from the Paris (small).

There are hundreds of hangars, as they call the berths along the Seine.  I plot our route on the "viamichelin.com" website.  It just happened we were near the "Code" bar at lunchtime.  It is the union bar for the dockworkers in Rouen.  I ordered today's special:  beef bourguignon.

We force ourselves to go for a walk these icy mornings.  On Wednesday, we pass by Montparnasse.  A man finds a gold ring on the sidewalk, and turns to me.  "For you," he announces.  "Oh, no," I tell him, "it is your good fortune."  He goes on to tell me the ring doesn't fit him, but will be ideal for me.  I recognize his gypsy trick, and he abandons me for another, more foolish, tourist.

Friday morning, we walk a good hour to Chinatown, to buy nuts -- before Christmas, Paris Store was selling an entire kilo (2.2 pounds) of walnuts for 6 Euros.  It must have been too good a deal -- none are available today.  We come away with two packages of decorative paper (for linoleum prints) and a ton of vegetables.  We stop and eat at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant.  The new server there thinks we are English. I tell her we're American -- she breaks into funny movie lingo.  We order in Vietnamese.

After lunch in Rouen, I make a small linogravure of a tugboat.  Blair makes another sketch.   The rain is getting heavy, and we still have work to do at home.  We point our car towards Paris, having done something.

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