Saturday, 7 February 2009

carefree carniforms

Today the traditional waking of the bear continued. Two men dressed in full bear costume were led through the streets of St Jean de Luz by ropes secured to two gents in Basque attire. Upon sight of children the ropes were loosened and the man-bears made for the infants only to be hauled back by their captors. In addition to children today's bears also seemed to have a penchant for attractive women. There are said to be some 30 brown bears living wild in the Pyrenees.According to Basque legend the bears hibernate through the earlier months of winter and seek food in springtime as Nature and Life are reborn. Given the ferocious renewed appetite of these crazed carniforms it was deemed necessary they be contained. A group of hardened locals, the Joaldunak (must-see YouTube clip), dressed in suitably terrifying lace trimmings, sheepskin and conical hats parade the streets encircling any bears found prowling. The Joaldunak carry bells that are said to stave off the plantigrade appetite. The modern tradition also includes a parade of colourful dancers accompanied by drum led marching bands.

On a more social front, Bruno and I have determined to start a Saturday coffee club. He is learning English and I French so we shall spend an hour a week practicing. He is far better at my language than I his - I am in dire need of further study. Our friend Jane come to visit for her birthday weekend. After a tiring day of shopping and spa treatments I cooked she and Maria supper. We drank too much Madarin and talked too much (as usual) before retiring for an early night.

Basque of the day:- sleep :: loaldi