I've been glancing at my flist for the past few days, thinking people were being awfully quiet, but today a whole slew of entries that weren't there before suddenly appeared. Am I the only one this has happened to? I got some LJ announcement about a power outage a few days back, but I didn't realize I'd been getting shafted on my flist ever since. Sorry if it looks like I've been quiet or ignoring anyone. Chances are your entry was a backlist victim.
J and I walked to the bakery for patisseries. Mornings are beautiful no matter where you are, but here I find the stillness and peace to be especially appreciable. People are always hithering and thithering, screaming, laughing raucously, blaring music, trying to shush squealing babies (or making them squeal more loudly still), zooming by in packed taxis or on scooters; the neighbor kids are always hollering "Miquela! Julien!" and pounding on the gate. (Speaking of the gate, which is metal, tin abounds here--siding, roofs, fences, gates--and it just isn't easy to move it quietly.) That window of everyone-is-waking-but-not-out-and-about yet is small but precious. I might need to make a habit of getting up earlier to enjoy it.
After breakfast, I jumped on my bike and cycled 3.5km in time for the 7am ferry . Upon arriving on Grande Terre, I had 2.5km (mostly uphill) more to go before reaching Marcel's studio. I arrived 30 minutes too early, so I stopped by Cavani Stadium and sat on a concrete ping-pong table to sketch an enormous acacia to pass the time. I didn't get but a few lines down before a gentleman came over to talk to me. He wanted to know if I was a musician (I think it's because of the dreads), if I was an anglophone, if I had been in Mayotte long...The chitchat made the time go faster, and before I knew it, I had to hurry to make the last bit of road to the studio. Since I am lazy and don't like biking up hills, I had the bright idea to cut across the stadium. But before setting off, I asked a kid if there was a gate on the far side where I could get out. He assured me there was, and over a little rise, I could see what looked like the top of a tunnel-type exit.
When I got closer, I saw that the "gate" was a hole in the wall. A hole roughly four cinderblocks high and four across at its widest. As I neared it, a man climbed through, so I asked if that was indeed the way out. It was, he kindly informed me and then left me to struggle alone with fitting my bike through it. When I bent over, the acrid smell of urine greeted me and I almost turned around. But doing that would have made me late. So, I manoeuvred the bike through, into a cement drainage conduit--ugh--and ducked through myself. I tried to stay up on a narrow ledge and guide my bike by the handlebars, but the gutter was too deep. I had to walk in the conduit--ugh!ugh! (thankfully, it was "dry" on the sides, but who knows what was floating down the middle). It gave onto Marcel's road, though, just one door down. Don't think I'll be taking that shortcut next week, however. I won't be taking the 7am ferry, either. 7:30 will be early enough.
Today's art lesson went well, and I finished a small painting (a tiny alleyway from a photo of Anjouan to work on perspective and proportions). Marcel said I'm ready to start with more complex subjects and colors. I am learning stuff, but the greatest benefit of the lessons thus far, I think, is having an artistic environment to work in, not to mention supervision or discipline of sorts. Kind of like how novel_in_90helps me with the writing or walks with Nuria kept me exercising. I can do stuff on my own; I just prefer the pressure implicit in doing something with or for someone else.