The Simple Life
The storm rolled over the mountains and made its greeting upon our little town just outside of Perpignan. It is now late into the evening and the streets outside are quiet and cool. To be considered a welcomed reprieve from the heat of the day. The torrents of water which ran through the streets are now stilled, to be evaporated into the evening air which has created a damp, making the bright lights from other houses dim.
Even in this remote part of France. A small village full of local traditions and patterned pastimes. The laptop of which I am writing this post has still managed to find wireless connectivity. Truly this world is a global village.
Although I can fluently request a cold lager from the small bar across the road, I must confess that my knowledge of the French dialect ends here. Conversations with the locals mostly consist of body language and smiling. I have been to quite a few places in France but Perpignan is different. For a start the culture is entirely different to the rest of the country. Hardly anybody speaks English and it is quite difficult trying to spot tourists.
On past holidays it would be common to rent a villa for a fortnight. This year a friend of the family has kindly allowed us to use their holiday home here. I suppose the lack of tourists makes sense for this reason. There are no communal swimming pools here or tacky tourist shops selling meaningless anecdotes to remember the country by.
Yesterday I came within a few miles from Spain and saw a mixture of different cultures at a morning market. Stools would commonly be selling products made by hand. Wooden carvings, children’s toys, handmade garments and other necessary items people use to live their lives.
As a technophobe I could not but help spot that the amount of technology around this area is basic. Mobile phones are big and clunky, television sets are never crisp flatscreens and cars are clearly only purchased 8th hand.
There is a beauty about this though. People living here are still in the Western world but find that the simple life still works. There is no need for large marble kitchens, eco-friendly cars, expensive smartphones, powerful gaming consoles or computers. All the gadgets which I find myself being obsessed about seem to be mere distractions from a world which is far more than the speed of a processor.
I could get used to this simple life. A part of me marvels over the thought of escaping commitments and living out here for the rest of my life. Perhaps one day once I have grown tired of the world. For now though it is still necessary to continue on and remember this place in my memory as the village that had very little but had far more to offer me than the bustling city.