And so the evening carried on… sitting around the ‘beach’, chatting with friends, listening to what sounded like the same techno song banging on and on for hours, and scampering off to mix our bootlegged booze. When dinner time rolled around, we opted to go to the ‘normal’ fête that was taking place in the school courtyard.
Sidenote: The normal fête used to be the night before… so it went traditional village fête on Wednesday night in the school courtyard followed by the fireworks and dancing and then the next day (Assumption of Mary, a Catholic holiday in France) Brazil Day would take place. But for some reason this year, they decided to do the whole shebang on the one day.
When we got to the courtyard it was packed, every one of the fifty tables was full (these tables are always booked in advance… we never have ourselves together enough to book one of the tables). We got in the line and ordered our dinner… a round of hot dogs and frites. Our ticket said we were number 47, and then we heard them call number twelve. WHAT?! That wasn’t good.
The numbers rambled off slowly, but not as slowly as the older patrons took to acknowledge that it was indeed their number that had been called and make their way to the counter to collect their dinner. Hungry in the tummy Gregory decided to take matters into his own hands.
He grabbed the microphone from the announcer and got to work, “Number 14 your order is ready. Monsieur Mulot, that’s you, your order is ready. Please make your way to the counter to pick up your food. Hurry up.” And then a small old man would shuffle up to the counter, smile at Gregory (probably in an attempt to appease the hungry giant), take his tray and shuffle away. And it continued, “You really need to move faster, your dinner is getting cold. If you don’t want it, someone else will eat it. Let’s go.“
People must have thought it was part of the entertainment, part of the fun, because they would come up, laugh with Gregory, pat him on the back, and walk off chuckling. They loved it! Of course they were completely unaware that they themselves were in danger of being cooked and eaten if number 47 wasn’t called soon.
Night time descended on Le Petit Village, the colorful lights came on and the carousel lit up. The pretty carousel is brought in for the children. They won’t even let an adult sit on it which I think is kind of lame but being a rebel, Mrs. London ran and jumped on it for a quick photo. Unfortunately I’m a chicken and the photo came out blurry because I was in such a rush to snap it before we got caught and ended up in fête jail or something.
At 10PM the church bells rang out telling us that the fireworks would be starting. We made our way to the hill below my old house and found a patch of grass to sit on. In small villages in France, health and safety kind of goes out the window. There is no barrier to tell you where you should sit, or what a safe distance is. We all sat in the exact same spot we’ve been sitting these past few years. It probably would have been a good idea for the man setting off the display to stay where he has always done it as well but nope, he decided to move about 50 meters closer (that’s a total guesstimate of course, it sounds right in my head though).
When it comes to the fireworks portion of the fête, Le Petit Village does not mess around. The majority of the budget is blown on the fireworks. It’s quite a display for such a small village. And it’s quite a display when you’re practically sitting on top of the guy setting them off.
The fireworks banged off and we oohed and aahed as they exploded over our heads… directly over our heads. Happy laughter turned into nervous laughter as we realized that we were taking shrapnel. You know that saying, ‘it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye’? Wiser words have never been spoken. I took a direct hit into my eyeball. THERE WAS A FIREWORK IN MY EYE! Luckily all of that Pimms I had been drinking managed to keep me calm until we returned to Le Petit Bar, where I was able to wash the grit out of my eye. (After Mrs. London looked at it and exclaimed, “Oh sh*t! You’ve got a meteor in your eye!” Way to keep the situation level and panic-free Mrs. London.)
We returned to the courtyard for some dancing and cotton candy and finished the night with a round of Champagne courtesy of Big Man, a small apology for all of the price gauging I’m sure. We sat on a bench, watched the madness unfolding on the dance floor (and next to us as some random guy decided our picnic table was his personal shake your bon-bon podium), and laughed hysterically while we toasted to having survived another Brazil Day.