Saturday 11 May 2013

Ballet and burgers

Bit of culture tonight: the Moscow Ballet performing The Nutcracker, which was little odd to see in May since it's a Christmas story - but as it's autumn and I lived for a long time in the northern hemisphere, it was a reasonable fit as long as I didn't think about it too hard. Much more difficult was not mentally resurrecting all the advertisements that have used the music over the years; but the dancing was as diverting as it should have been, and the costumes were very pretty. Not the original Nutcracker's though, which was rather grotesque with its huge mouth and ranks of teeth - far more nightmare material than dream, I'd say.
It reminded me of Lyon, where on our route march down from the basilica on top of the hill through all the hidden alleyways and narrow lanes, we passed a restaurant with huge nutcrackers in the window. It was one of our stops on the Uniworld cruise up the Rhone - it was here that we took a left turn into the Saone - and the biggest city on the route. Our tour ended near Le Sud restaurant, one of Paul Bocuse's establishments, which balanced out the McBaguette ads we'd walked past, though I was still alarmed to see in Monoprix ready-assembled burgers requiring just a quick nuke to be ready to feast upon. Hummm, indeed.
Others spent the afternoon's free time in the restaurant and/or the shops, but since I was working, I tried out this museum of automatons, which turned out to be rather sweet, full of older ladies with grandchildren they were trying to keep focused on filling out a worksheet while the kids just rushed, enchanted, from one tableau to the next. I was quite taken with them all myself, despite their being rather primitive: charmingly so, really, and very French in their subjects. Quasimodo was there with Esmeralda, there were bucolic country scenes with peasants harvesting the grapes, the priest in a town square where old men gambled with cards behind his back, and a scene from Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, with a remarkably handsome Captain Nemo centre stage. As I said, very French...

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