More images from Perpignan; retrospective to follow

By Beverly Spicer September 9th, 2008

Even though the actual flight time is about 14 hours, it takes about twice that much or more to get from awakening in Perpignan to going to bed again in Austin, TX. I kept thinking I would have the opportunity to post some pix at least in one of the airports, but just as I would get settled in and find a wi-fi connection, it was time to get on the next plane.

By the time I hit my front door, the only thing on my agenda was going to bed. But on the way home I had many thoughts about the preceding week, which I intend to write about in the coming days.

It’s true that the final moments of the festival took a real beating and cancellations were disappointing, but aside from the fact that the Soiree presentation and a large gathering were both nixed, people had a great time nonetheless. Droves of disillusioned people radiated from the Campo Santo area, but almost all decided to make alternative plans. I was with Molly Roberts, and we ended up eating a wonderful dinner at Le Sud on a tip from Seamus Murphy who also broke the news that the show was a no-go. At Le Sud, where I’d not been in 10 years, several groups gathered at large tables and there was a lot of socializing going on. We sat out on the patio under a large, densely leaved tree that served as an umbrella during sporadic drizzling. It was calm and pleasant, and in ways, maybe the best alternative of all.

The enthusiasm of this community is irrepressible, and there is a camaradarie that cannot be matched. Some people left Perpignan the next morning, but others hung on for a final visit with each other as they partied way into the night at the beach in Canet. I heard festivities went on till 4am. In spite of dragging on their last legs, many showed up at the airport the next morning at 9am to begin their long journeys home. I ran into Sacramento Bee photojournalist Renee Byer in the airport and she told me she left the beach “early” at 2am. By the look on her face and the reserve of energy she still had, you would never have known her appearance was based on about 4 hours of sleep. It shows how much enthusiasm is generated among colleagues who cover the world and occasionally get a chance to see each other in the same place. Maybe this community is like a flock of egrets who disperse in the day and then return at sunset to the rookery. Or the bats that live under the Congress Avenue bridge in Austin, who fly out at sunset and return before morning, and make a great squawking cacaphony when they are together.

I’m going to digest a little more about the week in Perpignan, but in the meantime, here are a few images from the last few days. I will also post some more, as there were so many things to experience visually in addition to the photos of the festival itself.

Park outside Palais des Congres

Memorial to the French lost to war

Steps behind the Park Hotel leading to Campo Santo

Best dreadlocks ever

One of many weddings on Saturday

First floor of the Palais des Congres

Poster advertising a CD from the retrospective
on the Rolling Stones shown at the Soiree

From my hotel room at the beach in Canet

This monsieur in Canet was having at least
as much fun as the rest of us in Perpignan

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