Some people might feel trapped if they found themselves in a small farmhouse in the middle of the country with no form of transportation to get out. We were actually totally fine, and used the isolation wisely. We spied on the sheep grazing next door, tried to catch the rooster unawares, bit into random fruits growing on bushes and trees to see if they were edible, played with bees, drew pictures and did all of the things normal people do.
So when Hubert asked us if we’d like to accompany him into town for customer deliveries, food shopping and anything else, we eagerly jumped into his van. We must’ve made quite a sight; Hubert with his flyaway hair tucked under a wide-brimmed hat and a hand-rolled cigarette sticking out of his mouth, and the two of us following him with our hats on and our jeans and boots covered in mud like two little Asian migrant workers. If we did, the French were polite enough not to stare as we stopped at a supermarket and picked up some necessities.
Being the friendly guy that he is, Hubert introduced us to his friends in the hood. We met Brigitte, who runs a great little café/bookstore/art space in Moulins called Le Gout des Autres. We had a delicious espresso before Hubert left us there to entertain ourselves with graphic novels and books while he ran errands in town.
We also got to walk around the weekly farmer’s market in Moulins, where Hubert seems to know everyone. As we walked around and he said his bonjours, we stood around as he told his friends and customers that we were from New York and we worked very hard for him.
One amused customer pointed to our jeans and said, “Oh look, they’re wearing the colors of the earth.” Or something like that. He may have actually said, “These idiots don’t look like they can manage manual labor.” We smiled and nodded at him, as we did to everyone else we met that day who said something to us. After a German beer with his friends Vincent (a farmer) and Serge (a mechanic), we were on our way back to our little farmhouse to harass the neighbor’s animals.
For more photos of our lovely time in the countryside, check out our Flickr album.