We're vacationing like Europeans, an ability that took years to acquire. The first time we vacationed in Europe as a couple with child (she who is known as Mira) we careened from Amsterdam to Euro Disney to Dijon to Torino (via Geneva and the Saint Bernard Pass) to Lago Majore and back to Amsterdam in ten days. The next day I rushed into the office, convinced that the corporate world would have collapsed without me. Getting in was a bit of an issue, as my arms were extended in front of me, as if still stuck to the steering wheel of my Alfa Romeo.
We are now on a "Gites", a French vacation address, in the heart of the Ventoux region, on a farm run by a very elderly but still sprightly French lady. She brought us fresh tomatoes and freshly made apricot preserve today. We have tea followed by coffee and breakfast in the morning, go out, visit nearby towns and eat lunch out, or as was the case today, on a magnificent picnic spread that Kumud and Tarini had laid out in the middle of a field while Mira and I wound up a four hour bike ride around the country side. Dinners have been self made affairs with local produce or meals out.
All very European and very far removed from the "Beep beep, beep beep, yeah!" of Mumbai.
What's also very European in terms of vacationing, and something I'd abhor, is to drive with your caravan, a pull along box on wheels, to a camping site and put up shop three meters away from the same neighbours, or kind of neighbours, you were ostensibly trying to get away from, and cook and brush your teeth in the company of the same group of twenty - thirty families for the duration of your three - week stay.
It's what perplexes be about life on the streets of Mumbai. People give up what must be fairly miserable lives in villages to move bag and baggage to Mumbai. The truly destitute sleep with their heads resting on their bundles of clothes, while they wait for their chance to claim an as yet unclaimed patch of real estate.
People much better off have ramshackle huts pieced together from pieces of wood and covered in plastic, with satellite dish receivers perched on top. All effective life takes place outside that hut, on the street, as cars like mine race by with people on their way to work. Tea in the morning, washing and drying of hair, talks about the children, arguments, washing of clothes in monsoon rain water as it gushes down a pipe on the side of a building: it all takes place in full public view on the street. Are they happy? They don't look unhappy. They seem to be able to ignore the rush of traffic, and the very communal carrying on of life seems to suit them fine.
As with life on a camping, albeit it for 'only' three weeks, or on a street, the prospect is abhorring. We are off for a wine tasting, biologically cultivated (no chemicals added) wine. La belle vie en Europe, albeit for two weeks.
Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.