It was HOT in Bordeaux
90-ish degrees, and HUMID. Being a born-and-raised Northern Californian, I don’t handle humidity that well. My partner Cory and I were in Bordeaux to buy wine. LOTS of it. We’d been tasting at a negociant (pretty much how you buy Bordeaux) all day, we were chilling at our Best Western, trying to shake the buzz off (hey, you taste 80+ wines in a sitting, it’s pretty much impossible not to get loopy) because we had dinner (and another epic tasting of samples) at another negociant’s house that night. We got dressed up a bit (tucked in a dress shirt, put on my painful dress shoes) and I was ready to get an Uber. No, said my hyper-athletic, in shape partner, “let’s just walk, it’s close, like a mile.” OK. Did I mention HOT? Humid? By the 20 block mark, like a kid on a road trip I said “Dood. How much further?” “Ah, yeah, it’s a ways, I had wrong address, oh and we are late, we need to jog”. I walked/jogged in my toe-crushing, awful shoes, I pulled my shirt out, and did my best. It was awful. SO HOT. We made it. I was disgusting, an embarrassment, soaked. I’m a flip flops and Weezer T-shirt kinda guy, and I was just….wet. I tucked my Brooks Brothers knockoff dress shirt back in, and we went in.
This was when I realized that in most places in Europe, there’s no AC.
It’s rarely that hot. I was flowing like the mighty Gironde river nearby. I could not stop. We sat down in this elegant, vintage home, high ceilings, luxurious and gracious like so many places in France and I could not stop. There now was no breeze, no fan, no nothing, just more humidity. I gushed sweat. I was planning the demise of my partner Cory in our crappy hotel in his sleep. Flustered, I got up and went to the bathroom. I breathed. I chanted calming mantras. I went to the sink to splash cold water (yes! Salvation!) on myself. SACRE BLEU, there is no TOWEL! No paper towel, nothing! I panicked. I was soaking. I started to sweat again. My pulse was racing. I had already been gone too long, they were waiting for me. So, I did it, I dabbed myself with TP. Horrifying, yes, but there you go. What else could I do?
I came out and sat down next to Cory, but not close enough to sock him hard in the ear, or stab him with a pencil. I was across from our host. The roaring Gironde started escaping from my pores again. Our host started talking about the business and as I nodded and prayed and did yoga breathing, and then he said: (imagine kind French accent speaking English) – “I’m sorry, Meester Bleeeker, you have some…some….some….things on your face.”
I looked over at Cory and he did the deer-in-the-headlights horror look.
Then tried to suppress a laugh. I considered smashing this guys living room up with Cory’s lifeless body. He said:”you got like, white stuff all over your face”. I ran into the bathroom to my own horrorshow — I literally had like 478 tiny pieces of TP stuck all over. I could hear my heart pounding now, my blood rushing. Could I take a shower? Jump out the window? Hair dryer? At least it was an excuse to use more cold water that I desperately needed. I summoned some courage and walked out and asked if I could please have a towel. In the minute that followed, I realized at least now everyone was on the same page of my misery. They patiently waited, I cleaned myself up, put my shame into a dark place for later reflection and therapy.
We tasted 25 wines, had a great dinner…
and the next night my picture-of-health friend and partner Cory Wagner ordered THIS um…CLASSIC at a lovely and dare I say romantic restaurant in a castle — man did I get my sweet revenge!!! Click the link but let’s just say that The Telegraph writes that it“looks, smells, and tastes as if it should be in a lavatory,” while CNN reports it has “an easily identifiable aroma of decay.” Yup, they’re talkin’ about poop. Happy travels!!