Week 30 (24–30 July 2023)

Bit of a slower week, might be compensating for the previous ones. It's hot too so I spent more time inside watching movies1, planning the 2024 trip, writing notes about movies etc.

The 2024 trip

I think this is the first time I'm actually mentioning this here so here's the tl;dr: next year (2024) C and I are going back on a year-long trip. Southeast Asia again, but this we're taking the scenic route via the Silk Road (or what's left of it): Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghistan China.

An overland trip to China in 2023 is a bit complicated to plan because there's this bit around longitude 51 with Russia to the north and Iran to the south, so there's only really one, narrow passage through via the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. We're still in the early phases of planning (visas, border crossings etc) but I'm already super excited!

Starting early also means that we have time to research themes and think of trip-related projects. Theme example: the house we live in used to be a magnanery (silk farm) and we'll be traveling on the Silk Road, so there's probably something there. Project example: we'll be making zines throughout the trip, probably one for each country, share them digitally and print them when we get back. And more!

Organizing the Nuits des étoiles

Like I said back in Weeknote #4 C and I joined an association for the promotion of astronomy. We've been busy lately, because its main event is taking place in a couple of weeks! The Nuits des étoiles (lit. "nights of the stars") is a national event that takes place every summer since 1991 in hundreds of towns all over the country. We're helping organise the 24th edition this year in the nearby village of Chassiers.

I know how to make websites so I was immediately put in charge of everything web, from the homepage to setting up the booking system for the event (spots are limited to 100 persons for each of the 3 nights). And since the association's website is an old, mostly-unmaintained WordPress site, there's a bit of mess to clean up, including at least one malicious script2. Fortunately WordPress is great, so it was relatively easy to set up the booking system and build a landing page.

C and I also designed a poster for the Nuits des étoiles theme of the year: cosmic dust. Since the event is falling right in the middle of the Perseids, we grabbed a photo from NASA and wrote a few things about meteors and 109P/Swift-Tuttle. We got the poster printed in A2 and it looks great!

The week of the 7th will be the busiest, with event set up throughout the week and the actual event on the nights of Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11, 12 and 13 August).

The Payzac farmers market

Summer is peak market season, with a bunch of seasonal markets (mostly evenings). This week we've been to one of our favorites so far, on Sunday morning in the small village of Payzac (40 min drive from home).

Picture a small patch of grass at the edge of the village with magnificent, old chestnut trees. All around, in their shade, stalls: cheese veggies melons saucisson and more, and in the middle, small tables for having coffee or a crêpe or lunch.

It was the perfect size, in the perfect location, and we'll be back for sure! Plus we also want to (re)visit the markets at Chambonas, Laboule, Lablachère (Domaine du Vialat), Prunet, Ailhon, Baumont...

Watching

Yup that's a lot of films this week, one per day on average. How come? It was hot so I saw a few films in the afternoon (it's cooler when we stay cloistered inside in the dark), and also I like to finish what I start so I couldn't possibly watch Raiders of the Lost Ark last week and not watch Indiana Jones 2, 3 and 4 immediately after.

Reading

We went back to the library this week so I read a bunch of comics, and I've also started a new novel: L'Usage du monde by Nicolas Bouvier, inspiration for the 2024 trip.3

Footnotes

  1. mostly 70s and 80s Hollywood blockbusters as you'll see, hence the title

  2. the script for a visit counter that someone must have added to the site years ago would open a advertising popup. It did this randomly for a very small amount of visits, so it wasn't straightforward to catch.

  3. not quite the same itinerary since Bouvier was heading to India plus could get into Iran without possibly being arrested, but it's still overland to Asia so there's something