Suddenly, there were bulls running through the streets of this sleepy town of the beaten path between Avignon and Nimes. What a way to start your round-the-world trip!
South of France, July 2007. We had just arrived in France from NYC and were staying with our friends Ronnie and Michael in Meynes. They used to live in the same building as ours in Brooklyn, and both were deeply instrumental in helping us make the decision to break free from the life we'd known there.
"Yes," Ronnie told me often enough over glasses of wine or cups of coffee. "You've been here long enough. It's time to go." He and Michael made travel a way of life long before travel blogging came along to make it a viable thing to do. They were also my first model of people who happily open their house to travelers.
This particular day, we walked down to the central square of town during the Meynes five day festival to find the streets barricaded with spectators crowded behind, beer or pastis in hand, waiting for the bulls to run back around.
I stood with John -- another guest of Ronnie and Michael's -- each of us with our own beer and marveling at how the way men in Meynes dressed, they would most definitely be taken for gay in NYC.
John works for AirItalia as well as runs Duck Diver Tours -- adventure for gay travelers -- with his partner Edvard. They, too, are inveterate travelers.
Someone let the bull free at the far end of town, then a group of men on horses corralled the animal down to the main square while another group of men on foot wrestled the horned beast to the ground. Testosterone at its best. Both John and I easily agreed on that.
Lila took this photo while sitting on Noah's shoulders.