April 23, 2012

Chapter 2: To Mob, Or Not To Mob

It was the question we grappled with as soon as the day dawned...

The Tales of Ki-Tan continue...
Chapter 2: To Mob, Or Not To Mob

The half-effort practice times (all two of them) we had devoted to learning the choreography for the flash mob gave us more doubt than confidence in our lackluster abilities. But we already had train tickets, and we knew we were going to spend the whole day in Caen (Normandy), regardless of whether we danced or not.

"There's a cat on the tram!" I half-hushed, half-laughed to Tanya and Kia, as we boarded the public transport system into the center. A legitimate crazy cat lady had her pet on her lap and was having a full conversation...with the cat. At each stop, she reminded her friend that "Ce n'est pas la!" (It's not here!) When she finally got off the tram (after informing the cat-who-must-know-everything that it was, indeed, their stop), we erupted into hysterics.

This was going to be a great day.

Very efficient flash mob training.
As I have moonlighted as a high school student during Halloween these past years, I now masquerade as an under-25, which is a much more reasonable act that also saves me a lot of money. We managed to get free student tickets to all parts of the Chateau de Caen, which is better understood as one of William the Conqueror's hang outs.

In fact, William had made his stamp all over this city. Architecture reminded me of my time in England back in 2001, and multiple monuments with English inscriptions dotted the city center. William the Conqueror is hailed as a hero here, as are the British and Americans for their efforts in World Wars I and II.

Abbey of Men with our very own Stars & Stripes!
We even happened upon the great King William's grave inside the Abbey of Men. This Abbey was so old, it had Middle English on some of its recognition plaques. It was really strange to look at a paragraph etched in stone and be able to understand it - but then be confused because it wasn't quite French and it wasn't quite English.

"William the Conqueror"
We also learned from many lovely English placards about how dominant the Scandinavians were around the 11th through 13th centuries. (Living in Europe regularly proves how many gaps exist in my history education.) Just observe how the words evolved: the "Norsemen" (Vikings) became the "Northmen" who became the "Normans" who settled and named the area known today as Normandy.

Run away!
But we were going to make a little bit of history of our own...and then we backed out. Tanya and I completely de-committed from even continuing to practice the flash mob choreography, but Kia was still on board. We definitely all still wanted to watch it, but as the minutes crept closer and closer to the deadline, one thing was obvious: we were not prepared!

Then this is what happened (after two minutes of hesitation):

Basically we were inspired by how bad everyone was, and a surge of courage bolted us from being wallflowers to enhancing the mob with even more bad dancers. The lady in white with khakis was especially talented/inspiring. (Check out the back view here.)

From the front view version, notice Kia in red appear in the distant background at 0:32 between the two couples dancing. I am a few feet in front of her with a beige bag, and Tanya is following behind. With your spy vision you can see us doing some of the moves before running haphazardly into the mix at 2:45 and 2:53 (after the spinning Mamma-Mia portion was over, we felt much more worthy).

Kia had to leave us the very next day, but you can read up on her entire 2-week trip (which also included Denmark and Germany) on her blog. It may be called "Things you thought you'd never want to know", but trust me, you want to know all about her European vagabond adventures!

The Tales of Ki-Tan
Chapter 1: The Beautiful and Free
Chapter 3 VLOG: Le Printemps en France
Chapter 4: Holland & Coats
Chapter 5: The Color of Monet