Sunday, October 25, 2009

My French Connection

About 5 years ago when my company decided to replace the ageing S61N fleet with the modern Super Puma L2 helicopters I had to do a simulator training on the SuperPuma L2 at Helisim in Marseille. France. Helisim is equiped with the state of art simulators and during my training I met a very interesting French gentleman by the name of Michel Zing. He was ex French military and had flown for Bristow Helicopters. We found that we had many common interest ..from sailing, farming, dogs and not afraid of getting our hands dirty to get a job done. I got to know him much better on my second trip two years later. We had been in contact all the while through emails and I had been brain digging him on a lot of flying matters. He had unselfishly been sharing his knowledge with me. I was invited to have dinner and to stay in his house which is in Rognac. Rognac is quite remote..just like our kampong and yes he is staying in a farm surrounded with olive trees and fruit trees and is quite self sufficient with vegetables too.His girl friend Anne Marie cooked us a delicious French dinner..complete with cheese and ice cream at the end of the meal. Now I know why the French people are so healthy. It is the low carbohydrate food and the daily dosage of wine which they consume.
This is the farm house which they are staying..just like in the story books. Most of the things are very well preserved in the house.

There is plenty to do staying there. The heater for winter utilises log and fallen timber from the property. A tractor is always handy.
So last week when I went to France, I was invited to stay in his little guest house. next to his house. I had planned to arrive his place well before I start "work" on the simulators.This time I brought along another of my friend Capt Eric Ng. We were catching up until well into the night. Capt Eric with Michel and Anne Marie
Fruits just outside the little guest house. We helped ourselves to a few fruits each. This time of the year is cold ...about 12 C day time so the fruits are like just out of the fridge. And they are yummy too...

I suggested that the next night we will cook a Malaysian Dinner and have it in his house. We had brought along some special ingredients for this occasion. I will cook the famous pork rib soup..BAK KUT TEH while Eric prepares curry chicken. At the same time we were trying to explain to Anne Marie about our cooking..see it is quite easily done! Unfortunately we were so busy eating and talking that we did not take any photos during our dinner. I think they must have enjoyed the meal because the left over curry was kept for the next day!
I had brought along my Dahon bike and had a lovely ride round the Rognac neighbourhood. The mistral wind (up to 110 km/hr) wind died off in the morning otherwise I will be blown backwards!

These olives are about ready to be harvested in 10 days time. How I wish I could stay back and help. It should be fun.So hope to see Michel and Anne Marie again soon. Next time I will cook satay and maybe some Tim Sum.! Thank you for the hospitality and the good time we have had had. You have been the "perfect host"!

No comments:

Post a Comment