West Virginia University in Vendée, France


A day in the sun and the sand...
June 9, 1999  

Our class session this morning was among our most intense so far.   We began by distributing a table of the tides at Les Sables, the importance of which was much more evident after yesterday's visit to Noirmoutier.  We then followed with a brief discussion of the cause of tides and the reasons for their being much stronger at full and new moon that at other times.  The practical question today was whether this afternoon would be a good time to go to the beach!  As it turns out, the high tide would be around two o'clock, but with a low coefficient the beaches should be clear and open.  The proof is in the pictures that follow.  The rest of our class was devoted to analysis of cultural habits and behavior that may seem incomprehensible to people of different traditions and languages.  We brainstormed and came up with dozens of examples that we will discuss and dissect in the days to come.  Our most important effort will come in trying not to dismiss behavior we don't understand as simply weird, but rather to try to understand and when possible even adapt to it.  This is much harder than most monocultural persons can imagine, and it is one of the most valuable lessons our WVU-Vendéens will take away from this trip.  Our class finished with a review of yesterday's activities on Noirmoutier.

It is not without cause that this part of France is called "La Côte de Lumière" ("The Coast of Light").  Below, several of our Vendéens have gathered for a relaxing Wednesday afternoon on the beach.  As we have pointed out, France is a country of liberty where, like back home, "everybody's free to wear sunscreen."    We'll see tomorrow...

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Kimberly, Nicole and Jennifer appear well prepared for the rays that beam down today.

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Several Vendéens can't resist the challenge of a classic game of paddle ball.

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Freddy Perkins makes a defensive leap to save a point against Katheen Schattenberg.

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Kelly McKnight, Alexander and Lucie Lastinger are safe from the pirates that haunt the waters off this coast.  Yours truly also contributed a few engineering tips to the construction of this mighty fortress.

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Stay tuned to WVU-V!

Go on to June 10, 1999
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