It was a cold like any other cold: I got it from a Chinese tourist at Napoleon’s childhood home and it took special measures to cure.
A little background: Corsica is a beautiful island in the Med that is part of France. Back in 1769 (August 15 to be precise), lil’ Napoleon Bonaparte is born in Ajaccio, a small city on the west coast of the island that would later become the capital. A territory of the city-state of Genoa for centuries, revolutionaries in Corsica declared independence in 1755, which Genoa didn’t recognize. In 1768, Genoa cedes Corsica to France (under Louis XV) and the next year (when Nappy is born), French troops beat the Corsican army. Except for a couple of years in the 1790s, Corsica has been part of France ever since.
Seemingly everyone we know in France has been there and raved about it. So the lovely missus and I recently decided to spend a week there. (Blog post and pix to come. And we agree: the place is magnifique.)
Naturally, the island claims Napoleon as their own and all sorts of monuments, squares and streets are named after him as is virtually every other bar, cafe and tourist shop.
Anyway, to make a long story short – too late – we’re in Ajaccio and go to Napoleon’s birthplace, a charming little place on a very narrow street.
Be it ever so humble…
We’ve reached the top floor and I’m looking at some artifacts when someone behind me coughs directly onto my left hand. I turn around and it’s a guy who’s part of a group of Chinese tourists. A few seconds later, he coughs again – this time directly onto my upper arm. Neither time has he covered his mouth. I know I must’ve looked angry because when I turned around to say something to him – in French or English, I hadn’t decided – his wife notices my expression, grabs hubby and pulls him away to the next room (where he continues coughing away).
His bedroom. Was he already thinking complex thoughts (pun intended)?
I tell the missus that if I get a cold, I know who to blame.
Sure enough, three days later I have a sore throat and I’m going through tissues by the gross (no pun intended).
After five days, I’m doing a bit better and after dinner, as M and I are watching TV, I’m feeling a bit peckish. Other than the light from the TV, the house is dark but I know what I’m looking for: a clear plastic box with a few tournades, a flat pastry wrapped sort of like a barber pole with custard and little chocolate chips in the seams. I see a half piece – perfect! I pair it with an adult beverage, we watch the rest of the show and head to bed.
Next morning, I get up and M asks how I’m feeling. “Really good,” I reply. “I think the cold is gone.”
I go to make a cup of coffee and think about having a tournade to have with it. I look at the box and – uh oh – the tournades have got mold – and plenty of it – on them.
Near as I can tell, I had French pastry penicillin. Regardless, the cold hasn’t come back. But I think the next time I go for a snack, I’ll turn the light on.