What David dreads about each stay in Eygaliéres is dealing with the hospital in Salon to pay the bill for my blood tests. The dialysis clinic is a breeze – here is your bill, thank you. done. But the hospital is a nightmare.
In a scenario reminiscent of a Peter Sellers movie, he goes to the lab and asks for the facture (itemized bill). After much high drama, he gets a bill, takes it to the cashier and is told – after more drama – that it is wrong. Rather than have him pay the amount they show as owed, he must go back to the lab to have the bill “corrected”, then bring it back to the cashier, etc. On one occasion, after almost three hours, and five trips back and forth, he finally told the cashier that he had to leave for the train so would just pay what the bill showed. The cashier just nodded okay and said “bon voyage.”
This time we thought we had an answer – the nurses at the dialysis labs said they would run my last bloodwork on Tuesday, and ask the lab for a final bill to be ready on Thursday. David arrived early and went to the Lab where they immediately knew the name “Gideon” but once again were unable to resolve the bill. Phone calls, two people pointing at the computer screen and babbling like there were an incoming S4 missiles, more phone calls, leafing through journals. Finally, they presented him a bill which David knew was wrong. They insisted it was right and said to go to the caisse (cashier) to pay it. David hopped down a flight of stairs to the cashier, only to find it closed. No note, nothing. Rather than pursue it further, he came back to the clinic, where all the nurses cowered knowing that the “hospital” had once again screwed everything up. One said that he thought that the cashier had moved, but nobody knew where. We handed them the paperwork and a fistful of euros and asked them to resolve it. As I had just bestowed my usual gift of 10 lbs of Joël Durand chocolates on them, I had some leverage, so they agreed to take care of it. We shall see if they were able to do so on my final session on Saturday.
We left the hospital, catching a glimpse of Clouseau and Kato fighting over my bill, and drove as quickly as possible through Salon, Senas, and Orgon, not stopping until we reached the safety of Mas du Capoun restaurant in Molleges. Michèle greeted us and gave us our choice of tables. We sat, ordered our kirs, and marveled at how much more inept French bureaucracy is than ours.
We both went with Mas du Capoun’s marvelous 24-euro lunch – entrée, plat, dessert, two glasses of wine, water, and coffee. I started with the asparagus, David the mini salmon burger – both beautiful and delicious. For the plat, I chose the cod and David the pork – again a delight to the eye and palate. In all, another wonderful meal.
We chatted with Michèle a bit, and – finding they might be coming to Florida later in the year – added them to our list of people we have invited to see us. After farewell kisses and hugs, we were off for the mas – hoping we would not find a security car from the hospital cashier there to meet us with handcuffs.
In a short while, it was time to drive over the Alpilles to Maussane for dinner with Christine and Philippe at Aux Atelier Fd². We chose the route over the hills rather than through St. Remy, figuring that the latter would be jammed with traffic. The ride through the hills and valleys was gorgeous, and we arrived in Maussane a bit ahead of schedule.
We picked a table just inside, figuring that it soon would get cool and buggy, ordered kirs, and waited for Christine and Philippe to arrive, which they did shortly. Still full from lunch, we opted to go just with plats, ordering the turbot on epinards. A nice rosé, and we were set for a wonderful evening of chatting and sharing stories.
Promising our return in early October, and with the possibility of their coming to Palm Beach to visit a nephew, we parted and headed back to the mas. Tomorrow is our last full day, and there is much to do to get ready to leave.