The baboons, in the grass-and-rock moat surrounding the zoo-fortress, on the hill above Besancon, have good hair. From the drawbridge we watched them, facing away from us and the sun, twelve massive haricuts on legs, shimmering in the breeze, little hunchback Bon Jovies overdosing on Vidal Sassoon. The sign doesn't say who let them get that way. On the other side of the bridge the moat goats clop and trudge, looking depressed and lost. They are Indian and rare and whoever took them off the mountain isn't here to see what they have to put up with.
The other two animals the zoo displays for free are an almost-eagle and a surely-some-mistake "45kg guinea pig", which has a large enclosure overlooking the city and leaves no trace of any existence.
The following week we chugged through the clouds to Geneva, which has tiny brown birds instead of pigeons which come into the bakeries and sit opposite you and your croissant. The city's buildings are like paris's and not unpleasant, arranged around a lake with a million-gallon fountain that hisses at the moon while the wind wafts misty rainbows toward the bridge. They say on a good day Mt Blanc looms brightly over everything and the people say the french for ooh look at that. It was hidden this day but the sun did shine and the clouds did cloud like mountains themselves, squashing the air below, and breathing was like chewing a hot sock.
The seven blocks around the station were an orderless market full of families selling yesteryear's trinkets all curling in the sun. Foodsmoke drifted around the people and rolled into the lake and large and colourful swiss money was spent on mexican treats and the news. Later in Fnac it was a choice between The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and 2666. I bought the former and it's hideous like it was written to provide headaches. I thought I was saving nine francs.