Walking along the ‘Quai de la République’, or ‘Quai des Douanes’ as it used to be called in Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s time, you don't notice it. Instead, your eyes are drawn to the water's edge and the two large bluefin tuna boats that are moored there almost all the year round.
In fact, it can only be found if in the sweltering summer heat, when unable to bear the smell of the heated asphalt and the biting rays of the sun, one seeks the shade of the customs buildings. There you see two large fig trees almost blocking a staircase similar to the many ‘rampes’ or flights of stairs that cross the streets of Port-Vendres at right angles. But this one is narrow, with only a few steps, and it seems to lead to a private property.



Michael and Rochelle collided by the magazine stand, she was in her usual hurry and he was in another world, his usual detached and alienated self.
“After you” he said, the refinement of good breeding simply oozing from him.
“Ta” responded Rochelle reaching across to the middle shelf, grabbing a glossy mag.
Michael eyed the girl as unobtrusively as fine manners could allow. He liked the look of her, nice eyes, figure, a terrific smile.
“Yes, very attractive” he thought trying not to make it obvious he was checking her out. “What a pity she’s so common”.
His assessment continued, he made a thorough job of scrutinising the attractive female going about in in the same way a critic might analyse a piece of art. Looking for flaws as much as for perfection. He noted her jewellery – fool’s gold and plenty of it. There must have been at least two dozen iron-pyrite rings and studs inserted through those previously immaculate ears. Michael dismissed any attempt to chat her up.

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