English Composition

by Ramesh Mahdevan

In one of my earlier posts I had written,

A clarification. It was I who was inebriate - Rajan Parrikar is a teetotaller and was as sane as he always comes across in his expert posts on music.

English language can be so ambiguous and loose. Here is what I picked up in France - a tour brochure about Le Grand Canon du Verdon, touted as the Grand Canyon of France. The brochure is ostensibly in English. I have abstracted it a little for brevity.

The Great Canyon of Verdon

The Great Canyon of Verdon !

It is difficult to imagine at one time all this was ocean. Everything is turned up-side down. From this altitude 1000 one discovers the 'plateau of fossils' and belvedere of Point Sublime, also the bottom of the canyon altitude 600.

In 1905, Martel, the hydrographer observed that the torrent continues to burrow the fissures, the gigantic faults of the upper jurassic. At the present time, the dams regularize the torrent. Martel thought of going down the river in a dinghy he capsized a hundred times and broke up two of them.

To do the 'bottom' is nowadays a venture. The route is very varied showing by turns a moonlike desert green oasis in small lost valleys. The villages sticking to the mountains look stern and proud, well tuned to this nature without trickery.

It is recommended to drive the whole circuit on the two banks it takes three or four hours or a day for those coming from the Cote d'Azur and going back.

A long stop is recommended at the entrance of the Great Canyon. (parkings, telescope, information) this spot being specially arranged for the tourist - indeed a road goes up to the general panorama of Rougon, while other goes down to the inside of the gorges, facilitating the entrance by the path which prolongs the road. ..This new alpine cliff road goes up till 1350 m lowering vertically the Verdon far down at 540 m.

A belvedere bridge had to be constructed to obtain a 10 km short entrance to Auigiunes from this high point at the outcoming of the canyon, but only an endless deviation by the junction has been. Nearby big Lake Ste Croix provides drinking water in four departments. We are now describing the road left bank in order to complete the drive on the road right bank. The complete circuit of the two banks can be done in the two directions because the cliff roads are open in two ways. Drivers who are in a hurry can, follow at least one bank it won't delay them much.

Easy trip in the Great Canyon from Point Sublime to Tripon, 2 km by car and as much on foot, to go and come back. Take a stick and a torch at the inn then go down by car along road going to "the Bottom". After the end parking (no keeper) begins the down path at the bridge. The narrowness of the couloir obliges one to take a tunnel. (3m diameter and flat) At 100 m inside, two openings give a view upon the gap, then the tunnel goes on in a curb and one has 'to light the lamp'. From the window stairs and then a security ladder, give access to an extraordinary chaotic shore where one sees in detail one of the greatest excavations burrowed out by thousand years of wear by the torrent.

Now one goes back to the tunnel and the remaining 300 m. after that another 100 m. The last end, the path goes through a slope, along a third tunnel and comes to a small headland on the left.

One goes back by the same way. Now the sun allows one again to take snap shots, different from the way forth. One has to take 2 hours in order to appreciate this trip very typical and easy. (8 km roads and 14 km paths in 6 to 8 hours normal going)

One has to drive on 8 km on the cliff way till La Maline where one leaves the car; unless one of the group who does not walk, brings her back to Point Sublime in order to wait there that his friends come back in the evening. Better not to take to the right downstream where one sees the bridge of Estellie as this is for the trip by the bottom. It is agreeable to rest or take a cold bath. It will be nice to bathe, even if it is only the feet, it refreshes better than drinking the water of the Verdon. Thirty meters below there is a 500m restful going. It is here the quart part of the trip. The canyon changes of orientation from east west it becomes North South streamupwards.

Be careful a templing path leads rapidly to the stream, but it is only for anglers because without outcome. One can take a map if the schedule has been respected. The trip is tiring. Reduced weight in equipment, good soles, not too much to eat but drinks. One can hear shocks and curse unconscious people who throw stones from the cliff road.

In case of floods, one has to come back from here by the same way out of water to get out of the canyon or better by the Vidal path, vertiginous, concealed from the non connaisseurs. If one wants to continue the descent, (despite the floods) one has to remember ! You may be stuck by a releasing of 20 cubic meters per sec. Whew ! If the lake is full up, its water comes up till here and one has to swim, to use the ropes and climb on the right bank.

But this trip in nature is something unforgettable it will revive you.

Martel writes "We are at the bottom of a real well. Our arms outstretched touch nearly the walls which tower in the sun 400m higher in the sun. Below it is almost night in the prison. ...One ought to proceed 20 times through this canyon if one dares to say to have seen it. Here exists a real unique wonder in Europe. Indeed I have not changed my mind after having seen the Great Canyon of the Colorado more gigantic but less narrow and above all less green."

PS: Actually this is a very beautiful place. I spent three days there. And now, here is a verse that I wrote in French. Somebody else can make fun of it.


J'ai fait une faute orthographique
Mais ce n'est pas une faute musique
Au lieu de ecrivant Ilayaraja du la musique J'ai ecris Il y a raja du la musique.

Copyright(R) Mahadevan Ramesh