We desperately need to communicate with the outside world!! Curt’s computer has caught a virus and hence we can’t use any WiFi connections. Nor can we find a reasonable cell phone package for international phone calls. Given that the day is overcast and threatening rain, we decide to head back down the valley towards the market town of Sallanches in search of an internet café. The one in Chamonix seems permanently closed. (Truth be told, the day of the Internet Café is rapidly drawing to a close. What with the ubiquity of iphones, ipads, tablets, etc. there just isn’t the need anymore for stand alone computers connected to the internet.)
Central square in Sallanches.
We find one internet portal in the entire town. However the computer is so ancient, that despite the internet connection, I cannot open my e-mail account.
After a leisurely lunch in Sallanches, we head towards the other big ski town of Megèv. Megèv is much smaller and newer than Chamonix. Removed from the big downhills of the Mont Blanc central massif, it would appear to appeal to the more intermediate skier. The weather is so bad that I don’t take one picture! We do find a computer with internet connection in the Alpine Bar and are finally able to receive and send messages.
Later that night back in Les Houches we are treated to a brilliant, star-filled sky. Post prandial drink in hand in front of a crackling fire, and with the haunting, ethereal voice of Enya in the background, a magical display unfolds above the crest of the central massif across the valley. It starts with the sudden appearance of a small stab of brilliant light at the very top of a peak. What can that be??? A plane crash? A UFO?? Some manifestation of the evil mountain spirits we were warned against??? The spot grows bigger and more pronounced. Soon the circular edge of a disk can be discerned. “My God, it’s the moon!!”
Breaking free of Mont Blanc’s surly terrestrial grasp, it glides effortlessly upwards into the black firmament, suddenly flooding the valley below with nocturnal light. A battle royal ensues overhead, as proud, indomitable Orion, sword in hand, endlessly scythes the night sky to ward off his rival in a timeless contest for the unique right to bathe Mont Blanc’s pristine snow cap in a creamy wash of shimmering luminosity. And with such certain celestial proof that valour, honour, courage, integrity and conviction still have a place in this universe, I drift into a blissful, deep and prolonged sleep.