It is a balmy 75 degrees this afternoon in Little Egypt. I just received the longest haircut since I was a youngster in Eldorado. The woman who cut my old grey hair did a fantastic job. I reminisced of days gone by when barbers were craftswomen and men. You did not feel like just another head…in the crowd. The young woman asked me what I had done since I retired and I told her that in the first years we had visited Europe and the United Kingdom 4 times. She was amazed and told me that she had never considered going to Europe and I responded that I had not either…for many years.
Paris is a magical city. I was reminded of the great adventure that MJ and Jonathon and I had when we traveled through the Chunnel from London to Paris with our dear friends Margo and Jeff. It had a bit of a dreamlike quality and the Eiffel Tower was spectacular. As we stood in a long line one of the attendants separated Jeff and Jonathon and me from Margo and MJ. Plead as we might he did not seem convinced of the need or efficacy of rejoining us with our party. When we set out from our flat to visit the Tower…we stopped at a local market first to purchase some toilet paper…as our accommodations had none. MJ put the small package in her backpack. Before the Eiffel Tower attendants would let you in line they searched your backpacks. The little man who first searched MJ’s backpack began to laugh and then to gesture to his colleagues to come and see the toilet paper. It was good to provide comic relief for our French Cousins.
Our first evening dinner was a gourmand’s delight. When I asked for a Dirty Martini the waiter assured me that he could make me a lovely Dry Martini…and it was delicious. Each meal thereafter when I asked for a Dirty Martini…the waitress or waiter brought me a bottle of wine… As I stood on the small balcony that was just off the kitchen of our flat…admiring the majesty of the illuminated Eiffel Tower that could be seen clearly…although we were miles from it…when I turn my head to look at the flats across from ours there was a woman stepping out of the shower with her large window opened wide for proper airflow. Jeff told me that the French were much more liberal than many of us Americans when it came to their bodies.
Montmartre was walking through history. We climbed the longest flight of stairs that I have seen. I could visualize Vincent van Gogh walking the streets of the fabled artist enclave. Later that day MJ purchased a painting of Montmartre from an artist on the left bank of the Seine.
Paris was 10 years ago…and it seems like yesterday.
So…I really did not think about traveling to other countries until I experienced it for the first time. What a mind-expanding journey. My empirical appreciation for the diversity of our earth and its inhabitants grew exponentially. Europe and the United Kingdom and Africa were like reading the story of Humanity…one page at a time.