You can take the man out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the man.
At a recent visit to Paris– my first– I couldn’t help but make some interesting observations. Now back in good old New Hampshire I comment on the following:
First, around the ” Arch of Triumph” ( Arc de Triomphe), built per order of Emperor Napoleon ( the guy with his hand tucked inside his shirt & who would undoubedly be called ” Nappy” if he golfed with my regular group), there is a rotary that must have eight to ten lanes of travel. I don’t think the lanes are painted; they just happen.
In any event travel lanes are not important. The cars, trucks, buses, bikes, motorcycles and scooters go in every direction. The drivers do anything they want, and somehow it works.
They cut each other off; pass on the right; drive from lane to lane without signal or warning; and stop and go without any traffic cop or traffic light.
Driving in the rotary is a thrill a second.
No blaring horns. No middle fingers.
And, despite the fact many of the drivers are from countries that don’t even have cars, there don’t seem to be many collisions.
Yet in the little town of Keene, N.H., with its new 2 lane roundabouts, there’s a crash every other day.
Makes no sense.
Second, I expected the worst about the French people. All I ever heard was they are rude and snobby, with a hatred of US citizens. On the contrary, they could not have been any more polite or helpful.
We did meet an incredibly rude lady in the hotel lobby. She was loud, abrasive, and arrogant.
She was from Florida, probably by way of New York.
Third, as a meat and potato Irishman, I was very concerned about the fancy French food. Upon arrival, I was probably the only guy in France to crave something I seldom eat in the USA— a Big Mac.
After looking at menus I could not understand, and hearing about food I knew I would not like (rabbit, snail, goat this and that, pate, fois gras– duck liver, frog legs, oyster, boudin rouge– coagulated blood), I was greatly relieved to see a McDonald’s.
Fortunately, it worked out much better than expected. The French bread, pastries, ice cream ( gelato) and cheeses were delicious. I enjoyed the Italian restaurants. My favorite part was the French wine with lunch and dinner ( not breakfast) — Bordeaux and Beaujolais.
Finally, I had the misfortune of stepping in dog shit (merde) my second day of the journey and carrying it on my right shoe to the Dome Church which houses the crypt of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Emperor Napoleon must have rolled in his tomb.
Felt like I was living Chevy Chase’s European Family Vacation as Clarke Griswold.
Always good to back in New Hampshire.
Keep your strength.
I’ve seen more than my fair share of needless suffering and never wish it on anyone.