Culture Shock


I hadn’t experienced a hangover in over twenty years.  Our trip to Denver, however, changed all that.  I imagine it was a result of simple jetlag, which I have experienced before, but for some reason, I just couldn’t shake it this time.  I awakened at 2:30 am ready for a brand-new day and spent most of my waking hours feeling sleep-deprived for most of the six days we had in D-town. 

In any case, it was a sheer delight to see our granddaughter, Mara.  It’s amazing how she’s grown and developed in the past three months!  We also got to spend time with Shane and Jessica, who really didn’t seem to mind Signe and I being at their house virtually all the time.  It was fun to get together with a few friends, drop by Cigars on Sixth, and eat a couple of cheeseburgers and a burrito. 

Signe brilliantly planned a 4-day stay in Paris on our return trip.  I maintain it was brilliant because she knew we’d be bummed-out about having to leave Mara for four more months, and figured Paris would provide needed-distraction from our pain.  Well, she was right, but don’t tell her I said so.

Paris at Christmastime!  Philosophers, poets, artists, and song-writers have extolled the joys of Paris much better than I ever could.  It simply makes my heart pound harder, puts a spring in my step, my head on a swivel, and I feel like a kid every time I hit those Paris streets!  It had snowed there a few days earlier, and for the first day, there was slush, ice and puddles all over the place.   Oh, and did I mention the dogshit?   I have never seen a French person scoop the poop after the pup!!!  It must be part of that great Social Contract they have….  For all the dirt and grime, weird homeless people, urine-smelling subway stations, high prices and other urban ills, Paris stands as the greatest city in the world for me.  The Christmas lights in The City of Lights were astounding!  The shoppers.  Hot chestnut stands.  Department store window displays.   Fashionably dressed and coiffed shoppers.  The dogs of the homeless guys even wore cool scarves!  We had a blast. 

So much so that we both got sick.  Signe developed a severe bronchitis.    She was really hurting so we tried to catch a train on Sunday morning some nine hours ahead of our scheduled departure.  No dice explained a very detached railroad ticket-drone.  Apparently, the Senior-discount cards allowed no substitutions, or changes.  It would be very pricey to buy new tickets.   The ever-economical Signe insisted we try to hang out until our night-train left at 10:00 pm. 

So we checked our bags, and went shopping.  That was fun, but Signe soon ran out of steam, and decided to rest for awhile in a café.  We had lunch.  She took out a book, and I went out to enjoy a cigar amid the streams of Parisian shoppers.  After a couple of hours, Signe needed a change of scenery.  When I returned, she asked me to scout out a tea shop within a block.  That’s a little code we’ve developed meaning, “I am near Death and cannot walk very far”. 

So, I found a perfect little Salon de The across a huge intersection.  There, Signe claims I pulled one of the most-embarrassing moves EVER.  If you know me, that took some doing.   Next installment: Mac out-Eurotrashes the Eurotrash.


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