BACK FROM FRANCE AND THE EUROCUP
Voila! We are back from Paris and the French Riviera. Safe and whole! “Veni, vidi, vici.” (I came, I saw, I vanquished) wrote Julius Caesar after the Battle of Zela. So we did.
Yes, our travel club (Travel-O-Ganza, Inc) went to France, for the EuroCup. We learned a lot and had too much fun. We were not slaughtered by terrorists. We vanquished…
It is sad and unfortunate that, by fear of a terror attack, 27 out of the 41 friends and colleagues, who were supposed to be on this trip to France, desisted. If the rest of us had followed suit, the terrorists would have won by successfully dictating us a behavior of fear. As Asterix would say: “By Toutatis, no way!”
So far, betwixt through the tournament, no fan has been killed or abducted. Terrorists only hit soft targets. The last time there was a terrorist assault at a major international sporting event was during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. It was a long long long time ago, in a galaxy far far far away.
We attended two games; the first at the Parc des Princes, in Paris, the second at the Allianz Riviera, in Nice… We made new friends, we walked a lot, we swam in cool water, we overindulged on delicious French cuisine and delicacies, we gained weight, all of this, in the lap of luxury.
On the Cote d’Azur, we met drop dead gorgeous women and tall-dark-rich-and-handsome men.
But most importantly, we enjoyed touring the landmarks and the marvels of the City of Light, before moving to the Principality of Monaco, We spent a precious time on the French Riviera (Cannes, Saint Tropez, Saint Jean les Pins, Antibes, etc). Quality time!
For us, this French adventure was also a refresher course on History, Geography, Geopolitics, Arts, and Sociology. We ended up with both a “head well filled, a head well made” (Montaigne), and sometimes an occasional headache.
We rediscovered the French people as sympa (nice) but not effusive, professional but not hurried, affluent but not opulent. They live healthy; obesity is scarce. They care about living life, not about working through it. They want adequate working hours, vacation time, early retirement. They don’t prioritize overtime, marriage and they don’t produce enough children to sustain the nation.
Even with Great Britain’s exit from the European Union, France will do fine. It will also do away with the new generation of terrorists, as it did with the Red Brigades in the 1980s.
The descendants of Louis XIV, Voltaire and Pasteur are too smart, too educated, too resourceful to lose their country, or obliterate their identity.
Upon returning from Saint Tropez on Thursday night, everyone in the group slept only a few hours.
On Friday morning, Sunshine Riviera Tour picked us up at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. Air France flight #7701 flew us from Nice to Paris.
From CDG to EWR, Delta flight # 21 lasted eight hours. Comfortable. Uneventful. The group parted after clearing customs. Most of us will meet again in October, for the Dream Trip to China.
Mustafa has retired. I now have a new limo driver, Michael. He picked me up a few minutes after 5:00 PM. I was home within half-an-hour. The kids were waiting, noisy and impatient.
I slept like a rock. I dreamed of a world where the French Riviera extended to our entire blue planet. Every Earthling lived everlastingly happy and prosperous, often immersed in the azure reflection of the Mediterranean waters. Every man and women went half-naked. By precaution, apple was banned, and no one was named Eve.
Once again, I traveled and I had a revelation, an epiphany. I realized that French and Guineans, Guadeloupeans and Polynesians are all species of the same genus, with only skin-deep differences, living under the divine edict of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.”
I am a citizen of the world. If the Caribbean is my homeland, the world is my patria, and Warrenville is my home. I am now at home, home to the rat race. It is so good to be back home.
Until the next adventure, it was the Traveller…
(The Traveller, Saturday, June 25, 2016)
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