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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

True Nelson Visits France (Part 2)



I am a reluctant tourist.  Oh, I have been lots of places:  every state in the U.S., most of the Canadian provinces, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam; and, the UK, Mexico and now France.  However, almost all of that travel was either paid for by the U.S. government or a large cooperation.

I’ve traveled 'first class,' 'second class' and 'no class.'  I have stayed at fancy hotels, some much less than fancy, as well as hootches, and stood under a cold water spigot in Vietnam to wash off several days of sweat.  I’ve seen extreme poverty and incredible wealth.  I’ve ridden in Lear Jets and C-130s, C-124s, and on an Air America C-47 in Vietnam; also various helicopters, armored personnel carriers, etc.  No, I haven’t seen everything, but one does grow tired.

Don’t get me wrong.  France was interesting.  And, I met some very nice people.  But, I am not sure that I was overly impressed.

A little background; this trip to France was almost two weeks and most of the time we were on a river cruise, approximately 45 passengers, surprisingly nice accommodations; and, if asked, I would highly recommend it.  It was, nonetheless, rather expensive – not something everyone would find worth the investment.  Some of the fellow passengers were seasoned travelers, and discussed their various travel excursions with pride.  One interesting lady told of a travel experience - being bitten by, what she perceived to be, a tarantula and the initial medical attention being administered by a witch doctor.  Fortunately, she survived and discussed the incident in good humor.  I believe this occurred in the Amazon.  An area of the world that I have no interest in visiting.  I don’t like spiders.

I remember a time in Thailand, sound asleep, but my brain instantly awakened as I felt something crawling up my arm.  I slapped it off my arm, jumped out of my bunk, and turned on the light.  It was a large centipede (fairly poisonous in that area of the world).

Our first destination was Nice, France.  For those who do not immediately recognize the city, this is considered the French Riviera – of which we have all heard.  The beaches were packed with French citizens on vacation, as well as numerous tourists from all over the world.  Upon my return home, a person asked me what I thought of Nice.  ‘Well,’ I said, ‘the beaches were sprinkled with topless women sunbathers.’ ‘That was kind of interesting.’  I know.  It sounds like I am an immature clod, what with all the more meaningful sites and experiences all around me.  But, it was however the first thing that came to mind.  Perhaps, I am not a reluctant tourist.  Maybe, I am a hopeless tourist.

To be continued…

True Nelson