• 5 Questions about Paris – Beginner’s Edition

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    There is not much to say about Paris that has not already been covered elsewhere.  The city has been a muse for the masters of  literature and the arts for centuries so it is understandable that the Paris of the 21st Century has been adequately cataloged by the millions of tourists who visit it each year.  Occasionally, an actual Parisian is able to pull himself away from his pichet of Brouilly and his burning Gauloises to write a few meaningful sentences about the city.  You, the first time traveler, should consult as many differing viewpoints on Paris as possible because Paris is a different city for everyone.

    It is almost with a sense of shame that I admit I have had the good fortunate to have visited Paris no less than ten times in the last six or seven years; some visits lasting over a full month.  It is possible to immerse oneself in the Parisian lifestyle over a long weekend but I would not recommend such an ephemeral trip.  A week is a fine amount of time to spend in Paris – two weeks is better and a month, if possible, could alter the course of one’s life.  Be warned, Paris does not owe you, the tourist, the romanticized version of itself as portrayed in literature and film.  Paris is an airport inside a museum inside a theme park – tourists will be shuffling from line to line with expressions of bewilderment and exhaustion.  It is your responsibility to experience the city in a way that suits your sensibilities.

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  • Shaun: A Very Short Profile of a Regular

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    Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

    “If Shaun’s not here by nine I’m going to call the hospital.”

    The bartender at the unfortunately named Thursty Nelly’s Irish Pub had made this joke countless times and anyone who knew Shaun, or spent any time at the pub, understood the underlying humor. Shaun never missed a night. 

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  • An Open Letter to the Man I Saw Passed Out in a Puddle of his Own Vomit in Osaka

    The famed “Glico Man” – the most famous neon in Dõtonbori.

    Dear Sir,

    First let me say, I applaud your commitment to the “salaryman” lifestyle.  Your friends did not seem to mind looking after you that night so I am going to assume that you’re an okay guy who rarely finds himself face down in a puddle of his own vomit.  If I am incorrect and this is a normal Friday evening for you, perhaps you should step away from the sake bottle and let your friends give the Dõtonbori pavement a try – they might like it.  Either way, it’s only fair that you take a turn wiping the puke off your buddies’ ties for once.

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  • 5 Questions about the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt

    The Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt is an annual wine festival in Bad Dürkheim, Germany.  The Wurstmarkt is the world’s largest wine festival, attracting over 500,000 visitors every September.

    The first time I visited the Wurstmarkt I saw a grown man tackle his girlfriend into a trash can.  As the two of them collapsed onto the ground in a drunken haze like a couple of neophytic alcoholics, a friend came to the rescue and separated the pair before any further felonies were committed.

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  • The Mayor of Bologna

     

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    Italy has been romanticized for centuries, and rightfully so. Florence was one of the most dramatic cities I have ever had the pleasure to visit. The city was overrun with tourists and the line at the Uffizi Gallery was a discordant amalgam of slack jawed foreigners and indifferent Fiorentini, but the streets and piazzas of Firenze brought the Renaissance to the 21st Century. Rome, despite its overcrowding and maintenance shortcomings, has left considerable historical and cultural impressions on even the most hedonistic of travelers. Venice, a glorified cruise port and Epcot Center exhibit, is unrivaled in its beauty. Bologna, the cradle of gastronomy in Italy, is a cooperative of insane, aged communists and social miscreants.

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