There & Back Again, Part 5 – The Last Stage

There & Back Again, Part 5 – The Last Stage

"No vacation goes unpunished." ~Karl Hakkarainen "No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang "The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~G.K. Chesterton * * * When the guy across the aisle from us began discussing stabbings & which mixture of drugs enabled him to best endure such an incident, I knew that I had had enough of fucking Greyhound. We arrived at the Greyhound station in Denver after our brief stop in Amarillo.  We had 2 hours to stand in a line in front of the door where the bus would arrive.  Sucking down our mediocre & over-priced nachos, Olivier & I observed that while the bus station in Denver was larger & cleaner than what we'd grown accustomed to, being forced to watch Fox News on...
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Annoying Americans, Volume 3 – Ordering Food

Annoying Americans, Volume 3 – Ordering Food

Ok, so imagine this: a group of people that you don't know come over to your house for dinner.  They don't speak your language very well - they expect you, as the host, to comprehend everything that they say.  They point & pantomime, occasionally spitting out a few words that you can understand. This group of strangers gag when they see the food that you set before them.  They balk in their foreign tongue & ask for other food items that you've never heard of, as those things exist only in their country. They're obnoxious, rude & don't understand what the problem is. Of course, the problem could be that they're naturally assholian, but it's more likely that they're just ignorant. Which is worse?  Um... does it matter? I've seen this happen here in Paris.  It's fucking painful to watch.  American tourists in restaurants & cafés who haven't the slightest clue about ordering food in France. To be fair, it can be confusing.  However, I've...
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Ketchup, Indiana & Buffalo – Hold the Eggs

Ketchup, Indiana & Buffalo – Hold the Eggs

"A man accustomed to American food and American domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe, but I think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die." -Mark Twain, 'A Tramp Abroad' "Americans can eat garbage, provided you sprinkle it liberally with ketchup, mustard, chili sauce, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish." -Henry Miller ... It's strange the everyday things you find yourself wanting when they stop being everyday things.  For the past 3 years, I've found myself wanting every single day. Cool Ranch flavor Doritos.  Arby's Beef & Cheddar.  Sour cream.  New York style cheesecake.  Welch's grape jelly that tastes like purple. You know, American food. Olivier is frequently on the look out for American grocery stores & restaurants in a never-ending effort to keep me & my food cravings under control. One of the first "American" restaurants I had tried in Paris was the Indiana Café, which claims to be a Tex-Mex restaurant. Of course,...
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Secrets & Sexy Stirry Sticks

Secrets & Sexy Stirry Sticks

All three of us, Olivier, my mother-in-law & myself, all decided that it would have to be Thai food for lunch.  Sure, there are plenty of restaurants in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, but the Thai restaurant down the street was the only thing that would be able to satisfy us.  We had been thinking about it all morning & now we all had a strong craving. After we had been seated, we ordered our food & some drinks.  I watched people wrapped in coats & scarves as they passed by the window, moving around in different directions, none of them paying any attention to one another. The conversation between the three of us moved in & out from English to French to Frenglish, then back to English again.  I tried to follow along, but couldn't think of anything except for my nems, wondering when they would arrive. However, as soon as the waiter brought our drinks, I forgot about the nems.  The...
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Damn…Two Years Already?

Damn…Two Years Already?

It feels like it was only about a week ago that Olivier & I were being bombarded by all of that fucking rice. But...it was two years ago already. Damn. The traditional gift for the 2nd anniversary is cotton. Fucking cotton? Whatever. It's true that I really would like to have my own special room filled with nothing but cotton balls just so that I could jump in it like a giant, silent pile of leaves...but Olivier is always throwing that phrase "it's not practical" at me whenever I come up with brilliant ideas like that. So, no cotton ball room...but, I was actually coaxed out of the house by promises of delicious Greek cuisine. I had completely forgotten how much I hate shoes & pants. Olivier was a walking snot-faucet & had himself all jacked-up on cold medicine... No, really...he was sick. I'm sure that you're thinking it was the past couple of years that gave...
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