Saturday, September 22, 2012

Great People 2

Well I couldn't very well leave the store once he flashed his photos of Gullfoss and Strokkur

He is one of those travellers who has to have his picture taken in front of everything he saw.  As I'm the opposite and he appeared to be able to handle a friendly debate our conversation quickly turned into a banter about "people who needed to be photographed in front of famous paintings, monuments etc to prove they were really there or is it to show they are more important than what they were standing in front of??"

Despite what our personal preferences and beliefs are, it was fun to reminisce over places that have touched us.  Extra fun when it is someone you just met.  It was also cool to be able to recognize the various locales.  It's not every day I meet someone who has been to so many of the same spots. 

As neither of us have yet seen the Northern Lights despite efforts, he told me 2013 is one of those years in the cycle that is supposed to be superb for viewing.  I'm working on a plan.

We agreed to disagree until we've each tried the alternate that skydiving in Oahu blows a helicopter ride in Kauai out of the water.  We did agreed that Alaska's scale is unbelievable.  It's his favourite place outside of Iceland so far with Norway a close 3rd. 

When he said France is his least liked country, I just couldn't believe it.  As you know I feel very much at home in France, especially Nice.  He found the people to be rude, like they didn't care whether you were there or not. 

I think it is the culture he is interpreting as cold.  French people aren't loud, in your face, or are into bending over backwards to provide customers "an experience".  The ultra cheery demeanor we have come to associate with "service" in North America doesn't exist there.  They aren't there to entertain you. 

The French value privacy and discretion.  That is why you can almost be shoulder to shoulder with the person sitting at the cafe table next to you and not be disturbed.  Allowing each other to experience the environment without constant interruption is one aspect of the French culture I love.  

But he had made up his mind.  I wasn't going to be able to convince him to give France another go.   Nor will he ever "want" to live in his homeland of Romania ever again outside of seeing family. 

As the train schedule would not allow me enough time to visit Nice, I opted to hang out in Cannes for the day before returning back to Barcelona for my flight home.

The famous Red Carpet of the Cannes Film Festival

I stayed at one of their sister hotels in Deauville on my very first visit to France and it was fabulous. 


  1. Throughout my trip to Provence, I found the people to be very friendly and polite. 100% of the time. What did I do that apparently earned me better treatment than others? Perhaps it was that, even though I did not speak any French at the time, I made the effort to follow the French tradition of greeting everyone with, "Bonjour, Madame!" or "Bonjour, Monsieur!" Maybe just that tiny effort on my part made the difference. We started off on a positive note from the very beginning. After that, my lack of French didn't seem to matter very much.

  2. I've never had any issues either. In the case of this fellow, he had a strong, kind of stern presence about him, (not as strong as Russian people can be but close) so I can see how that may have played a factor in how he was received. Once he got talking about what he loved and started smiling, everything became gentler. Otherwise that "you must prove to me your worth" initial vibe isn't the easiest way to get around, especially in France.