Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Glad I'm Not Shy

I am so glad that I am not a shy person. Not that I feel there is anything wrong with people who are shy. I just believe they miss out on things in life because they are shy. Shyness has its advantages. People who are shy don’t have much to say unlike the gregarious person who has too much to say. I am afraid I fall in the latter. But I am not sorry that I do. If I were shy would not have met all these wonderful people that I have met on this trip so far.

I would not have met…….

Aida, a Parisian lady who translated for me at the SFR store in Paris, who was so kind to assist me when she heard me struggling to make the clerk understand what I wanted to buy. And then, she stayed on and helped me make sure I knew how to work the device for my computer. Then, she introduced me to the store manager, Mustapha. He was Tunisian and a very nice man. The French are not usually this kind. She even invited me to have lunch with her this week.

A middle-aged couple who stood next to me in line at the Musee’ Jacquemart Andre’. We waited together for 45 minutes to enter the museum to see a collection of Dutch artist (Van Eyck mostly) on loan from a museum in Amsterdam. They were returning to Paris after 20 years. They lived in Paris for five years while he worked for the consulate. They were from Columbia, South America. JA really charming couple. I noticed her before I even got in line because of the chic white jacket she was wearing with the bright blue scarf around her neck. Very dapper.

The young African American woman from San Francisco and her boyfriend Pierre. I met them while dining at a little café near my hotel. They sat next to me. She was very sophisticated with a bohemian skirt on and slippers. She worn huge sunglasses and big earrings. Even her voice was smooth and classy. She has lived in Paris for the last 8 years working in the fashion industry between Paris and London. She loves life. She lives on the same street as Sarkosy. She said security was a real problem. It hinders the life of everyone who lives on the street.

The older couple who was sitting on the other side of the young woman from San Francisco. They were from the mid-west and overheard me talking with the young couple. They wanted to know about cultural activities such as the opera or a concert in the nearby area around the hotel. I shared a couple of things I knew about and they were on their way.

The four sisters from Britain who were visiting Paris for a long weekend for the baby sister’s 60th birthday. I stumbled on them in the garden at the Musee’ Armee. They were all sitting on a bench together and I notice immediately that they must be relatives. They were taking photos of each other on the bench. So I walked over and offered to take a photo of all of them together. They were wonderful. All silver haired and smiles. The birthday girl had lived in the US for many years and traveled all over the States. She was very proud of this fact! They were just lovely and I enjoyed spending time with them.

The camera man and television broadcaster who were interviewing people outside a cinema on the Champs Elysee. I was taking photographs of them and they caught me! So they walked over and interviewed me about what kinds of movies I like. The broadcaster asked me what interested me most about a movie: the acting, the script, or the actor. As usual I elaborated. I told them it was really about the performance and the dialogue for me. Not so much the actor. They asked whether I thought movies were cast well and if there was a movie I thought the actor was not right for the character. I told them “The Firm.” Tom Cruise, even though he was good in the film, was not the character I envisioned when I read the book. Somewhere on French TV, I am sure I am a star.

The two nurses from Australia who have spent two months traveling all over Europe and the USA. They said once they get across the pond, they better make the best of it and see all they can see in one go. I noticed them because they were sitting at a little café drinking beer as I passed. I stopped and took some shots of a little dog sitting near them. About 2 hours later I came back by and they were still sitting there drinking beer. I laughed and said, “you guys still here?” and then the conversation began……it lasted about an hour and they were delightful. One of them has an aunt who lives in Texas so they went to Texas and then visited San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York while in the States. They laughed out loud when I told them people mistake me for Australian. Too funny!

Alberto, a businessman from Seville, Spain who sat next to me on the bus from the airport to Piazzale di Roma in Venice. He was arriving from Tokoyo. He had spent a month in Venice in September, went to Tokoyo, and was returning to spend another month before going back to Spain. He is working with a company in Padova, right outside of Venice.

The old street vendor near the hotel who asked me to marry him. He said he was alone and if I would marry him, he would take me home with him! He asked me how I liked Venice. He smiled a lot and had rotten teeth. I see why he was alone. His face was full of character and he let me shoot some photos of him. He was kind of charming in his own way. Too bad I’m already married or I might have considered it.

The gondolier who was hanging around his little stand unemployed for the moment. I spotted him and his buddy who was reading a paper. They were great photographic material so I stood around and took lots of shots. I then spied a good shot of a gondola and leaned against the side of the little stand to get a better shot. All of a sudden I heard a voice right in my hear “Gondola”! And then a huge laugh. I had been leaning next to a small window. He seized the opportunity to tease me and opened the window without my knowledge and shouted in my ear. He laughed and laughed because it made me jump of course. He closed the window and I heard him laughing and telling his friend about scaring the lady. Funny things happen on the way to……

The gentleman from Los Angeles who stopped me on the bridge by the train station to ask directions to San Croce. He was trying to visit all the different districts of Venice before he leaves tomorrow. San Croce was the last on his list. He has lived in Los Angeles for 30 years and works in the high-tech industry creating state-of-the-art web design for large corporate America. He immigrated from Tehren, Iran as a teenager. His family was forced to leave the country and start a new life in a new land. He went to UCLA and also owns a restaurant in LA. He was quite a nice gentleman. I couldn’t really help him but we had a nice long conversation. He asked lots of questions about Venice when he found out I used to live nearby.

So you see why I call this blog the Spirit of Adventure. I definitely have the spirit. I am not afraid to approach people and they are definitely not afraid to approach me. Sometimes this can be a nuisance as I seem to attract some strange people from time-to-time. I call it my “weirdo beacon.” All my family members are fully aware of this beacon and try to stay away when it is going off.

Life is truly an adventure……..join in.

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