Paris. The end of a long, long day of sightseeing. I turned to my friend’s 10-year-old son and asked him what was the best thing we had done that day.
He thought for just a moment and said: “Sitting in the park, watching those old guys playing petanque, and then they talked to us.”
After a moment he added: “Or going up the Eiffel Tower.”
Kids. So honest. One of these activities required zero funds, queueing or organisation. The other, quite a lot.
Speaking of the Eiffel Tower, we knew we were really lost when we drove past its twinkling nights late on our first night in Paris, looking for our accommodation. My friend had noticed her tablet’s battery was running low and she had the presence of mind to scribble down the remaining directions, handing them to me to look after. Inexplicably, I threw them away, leaving my friend, her two young children and her mother and I to spend a few frustrating and, frankly, terrifying hours driving around the City of Lights. They can laugh about it now, but I still can’t. (And, people of Paris: I respect your food and fashion, but may I suggest you paint some white stripes on your roundabouts to create lanes? Black and white look stylish together!)
It’s that time of the year. Many of us are looking forward to our holidays and I just want to sing the praises of a holiday spent here in New Zealand. Sure, if you want an adventure, it’s great to go overseas, but if you want to relax, I don’t think you can go past a holiday in your home country. It’s a real rest. Without any worries about unfamiliar currency, customs, language or road rules, you can just focus on recharging your batteries for the coming year.
Those friends whose lives I endangered in Paris still speak to me now, and I feel very grateful that they have invited me to spend a few weeks with them these holidays. We’ve rented another place together, but this one’s in Oamaru, so as long as I’m not in charge of directions, we should be pretty safe.