Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Temporary Locals Make Memories

Saturday at a travel show, Rick Steves regaled an SRO crowd with stories to encourage people to become “temporary locals” when they travel. I love this idea; in fact, for decades, I have rented homes in my destinations so that I could do just that. Then I can savor vibrant markets, which is one huge advantage to having your own kitchen on vacation. Steves is generally more mobile than I am with a home base all week; he often stays only one or two days in one spot. In addition to enjoying colorful markets, he recommends joining locals in harvesting grapes, milking goats, attending church services, and watching soccer. Great ideas, don’t you think?

His talk prompted some reminiscing about one trip in particular—France in 2007 with my nieces and nephew. While in a public garden, the kids each aped the statue nearest them. Wish I could find that photo. They chatted in universal mime language with groups of young people of various origins in the Montmartre area.

Here is Jeremy with one French local. Was this the snail he serenaded with a Cher song? During our cooking class, in between filleting fish and stirring sauces, we had heard a group of locals practicing singing Cher’s “Believe” for their fete de la musique. Then we chatted a bit when they came inside to check out our class.

And on the magical evening we’d attended vespers inside the Chartres Cathedral and then discovered a sound and light show on the back of the building next door, Bethany suggested we make a memory. We decided we’d all dance freestyle to the music accompanying the gigantic historical photos being projected on the building exterior. Taking our positions in the garden, we danced our hearts out, oblivious to the crowd of onlookers gathering. When we were finished, they eagerly approached us to find out if we were part of the “spectacle.” No, we’re just making a memory, I replied in French. They smiled and moved on. We giggled about this unexpected part of our memory.

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