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Monday, October 05, 2009
The Red Bus and Resolutions
I swore on my future grave that I would never ever ride on one of those open roof (mostly red) tourist buses. I thought it was lame and a bit embarrassing. I thought it looked silly, and those people just didn’t know any better.
Then I found myself on one in Paris after limping around non stop for five hours and still was nowhere near covering one percent of the magical city. Blame it on my excess weight or Bangkok syndrome (lack of walking stamina, proneness to falter at any kind of physical tasks and constant whining), but I was moving slowly. Maybe the fact that my lovely German friend couldn’t accompany me during the daytime also barred me from enjoying sightseeing alone. The previous night he suggested the Bus with a snide, and I replied even with a bigger snide. But as my blisters exploded and after an intense contemplation, I decided to pay 24 Euros and hopped on the bus.
It was the best 24 Euros I’ve ever spent in my entire life.
Surely it would have been better to drink in the city and its intricate details through walking since you wouldn’t be force-fed the touristy images of Paris. But my times in the city were short, and I couldn’t really afford visiting one or two places a day.
So there I was riding around on the top deck rather happily, looking like an idiot that I probably am. And I thought to myself that sometimes it’s good to break your own rules, your own resolutions and your own perceptions since you can experience how things on the other side are. As we age, we tend to impose restrictions to ourselves whether out of time honored stubbornness or fear of the unknowns. But the reality is things you need in a certain moment are not necessarily the things you always think you must do. Flexibility will get you through life and to places.
The same thing went with visiting France. I always told people that I had no desire to visit the place. Even having studied the language in school and cruel alliances with some of its finests, I still wasn’t interested. My German Shepherd was what herded me to the country since the last year he made an effort. It turned out to be a great journey in addition to leeching on the German. Paris was breathtaking, steeped deep in history and culture, and the food was amazing. I would definitely go back if I could, granted that my dear friend would still feed and house me.
So once in a while, I guess, we need to get on that Red Bus and enjoy the ride.
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