Thursday, June 7, 2007

Oh The Places You Go

I just had the most wonderful afternoon. I had decided that today was the day I would make my pilgrimage to the grave of Lafayette. As most of you know, I wrote my thesis on Lafayette and admire him very much as the epitome of conducting oneself with selfless honor. I could get teary eyed thinking about, but Ill spare you.

So, I hop in a cab and tell him the address. The driver, Mohammed, has never heard of this address, so I tell hi, its a cemetary. "A cemetary?!" He spoke English very well, so we got to chatting and I told him about Lafayette. He thought Lafayette was an American! Anyway, we get to the place, which is in a quiet corner of Paris, and Mohammed and I both get out of the cab to explore the place. We figure out that it doesnt open for an hour, so I wait and after a handshake and a thanks, Mohammed hops back in the cab and takes off.

After the cemetary opens, I had the opportunity to talk to the man who was in charge. He was a jolly dude, who was quite funny, asking me why Americans speak the language of their oppresssors (English... duh). I bashfully laughed at his comments and after he showed ,e how to get in the cemetary (not before making a somewhat anti-semetic comment which sort of pissed me off. Needless to say, I wasnt much interested in speaking to him after that). As I am about to start my exploration, an older couple (young at heart, though) happened to enter the cemetary at the same time. The woman; Mary Anne, is an American and she is married to Geoff, an Englishman. Well, let me tell you, we had a marvelous time. We chatted throughout our walk through the cemetary about Lafayette, geneology, and the Revolution. They are such a charming couple, with Mary Anne issuing the orders and Geoff making wonderfully witty asides.

At Lafayettes grave, I sprinkled a little bit of sand from Omaha beach on it as a sort of symbolic gesture. Lafayette shed his blood to fight for our independence, and we shed ours at Omaha Beach to liberate the French; I just thought it was appropriate.

After leaving the cemetrary, Mary Anne and Geoff treated me to a cup of coffee at a local cafe. Now, I am not a coffee drinker, but given that I was in Paris and in wonderful company, I decided to give it a go, and it was fantastic. We sat and talked about Geoffs experiences in WWII and a myriad of other topics. Truly, this was a great day. Geoff and Mary Anne, if you are reading this (I gave them the address to the website), thanks for the coffee and the memories! You are both absolutely wonderful.

Well, time to pack for Munich. Adieu!

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