Sunday, August 16, 2009

Betsy Ross and the Shenandoah Valley



There's one thing I'm not, and that is a good sight-seer.
This has been a matter of contention between my husband of nearly thirty years and me for nearly thirty years. Do your math.
We've been all over the place: Paris, London, Rome, Florence, Naples, the Cote d'Azur, New York, Minneapolis and some others, and it's the same every time. He wants to see the "sights" and visit the museums, and I don't. Or at least not all of them. While he wants to bring back memories of the famous sights, I want to sit in a street café and watch people, or go to supermarkets and watch people, or to department stores and watch people, or just sit on a bench on a busy street and.... you get my drift.
Even better, I want to meet those people. I just love to learn about people, and through them discover the place where they live because to me that means learning how that place breathes and works.
In London, I could have spent the whole day walking through Brick Lane and observe the life there, oh, and Oxford Street and its turmoil, I spent two hours sitting at a bus stop there, watching life. Got some take out food from a nearby Thai vendor, haggled over a shawl with an Indian who had a stand there, got coffee from Starbucks, helped one of our students pick a white dress from the store behind us, and marveled at the many different types of people that populate that city.
In Paris, I dawdled away an entire afternoon walking along Rue St.Honoré to stare at the chic women and their shopping at the designer flag stores.
In Rome, it was the park of the Villa Borghese where the nannies and mothers took the kids for their "airing".
In NYC, at my insistence, we walked all the way from the then still standing WTC to the Met, had lunch in Chinatown and coffee and cake in Little Italy and bought about ten books on the way.

You asked me what I want to see next year while we travel the US?
Well, it's you I want to see. Most and first of all, it's you, my mimosa sisters, because you break my heart with your kindness and your loveliness.
I can hardly wait to meet @crookedstamper in Washington. I'm sure we'll go and see Lincoln and the Capitol, because they're a must, but if there has to be sightseeing, I would like to see this:
The Betsy Ross House, because ever since Jay Leno mentioned her in one of his shows I've never forgotten that name and the story that goes with it.
The Shenandoah Valley, because I love that song.
The cherry trees in the Tide Basin, because Val sent me that fabulous painting of them.

Oh, and Starbucks. This is my goal: bring back a Starbucks City mug from every town I visit.

So you see, this is it. It's about you, the mimosas, not about Famous Sights.