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A friend sent me a postcard from France. The rolling hills of Provence, lush vineyards and charming chateaus - yes, I remember it well.

When my husband and I went to France, I packed so much he accused me of trying to smuggle things into the country for a garage sale. I'm a girl scout at heart. I wanted to be prepared.

To be prepared for the change in time a friend advised me to stay awake on the flight and go to bed at my usual time - local time. Blurry-eyed and exhausted, I collapsed into bed in Paris at 10pm, having lost a day - but not my luggage. By 10am (1am PST) the next day I was tempted to call my friend to thank her for her advice.

The advice on hotels came from a guide book, but hotels in France are like hotels everywhere - overpriced and understaffed. Of course, if I'd had the right adapter to plug in my hair dryer, I wouldn't have needed one hotel's electrician to help dry my hair. If I'd restrained myself from buying funky souvenirs, I wouldn't have needed bellboys to help with my luggage.

Small things, such as the corkscrew shaped like the Eiffel Tower, weren't problems. However, transporting a pillow that looked like a giant croissant and umbrellas decorated with French fries were problems - for my marriage.

John didn't think France was the place to Christmas shop. John's idea of a souvenir was his now-gray underwear, on which a hotel laundry had written his name in large, indelible letters. If John had given me time, I would have introduced the French to laundry whiteners and brightened their lives.

In France our lives were full with quaint buildings, which would be called dilapidated in the States; and there was always one more museum to visit - but not by taxi. French taxi drivers should have to take their foot off the gas pedal as often as they take their eyes off the road.

I should have taken my eyes off the pastries, but I couldn't. A morning break with coffee and pastry; followed by an afternoon break with wine and pastry; and, of course, pastry for dessert at dinner - I carried memories of those pastries home on my hips.

Yes, I remember France. If we go there again, I'm sending a postcard to myself. It will say, "Wish you were here".

KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life. Take a minute to make yourself smile at http://knightwatch.typepad.com

Article Source: Have You Been To France?

 
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