Three R's elusive,even on vacation
Last updated 9/20/2019 at 1:25pm | View PDF
Vacation. It is a time of rest, relaxation and recuperation. It is a time when families can get away and re-strengthen their bonds. It is a time when the rat race of the American lifestyle can be safely left behind and the relaxed lifestyle of other countries and cultures can be embraced.
We are Americans, and we can leave America behind, but the American in us is always strong and manages to shine brightly, even during our vacations.
Take my trip to Paris last summer. Most people in France take their time with breakfast, sit in a cafe and sip their tiny cup of espresso or cappuccino for at least an hour. Even if said cup of coffee is bought at a Starbucks, again, most people sit in the store and take their time to enjoy the grande latte.
Not this American. I had to get my venti mocha to go and drink it while I was walking. The same was true for my cheese baguette. I couldn't spare 10 minutes to actually sit down and eat it in the boulangerie. God forbid! I had to take it to go and eat it on my way. The thing is, I was only one on the entire metro car that was eating and drinking. And it felt like each crunch of my sandwich and slurp of my coffee was deafeningly loud. I became very self-conscious very quickly.
I had similar experiences on our vacation in Mexico just last week. Again, the idea was to get away and spend some quality time relaxing by the pool, sipping piña coladas and mojitos all day in the sun. The only problem is there is no where to sit so those beverages can be enjoyed.
The pool opens up at 7 a.m. If we wake up, go to get some breakfast, and then go to the pool by say, 9 a.m. there is absolutely no where to sit. As a result, one must resort to fighting the Cabana Wars.
The cabanas are very nice and are a great place to relax if you can snag one for the day. To do this, however, one must get up early - very early. And so, given that I was on vacation and wanted to relax, one would think I would forgo this silly exercise of getting up at 5:15 a.m. to hold a cabana for the day. Umm, no. I was right there at quarter past five, scurrying past several other frantic fellow Americans looking to snag their own piece of cabana heaven before they were all taken by 5:30 a.m. It was tough, but it was well worth it as I laid down, in the shade, sipping my fourth mojito of the day.
Vacation. It is a time of rest, relaxation and recuperation. But, being an American, the rat race of American life follows me everywhere, even if in Paris or Mexico.
- Hesham Hassaballa of Hinsdale is a former contributing columnist. This column first appeared April 7, 2016.