A few favorite cities

What are your favorite cities to visit? Through business and pleasure, I have had the opportunity to visit some wonderful places. There is so much more I would like to see, so I would love to hear from you. Here are my list of top ten places, with a few others noted at the bottom. By omission, you will likely guess where I have not been, as some choices would be obvious inclusions.

  • San Francisco – a city worth the travel and cost. It is so scenic and quaint, plus it offers access to wine country, Muir Woods and the Monterey coast.
  • Montreal – a city which offers a blend of French and English cultures and beautiful scenery. It is a great walking city and has wonderfully designed churches. Check it out during the Jazz Festival in the summer.
  • New Orleans – a vibrant, eclectic place with great music and food. Avoid the hot summer if you can, but do go. Also, indulge a tour to the Bayou to get a sense of the geography and fragility of the place.
  • London – a favorite city because of the cosmopolitan culture. It is a great walking city with numerous parks, pubs and historical places. Take in the theater while there, as well. Plus, it is a great launching pad for a journeys to France, Ireland, Scandinavia, etc.
  • Dublin – another great walking city, but ladies beware of heels on some of the cobblestone streets in Old Dublin. Much to see there in terms of history, pubs, etc., plus it is great place to view the rest of Ireland from.
  • New York – a must see for all, but you have to expect crowds. Also, a great walking city and there is so much to offer in theater, restaurants, shopping and sports.
  • Washington – I think this city is highly underrated as a place to visit, as there is so much to see and do. I always feel worn out from walking, but there is so much more to see and appreciate from the memorials to the museums to the zoo and restaurants.
  • Chicago – I have only been on business, but I love Chicago. It has a vibrance to it and is not as crowded as New York. Plus, the vistas of the lake are wonderful. It is a great place to fly into for a few days. Check out Lawry’s and Second City.
  • Toronto – Is a lot like Chicago with its lake venue. I wish I could have spent more time there, but it is not inexpensive. There are many things to do in close proximity be it the aquarium, Skydome, Second City, restaurants, sports, etc.
  • Cannes – I was able to go to a business conference here and what a trip. It is beautiful and has so much to offer in food (the right way over lengthy meals), shopping and casinos, if that is your cup of tea. My best memory is our group having dinner up in the hills overlooking the city and the meal lasting over three hours, leading to wonderful conversations.

Other cities I would give high marks to are Boston, Savannah, Charleston, Ottawa, Miami and Seattle. I would love to tour the northwest and check out Vancouver and set off for Paris, Florence, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Sydney, Hong Kong, etc.

Let me know some of your favorites. Or, please reinforce or share concerns of some of those above.

Overcoming language barriers

About fifteen years ago, I had the good fortune to travel to Cannes for a global conference. Unfortunately, my company frowned on spouses coming as they wanted us to interact with our colleagues. So, I attempted to remedy this by buying my wife a couple of dresses while there.

My dilemma is outside of a few pleasantries and counting to ten, that is the extent of my French. So, in walks this big, tall American guy into a French dress shop. And, to my misfortune, the two sales women did not speak English. What I also did not fully understand is French dress sizes are different from American dress sizes. This is important facet of the story.

The French woman assisting me was lovely and very svelte. My wife is 5’6″ and is more voluptuous. Through many smiles and laughter, we found a couple of dresses that we felt my wife would like relying on gestures and what little of each other’s language we could speak. Yet, we now had arrived at the moment of reckoning, the sizing. With the sizing differences, the number sizes I was spouting were not working.

So, my funny new friend was trying to ascertain my wife’s shape in comparison to hers. Through gestures and heightened sensitivity on both our parts, she was able to understand that my wife was taller and more shapely than she is and not as thin as her model like form. We did the best we could and each walked away with a story to tell. She would likely tell others about this funny tall American man buying dresses for his wife without speaking French.

The result of our funny sales encounter was not successful on the size front. At least I shot too low, so I did not have to explain why I thought my wife was larger. My wife could barely squeeze into one, but could not wear it as it would split. The other one had no chance of getting zipped up. But, I did get some brownie points for trying and came away with a funny story, which I tell to this day. And, I am sure my funny sales person is doing the same.