Friday, August 17, 2007

Monaco Mon Amour

I fell in love with Monaco before I ever laid physical eyes on her. I fell in love with the IMAGES of Monaco I'd seen in magazines and television---images of Princess Grace's marriage, of casinos, of wealth, of yachts, of palm trees, of the Beautiful People. These are the images of Monaco most displayed in glossy publications. If there are any ghettos or slums, I'm sure they're hidden far, far away from all cameras. Maybe there aren't any!

The first time I saw Monaco I was traveling around Europe with my husband, and we briefly stopped in Monaco. However, we were driving to Greece at that time with a scheduled appointment awaiting us, and so we didn't stay for more than one day. Since I was already in love with Monaco, I was saddened to say goodbye after ONLY one day.

It wasn't for another long stretch of years that I FINALLY made it back to Monaco, this time with two French girlfriends. However, once again, the timing wasn't for me to stay long, and we had to leave after TWO days. I tried to soak up as much Monaco as I could in this one brief stay. We gambled and lost (Las Vegas is much better for gambling!)...we dined at fine restaurants...we drove through tunnels and walked up stairs and escalators for Monaco is really built on the side of a mountain. We got stuck in traffic. We shopped. We ogled incredible yachts in the harbor over breakfast.

Here's what I didn't see: the glamorized images of my youth didn't strike me as all THAT glamorous with the eyes of experience and maturity. Sure, there's still glamor in Monaco, but not the way I had imagined the GLAMOR in my youth.

This was Monaco's gift to me the second time around: Monaco revealed herself to me as a dowager, a well-maintained aging beauty with a few wrinkles here and there--but artfully concealed. Still well-manicured. Still proud. Still moneyed. Not seeking to impress. Sure of herself. She has friendly citizens, wonderful shops, and beautiful views.

How could I ever fall out of love with this grand dame?
Here I am posing with a giant teddy bear sculpture in the main square near the casino.
Here's the three of us posing in front of the harbor.

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Posted by kuanyin333 at 6:42 PM 4 comments