Conversation turned the other day to international travel. See, I have a little carousel of flags in my office, representing the countries I’ve visited (whether officially or touristically).
I’m up to seven, though only the UK has so far left me wanting more. But it would probably take several lifetimes for me to satisfy my Anglophilia, so…
Germany is first on my list now. You’ve got history, temperate climate, and (most importantly) a diet based almost solely on the meat-cheese-bread trifecta. Sure, Germans eat vegetables. But they’re pickled and/or covered in gravy. I’m a quarter German, and that means two things: I’m slightly more likely than the next guy to start a world war, and I love wurst. Braunschweiger? Yes please!
France is in second, though I focus on Paris and not the delightful countryside or beachy parts of the country. If I wanted delightful country living, I’d visit Appalachia. When I go to France, I want to be sneered at by men in berets and horizontally-striped shirts. I want to use my high school French to ask where the library is (“Ou est la biblioteque?”), what time it is (“Quelle heure est il?”), and how to get to Ikea (“Ikea?”) Plus I’m going to eat croissants like nonstop.
Canada used to finish the trifecta because it’s like Wisconsin, concentrated. But also more exotic. It’s colder, the people are even more friendly, and they use the metric system. It’s like bizarre Midwest. Plus, my French would once again come in handy when needing to find the library (“Donde esta la biblioteca?”) or the Ikea (“Ikea, eh?”).
But I think I’m going to have to throw Japan into the mix, and if history is any guide, it will tear Canada right out of that third place on the list. (When you refer to certain of your currency as the “tooney,” you have to see that sort of thing coming.) Tokyo, from what I can determine after reading the works of David Sedaris, is clean, polite, and organized. In other words, it’s Asian. Even better, it’s the homeland of Hello Kitty. It’s a country where my obsession would be not only accepted, but possibly encouraged. If Seoul was good, I assume that Tokyo will be even better.
So there you go. My top three:
1. Deutschland (Frankfurt? Berlin? Hamburg?)