The Hot Chocolate Crisis, or How I Found a Little Zen on a Street Corner in Paris
“Ninety U.S. dollars for hot chocolate?! You’re kidding me, right?”
So began the slow descent into a cold March evening on rue de Rivoli.
You see, a travel expert suggested a visit to a certain salon de thé on rue de Rivoli. True, rue de Rivoli is posh. I mean, super posh. But, thirty dollars for a cup of hot chocolate? Try telling an eight-year-old who was banking on a cup of chocolate gold that the budget had zero room for such fare. I mean, Samantha Brown suggested the place, so it was gospel.
And then, the meltdown. On a beautiful March evening. On rue de Rivoli in front of the posh salon de thé. With a line stretching down the sidewalk, well-heeled tourists and all. So, what did I do? I took a walk. The girl and the man could work out this crisis.
As always, I have moments of zen when I travel. These moments never arrive in a grand package, like, say, when I’m viewing a cathedral or a painting. They sneak up and tap me on the shoulder or whisper in my ear. My moment came after a stroll down a street that is clearly out of my league, on a corner, during rush hour.
Do you see the sky? Forget the monuments and the tourist destination in the distance. Look at the sky. All swirly and dreamy…the pinks and purples and grays. Is there any wonder why artists come in search of this watercolor sky?
I imagine this light inspires the artists and poets and dreamers who come to Paris in search of their muse. Oh, sure, it’s cliché. At some point, many (most?) artists want to make a pilgrimage to Paris. There are cafés! And museums! And Shakespeare and Company! But, to this, I suggest a humble glance toward the heavens at dusk.
So, who won the fight? All sides. The man didn’t pay for overpriced hot chocolate, the girl was promised gelato each day we would be in Rome, and I regained my sense of peace after basking in the Impressionist painting unfolding in front of me. And peace was restored to the travelers three…