As this post proves, I did not burn up like a piece of space junk

By: Straight-Up |

As this post proves, I did not burn up like a piece of space junk upon entering Vancouver’s atmosphere, though the jet lag has been epic. Even Chorizo has it – demanding breakfast at 2 am, falling deeply asleep for hours in the afternoon as if it were midnight. Today I made it to 5 am before I woke up, which I consider triumph at last over my body’s reluctance to shift by nine hours.

If you should ever take a trip to the peerless beauty of rural France and fear that you will accidentally-on-purpose miss your flight home, I have a foolproof remedy: spend a few days in Paris. It’s known as the City of Light, but I’d like to add another moniker to its list of fawning nick names: City of Merde. The traffic is Merde, they drive like Merde, the shopkeepers treat you like Merde, and all over the sidewalks is the ultimate symbol of Paris, dog Merde. And if you decide to descent into the bowels of the city, otherwise known as the Metro, in order to avoid the above ground constant chaos of the streets, make sure you don’t attempt to do so during the afternoon rush hour(s) unless you enjoy becoming a vertical human sardine, unable to fall down in the train even if you wanted to.

The famed traffic circle at l'Arc de Triomphe - miraculously we did not crash even a little bit

Paris IS beautiful of course, and Chorizo did the sights along with all the billions of tourists who crowded into the frames of all our photos, but he sure did miss the grass. See, France is the most dog friendly country on Earth, but Paris evens the score by being the dog-unfriendliest city (maybe not quite as unfriendly as those cities which have dog on the menu). Nearly every square inch of the place was paved over centuries ago, and what little tiny handkerchiefs of grass that managed to survive are strictly off limits to dogs. So we took Chorizo to Versailles.

Bonding with the grass at Versailles (and maybe just a little bit of swan Merde)

I remember a conversation I had with a fellow traveler on a past trip to France; he was bemoaning the Parisians’ legendary unfriendliness. He couldn’t understand why they were so unpleasant to tourists. “Are you kidding? They’re just as awful to each other,” I told him. We met so many wonderful people in France, and I’m trying really hard to hang onto that fond memory because the people of Paris did their very best to erase it. Go to Paris, see the museums, eat in the famous brasseries which were the haunts of Hemingway and Picasso. Just don’t expect any smiles with your service, that is when you can manage to get some.

The Musee d'Orsay is not for everyone

Chorizo does Notre Dame

It is probably going to take me a few weeks to get my treadmill back to full speed, and maybe if I’ve learned something these past two months I will keep it one notch below warp speed so that I don’t need such a long break from the world again for a while.

Here are a few things I’ll be getting up to on this blog and my sister blog Low-Down over the following weeks:

1. Yesterday I booked my tickets to Holland for the GDF (that would be the Global Dressage Forum, not the Global Dressage Festival that stole its initials), and I’m very excited to be returning there after missing it last year. The program for this year looks outstanding, and it’s always a good year for the GDF when something as big as the Olympics has just taken place. I don’t imagine too many of you are in a position to suddenly add it to your fall calendar if you haven’t already done so, but I will do my best to keep you abreast of the action on a daily basis.

2. As I predicted way back at the beginning of my holiday, there has been some considerable drama but not much actual change within the turbulent world of EC. For Canadians over the age of 35, the name Meech Lake may come to mind. EC’s members held up an eagle feather, demonstrating that they aren’t as apathetic as I feared they were. Alberta and British Columbia are almost certainly being labeled the Elijah Harper of this non-deal, but that’s just a cheap way for the EC Board to avoid staring the problem in the face. You know how I love irony, and there is a five karat gem in the EC press release, the one that makes the ‘no’ vote on the bylaws sound like the best news Mike Gallagher has had to share ever since he thanked the FEI  for disqualifying Tiffany and Victor in London. Are you ready? Follow closely. It’s about the vote meeting in Quebec to which all members received invitations to attend five days before it took place. In spinning his ‘bad news is really good news’ story, Mike Gallagher expresses his gratitude to the Quebec federation for allowing this meeting to take place during the Canadian Interprovincial Championships. He brags that those who did vote at that meeting (and who would have been almost exclusively limited to the participants in that competition) voted ‘almost unanimously’ in favour of the bylaw revisions. The Canadian Interprovincial Championships, which came into existence in 2011, were the direct result of the decision of six provinces not to sign a service agreement with EC and ‘go their own way’, as Stevie Nicks sings it so nicely. If you have ever been baffled by someone to the point of not knowing if they are really really smart or really really stupid, then you know exactly how I feel right now.

3. Remember Dominican Republic vs. FEI/Brazil/CAS? That story might be over, particularly for Yvonne Losos de Muñiz who enjoyed the experience so much she has decided to retire from competing, but it has yet to be told in its entirety. CAS has still not released its conclusion, even though the material result is long in the past by now. I don’t intend to let this one die before every last turd has been rolled over, and the turd-rolling begins immediately.

Ok, time to get trolling the internet and catch up on all that I’ve missed over the past little while. But before I go, I want to linger over a few photos that are worth a thousand words of description about how wonderful my holiday in France with my two wieners really was.

Chorizo goes Medieval

Crusader Chorizo

And a Pastis for the wiener, please

Counting sheep

The objects of Chorizo’s desire:


Our last bit of rural French paradise, in the Cevennes and far from the madding crowds awaiting us in Paris

Eight weeks of 24/7 in each other's company - and we're still smiling