I have just returned from a much needed and long awaited month-longish break from the theatre of operations. I chose to spend my time in Paris and Maui. Opposites, yes, but put together they make quite a nice combo and serve as a good reminder that there is life outside of the way things run here in Kandahar province. I must say, although a great vacation, it did serve to make me miss my family more than ever.
For anyone going to Paris down the road, I would recommend the Sacre-Coeur – a church on top of a hillside that overlooks the city of Paris. The Catholic Church is much like all of the other Catholic Churches I’ve visited around the world – beautifully crafted and quietly respected. If you go to visit the Sacre-Coeur in the evening, you can time your stay in order to observe the sunset over the city from a large set of stairs leading up to the entrance to the church. On the stairs you will also be able to enjoy a beer or some wine and some reggae music of sorts played by what I would assume (but could be wrong) to be the ‘regulars’. It is a Paris experience I would recommend to ensure not to miss.
Maui, although I discovered is not my kind of travel destination, is very beautiful. The weather is nice, the atmosphere is relaxed, and snorkelling with turtles is arguably a very amusing activity. I would recommend Big Beach. The fairly large waves pull close to the shore and crash all at once in a big tube, making them great for body surfing. It reminded me of being a kid playing in the waves with my sister and later laughing about how much sand we were cleaning out of our ears for days after the fun.
Now I am back at the grind. Focused, but looking forward to celebrating Christmas with my family. I hope all of you enjoyed your summer vacation as much as I did.