12 June 2007

This Woman Is A Saint, Monaco Has Lots Of Ferraris, & The South of France Is A Lot Like SoCal

First and foremost, this woman – Catherine – is a living saint. The woman picked Christelle (the YV France Director) and I up from the airport, insisted we use the only two bedrooms in her house while her family of four slept on air mattresses in the living room, fed us, organized a speaking event for nearly 200 French youth and took us to a stand-up comedy show, all without EVER meeting us before this experience! She is one of the most incredible people I have ever met, and I wanted to give her a big shout out. She’s a huge supporter of young people creating change, and we’re lucky to have her as an ally. Plus, she has the most adorable kids ever...

(We engaged in a rather serious pillow fight)

They live on a charming grape farm that is so perfect, it doesn’t seem real.

I almost wanted to end the tour there and just disappear from the face of the earth for a while – maybe forever…

Second, Monaco is absolutely beautiful and has now become the perfect example of excess. I’ve never seen so much excess in my entire life (combined with the latest in French fashion).

I saw a Bentley and couldn’t help but think to myself, that would fund 350 teams or feed a small country for a month. While this tour is fast, I do think it’s helpful in the sense that I’ve been able to get (and share) a vivid snapshot of inequity on a global level, and it has made the need for change so much more apparent. Less than a week ago I was interviewing young people in a Sao Paulo slum who just recently got running water and now I’m standing at an intersection looking at a Lamborghini, an Aston Martin and a Rolls Royce. Messed up much?

Finally, the south of France could be Southern California, minus the rocky beaches, naked bodies and much more fuel efficient cars. I stepped out in St. Raphael and honest to goodness, for a split second, I thought I was in Newport Beach, CA, only people weren’t using the words “dude” and “sweeeet” (except for me). This moment of shock was followed by “Mexican food” for lunch, which made clear that I was indeed in the south of France and not in southern California.

You don’t even want to know what I’d do for a taco stand taco right about now.

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