Many Americans are afraid of the French. Frequently, I've heard this phrase: "Paris is beautiful, but the French are so rude!"
I have never found that to be the case and in a recent trip to Spain and French, befriended a glorious artist named Augustin. He is very cultured and wears ascots.
As I dined with my girlfriend in various French restaurants, I prepared a speech to French servers if they ever were rude to either one of us.
My speech was this: "Listen, Frenchy, we gotta meet halfway, and you must follow my three rules. Number 1: You gotta cut the French b.s. Number 2: You must get us some goddamn creme brulee, and Number 3: You gotta stop pretending you don't know what I'm talking about."
Luckily, I never had to present these three rules to any of the evil French.
When I ran across Augustin Frison-Roche, it was at an art opening of his in Bordeaux. I quickly discovered that not only was there art at his opening, but there was free wine. After about three glasses of this wine, I explained to him that not only did I love his ascot, but I loved the free wine. He looked confused as to who exactly I was and in French, most likely responded, "Who the hell are you?"
Ah, that Augustin -- what a kidder!
On the rooftop, overlooking the Dali Museum and Spain countryside, Joaquin thrust beer after beer at me and wine to my girlfriend. He gave us fish and shrimp. As we consumed, I realized that my perception was getting hazy, and I took several photos with Joaquin. This experience with Joaquin was much different, though, because unlike Augustin's odd French, I actually knew what Joaquin was saying in Spanish.
Most people rate their European trips based on the free drinks they receive, and for me, my voyage was topnotch. I also saw Barcelona, Bilbao, the running of the bulls in Spain and San Sebastian, but I must give it up to Augustin and Joaquin for the cocktails.