Le Chemin de St Jacques – explaining where I come from

St Jean Pied de Port - streaming in 

 
The hikers starting on the El Camino in Spain are streaming into St Jean Pied de Port.. Most are walkers but I’ve seen horses, donkeys and bikes.
 
A little afterthought on Le Chemin – number 1
 
Where are you from? They ask on Le Chemin de St. Jacques.
 
This is not an existentialist question.
 
I’m from Asheville, NC. Caroline de. Nord
 
Most are puzzled. Before you think that the French should know about North Carolina, ask how many Americans could name more than two cities on France,
 
Caroline de Nord,  between Washington and Florida. A smile of recognition. It’s good enough for them.
But every once in a while, someone says Ocracoke. A couple have even visited Ocracoke.
 
Yes, yes. I say enthusiastically, but on the western part of the state in the Smoky mountains. Too much information.
 
They hear west and mountains and reply The Rocky Mountains. If the French have visited the US on vacation, they probably flew to San Francisco or Denver, rented a car and tried to drive more kilometers than their friends.
 
No, no. In the eastern mountains of the US. More confusion.
 
So I pull out my last trick.
 
Dolly Parton. instant recognition. Thank you, Dolly
 
So what have I contributed to the French pilgrim experience?
 
This morning, as I stopped for a mid-morning coffee break on the trail, I sit next to a French man having a Heineken, two actually, at 11 am.
 
I ‘m no longer surprised. I sing a few bars of
   It’s five o’clock somewhere
 
They understand that concept instantly.
 
Vivie la difference!
 
 

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