Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road

Contorted distorted

I love to take photos of reflections – reflections in the water: pools, lakes, fountains and reflections in glass: buildings and especially people. It reminds me of how we see the world – a little bit askew most of the time, not as clearly as we think we do. Sometimes the water ripples with the wind, activity of animals or people. Sometimes the glass is not clean, it has been aged and marked by the winds of time that have buffeted it.

Yet, I keep watching and looking for the most interesting glass reflections everywhere we go. Here in Monaco we spent the day visiting Prince Rainer at his home, Princess Grace in her tomb, the fascinating Museum of Oceanography. We trekked up the hill of hairpin turns used by the racers for the Grand Prix on our way to the most prestigious casino in the world, Casino Monte-Carlo. James Bond, big dollar stakes, larger than life people as well as exclusive shops to spend your winnings: Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Zegg & Cerlati, Milady Furs. The driveway alone was a shrine to the most luxurious, and expensive, cars on the planet.

Walking up the hill past the secluded doorways of the fashion houses of the world with a respectful security guard on alert; winded, we turned the corner to find ourselves walking past a large store with angled glass work. As I looked up, there we were in great caricature – long and lean – clumped together like the stick figures I used to draw as a kid. I was fascinated and took several photos and others saw it too. It was a good laugh and a reason to stop and catch our breath before entering the hallowed, quiet halls of the most holy place for all gamblers, the Casino of Monte-Carlo.

This was the landmark of luxury; opulent, historical, luxurious and grand on a scale unsurpassed. Yet, it was a distortion of the world’s reality just the same. There were no people begging in the streets, living on subsistence, struggling to make ends meet which is the story of the vast major of the world’s population. There were no 12 step groups to remind people of the dangers of a gambling addiction. Just like in that mirror, we saw something distorted and real all at the same time.