I now know the true reason van Gogh cut off his ear for the Clampitts recently faced similar circumstances.
A well-intentioned van Gogh signed on to a group tour of the South of France in order to divine inspiration from the picturesque surroundings. Upon arrival he discovered the only way to enjoy the bucolic setting without having to listen to the woman next to him complain about her hemorrhoids was to cut off his ear. After the removing the ear, he was still able to hear the screaming of the kids forced to participate but too young to be without an afternoon nap and a bottle as the listening part of the ear was still in tact. He then stuffed his ear canal with cotton and covered it with gauze. This was not enough to drown out the prattle of the tour guide determined to impart 1500 years worth of farming history in to an hour`s bus ride. He finally decided to tease his hair in the front, wear his painter`s cap backwards and adopt a maniacal stare in order to appear crazy and unapproachable.
This didn`t solve the problem that he was bored stiff while waiting on his compadres to buy every kitschy souvenir available before the bus could leave so he painted a self-portrait while waiting.
The Clampitts just returned from a 3 day tour of the Snow Festival in Sapporo. Like van Gogh, I was half crazy by the time we were given our freedom.
There are no pictures of the first two days of the tour. Offspring #1 summed it up nicely in the following dialogue:
Picture a bus load of Western tourists posing for pictures in front of a wooden 1800`s Western style building dominated by a clock tower. Two teenaged offspring and their mother watching.
OS#2 “Mom- why aren`t you taking any pictures?”
OS#1 “That`s Mom`s way of saying `I don`t give a shit.`”
Oh the wisdom of kids in pointing out one`s flaws.
It got better. The pictures will be in the next post.
On the third day we were free to wander the Snow Festival unencumbered by the bus.
Two boulevards were set up with Snow and Ice Sculptures. The snow sculptures were all carved by the military reserve units. Although only a short ferry ride from Sapporo to Russia, the military must feel fairly confident that this skill is a useful one in case the defense of Japan is necessary.
The official opening was not until the afternoon of our departure and most of the Ice Sculptures were under construction.
I was ready to pony up to this.
We spent as much time with the food as we did the Sculptures.
Here`s a hint: