Good afternoon ladies and gentleman.Itís time for the treasurer's report, where we focus like a laser beam on the fiscal matters and let nothing get in the way of our financial reports.Not even our recent trip to Paris can sidetrack us.Yes, we're back from France and boy are the French people happy about that.


While in France we had troubles driving and problems with the <i>lingua franca,</i>whatever language that is.When I couldn't understand something I'd say "Je ne suis pas Einstein." That means, "I'm no Einstein."Between the lingo and knocking over a statue every time we backed up the rent-a-car those folks were very happy to have us out of their country.I'm not kidding.You can't turn around in France without knocking over some historical monument or another.And talk about bad driving, you'd think they kept grapes under the pedals."Okay dear, I'll stomp these on the way to work."


France was way too French so we headed for Holland.Koffee house after koffee house beckoned as we drove across the Dutch landscape.Finally, we stopped for coffee upon arrival in Amsterdam.†† One shop caught our eye and we stepped inside to a table near the bar. We might have noticed the unusual decor except that it was late and our sleepy eyes couldnít focus.


A waitress, she seemed strangely diffident, said ja ja when we ordered. The words on the menu floated around, familiar yet foreign.It turns out that the shop was aromatic, and with more than java. It was a sweet smell, and as it came to us what it was, the words on the menu wound into crisp focus. "Super Skunk-$15; Northern Lights-$20; Nepalese Temple Ball-$20."


It was too late for us.We were already gone from sniffing the aroma and we proceeded to inhale dinner. Afterward we stepped out of the koffee house and into the canal.


This is an Amsterdam travel tip:Do not fall into the canals. We would still be swimming if not for the nearby Red-Light District. Things turned out fine as beautiful women were instantly on the spot with towels and blankets. The towel-off cost 50 guilders each half hour but it was very professional.


We decided to drive to England where they don't talk funny. After a lovely drive through Normandy, which is the part of France you're in when you make a wrong turn at Calais, we entered the Channel Tunnel. It may be a great engineering success but the ride is pretty rough... it's like driving on railroad tracks. In about forty minutes we were in merry old England where a crowd had gathered waving and yelling "...a fine tunnel, she is!A fine tunnel.Ē


Later some chaps at a pub explained the accent and wagered the crowd was probably screaming "She's a train tunnel, she is...."†† They won from us the treasurer's discretionary account, an amount of $17.25.So much for speaking English.