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The small city-state located on the southern coast of France is an attraction both for the incredibly rich and for the curious middle class.  When I visited on May 20th, the city was relatively empty because the Cannes Film Festival was taking place nearby.  I could not pretend to belong in a city-state like Monaco.  I am a missionary with a monthly budget of just over $1,000.  The average income in Monaco is 13 times that.  Regardless of standing, the city is open to everyone who has already been allowed to travel within the European Union. 

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Monaco might be described as the Dubai of Europe.  Both of these places are inhabited by people of immense monetary wealth.  There is a saying in English “money is no object.”  In Monaco, I think it is safe to say “money is the only object.”  Automobiles valued at over half-a-million dollars crowd the parking strip in front of the Monte Carlo Casino.  Yachts and other pleasure craft worth more than the house I grew up in crowd Monaco’s opulent harbors.  It is a haven of a unique order.

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I found Monaco to be a great distraction for an afternoon.  Although I am not a member of the club, I enjoyed all of Monaco that was open to me.  When my father was a child, he had two wooden blocks for his toys.  They were whatever he imagined them to be; an engine pulling a rail car, two racing autos, a hot air balloon and a pterodactyl.  Having little is good training for rich living.  

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They know this in Albania instinctively.  A family in possession of a soccer ball will never find children indoors.  Every mound of dirt is a mountain to be climbed, stormed, taken and secured.  The best bread you can find is that produced in one’s own oven.  A single espresso shot can take up to two hours to drink.  Contentment is a choice.

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