Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday French Inspiration

After months of forcing my love of France and Paris in your face, I was able to get even Kristina P. to want to come to France. She said "You know, I have never really had a strong desire to go to France. I would much rather go to Italy, and Greece and the Mediterranean. But you make me want to go!" So you my readers all love France, you are all cozy and dreaming of all the pretty things... but today that may change.

I'm not sure why it happened. I am vaguely aware of how it happened. But I certainly learned a few lessons. Before I went to France, I researched Paris Fashion. I wanted to feel like part of the city, so that meant looking the part. So I spent some time surfing the web and found a Easy Fashion in Paris. A lot of the stuff was off the wall, but I loved the music and I took inspiration from the type of shoes, and coats would look fashionable.

Hubby's uncle did not visit this site, and did not try to dress to fit in. With is cargo pants, ball cap, and camera, he couldn't look any more like a tourist.

It is easy to fall into the flow of visiting Paris. You learn how to stand on the moving metro without falling on your derriere, how not to smile at every person your pass, and to listen to Hubby because he lived in the area for two years and knows much more about the way things go down. It is easy to forget that anything bad can happen to you on your dream vacation.

Hubby and I skipped church to see the Eiffel Tower up close and personal, so maybe that set things off to a bad start. Then we met Aunt and Uncle (who attempted to attend church but failed). We headed over to the Musee D'Orsay, and old train station that now displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914. I saw a lot of beautiful artwork. I also saw things that I hope you never see such as the origin of the world according to the artist Gustave Courbet. (If your curiosity is peaked and you research this I put a warning on it that you may go blind, and it is inappropriate especially when you are ditching church on the sabbath.)

After visiting the Musee D'Orsay, we wanted to head over to Sacre Coeur up on the hill in Montmartre. We went down into the metro station to wait. I see some nice inviting seats that Hubby just passes. I call him back and he looks at me hesitant but then decides to come sit by me. When the next train, pulls up Hubby goes up further to get on the train. Aunt, Uncle, and I just go to the closest door (this was a bad decision.) As we are getting on the train, some rude girls (Hubby calls the gypsies) push their way through our group, bumping hard into Uncle. There is a musician on the train who was collecting money for his entertainment, he looks up at the gypsies and tells them something in French, and they push their way back off the train. Doors shut, and drama starts.

In about 10 seconds, Uncle realizes his wallet is gone (from his front pocket nonetheless). If you have never felt a dread in the pit of your stomach, that makes you want to puke, then you have never been pick pocketed on a metro in Paris. We get off at the next stop in hopes of recovering maybe at least some of the contents of the wallet, hoping they dumped it and took the cash. And Musician guy heads off the train quickly and proves a better magician than a musician because he disappeared. The wallet wasn't found but it wasn't horrible. Other than his license, and recommend, they got about $100 worth of assorted money, and a debit card that was quickly cancelled.

The part that was sad to be is how well orchestrated they had the act. The musician was working with the gypsies, it was obvious because Hubby said he was telling the girls to be fast and get off the train. Hubby thought the girls looked suspicious while we were waiting but never told Uncle, Aunt or I. He should have followed his gut, but it is hard to do when you are on a vacation high.

The lessons I learned were:
1. It is good to blend in as a local when you are trying to not get mugged. Uncle was definitely targeted because he looked very touristy.
2. Ditching church to see the Eiffel Tower does not earn bonus points with God.
3. Even the city you love can break your heart, and make off with your money.
4. Girls are not afraid to reach into a guys front pocket to make off with his money. (side note about Uncle - He was actually be quite diligent about having his hands in his pockets on his wallet so something like this didn't happen. But he reached out as he was getting on the train to pull himself in. It only took a second).

If you care to share, what is something bad that has happened to you that only took a second?

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