Friday, May 30, 2014

Big City Life

The sun came out to visit today. She said “bonjour” at the same time we were stepping out of the #8 Metro onto the Avenue de l’Opera, in central Paris. In the time it had taken for us to traverse the courtyard of St. Roche Cathedral and enter the splendid gardens of Tuileries, it seemed as though the rest of Paris came outside and waved “bonjour” right back at her.
Joan d'Arc in the sun
 The gardens, which begin at the feet of the Louvre, were alive with the vibrant colors of spring flowers, still damp from gentle rains. The lawns were fresh, green carpets spotted with tiny daisies which no feet are allowed to spoil. Parisians were out by the droves, occupying chairs that surround the many fountains throughout the park. The smells of the flowers were only overcome by the faint wafts of cannabis. 
All sorts of smells in the Tuileries, Louvre in the background
 We head toward the Seine, to finish the second part of our walk: onto the Quai des Tuileries, past the golden statues of Pont Alexandre III, downward to the cobblestone waterfront of the Seine. The lower path is fractured along the shore and upward again we pressed on steps galore and ascended to Pont d l’Alma.
At the bridge a woman was bent over, picking something off the ground, her young son holding her hand as we pass by.

Pont Alexandre III, Tour Eiffel
“Look.” She said in her French accent, holding something in her hand.
 We stop and note that in her hand is a thick, gold wedding band.
“Is yours?” She asks, while her young son holds onto her hand.
“No. Not ours,” Harvey replies.
“Nope, not ours,” I confirm.
“I lucky, I guess,” she shrugs her shoulders and smiles at us.
We confirm her luck and begin our walking along the tree lined avenue.
Moments later she is beside us again.
“Lady, no fit,” she demonstrates how the band will not fit any of her fingers. “You take, you lucky.”
I decline, but she presses it into my hand and closes my fingers around the heavy band.
“You take. No fit.”
Whatever lady, I want to get to the Eiffel Tower so we leave and once again say,
No more than 4 or 5 steps away and she’s back.
“Maybe you give me some money for a coke for my boy?”
I take her hand and place the ring inside her palm, closing her fingers around it like she did mine. Smiling I say,
“Acheter de l’or,”
which is on the front of all the French pawn shops I have seen in our not so touristy neighborhood.
The local PFC in my Paris Neighborhood
I imagine she has pocketful of these rings. One thing I have learned on my travels is that the con goes much better with a child in tow.

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