The year was 1991 and I was going to France, for the first time. Within the first month of meeting my husband, Jerry he called me from the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Eiffel tower with all the fireworks in the background. That’s when he promised to show me the country and culture he had grown to love. Now we were on our way-Paris in the Springtime for seventeen days. I had packed too many clothes, including my roller skates and now was dragging my bags through the Charles de Gaulle Airport to the metro. This was prior to the age of rolling luggage. Jerry had metro tickets left over from his previous trip, and being adventurous with decided to avoid taxis and go straight to the Jeanne d’Arc Hotel in the Maris district.
He gave me my ticket and off we went up and down stairs winding through the maze of underground tunnels to get to the correct train. Growing up in Kentucky, then living in Florida left me with little experience in underground transportation.
We arrived at the first turnstile, Jerry inserted his ticket and briskly walked through. Following close behind I did the same, except the arm at the turnstile did not budge. I inserted my ticket again, nothing. I glanced around, by this time there was a line forming behind me and Jerry had disappeared in the mass of people moving forward. Other travelers were quickly passing through other gates, some young men were jumping over, which I was considering apart from my cumbersome luggage..
I grabbed my ticket, stepped back, observed the others, and went to another turnstile. Still, the barrier did not open. So, I did what most women do when they are tired, and stressed in a foreign country with an unfamiliar language – I dropped my bags and cried.
About that time, a nicely dressed gentlemen approached, and indicated for me to step through with him using his single ticket. It worked. Jerry had retraced his tracks and finally caught up with me, just as I was wiping the tears from my face and bidding a “Merci Beaucoup” to this stranger. Gee, what were those rumors I heard about the French being rude?
The next day with fresh tickets and a current map, I vowed to conquer the Metro, and indeed I did. In just a few days, I was leading Jerry all over Paris from La Defense, to the top of Sacré-Cœur , to the Père Lachaise Cemetery where Jim Morrison was buried, and down through the creepy Catacombs. We visited three zoos, had picnics in every park we could, rented bicycles and yes, we roller skated through the Bois de Boulogne. My pink roller skates with purple shoe laces and purple wheels were a hit with the young Parisian girls, who stopped to ask where I had purchased them.
Thanks to that first trip and many more with my husband, today I am as comfortable on the Paris Metro as I am travelling on the interstate in South Florida.
(Tip: Keep your unused metro tickets stored away from your credit cards or any magnets)
MAY ALL YOUR ROADS LEAD TO AN ADVENTURE
|Deborah C Linkerwww.DeborahCLinker.com|