As much as I love writing about Japan, another country has been haunting me lately—France. And who can dream of France without thinking of the city of light. I’ve been pining for Paris so badly lately I added the city to my current work-in-progress. When a place gets into my head I can’t seem to think of anything else. So I’ve decided to do a series of posts on what I love about Paris and the South of France. Of course I couldn’t write about any country without reliving some of my fish out of water moments. In Paris I had quite a few. But one moment always makes me smile. For once I wasn’t a fish out of water!
On a overcast day, I headed out of my quaint little hotel in the Latin Quarter to meet friends at a wonderful little restaurant near the Eiffel Tower. I love to walk everywhere so I made sure to dress like a native. I wore black jeans, a matching sweater, a fashionable raincoat and a nice scarf. A must in France. To top it off I wore a cute black wool hat. I didn’t want anyone to know I was American. At least until I opened my mouth and my high school French popped out.
I strolled down the left bank of the Seine enjoying all the lovely old buildings and then turned down a side street that looked like a good short cut.
A woman walked up to me and said, “Excuse me. Do you know the way to the bus stop?”
I looked around to see if there was someone behind me. Doesn’t she know I’m not a native? Just in case I was deaf she asked me again. I racked my brain for the right words. “I’m sorry I don’t know the way. I’m not from here.”
She nodded and continued up the street. I had a spring in my step as I walked to the restaurant, the famous tower growing larger and larger like my smile. I’d fooled a Parisian!
I was just a few blocks from the restaurant when a man on a bicycle blocked my path. I wondered if he was an undercover cop and he’d seen me jaywalking. He gave me a faint smile. “Excuse me. I’m looking for Rue De Martinique. Do you know if it is just ahead? Or did I pass it?”
I felt like I was on the TV show Punked and any minute a film crew would come out of hiding. How could I fool not one but two Parisians? Was it my determined walk or my clothes? “I’m sorry but I don’t know. I’m American.”
He tipped his hat. “You fooled me for a minute. But the scarf gave you away.”
I smiled. “What do you mean? I bought this from a chic store—Target.”