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Europe Memoire Excerpt – Paris

My first impression of Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport is intriguing, to say the least.

Soldiers dressed in camouflage fatigues stroll back and forth through the airport lobby in groups of threes, casually glancing from left, to center, to right, with nary an expression change from the blank poker face that easily disguises their true thoughts.  These men and women walk with machine guns at the ready, tips angled down, and I can’t help but imagine if this is so as to discourage accidental deaths in case someone’s index finger slips from its ‘at the ready’ poise and falls upon the trigger; I wonder whether these guns come equipped with safety switches.  I Sneak another glance and decide that they do not…

Later on, at the Eiffel Tower I pretended to snap a picture of my friend, zoomed past his head, and captured these guys; berets and guns do indeed make an intimidating combination when you’re two feet away.

Hopping onto a bus, I pay 12 Euros, we take off, merge onto the freeway, and I am Paris-bound.

Exhausted, I slouch back in my seat near the rear of the bus and gaze out the window.  The road is inhabited mostly by small cars, with the occasional small truck, all of which, I discover as I lean into the window and stare into the cabins of passing cars, are almost exclusively stick shifts.  There are also quite a few large busses, like the one I’m taking, whose mirrors remind me of antennae and make the busses themselves look like just like giant, wheeled caterpillars.  Motorcycles and scooters zoom and zip respectively between cars and busses, claiming the middle of the two freeway lanes as home.  I spot a blue 1970s style Ford Mustang going the opposite direction and smile.  I think back fondly on my years of owning two manual transmission Mustangs and my current possession: a Kawasaki motorcycle, and smile.  Paris looks to be just the place for me.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | writing | , , , | Leave a comment