I almost titled this, "One night in Paris," but I didn't want to give people the wrong idea.
Last night, I went out by myself for a little karaoke, and decided to come back home (my home for 3 months) after my 2nd song at around midnight. Then, I changed my mind and headed for the river, to see if the Eiffel Tower was still lit up at that hour and snap a picture or two. I didn't expect the series of events that happened after that...
I ran into these guys on the bridge, started singing with them, and before I knew it, we had an audience of Americans, one of whom told me to sing with them and took over recording for me.
The Americans are from California and are studying in Italy, but they came here for the weekend. After we all stood around talking for a while, I headed off with the Americans to show them Notre Dame. We hung out for a while there, then I took them to the nearest metro entrance before it closed for the night.
Last night was a blast, and it's nice to have this video memento of it.
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Crossing the river on a sunny day, I stopped to take a few pictures. After tucking the camera back into my coat and with my hands in both pockets, I stood for a moment and took in the scenery.
Within seconds, I saw a man walking toward me out of the corner of my eye. He stopped shortly before reaching me, and seemed to spot something on the sidewalk. As he stooped and started to reach down, my eyes covertly studied the sidewalk below his hand, but nothing was there. No coins, no trash, nothing. Curiously, I watched as he put his finger and thumb to the bare sidewalk, then squeezed them together as though to grasp a tiny, invisible object. Something was fishy, but I was curious to see what he was going to do next.
With my hands still in my coat pockets, I pulled them forward, acting nonchalantly. My coat covered the back jeans pocket that contained my wallet, but I wanted to give it a little extra protection. Just then, a shiny gold man's wedding band magically appeared in the man's hand, and he was about to present it to me. Pretending not to notice, I began walking again as he asked me a question. Not knowing the language, I can only assume he was asking if I had lost the ring. I pretended not to hear him, and continued walking.
"Mademoiselle?" I kept walking, ignoring him. "Mademoiselle!" I could hear that he was far enough away at this point, so I stopped, looked over my shoulder, and yelled back with a laugh while shaking my head, "I'm not falling for that one!" At that, he immediately turned around and walked away.
I had already been approached with the "Would you like to see some African art?" scam twice before, and politely declined both times. But this one was new to me, and I thought it might have been a distraction tactic of some sort (thus, the extra attention I paid to my valuables). I asked my host about it that evening, and it turns out I was wrong.
Apparently, they prey on the greed of others. They make their target believe the ring is made out of real gold (which it's not, as I had already suspected), then ask for a finder's fee from anyone who will claim it as their own. Now that I know this, I imagine a different outcome for that situation. I don't know if it would have worked, but it's fun to imagine...
I act like I don't notice him until he asks if the ring is mine. I look at it, quickly grab it out of his hand, and immediately chuck it into the river, ranting and raving about how my husband cheated on me (which would be false) and causing a big scene in front of everyone on that bridge.
If I could get that far, I wonder if the guy would freak out and run away. *eg*
Incidentally, I did get a picture with this guy in it, but he was so far away at the time that he's unrecognizable. He's the one leaning against the wall, near the statue.