So, as you guys know I used to do Wanderlust Wednesday's. However, I have been a bad, bad blogger so I am going to Link up with Meagan @ Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for her weekly edition of Travel Tuesdays! I hope you all enjoy what I have to say about the prompt where I felt the least safe!
It's time to go back a few years...to my summer of studying abroad. The weather was hot and a 5 day break was upon me, and I figured...I'm in London. What better place to take off to for a few days than PARIS! What girl hasn't as some point dreamed about strolling past the Eiffel Tower or gazing longingly at the art in the Louvre? So, a few of my friends and I hopped on a plane in Scotland and made our way for the City of Lights.
To begin with Paris was intimidating! It was the first country I had ventured to where English wasn't the language of choice....and I had never even tried to speak French! In fact I tended to respond to people in Spanish! (Hola, gracias!) Talk about confusing! I'm sure everyone I encountered believed I was a crazy American....the funny part is...I don't even speak Spanish! I mean I know the very basics...but not enough to even attempt to get by! So Paris, overwhelmed me a bit from the beginning. Add that to the four instances I have been involved in, in Paris and you can say that while I love it...I'm also a bit leery of it!
Incident #1 - Visiting the Louvre.
The Louvre is fabulous, and huge. There is no way you can ever experience the whole Louvre...it's impossible. So what are four girls with very different tastes going to do when they begin to explore the most famous art museum in the world? They are going to split up! That's right! So after arriving in the Louvre I head on over to the information desk and check out tape recorder that gives out information on the Louvre as it pertains to The DiVinci Code (nerdy, I know!). I'm listening to the soothing voice in my ear as I explore all over the Louvre...I'm in my own little world, on my own little tour...when I notice something....I'm being followed. At first I scoff at myself "Pssh. It's all in your head...why would an old man be following you?" So I quickly finish my personal tour and notice the man is still around. So this in when I think..."well, maybe you're following a pretty common route." So, I begin to act erratic...and by erratic I go in bizarre patterns seeing nothing, circling around....and he's still there! The old man is never more than 10 steps behind me! What the what?? This is when I duck into a female restroom to "pee" still pretending I don't notice the guy. When I emerge from the bathroom, he is still there WAITING! WHATTTT! So I abandon all pretenses at this point...I hurriedly skedaddle into the creepiest part of the Louvre (the ancient Egyptian section) and use my young age to my advantage dash around the museum and into a hidden female restroom...and this guys...is where I lose him. I'm convinced....CONVINCED that he was following me...he's in every picture I have from the Louvre that day, he was alone and staring at the restroom when I returned...and maybe he was harmless but the guy creeped me out!
Incident #2- The Metro. This is similar to the Louvre situation, but not as intense. A man followed me onto a Metro Car and proceeded to keep touching me. Smiling and touching...I was alone here too! I had a massive headache and was going back to the room to lie down for a few and this guy followed me off the car. I was eventually able to lose him by darting on to a Metro at the last second...but the way he kept touching me freaked me out.
Incident #3- The Eiffel Tower. This one is dumb...and funny...but I was incredible nervous.It was a bright beautiful day and I was sitting under the Eiffel Tower just taking everything in...when I notice that the people patrolling the Eiffel Tower all had like....machine guns! What the what? Now I am gun-shy at the best of times...and here I am in a foreign country, do not at all speak the language, everyone has beaten it into my head that the French hate the American...and I'm just nervous! The guns made me nervous...the way they were so proudly displayed...it seemed like it was giving us even more reason to be cautious and scared. The funny part is that while I was chilling under the Eiffel Tower...a bird pooped on me! Right on my pants! Now the bathroom lines were huge, and this is where the guns come into play. I was scared to pick a leaf from a plant to wipe away the poo because of the guns. Seriously? What were they going to do shoot me for picking a leaf? But my irrational, gun fearing mind had convinced myself that I couldn't pick a leaf because I don't speak the same language and it could be some sort of felony (like removing a rock from a State Park). Looking back on it, it was dumb...but it was how I felt!
Incident #4 - Fast forward a few years pass the other Paris Incidents. Move from Summer 2007 to New Years Eve 2010 (2011). My four best friends and I are at the Eiffel Tower waiting to count in the New Year. A group of guys is paying us a little to much attention, and I being nice am talking back. They are trying to take pictures with us...and I being naive don't think much about it and join in. At first it's just two or three guys...but then all of a sudden we're sitting down..and they have us surrounded...like there are several of them and they have us surrounded...it made me nervous. Now, I've always been taught that if you're nice to people things are more likely to go well but some of the people I was with weren't so nice...and maybe they took the right approach. Anyways, they have us surrounded and are trying to kiss us...and all sort of creepy things. Luckily, a really awesome group of Dutch people saw our discomfort and got the other guys to get lost....I'll always remember Jamie saying "Krystle! Don't let them take your photo they'll put your head on Lindsay Lohan's naked body," and I responded "I hope they do! So everyone thinks I have a body like that!" Lol, so maybe I wasn't terrified...but it worked out well in the end, and by just not losing our cool we were okay in the end....
I've travelled by myself several times, and have wandered around foreign cities alone...and those are the only times I can think that I was actually uncomfortable or nervous. It's a shame they all happened in Paris. Maybe that's why I don't love Paris as much as most people? Don't get me wrong I still love the city and all it has to offer....but I don't have the same love affair with Paris that I have with Amsterdam, London, Edinburgh, or even Charleston, San Francisco and Breckenridge!
I really enjoyed linking up for this Travel Tuesday and I hope you will too!