Straight down the avenue is the park. Wow, I felt stupid. Do you know how many times I have walked down that road and never seen it? Probably millions. But for some reason, the path was completely clear and I saw Monceau Park.
So, naturally I decided to just walk there. I was jamming out to my Ipod, so proud of my recent discovery, and then BAM!
I looked to my right, and down that boulevard, off in the distance, was the Arc de Triomphe.
Okay, literally, how did I not know how close it was to my house? Have I been walking blind-folded or something?
I kept walking towards the park because that was my plan, but my gut kept yelling, "Turn around. Just do it."
And so I did. I headed back towards the Arc de Triomphe. Some dogs started following me, and they looked like my dog at home. I missed my dog, Lulu. And then they kept peeing on buildings...so I was more grossed out than anything.
But they kept following me up and up. I had this Biblical thought, "I'm like Noah, leading the animals to the Arc." Literally, I was heading to the Arc. I made myself laugh out loud, prime time religious joke.
It was so fun to be able to be chilling in front of the Arc de Triomphe. It was an overcast day. Just nice and quiet morning. And remember yesterday when I said I was a target. I am literally a target.
A girl sitting alone, is like prey to the gypsy people. I don't mean to sound mean. But, just you wait!
So, this young man comes up to me, and "swoops" a gold ring off the ground and proceeds to try to tell me how lucky I am to find such a pretty ring. I just said, "No." And looked down and didn't look back even after he kept trying to talk to me. It's so rude, but it happens so often, and gets really old.
I decided I had my fill of that spot, and headed down the Champs-Elysee. It is the most ironic street out there. Filled with expensive stores that no one can afford, with perfectly trimmed trees, and then homeless men sitting outside each store begging for money. You have the most money right next to the least money. I don't know, each person has to judge for themselves what the right thing to do is.
But, I wasn't going to let the gypsy ruin my moment. I headed down towards the Seine, across the Grand and Petit Palais. It started to drizzle, and the magic of Paris in the rain is a REAL THING!
I was in my own world, and as I pulled out my umbrella, I realized that I was walking into a gypsy party. Ah, they are everywhere. Two teenage boys rushed up to me with papers so sign. The first thing they always say is, "Speak English. Speak English." And then they shove it in your face. Usually I can just say "No" and keep walking. And thats what I did, but this time, they trapped me. I have never felt so frenzied and claustrophobic. I had to push my way out of them, and then they continued to follow me. I had my Ipod blasting so I didn't really know what they were saying, but I knew they were still behind me.
Then, they surrounded me again, and tried to get me so sign their paper. The trick is that if you sign the paper to support their charity, a.k.a their pockets, they get you to give money and boom, they are rich.
Ah, but this time, they were so close, that my Ipod got pushed out of my pocket, and fell onto the concrete. My music stopped, and they ran away. Don't worry, they left my Ipod on the ground. But I was furious, I just walked away. I was so self-conscious. I kept patting myself down to make sure I still had everything. And luckily, I did. Ah, I hate being a target.
And who are these people. They are always young! I would say 12-18 years old. Shouldn't they be in school. Ah, I have never had the urge to swear so badly. I just don't understand the whole, stealing and lying career path.
That is the funny thing about Paris. The streets are filled with beauty, history, elegance and things that have become famous. But they are also filled with dirt, dog poo, and lots of people without money. I have seen more of that here than anywhere.
And at EVERY famous monument, there are men trying to sell you Eiffel Tower key chains, or get you to sign their petitions. They exploit all the tourists that come to see things. And people must fall for it, or they wouldn't do it.
Man, I don't mean to be depressing. But, I think its important to realize that Paris is a real city. Filled with lots of good, and lots of not so good. To get one, you have to get the other.
And ya know, I wouldn't have learned as much if I had it any other way.
Like today, I learned so much from just walking around by myself. I was able to put more of the city together and figure out the complex landscape a little bit better. The path was all the sudden clear, and I just walked until I ran out of time.
It was so weird, that all the sudden the streets were clear, and I felt like a path was laid out in front of me. The universe was yelling, "LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! Seriously, Tatum. Are you blind?"
And lucky for me, I was able to see. I just need to remember, that in life, the path isn't always clear. I won't always know where I am going. Or maybe, I will think I know where I am going, but that is not the plan. It will all work out, even if annoying people get in your way.
I also learned to walk with a face of a serial killer, hoping that no one in their right mind will approach me. I have some sick karate moves, oh ya, I got this....haha!