Have you ever been in a situation where someone came up to you off the street asking you if you would be his girlfriend? How about a random stranger proposing to you moments after meeting you? Only in Paris can this happen and it might be considered normal. I am sure it could happen anywhere you travel, but for me, it happened when I was in Paris.
It didn’t happen once or even twice; it happened at least four times. Not the proposal…. That happened once… Being stopped on the street and the Arc de Triomphe were the other times. Not that I am counting!
I didn’t think anything of it the first time this happened. I chalked it up to something of the norm with being in another country.
Looking back on the first time I was stopped; interesting enough it happened while I was sitting on one of the benches near the Arc de Triomphe waiting for my friends. I was approached by some guy who sat down on the bench next to me. It didn’t take long for him to start talking to me, letting me know he lived in the very city I was visiting, Paris and that his name was Mansour. All I can say is that it was a good thing he spoke some English or it would have been awkward trying to talk to him when he spoke to me. Yes, I am one of those people that can only speak one language except for knowing how to say ‘do you speak English’ in most of the countries I visit. Trust me, I wish I knew more than English. Do I get points for having tried taking a Spanish class in college but withdrawing from the class because I was having problems learning the language? I did’t think so.
Excuse me, while I get back on topic about Mansour. After talking with him for a few minutes, he wanted to see if I would go with him to see some of the sights. Yes, it would have been cool to see the sights from a local’s perspective but I ended up turning him down. Before departing, he left me his phone number in case I changed my mind and wanted to meet up with him while I was in the city. Who knows, he might have been harmless….. Maybe we could have met for coffee in a public place. Or I could have taken my friends with me to meet him. There isn’t anything that can be done about it now since this was years ago. All one can do is reflect on the chance; lost and not found again. Yet.
That wasn’t the end to my time in Paris and the encounters that happened while I was in this beautiful place. The other times something happened were all on the same day. I would have thought it was a full moon if I didn’t know any better.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to leave your hotel and literally get stopped on the street a few yards from the entrance to it? Yes, that happened to me. Not once but twice. Can you imagine getting stopped by a Frenchman who asked you to be his girlfriend? What do you do in this situation? Do you walk away? Do you take the email address he gives you letting him think you will be in touch with him? If you answered the second option then you would be right. I took his email address and then threw it away as soon as I got back into the hotel. Or what about trying to leave the hotel for a second time and being stopped by another Frenchman? This one gave me his phone number which I threw away when I was out of sight.
How can I forget the time I was walking off the metro to wait for another train when this man grabbed my arm and started speaking to me in French? I tried to tell him I didn’t speak French and managed to pull my arm out of his grasp before getting as far away from him as I could. Who does something like that? You need to remember that isolated incidents like this can occur anywhere. It turns out I was in Paris when it did.
Oh and the proposal really happened! Can you believe it? Who thinks that when they travel to another country, specifically Paris, that they will be proposed to by a stranger? That was the farthest thing from my mind when I left the Andre Gill that night with Tracy and a couple of Frenchman she had met on her way back to the hotel. (This all stems from my Busabout travels). I couldn’t even tell you which cafe we went to that night. A lot of that has to do with the guy who spoke very little English trying to talk to me about marriage. You heard that right. He kept asking me if I wanted to get married. Not sure why we stayed there as long as we did because he was creeping me out a bit especially when he kept trying to kiss me. Proposal 0, love of Paris still intact, priceless.
What city have you visited that you came away thinking “did that really happen”? Was it running into someone who traveled with in another country? Was it falling in love under the stars in a country whose name you can’t pronounce? Was it doing something more daring along the lines of running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain? What happened during your travels that made you wonder if what you thought happened really did happen?