Strolling through the streets all day, I realized I hadn’t done enough research or planning. I had a lot of stories from books and movies in my head but being here now, couldn’t find a lot of those points of interest. I was relying on pre-existing knowledge from college through grammar school to guide me, but practical plans like addresses were not there.
The last thing I wanted to do with any of my precious 48 hours in the city of light was sequester myself with a computer to find this information, so I wandered. I had been afraid before, to hand off my camera to anyone in London, for a picture with me in it. Now, I was dying for something like that so I thought about shoes. I would look for someone with shoes too uncomfortable to run in. That way they couldn’t run away with my camera, or run fast enough to get very far.
I was standing in the gardens of les invalids when I found a woman who, wearing these god- awful high heeled cowboy boots and taking a picture of her daughter, looked neither hurried nor able to swipe my beloved cannon. Rebecca from Texas, in her snakeskin cow-girl boots as more than happy to take my picture. We spent a good deal of time there. She couldn’t manage my digital too well. It was more complicated than her disposable instant.
Finally, we got a passable one and I moved on, trying to reason out a better shoe theory. Ok, so stupid shoes meant, well, less of a technical advantage. Aha, the shoes don’t have to be ridiculous, only expensive. Because someone with good shoes wouldn’t need to steal a camera, and to compliment my shoe search I added the qualifying factor that they must have a nice digital camera too, so I wouldn’t have to explain how to work it.
My next opportunity came near a fountain by the Champs Elysee. Ingrid, a German lady wearing several karats on either hand with her husband and two small children snapped one of my favorite photos while her husband held onto the kids and the black Pentax K200 SLR. I began to trust my instincts.
Soon, it became easy. Standing on a bridge with the Tour Eiffel visible in the distant background, I met a nice Japanese businessman in Italian leathers and a Rebel XT 350D that dwarfed my power shot 610 by at least 2 or 3 megapixels. Qualifiers became more versatile; kids, cameras, jewelry but my first and favorite is the shoes. I travelled as far and wide as I could walk in a day and then headed into the metro to see the tall steel monument of la tour Eiffel.
I would recommend never going to this amusement alone. There were couples galore and families and friends babbling in many different Oriental, Slavic and Latin-based languages I could not identify (Portuguese always confuses me). I thought I must be the only person to visit there alone in over a year. I took some great pictures even though the top floor we were allowed to visit was windy and cold.
By the time I made it back to the hotel, I was delirious with exhaustion. I hit the sack early that night to be ready for my train trip to Prague the next day. I had no idea what could possibly be more inspiring than this, but wanted to be ready for almost anything.