You’re a seasoned traveller. You have been to Paris on numerous occasions and know your way around the major streets, the métro and the arrondissements. You know how to avoid gypsies, beggars and street performers. You pride yourself on the local knowledge you have accumulated over the years.
One morning, you wake up in the city of love, step outside of your hotel in St-Germain on the way to your regular café, holding hands with your other half in a romantic daze. After all, this is Paris and today you’re celebrating your anniversary.
And then it happens.
She matches your pace as if keeping up with the general pedestrian flow. You notice her from the corner of your eyes. Suddenly, she drops her hand to the footpath. You hear a clink and she picks up a shiny object. Your eyes meet briefly and she shows you a gold ring that she has just found. She asks if it’s yours and you shake your head. She tries it on for size and says, “Ce n’est pas le mien/It’s not mine”. She then gives it to you for good luck, un porte bonheur. For a brief second, you fall to the magic of Paris. She insists that you take the ring as she wishes you bonne chance, shakes your hand and leaves.
You stand in a bewildered daze, not believing your luck, yet smiling at the coincidence of good luck on your special day. You start to walk away. She then reappears and asks for “quelque chose pour manger/something to eat”. And that’s when your euro drops.
You have just fallen prey to the lost gold ring scam.
You offer her a couple of euros and she tells you that it can’t even buy her une coca/ a Coke. You offer another then you walk away. After all, un porte-bonheur shouldn’t come attached to a price, non?. You continue with your day and spend the rest of your trip cleverly dodging men and women performing the same routine. You shake your head and wag your finger at them, in that knowing way that says I know what you’re doing.
You decide to keep the ring, which you discover is made of brass, bien-sûr, as memento of your anniversary in Paris, that special day you paid a small price for your stupidity.
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