Friday, September 9, 2011

Ten Years After

Ten years ago today we scrambled to make a flight out of LAX connecting to Pittsburgh, Pa.  It was late afternoon when we arrived in Pa. and we had a three hour layover before continuing on to Paris, where we were scheduled to arrive in the early morning hours of Sept. 10.  As we flew over Washington D.C. at thirty thousand feet the pilot comes on the intercom and says, "Below, you can see the unique street layout of our nation's capitol." It looked like a large bicycle wheel...good omen.    The next morning, we arrived in Paris, rescued our bicycles from three "Brutus" baggage handlers, found a shuttle van to the Sheraton and slept for the next eighteen hours (when we weren't raiding the lounge refrigerator).         Daybreak, September eleven, 2001...took the train into central Paris, a little stressful...I leave my passport at the money exchange booth near the Louvre (this occurs to me as we reach the top of the ferris wheel and I reach back to see if my wallet is secure in my pocket). Retrieved my passport (lady was just closing her booth) and the three of us walked up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumph, a large band was playing and marching around the monument...the traffic was manic in the roundabout, couldn't get closer so we took a left back toward The Seine. A city bus pulled up next to us with Eiffel Tower flashing on it's destination board. We jumped on the bus when a woman with two small children said, "You are Americans, have you heard?  New York City has blown up along with the White House and The Pentagon!"  I'm thinking every city has it's whackjobs and this one has really lost it. I ignored her and we exited the bus at the Tower bus stop. We are standing in a ridiculous line waiting to climb the tower when I notice that people ahead of us are leaving the cattle chute, ducking under the rail to get out of line. There's an air of excitement and through a mix of many languages I pick up the words Bush, New York and Pentagon.  Now I'm concerned, we step out of line and head toward the WC. Colby says, "What are you doing?  I've always wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower and he starts to cry. "Let's pee first and then we'll figure it out."  My ears were big now, something very unusual had happened in the U.S. of A. We regrouped and figured, whatever it was there was nothing we could do about it now so...let's go up the tower. We enjoyed the big view of Paris from the little glass room at the top and then we were all shuttled, rather hurriedly back to the base...they were closing the Eiffel Tower, effective immediately! ...  to be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I recall you telling of this experience. I'm glad you are writing it down.