The one about My Run-In With The Parisian Po-Po

The first time I saw this meme, it was on Whatsapp I think, I laughed non-stop for a few minutes, recovered, and then laughed some more. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be in that man’s situation. Alas, if I’ve learned something, it’s to never say never or laugh [too hard] at someone else’s misfortune.

I was at the tail end of my crazy European adventure. It was my last full day and I was in Paris planning to fly back to the US bright and early the next morning. So what does any normal person who has a few hours left in their holiday do? They explore! They do all the things on their list they never got to do earlier in a very hurried manner- 5 minutes or so per attraction, dashing all around the city frantically before things close for the night.

When it was sufficiently dark, I decided it was time to call it a day [night]. I had done all I could in just a few hours, which was quite the impressive list really, and it was time to conclude my final night in the city of Love. That day I had walked along the Seine River and seen the bridges with the lovers’ padlocks, seen Arc de Triomphe, walked along Champs Elysees, visited the Notre Dame Cathedral and even took part in mass a little bit, watched several very talented street artistes perform-from dancing to singing, gone to the Eiffel Tower and taken as many pics and selfies on the border of obsessive, visited the Louvre, and people watched at Gare de Lyon while enjoying a nice lunch on the patio of my hotel restaurant.

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People watching while sitting across from Gare de Lyon

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One of the very few restaurant meals I ate on this trip- Lunch for One!

So anyway, when it got dark I decided to head to my hotel and I went into the metro station. It was crowded, so I started to get nervous- single, female, at night, in Paris, underground, foreign language, unfamiliar surroundings- the usual triggers. But finally, I saw a bunch of Police officers so I instantly felt safer. I smiled, I put my ticket into the machine- my only fear was that I inserted it the wrong way- I fumble with these things; at home, I never use public transportation. Anyway, to my huge relief, the barrier opened and I walked right through- simple!

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Friends, Lovers, and Loners relaxing along the Seine River

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Love Locks on a bridge over the Seine River

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Apparently, the government is trying to prevent more of this from happening and may even be taking them down? You can’t stop love!!!! LOL

One of the police officers started to make her way towards me, so I thought awww how nice. This nice officer wants to come over and chat to the tourist in Paris. Probably to warn me about the dangers of traveling alone at night or to make sure I knew where I was going and what platform to head to and what stop to get off at. That sort of thing.

She let out a string of French with a very straight face so I said ‘Je ne parle pas Francais’. And I was so proud of myself in that moment- remembering the right words, being able to construct them into a sentence, and using them at the right time in the right context- Madame Orakwusi (high school French teacher) would be proud too!. She sort of rolled her eyes, sighed, and said “Why are you using a child ticket?” My eyes grew wide in disbelief! I was like what?? How preposterous! Why would she be accusing me of such? So I said she must be mistaken and that in fact, I have many more tickets! Just to show that money was not an issue here.

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Arch de Triomphe. That roundabout is cray cray!!! Apparently people cross it to get to the Arch de Triomphe but I couldn’t see any stop lights…And oh, look at the gorgeous sunset! I just noticed it.

I opened my wallet and produced about 5 more similar tickets and she said they were all child tickets. I couldn’t believe it! Nothing on the ticket said enfants or petit, which as far as I knew were the words for ‘children’ and ‘little’. So she said I had to pay a fine. Then I had a great idea- I would just tell her I am sorry, I am a tourist, I didn’t realize they were child tickets, and in fact I am heading back home tomorrow. All true statements. So I handed her my driver’s license which I thought would corroborate my story.

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The ‘child’ tickets

That didn’t help- she said I had to pay a fine or go to the police station (it was between 40 and 50 euros, I can’t remember- but definitely a hefty fine). And she could take cash, check, credit cards, and traveler’s checks. Dang! I thought about it and decided that jail was not the best place to spend my last night in Paris. I was bummed because I had been saving those euros to buy something nice in Duty Free at the airport but I guess all those fantasies would have to be buried. The good thing was I had at least been saving some money while denying myself some luxuries throughout my vacation. So that’s how I parted ways with my hard earned euros.

 

So I guess you are wondering how I ended up with a stack of child metro tickets? Well, at the beginning of my vacation, I was with my sister and her 2 kids and one day we were traveling by metro. We went to the counter to buy tickets and long story short- due to the language barrier, we ended up with a booklet of child tickets but we didn’t know they were child tickets. In fact, we had used a bunch of them over several days and when I was leaving my sister, she gave me the rest of the tickets because I was coming back to Paris in about a week and they weren’t.

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I have a friend called Arcy- that is why I took this picture 🙂 I was so excited to see something familiar!

 

In fact, because I had so many left and didn’t want to waste them, I was trying to use them up by basically stopping at as many metro stops as possible instead of walking to places- walking may have been faster for me actually.But being cheap fiscally responsible, I wanted to at least use them. It just so happened that on my very last train for the night, I got ‘caught’. I guess I should be thankful that that was when I got caught because that may have ruined the rest of the day for me if it had been earlier and I may not have gotten to do all I did that day.

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In front of Gare de Lyon. Fun fact- Gare is the frecnch word for train station

So anyway, needless to say, I don’t laugh as hard whenever I see that meme anymore.

And now, I will make sure that before I go to another foreign country, I learn all the possible words for ‘child’ so history doesn’t repeat itself.

Now, I can laugh about it and I get to share the experience with you all :).

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My favorite shot from Paris ❤

Has anything similar ever happened to you?

 

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13 comments

  1. weekendcampervanning · June 19, 2016

    Oh no, too bad they didn’t just give you a warning. Sometimes, we as tourists, make mistakes (I think that’s human nature when we are not in our elements). When we traveled by train in Japan we periodically made mistakes (we tried hard not to, but their system was so complicated!) and the train attendants allowed us to just pay the difference (and not fine us or take us to jail). Sorry about that experience, but it sounds like you had a great experience in Paris otherwise!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • omobtomtom · June 20, 2016

      Oh it would have been great to just pay the difference. Oh well, I’m thankful for the way it turned out as it could have been much worse :). If I ever visit Japan I will remember to be extra careful 🙂

      Like

  2. Omorin · June 20, 2016

    The Po-po……they have to do their job I guess! Lol. Good it was the end of your holiday and you had (‘saved’ enough) money to be pay the fine. We live and learn!
    Beautiful pics! You should enlarge and print your favourite one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • omobtomtom · June 20, 2016

      I suppose they have to do their job. Sigh. Lol.

      And that’s a great idea!! I should enlarge it and see how it turns out- these camera phone pics, you never know …

      Like

  3. vinneve · June 20, 2016

    I have a post about Paris under “Misstep in Paris” just a month or so ago but it happened 3yrs ago. I do understand about the language barrier. I got angry because I have offered to pay the hospital bill in cash but they didn’t understand me and to cut it short I ended paying more because of making a draft that includes another fee in my home country! 😦 FYI. You do not want to get sick there without learning French!

    Liked by 1 person

    • omobtomtom · June 20, 2016

      Oh noes!! Sorry about that. Getting sick sucks- and I imagine it would be worse in a foreign country while on vacation. Travel insurance didn’t cover the bill?

      Like

      • vinneve · June 22, 2016

        The bill is not high enough to cover under the travel insurance… what am saying is…I have offered cash so no need to worry but they didn’t understand and just waived me off then coming home after a month I received a letter to pay in draft which cost more than the cash I have offered. That what annoyed me. 😦 FYI. Zurich hospital is much better to deal with than in France in my experienced.

        Liked by 1 person

      • omobtomtom · June 22, 2016

        Ah I see…I’m sorry about that. That kind of situation is annoying when you know something could have cost you less. I will keep in mind about Zurich 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • vinneve · June 26, 2016

        You will love Zurich and the rest of the Country I am sure of that 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan · June 21, 2016

    Your pictures are gorgeous!

    I always feel like the moments that are the most traumatic make for the most entertaining stories when you are home. I’m glad you shared your story though; we’ll be in Paris in a few months and I would probably break down and cry if I had the wrong tickets and the police reprimanded me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • omobtomtom · June 22, 2016

      I’m glad you like my pictures 🙂

      And yes, I can definitely laugh about it now. Hopefully, this little story helps you to carefully inspect your tickets if/when you buy any.lol

      Like

  5. Pingback: The one about That Fun Day In Paris | oh the places she'll go
  6. Pingback: The one about the Blog-Versary | oh the places she'll go

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