It is Christmas Day and we have slept in late. Mostly due to the fun of the evening before and the rule “we are on vacation after all” and the combination of the blackout velvet drapes. Time to open presents! Baby Bear is the only person I know who would come to France with her spare luggage full of Christmas presents for us! One of my BEST gifts was a new pair of boots! Green plaid for Christmas and they are so cute and comfortable.
I will wear them out today as we are making our way to the Champs-Elyees to look at more Christmas lights. We didn’t expect too many people out today, but was I ever wrong! Everyone is on the Champs-Elysees. Throngs and throngs of people and a Christmas Market along the entire route! I am thinking what a heyday this would be for pick pockets. But, hey it’s Christmas so only pleasant thoughts allowed. Every store is decorated to the hilt and it gets dark quickly. La nuit est déjà noire. One of my French lesson sentences we practice over and over. Now I know why. So we are scrambling along.
Here, I must tell you that a few days ago my battery and the backup battery for my camera died! You gotta be kiddin‘ me! I’ll just use my cell phone from here on out, I tell myself. I don’t want to take the time on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to look for a battery store, too much I want to see. So we are traveling in the step, shuffle, stop, step, shuffle, stop routine all along the avenue while I hold my camera above the heads and try to take pictures. A feat all in itself!
We come upon some especially beautiful blue light displays in a Wonderland Garden and I am determined to get closer to them and in the process I trip over the only exposed curb of the street. Most of the street crossings have plywood boards to walk up on making it easier for the pedestrians and those with strollers. You never know where the side street meets the avenue this way. The side streets are all blocked off, keeping everyone moving on the avenue. It is just one long continuous walk. I go flying and land on the pavement with my left hand caught in the spokes of a baby carriage! I cling tightly to my cell phone in my right hand. There is a cry of “OH” in the crowd and then everyone parts way leaving me in the center of a large circle with my hand snagged. Papa Bear tries to help me up, but I can’t get up. Then someone behind me frees my hand from the carriage and between him and Papa Bear grabbing me under each armpit, I am sprung up in a flourish. It seems like I am in a fog. A young police officer is standing before me and prattling on. I remember thinking, “They still wear those hats and uniforms like in the movie Casablanca!” He keeps on talking and finally a word resonates with me that I understand, “Medical.” He is asking me if I need an ambulance or a doctor. All my perfect 546 words that I know (I’m Type A so I keep track) in French are useless because I am in such a fog I can’t speak! What an opportunity I am missing and all I can squeak out is, “Non, merci.” The crowd in the circle has seen enough and returns to their shuffle down the avenue. Baby Bear who always walks far ahead of us, returns and asks,
“Mother what are you doing?” She knows there has been a disturbance.
“You did not!”
We continue in the shuff-along. I am limping. Papa Bear is asking me if I am all-right, but everything seems far away. Time to go home. We find a side street and turn into it.
We are walking past the US Embassy and I realize the French Police on guard here wear black stocking caps and carry oozies. Not one of us says a word, as we creep past. Are we supposed to even be on this street? We make it back, but I hope you REALLY enjoy these pictures! I did!