8. Where are your Manners?

4 Oct

The reason I decided to visit Paris on this trip overseas was to hang out with my buddy / friend / guy Steve who is in town on his way to Normandy to attend his cousin’s wedding. Right now we’re sitting on a bench between the North and South Pliers of the Eiffel Tower watching the interactions between the tourists and the people who are trying to extract money from them.

I like sitting and watching things like this. At first it seems all chaotic but after a few hours some patterns start to emerge.

The African guys are selling one of four things – eiffel Tower key chains, mini Eiffel Tower towers, scarves, and telescoping selfie sticks. And I have to say I’m quite impressed with them. They’re polite – not pushy at all and they speak English surprisingly well. But the thing I like best is that they’re hocking goods that people are actually buying.

They’ve got the perfect souvenirs (the keychains) – they’re small, cheap and unmistakably Paris. The scarves are useful because it’s getting cold. And the selfie sticks are a really neat way to take a non-selfie photograph while reducing the risk of your camera getting stolen by someone who can run faster than you can.



One of the (many) things that depressed me about last year’s trip to Istanbul was that you’d see people (often times grown men) selling the most ridiculous things like pink fuzzy headbands or cheap kids toys. These people were obviously incredibly poor and in need of the money but I rarely saw anyone buy anything from them. The guys selling trinkets here (they’re mostly from Senegal I think) seem to be doing okay business.

There are also these women that are trying to get people to fill out a petition or something. I ask one of them about the cause they’re supporting and she gives me a very nebulous response about a Syrian child in a wheelchair or something. I inquire about where they’re all from and she says, “Bosnia.” My limited linguistic skills prevent me from identifying the language they are speaking. Here’s a photo.

Is it even possible to identify someones nationality through visual means alone?

Is it even possible to determine someones nationality through visual means alone?

A few minutes later a dance group from Seville Spain shows up and gives a free performance. The girls are very good and it brings a smile to my face.

I should pay the $15 so I can upload videos to this blog. These girls were having a lot of fun.

I should pay WordPress the $15 upgrade so I can upload videos to this blog. These girls were having a lot of fun – the picture doesn’t do them justice. 

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