Unfortunately, the only memory I have of Paris involves running through Orly International Airport, trying to make a connecting flight to Madrid, Spain.
I was en route to Tenerife in the Canary Islands to attend an international parrot symposium at Loro Parque; I'd flown into Heathrow early that morning and my flight through the Netherlands had been cancelled, and re-routed through France.
Someone from Air France had me de-plane ahead of everyone else and led me on a run through a series of back doors and empty hallways to get me to the plane on time. I distinctly felt like I was stuck in a Home Alone movie, and I kept waiting for the theme music or "Run, Rudolph, Run" to begin playing.
|Nothing to do with Paris - plenty to do with |
parrots in the Canary Islands.
I did make it. But I had no chance to even think about soaking up anything vaguely French in the airport. I haven't been back, since.
Now, some of my favourite movies of all time revolve around, or are set in, Paris. Movies like...
- Casablanca ("We'll always have Paris!")
- The Three Musketeers ("One for all, and all for one!")
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame ("Sanctuary! Sanctuary!")
- Irma La Douce ("But that's another story...")
Sadly, with the kind of event that took place on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, there is a great deal of backlash that is unfortunate and undeserved.
I'm talking about reactions like burning mosques in Peterborough, Ontario...attacking a Muslim mother in Toronto as she went to pick up her children at school...those are just a few examples of the wrong types of knee-jerk reactions - the key word there being "jerk." As in the people doing that.
I won't spend much more time on that, as this is largely a travel blog, and others have written ad infinitum about that in political columns, on op-ed pages of newspapers, and so on.
With the anger, there is also an aura of fear.
No one wants to travel to Paris - or many other places right now.
For as Mark Twain said...
|Azlina, our Muslim guide in Malaysia:|
a very warm and knowledgeable hostess.
There may be a few dress codes that seem a bit more conservative than in our own North American or European cities - but that's also true in the very Christian African country of Malawi (more so, in fact, as I can attest to, having been there myself).
I found Malaysia actually had a very tolerant attitude toward all religious faiths.
In one city street, in the course of a few blocks, there were Mosques, Christian churches, Hindu and Buddhist temples. I wonder if the same can be said of other places in the world?
For as another great writer, Robert Louis Stevenson (who visited Paris while paddling around France) said...
Now to leave you with a song about Paris, from another writer, balladeer Jimmy Buffet...