I started the day as usual. Up and out of bed by seven-thirty and out for a day of touring by nine. I did turn on the TV this morning, but all the news was about London winning the Olympic bid and Paris being in mourning. The media can sure put a lot of “hype” and their own spin into a story.
Walking the streets of my hotel neighborhood I heard not a word about Paris losing the bid for the Olympics. Most people were concerned about the light drizzle and the chilly July weather. The lady behind the counter at the pastry shop still greeted me with a cherry “bonjour” and had my favorite crème-filled pastry ready to go.
We walked from our hotel to Les Invalides and Napoleon’s Tomb where we spent a couple of hours visiting the church and tomb and touring the WWII museum. Afterwards we walked around the corner and visited the Rodin Museum.
While having lunch in the garden cafe I got a call on my cell phone from my wife. Her first words were “don’t ride any subways or buses.” Being “out of touch” with the US news media, I had no clue what she was talking about. Soon I learned of the bombings in London and the chaos it had caused earlier in the morning. Needless to say, this caused us some concern. We sat and pondered the terrorist act while finishing our lunch. It was odd, not a soul had mentioned the Olympics or the bombing in London during the three hours we had been sightseeing.
Soon we hopped on the Metro and went to the Champs Elysees for a little more sightseeing. I even popped into the Marriott Hotel to see if they had a television broadcasting the news from London. To my surprise there was not one in sight. Everyone seemed to be going about their normal duties. Later we did see a few more police than normal in the Metro.
City workers were busy putting up the “tri-colors” French flags on every light post up and down the Champs Elysees. Just yesterday there had been Paris 2012 banners hanging in the same places. But now, Bastille Day was approaching and French patriotism was over shadowing all the other news.
I guess my point is this…often we are shocked by events in the world. Hurricanes in Florida, a tsunami in India, mud-slides in California, G8 riots in Scotland, and now, the London bombings. The media focuses on these event making it seem that everyone in the area is affected by the event. But in reality the events usually only affect a small area.
This is true with today’s events too. Yes the London bombings were terrible and my thoughts and prayers go out to those who were killed or injured. I pray that those responsible will be apprehended and dealt with. But we cannot stop living, that is what the terrorist want…to scare us into cowering and become hermits.
Tomorrow I’ll visit Versailles just as planned. I’ll not think much about terrorism. Then on Saturday I’ll fly to the good old USA…home of ice-cold drinks, patriotism, slanted newscasts, huge food portions, the US Dollar, cheap gas (compared to the $8 per gallon in Europe), and, most importantly, to my wife, family and home sweet home!
Traveling is good. It gives a new and fresh perspective on life and the culture and society of others. Viva La France, hip-hip-hooray from the Union Jack, but there is no place like home.
I am happy, safe, and loving the French,