I consider myself quite travel savvy. However, on a recent trip to Paris I discovered that I’m travel savvy in a naive kind of way.
It was under the arches of the rue Rivoli, just opposite the Louvre, where I was hanging around waiting for the mademoiselle with the key to my rental apartment. As always, Paris puts me in a good mood. Knowing that the Mona Lisa and all her art siblings are located a stone’s throw away is a feeling no short of true romance.
So when a young girl discovered a golden ring in front of me on the pavement I was genuinely amazed when she approached me and asked if I had lost it. I shook my head and smiled at her whilst she continued to look around in search of the poor soul who’d lost her wedding ring. The girl’s honesty enhanced my good mood. She touched a soft spot by acting very humane and humble in a very big and sometimes hostile city.
When she couldn’t find the rightful owner of the ring, she insisted I keep it. I shook my head, many times. I told her the ring was hers. She went on to say that her religion prevented her from wearing jewellery and that she had no use for it. I still didn’t cop on to the scam.
So off she walked, me with the ring in my hand, slightly confused but still convinced fate was being extra generous with me on that particular day. Two minutes later she re-appeared. With a very cute smile she asked if I had some spare change for a coca cola. I was still oblivious of her plot, and gave her a couple of euros.
Back under the arches I continued to wait for mademoiselle with the key. All of a sudden a young boy picked up something from the pavement right in front of me. ANOTHER GOLDEN RING!
I must admit the thought of a Parisian couple terminating their marriage in fury by throwing their wedding rings out of the window from one of the posh apartments above did cross my mind. But only for a split second. When the boy insisted the ring was for me I had to laugh out loud. His acting skills were inferior to the girl’s. I showed him my first ring. His performance came to a sudden halt, and I was still in a great mood. What a show!
Today I still think fate was being generous with me. The girl had put a smile on my face and her scam hadn’t hurt anyone. She put enormous efforts into earning a couple of euros, and I am convinced her acting skills could take her much further. The only thing that bugged me with the whole situation is that I had been targeted as gullible enough to fall for the theatrics. Twice, in a matter of minutes.
Lesson learnt? Well, I could possibly do with a bit more skepticism when strangers approach me on the street. Then again, being cynical and skeptical seems like such a boring way to live. It’s just not me. But I did google the golden ring scam, and it turns out I’m not the only one they fooled. There seems to be a lot of lost rings appearing around the touristy areas of Paris. Somehow this made me feel a bit better.