Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Eiffel Tower souvenir hustlers

I've seen these guys before under the Eiffel Tower and on the nearby bridge, Pont d'Iena. I am not sure of their ethnic origin but they are medium dark-skinned with dark hair. They are dressed casually and will carry many Eiffel Tower keyrings and other Eiffel Tower souvenirs. Maylin and I successfully avoided them last Saturday under the tower, but as we walked to the bus stop over the bridge, I made the mistake of looking at some of the goods placed on the ground. The vendor held out three different keychains to Maylin and had her choose two. She chose one and then he asked her to choose again from the remaining two in his hand. Smart guy. I couldn't get Maylin to let go of the keychains. It was only a euro for the two, but I know how junky those things are, and sure enough, as we were crossing the street, Maylin pointed out that the chain to one of the keyrings had fallen. That was a good time to tell her about why we should never buy things from these street vendors again.

She learned her lesson well, and it was reinforced when we took the same bus the next day coming back from the Luxembourg Gardens. The bus had stopped on the same bridge at the traffic light, and we were able to witness the same souvenir hustlers give each other a signal and, in a blink of an eye, were able to gather up their wares and run away from who they thought were the police. I didn't see any police coming after them, but these guys were spooked nevertheless. We tried looking for the hustlers, but they had disappeared. Maylin thought they were probably hiding in the bushes.

We had a good discussion afterwards about how these men were not authorized to sell that junk and that we should avoid them from now on. This lesson also carried on to vending machines that she spotted with her friend at Monoprix. I thought, How evil of Monoprix to put these shiny new vending machines right by the door! How are poor moms supposed to get out without some sort of discussion or argument over why it's not worth it to pay two euros for a little plastic toy that's just going to break? Maylin, of course, wanted some Dora toy, and I reminded her of our latest lesson. No junk!

We've been making our own toys at home anyways. During Maylin's vacation, we made a big paper mache dragon together (my first paper mache project in my life, her second) and origami frogs that really jump. We also made some masks out of paper plates. I'm hoping with all this creative activity at home, she'll gradually learn that you can make just about anything yourself! I was proud of her when, completely on her own, she made a costume for herself out of a cardboard box. Maylin just asked me for some scissors help -- cutting out arm holes, and eye, nose, and mouth holes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn Gypsies!