Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Boy, Did We Need a Lift or What

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Boy, Did We Need a Lift or What

Article excerpt

Last week, I left you standing frustrated, angry and 800 euros lighter of wallet at the ticket counter at Orly airport having just missed a flight from Paris to Mykonos.

Remember?

A quick recap.

We were travelling from Prague to Mykonos via Paris, with three hours in Paris to get from one airport to another. Having spent more than an hour in horrendous traffic getting from Charles de Gaulle airport to Orly to find our Mykonos flight delayed, yet unavailable to us because we'd arrived after flight closing time, we were upset.

We were told by a disinterested clerk that we could still get to Mykonos but via Athens and the good news was there were a couple of Athens flights out that afternoon. Bad news was they all left from Charles de Gaulle.

"But we've just spent an hour and half coming from Charles de Gaulle,'' I cried, which had no effect at all.

"Well, you'll have to go back there, won't you?'' he said. Although he did add: "Take the train, it's quick.''

There was no point in shouting, Cywhy weren't we told that on the way over here instead of being told to take the bus?' so we lined up miserably for train tickets, carried our heavy bags up endless flights of steps and through tunnels until we got on the train to make the journey back from where we had so recently come.

These days there are many people on European trains intent on making your wallet lighter or lifting it from your person all together.

Gypsy women holding sleeping babies that have obviously been drugged to stillness, prowl the aisles with hand outstretched for money. It's pitiful but we've been told often enough not to give: the baby is a working tool, passed from gypsy woman to woman.

Then there's the scruffy blind guy with a white stick who stumbles to your seat, sings one bar of La vie en rose' and then demands money before rushing into the next carriage suddenly sighted again.

And there is often a sick man on crutches shaking uncontrollably who, having once extracted many euros from gullible passengers, suddenly sheds illness, tremors and crutches and leaps off the train at the next station like a teenager Co with a half dozen lifted wallets in his pocket. …

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