As an expat it's fun to have house guests in Paris.
Well, sometimes not. But when it's pals who have known you since high school but who don't know Paris very well, they always get you to see an angle of this city that you might normally pass by. For example, I usually avoid the "tourist traps" like the plague. How myopic and foolish of me! These spots are actually a cultural experience quite worth the look-see.
This week, with my dear chums Rita and Cynthia visiting, I've had the chance to visit innumerable tourist shops and fly-by-night stalls that hawk all the Tee-shirts, shawls, goo-gaws, Eiffel Tower miniatures and Paris snow-globes that are bought on the last-minute frenzy of "what can I take home for the kids?"
This time, I embraced it all, and discovered a new side of Paris design and commerce that I had neglected for so many months in my self-imposed "I'm-not-a-tourist-I-live-here" ethic. Oh, we visited all the Important Cultural Sights, of course, but there was always the need to find that perfect souvenir.
You know what I realized? For as long as I like visiting the sights of Paris, I too am a tourist. Yippee.
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