C’est la Vie – An Olympic Ultimatum…

April 4, 2017

(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Did you see that story in the news about the French bid for the 2024 Olympics? The French Olympic bid committee have said that they will not put in a bid for Paris 2028 – it’s either 2024 or nothing.

The End.

They are up against Los Angeles so it will be a tight race and also given the unrest in Paris in recent years and naturally security concerns are at the fore front of people minds but a sadly, as all the numerous violent events have demonstrated, really, any major city in the world can now be a target.

Paris last hosted the Olympics in 1924, so it’s been a long time between aperitifs. I’d love to see them get the games. They are up against Los Angeles, a two time host city, and we’ll find out next September when the IOC hands down their decision who the successful city is.

I laughed when I heard this story as it struck a chord with me and my previous experiences with the French. Have I mentioned my dramas with international travel? About my bag that is cursed and always goes to any other country except the one I am actually travelling to?

A few years ago I was going to France to visit the Somme and attend the Anzac Day service at Villers- Bretonneux as I am a History Tragic. Hands down one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.

I flew over with a French airline that was launching a new route from Australia via Reunion to Paris (rather than the traditional course via London). First leg – 18 hours – nothing to write home about and then we landed in Reunion.

What do you know about the island of Reunion? My recollection is that Roland Garros, the World War I fighter pilot and pioneering aviator was born there and it’s also home to a town called Le Tampon. True.

The next leg was Reunion to Paris – about seven hours – and for my sins the woman seated next to me vomited for the entire journey, covering me in vomit shrapnel. It was as revolting as you’re imagining Dear Reader.

I landed in Paris and guess what? Bluey, my bag had decided to go to Belgium (for the chocolate I suspect). I didn’t know this at the time and wasn’t fluent enough to find out where it was and the French airport staff really couldn’t have cared less.

I went to my hotel where the lovely staff took pity on me – they could probably smell me coming from Charles de Gaulle – but they didn’t have any luck tracking my bag down either.

For three days I schlepped myself out to the airport looking for Bluey with no success. I learnt some very valuable lessons during this time without my luggage.

1) You rarely need half the crap you pack

2) Never ever ever ever let your passport leave your sight and 3) People will take pity on a stranger in a strange land.

I was tearing my hair out at the counter of the airline I had flown with who still couldn’t locate my bag when I heard the sweetest sound in the whole world; a broad Australian accent asking me “Ahhh… You right there Miss?”

No, I wasn’t bloody right – the stupid French airline had lost my bag blah blah blah…rant rant rant… “Right-oh Miss, just stay here, we’ll get it sorted,” said a handsome young man in Australian army uniform, surrounded by a phalanx of soldiers.

And you know what? They did. They were in France for the same service I was and the wonderful young bloke who located my bag played the Last Post and his execution of it was flawless.

I even had a nip of rum with my Luggage Liberators after the ceremony had finished. The moral of the story being if you want something done properly get the Australian army to do it.

Back to the French Olympic bid, it struck me when I heard that news story about how it’s all about perception and the unspoken rules we apply to different situations/people/countries.

Because it was the French saying it’s either 2024 or nothing – I rolled my eyes and muttered to myself “aarrgghh arrogant Frogs!” but would I have thought that if it was another country? Doubtful.

And what if it was a man negotiating a business deal? I bet we would say he was savvy or tough. If it was a woman telling a husband or partner that was her decision she’d probably be labelled a demanding shrew.

If it was a child saying that to carer or parent we’d say they were being churlish or that they were spoiled. Hors d’oeuvres for thought. For my two euro’s worth, Viens en France!

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