Friday, November 17, 2006

La Symbiose à Paris

If you haven’t understood your Biology lessons in school, here is a chance. My second day in Paris will be able to elucidate these topics with examples.

There are various categories of symbiosis seen when two organisms interact:

Parasitism, in which the association is disadvantageous or destructive to one of the organisms and beneficial to the other (+ −)

So here I was wondering as to how I managed to convince myself to come to Eiffel Tower when I was having a great time shopping at Champs Elysees when I was interrupted by an Indian guy asking me to take a picture of him in front of the tower. Obviously I obliged. He felt obligated to take a picture of me in the same location with my camera, making me stand with a hand on my hip and my head slightly bent for studio quality photograph. I obliged to his obligation. That’s when the story went downhill... or rather, up the tower.

I started to wander around the base of the tower and wherever I turned, I met him by sheer coincidence of course. ‘Can you take a photo here in front of that statue?’
‘Now let me take yours. Give me your camera.’

‘Oh look, it’s you again. One more photo please!’… and then so it went on forever.

That explains my extreme emotions in certain photos. So I ran amok to try to flee from the Photo-Nazi when I was confronted with a superb idea. I decided to climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator as a means of escape. Seeing his bulk in person and through the lens, I was pretty sure he’d find a more sedentary prey to continue with his Eiffel Tower portfolio.

In five minutes of running up the stairs, I heard unmistakable panting and puffing. ‘Do you know I am a Sri Lankan? Huff..Pufff.. slow down. I want a picture taken here on the stairs!’

‘Wait, let me take a picture of you in my camera and send it to you by email. Isn’t it so cool that we found each other to take pictures? ’

That does it! I sprinted ahead, crouched behind a dustbin and didn’t move for 30 minutes straight. Yes, at the cost of looking suspicious to people wanting to throw trash. That’s when I lost him much to my utter delight.

BTW, when you do have time after escaping from self obsessed Sri Lankans, do look out of the tower. It’s got a great view with no openings to throw yourself out of!

Mutualism, in which the association is advantageous to both (+ +)

Back in Champs Elysees, a Chinese guy stopped me in the middle of the sidewalk and asked me if I spoke English. Very wary that it might be for some money, I replied in affirmative. Maybe I liked being asked for money. Gives me kicks that people think I do have money. Especially decently dressed individuals like himself. But he didn’t ask me for any cash. He gave me some infact. 330 Euros in hard currency. He asked me to quickly put the sum in my pocket lest someone notices. I was about to thank him and skip away into the sunset; but like all sweet deals, there was a catch to this one. I was asked to buy this particular wallet from Louis Vuitton (for which he had a sample) for him. I get no commision in this deal and I could very well be arrested if the notes were counterfiet. But in some whim, I agreed to carry out this weird request. If he had asked me to take a picture of him, I might have screamed. This way, I thought to myself, I get to go inside the swanky LV store and actually buy something. I could walk out of the store for one block with a Louis Vuitton bag in my hand. Hah! This is great!

Before you conclude I am quite an abnormal person, he did mention that he wasn’t being let into the store and I had heard rumors that stores in Paris were known for their snooty behaviour. Helping the hapless and walletless was my prerogative.

So I walked in effortlessly and stayed in the store for an hour admiring the disgusting purses locked up behind glass cases some billed at 20,000 Euros. I took my own time as I had to keep our Chinese man on his toes. Hopefully he was breaking into a sweat thinking that I actually ran away with his money from some underground passage. After going from one sales rep to another, I was finally handed the wallet in forceps to check. It was then neatly wrapped in some box and placed in a LV bag. ‘Ma’am, credit card or cash?’

I needed cash so the thought of using my credit card did occur, but I decided against it imagining it would hurt me more than the store if that money was actually fake.

As I walked out, I could see him waving to me across the street excitedly, at the same time suspiciously looking around. Anyway, I handed the wallet to him asking him to check if it was alright. He grabbed the bag, thanked me quickly, threw the packaging, pocketed the wallet and walked away real fast. A little perplexed, I was glad to take the empty bag home.

If you ever buy a fake LV from Chinatown for 10 bucks, remember Alpha and thank her for that prototype that she provided to make your purse look like an exact replica.

Chinese people were having a tough time entering the store.

Commensalism, in which one member of the association benefits while the other is not affected (+ 0)

I saw Arch De Triomph at the far end of Champs Elysees and decided to get a closer look having come this far. As I went closer, familiar music engulfed me. ‘No way! No freaking way!’

Abhishek, Lara and the croonies were here too. Second day in a row. My stars were aligned perfectly and literally. Same clothes, different venue…the song sequence continues. I was hoping to let Aby baby know about my plans for the next day so I could see him again. Sigh!


Kaushik Gopalan said...

Heh. You made up the story about the Chinese guy, didn't you?

alpha said...

aiyoo saar, i agree it looks rather made up..but if i did have to do that, i would have made myself buy the purse of my choice and run away from some back alley. what to do, i have a trusting face and helpful attitude...not to mention stupid sense. bluddy fella didnt even give me his store's address.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ms. "Trusting face and helpful attitude", what do I do to get Lara Dutta pic?

alpha said...

dna, reading this post also will help.

chava said...

do u speak chinese too? :(

Zoheb said...

Very vary

Yeh veri veri kya hota hai ?!!

Munimma said...

this is too (two) much! Aby baby stalking alpha? Life ain't fair!

Anonymous said...

How I wish you had a picture of that LV bag which you bought. I would then know which bag to buy for 10 rupees. :P

Anonymous said...


it was a chinese dame, alpha just does not want us to know that!


moral of the story: follow lara dutta up the eiffel tower with a camera, tell her you are a sri lankan, get her to take your photos (then you can take hers too).


i thought that bollywood routines involved same location, multiple costume changes. when did they reverse this formula? (and yes, i read the whole entire complete post this time).

- s.b.

Ravages said...

Lol! hahah! Trusting face and all.

WA said...

I totally agree that you have a trusting face and all, but still the chinese man story is a bit unbelievable. Ennamo

Hehhh said...

See ? Everybody is disbelieving about Chinese man giving you money to buy bag. And easily accept that Aby baby was stalking you around Paris with unit n the Lara in tow.

: )

Rocking post. Absolutely.

:) said...

Great post. More like alpha - 2. :)) Looking forward to the next episodes :)

Still cant believe you honored the Chinese guy.

anantha said...

hmmmm... ennavo po!

anjali said...

i had the same stalking experience at the Eiffel..though, in my case, it was an indian guy. Sri Lankans alone don't own that franchise.

if it's any consolaiton, i believe your chinese guy story. have heard that the Chinese get bad treatment. hey, LV let you into the store...that says something about your level! :)

alpha said...

chava: How is that relevant? I speak telugu.

zoheb: Looks like you are frustrated. any story behind this behavior?

muniamma: shouldn't the stalker reach the place after the stalkee? whatever it is, sounds cooler this way.

gini: its a men's clutch. and it costs 330 euros in LV...not a penny less.;jsessionid=UKXDTKO12JA5UCRBXUFFAGIKEG4RAUPU?buy=1&langue=en_GB
was sorta like that without that guy's pic. but as ugly. you might get it for 5 bucks if you say my name.

sb: i tried to ask this same presise question esp when the costumes were so horrid and hindi movies always had the best interests of the public in mind to change costumes as soon as we got an eye sore. But I hear, this is a new generation movie and they wanted to keep it realistic.

ravages: baldy!!

wa: as long as face is trusting, stories will follow just need to understand chinese mentality.

hehh: was that sarcasm in making me believe that you think my post is rocking? seriously..i wonder if it would have more believable if i said he just asked me for an autograph.

smiley: heylooo! thanks.. remember i trusted you at one time.

anantha: poonai en un naakai poodichidutha?

anjali: finally! a believer! give me your addresss, am sending a purse from the fake chinese guy's store...i mean, fake purse from real chinese guy.

as for entering, as long as you dont look chinese (which wasn't that tough for me considering i dont eat meat)

Ravages said...

what baldy and all?

Twilight Fairy said...

gosh.. PARIS travelogues galore in blogworld .. and I still havent gotten round to writing the ones frmo last years trip :p.. such a waste :p :)..

Lots of catching up here to do!

Vasu said...

Let me be the first (here) to congratulate you for remembering your biology lessons! As for the Chinese guy...

alpha said...

tf: somehow its always about you. Sulk!

vasu: aaaaarrrrggghhhhh....

Munimma said...

anticipatory stalking!

Fishy said...

I know Not all that Alpha says alwyas sound true, but this time u gotto believe her, I was asked by a chinese looking guy to buy a LV purse on champs elysee too. He looked shady so I chickened out. I did go into the store though and walked out appalled at the prices for some teeny batua's...

alpha said...

fishy: finally!!! See, no one would believe that actually carried this task takes one nut case to believe another.

Anonymous said...

Yes its true. Japanese & Chinese teenagers love LV. There is a lot of demand from Asian tourists that stores have a restriction of two items per person. It is common for asians to request unsuspecting tourists to buy items for them.