I was in Paris last month for a few days on vacation. I speak very little French, but for the most part I got by just fine. During my stay I got around on the metro, which (once I figured out you had to open the door yourself when it arrived at a station) was fairly easy to use.
Anyway, while I was riding the metro, at one stop an older (I’d say about 50 or so) man got on, followed by a much younger (maybe around 20) woman. The guy was a bit shabbily dressed, and I’m not sure if he was drunk but he was a bit belligerent. He walked down the train talking to the other passengers, who just seemed to be ignoring him. I figured he was asking for money. When he got to me, he started talking and I couldn’t understand a word he said, so I just shook my head. This pissed him off and he started talking more angrily, but I still couldn’t make out a word so I just ignored him. He walked past me but then came back and got right in my face, said some more things, and then blew at my head. I did nothing, and finally he continued on his way.
Just a guy asking for money, right? But what was weird was the woman who was following him. As I said, she was younger, pretty, was dressed in clean clothes, carried a backpack, and didn’t say a word. At first I assumed they weren’t together at all – that she just had the misfortune of getting on after him and didn’t want to draw attention to herself. But I noticed at the next stop she got off right after him, and followed him down the platform where it looks like they were going to wait for the next train. At this point I started wondering if this was some type of scam (he’s homeless, she’s his daughter, she’s going to school, she needs money for books – I don’t know, I’m making this all up). Like how in the US if you go to a train station or bus station, you’ll run into people who say that they lost all their money and just need to buy for a ticket home, that sort of thing. I wished I spoke more French just to figure out what that guy’s story was.
Anybody run into anything like this?