In June 1978, I went to Paris with the high school French club. It took a lot of begging and pleading on my part to get permission/funding from my parents. But it was worth it. We had a great time.
What surprises me about my memories is the amount of actual freedom we had. I remember an afternoon during which Cheryl and I, on our own, took the metro to the Rodin Museum because we really wanted to see it, and it wasn’t on the itinerary. I can’t imagine anyone these days thinking it would be OK for two teenage girls on a high school trip to run around the city like this unchaperoned. But it was fine, and we were fine, and it’s one of my best memories of the trip.
I also remember the two of us being alone and in search of lunch together, probably another day. It was then that these two dark strangers approached us. This was always happening when Cheryl was around. One of the guys was Tunisian. He could speak pretty good English. His friend was allegedly Parisian, and he spoke none. Our French was high-school pathetic. So Tunisian Guy played translator.
Saturday Night Fever had recently been released in Paris, and signs of it were everywhere. This was back in the days when films didn’t have a simultaneous international release. We Americans had been into it the previous year. But Tunisian Guy tried to impress us with his knowledge of the film. “Ah ah ah ah, staying alive, staying alive,” he crooned at us. “the Bee Gees! Saturday Night Fever!”
Whatever. That was so yesterday. But we indulged him. Yes, yes, Saturday Night Fever . . .
They found out we were looking for lunch and insisted on taking us to a Tunisian restaurant. We warily agreed, walking with them down small side streets til we finally got to this hole in the wall, where we had some delicious and dirt-cheap dish. It was fun. They weren’t too pushy, and when we said we had to get back to the group, they bid us adieu.