Phillip Wong // The Articles

Guns, Souvenirs, and the Eiffel Tower

22nd October 2011

It's possible to descend from the second level by foot.

No introduction necessary for this giant hunk of steel. Take the Metro to Trocadero and you’re there. Keep alert for the occasional bomb threat, but take solace in the numerous heavies from the various French forces as they patrol the area while holding their weapons with an extreme sense of liberté.

The view over Paris from the second level of the Eiffel Tower.

What I’ll remember this place for, though, is the street hawking of assorted crap that takes place. The crews of predominately African immigrants work the area tirelessly, albeit with little success.

It must be questioned how they can possibly earn anything from selling this junk, especially as there is so little interest from human beings or animals which walk right on by. It would be enlightening to know which tourists are interested in buying bubble making guns, boomerangs, or electronic bird-callers while on vacation here. Add to that the fact that every other seller has exactly the same crap at exactly the same price.

African immigrants display their assorted crap to passers by.

In the short time spent in Paris, the mini Eiffel Towers pictured went from 4 for €1 to 6 for €1. While the rest of Europe edges closer towards hyperinflation, these statuettes chart their own path.

Each street seller sets up their offerings on a sheet, usually with handles tied to the corners, to enable a quick pick up and run in the event that the authorities drop by for a visit. It probably explains why your cherished Eiffel Tower photo frame comes with complimentary scratches included.

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