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Running the commercial gauntlet of the airport shops comes usually when your defences are low. The day inevitably begins with an early start. Caution and forces outside your control ensure that you arrive and are processed into airport limbo land with far too much time to spare.  You enter a glazed-eye condition. Your brain might as well have been checked through with your luggage.  The “take me home” machine is in motion. No needs to think, you can go with the flow. You follow others into little chromium pens.

Why are the pilots filing onto the plane all Chinese? Oh, I should be sitting over there, and there is still more time to wait.

I can wander around the shops and get rid of my spare coins. Spare coins, that’s a laugh, but it is an experience and there are lots of new things from the “cutting edge” of technology.

They would be nice to have. The temptation is there, but like many at the back end of a holiday. I am “well spent” and acquiring this technology could lead to another cutting edge slicing up my credit card.  That flexible friend can sometimes take advantage. At times of weakness, it can be a bit too flexible!

I wandered mesmerized through the shining emporiums of Charles de Gaulle Airport.  People were fed through plastic tunnels on conveyor belts. (If the centre were flooded it would make a marvelous aquarium.) I love those traveling walkways that flow up and down. I saw a grey suited business man bounding along until his stride was impeded by a gaggle of oriental nuns but a word from their guide and they jumped to the side as nimbly as commandos responding to a platoon sergeant.

I went goggle eyed at the prices in the shops. Wandering on I became surrounded by perfume bottles. I dodged an enthusiastic Mademoiselle whose mission in life seemed to be to spray everything that moved. How do you explain coming home doused in a strange scent?


The French lady persisted and thrust a perfumed postcard into my hand.

“Eeet is for men” she said.  I gave it a sniff; it seemed OK so I went round for a second time with the idea of building up a supply to put in my suitcase to tone down my collection of travelling socks.


Although the new products on display in the airport shops were fascinating the prices of most items were high enough to shock me out of the “pre take off” stupor.  I decide to live without the see-through radio. It was encased in clear plastic but then you don’t want to look to close into radio. I once worked in broadcasting and I have to admit that most of my friends were perhaps best unseen and had as they say “a fine face for radio”.


One other shop caught my eye. Its display left me mystified. It was selling CD’s and cassettes.   Being at the gateway to Paris I was not surprised to see a couple of boxed recordings especially for women. One read “How to strip for your husband ”   and it cost 20 euros,  the other read  “How to strip for your boyfriend” and it cost 27euros. Why are we husbands over a fiver cheaper?  


We have the channel tunnel, fast trains, excellent flights and frequent ferries. The winds might blow fair for France but there’s more than a whiff of garlic coming the other way.


Allan Rogers takes flight from Paris.

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