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You Are Up Eiffel Tower in a Paris Bomb Scare: 7 Survival Tips

Jul 29, 2008
To be 22 years old and feel alive and free is to savor life as one should at that age. And that I and my wife had travelled from the west coast at San Francisco to Hamburg through Panama, survived ship breakdowns, leaks, engine explosions: economy last voyage does not always ensure they make repairs on that last voyage before off to the boneyards in Japan. At any rate, as we had made our way to Berlin, the hot spot on earth at that moment, survived, saw the extermination camps at Dachua-I admit that trip bypass from Munich was my idea.

And one of those ironies of life up to then happend in this lovely hillside town of Dachau, nestled above the valley floodplain that holds those camps. That they knew nothing about. And so one might be inclined to look askance and not want to hear much from the locals. They lived near the gates of hell all those years with the machine fire and burning and gassing and they knew nothing. No Sir Eee. A hillside ancient beautiful little town inhabited by blind folks. And so it was touching one night as we left a bakers shop with our daily supplies, and in German I said good night.

And this gentle little man stopped me in my tracks when he said, nein, nein. I looked around. His gentle twinkling eyessparkled as this dear soul of a human being said to me, das ist nord deutch. Heir, vir sagen (and his voice and body softened) feederzain. Ever so slowly and softly. He then clicked his heels together and saluted me and said nicth nord deutch. It was an incredible moment in my life which I will have have emblazened into my heart and memrory of Germany . This was a very fine human being.

If the world had been different, he could have been my grandpa. And having seen and felt how fear can play into you when a Mongol points his machine gun at you and points it it a direction, that is the direction you instinctively go for suvival just for that moment. And so the machine gun waving gets you down to the train depot and you end up in the train depot like cattle at Dachau. And if are baking bread up the hill you keep your heqad down when the soldier frowns and what what is your problem? No problem here.

That dear little man contributed to such horror in the millions. I felt both sides in me: The angry hateful Mongol with a gun represented in what this man had put up with for unrelenting years. And, but. If any of us had been in his shoes? Very few Schindlers: many people like me move where the guns suggests you go. And that man now lived under the memory of that burden and would all his life. Long gone now, younger bakers can feel freeer to be a Chocolate Bomber and do so, go make children happy while the fear of death is in the air.

Many horrors yet before us, giving human nature. We will do what we should, and then some, as always. Wiser, more reflective perhaps. But still there when needed. A leader of civilization has burdens too. Lucky for us who wore down the cold war. Now this. And I thought, what could this one man ever have done to change any of that? This gentle Dachau baker would have been as intimidated by those marching Hitler Youth into their village schools and infiltrating every family with informants.

He had not lived a gentle and happy life, God had placed him here. He could only hope that on a very few occasions he could reach a customer from the west who looked at him as I had done. I came forward and went to shake his hand. But my dear new uber grandfodder came over to me and hugged me. Gasping almost, hugging back, I found tears in my eyes and even my beloved grandpa back in Vancouver could not squeeze that out of me. Who else has had that experience in Dachau?

It gave me the other side of the coin after looking into blood ditch and walking through the gas chambers disguised as showers and wondering how Germans could have been such monsters. The lines of huts look like the old movie, and a town full of Schultes. I know nothing. I saw nothing. I speak to no one. But perhaps it is almost healing in its ghoulish way I thought then. But if you stumble once into their shoes is to better understand how it might have been. No possible excuse but they wilted when the blanked eyed shoot first soldiers would stomp into their shop.

Months and countries south and west later we found ourselves in Paqris. Up the tower. The Eiffel. It was the other hot spot on earth, I suppose, with Algeria wanting freedom and thousands of angry young Algerian men could be found in Paris, lurking, not a part of the local society at all. That has not changed. But we were enthralled with the view, if you know what i mean and if you have been up there. The elevator is scary, up or down. One hundred year old steel cables.

Go 800 feet straight up? And those cables are 100 years old? You change them when they break? They are not stinless steel. You hear jokes and shrug them off. They will change the cables each time one breaks and your money is refunded to your heirs? This just gets better. This is in the front of your mind while you look down at the Seine, or the other way Napoleon's Tomb. Caesar by the Seine. And then. Faintly at first, but you hear a new kind of emergency siren now common over here.

Those erie attention getting urgent sounds were much more frantic than our then police or emergency vehilces. Whoop Whoop Whoop filled the air breezes wafting up to us, while we maintained our view of Paris. Then another different emergency sound in the distance. Then another type. The first to arrive at the base of the Eiffel Tower are brightly lit up and very impressive, you would get out of their way. Soldiers or men in uniforms with guns pour out. This is well worth the money.

Soon the ground was covered: Fire trucks, ambulences begin to encircle the tower, all with new, innovative lights and sounds, each whoop or yipe from each vehicle making it clear who would be coming at your down your street. America may have picked this up from the urgent needs of Paris inh 1961 before Algerian Independence. Paris was really puttingn on a show: all for us. First thoughts.

And then the fear. What the hell is going on? You notice your wife had arrived at that understanding before you as she looks quite white. you assure her all is fine, in order. She says she heard someone say it is another bomb care, but this is the biggest and scariest any of the locals up here have ever seen. This time the Eiffel Tower may be strapped with bombs. Do you think they would really blow up the Eiffel Tower just to get their Independence? And that this would happen while you detoured us from London?

She quietly said, wow, how do these things keep happening to us? Some questions remain unfathomable if you wear those shoes. But some tips came to my now highly alert brain. If you find yourself up a tower in a bomb scare, you might consider these elements. I do hestitate to make light of this but this did happen. Or rather nothing happened, we were allowed to enter and temble ourselves to the ground, walk amidst the soldiers-they look so blankly into your eyes as if it may have been your fault so if they are told to they will shoot you.

Under such conditions you quicklly adapt to just keeping your head down follow the person in front of you and keep walking. I understand their position; you should too. And, consider my grasp of what how if when while I looked around at the top of the Eiffel Tower in March 1962:

1. Take in all the situation quickly.
2. Stay calm, assuring. Keep your eyes scanning for a way down.
3. Walk slowly around in the space you have. We walked slowly around in that 100 year old steel cup 800 feet in the air on spindly very vulnerable looking legs.
4. Take mental sketches of what you see. We saw men in various uniforms, pulling hoses, settng up communication stations, pillboxes, staring up at us staring down at them. I think it made the evening news.
5. Assess the situation. It was the greatest show on earth in retrospect at that very moment. All the world was coming to us.
6. What can you do? No thoughts of waving, no helicopter in the sky, no airplanes buzzing us, no new James Bond escape.

Jump and die: horribly I can appreciate that if the tower had been on fire and we were in the process of dying in such pain we might well have dived out the window to end our lives quietly in God's hands than the inferno fires of hell. I was there then in that way.

7.First chance for escape, take it. When lights blinked at the elevator doors people hesitated. What if?

I grabbed my darling pretty little angel by the hand and we were in that first elevator, bust cables or not. We must get our feet back on the ground right now. Job one. A month later we were on our way home as Marion was now having morning sickness and so our adventure in this sense was winding down. Still cowboys and Indians to deal with in the painted desert and the Black Hils and the rush of first seeing Mount Rushmore from the east. You first see it as you enter that tunnel and it shines in the light while you see that light at the end of the tunnel.

Now who in America could have planned that? I have no idea, but really it does not matter. being America, that just comes along with the load. But we stood on the viewing deck of the Empire State Building, then the tallest building in the world. You can feel the wind move the tower in gusts. But thank you God, at least here, no blinking lights at the base of the tower. May peace and sanity secure us all, once and for all, and hve us mature into civilized people all.
About the Author
Derek Dashwood enjoys noticing positive ways we progress, the combining of science into the humanities to measure politics, wise use and mis use of power and protective love at
American Antiques
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