by Anura Guruge
The French, like the Scots, celebrate the New Year and New Year’s Eve with gusto — with lots of champagne and kissing.
Before I started going up to Glasgow for Hogmanay — since they, at that time, had an acute shortage of the ‘dark men‘ very necessary for the merriment, I used to spend quite a few New Years in Paris.
The folks who had adopted me lived in central Paris for 17 years. So I always had free accommodation — quite luxuries at that. So that worked out.
So I have spent a few New Year’s Eves on the Champs-Élysées — which in those was well within my jogging range.
But we used to take the car. It had diplomatic plates which helped.
A New Year I remember well is me playing traffic cop on the Champs-Élysées.
Once the revelries had died down and folks started to go home, the Champs-Élysées was 6 lanes of hardly moving, bumper-to-bumper cars. We had parked on a access road that ran parallel. But, there was no way we could cut in. So I jumped out strode into the middle of the traffic and started stopping cars. It worked. I had fun. I even stayed on and directed traffic after our car pulled in. I knew I could catch up with it in that traffic. I was very fit in those days — given that I used to run 7 miles, six days a week.