International Travels & Services

My European Travel Diary (007): The Travel Adaptor and Friendship -- Oct, 2000

Can you guess what my biggest difficulty was in Paris? I couldn’t connect my computer to the electricity supply for the first two days. I couldn’t upload the pictures from my digital camera to the computer. The plug on my computer didn’t fit the French sockets, I needed a travel adaptor. I had met with the same problem in Hong Kong in June and so took two little adaptors with me, however, neither of them worked in Paris.

I was so worried about that. I always try to buy or borrow an adaptor as soon as I reach a new place. After asking more than 10 times and being disappointed more than 10 times, I found out that the plug ends of my adaptors were of British and American patterns and didn’t fit French sockets. All French electric outlets have two round holes embedded in a piece of plastic about 5mm deep. I had to use and adaptor with a special plug to connect my computer to the electricity supply.

I had no hope of finding such and adaptor until the dusk of the second day. I had to delete some pictures from my camera to make room for new ones; I had to give up some wonderful pictures and my camera needed to be charged too. I was so disappointed that I felt like cutting the power chord of the computer and pushing the bare copper wires directly into the socket, even though that would have been a very dangerous thing to do.

At about 6 pm on the second day, we went to a big shopping centre. With only one hour for shopping I went to the electrical appliance section as soon as I could. The shop assistant realised what I needed and explained to his manager, who made a phone call then said that he was sure that they had the correct adaptor in another section of the shop. He wrote a note in French for me and told me how to find the section. I found the section on the first floor of the shop and saw the kind of adaptor that I needed. I was so happy and asked clearly if it could be used in the other countries that I would go to, in which case I would like to buy two of them right away. However, I had to change my money from USD to Francs first (in many places in France, USD are not accepted). By this time I only had 15 minutes so I had to run to do everything, so much so that my shirt was wet.

However, I was quite happy; I could finally do the things that I wanted.

During the time that I was having these problems so many people tried to help me. No matter whether in hotels, restaurants, shops or banks, as soon as people knew of my difficulty, they tried to help. The checked out their electric sockets, asked other people and then said “I’m sorry!” or have me some ideas. Many people went out of their offices to show me where I should go, what sort of places I could try… Near the Arc de Triomphe, I went into a hotel to ask for help. When I knew they couldn’t help me, I left and had walked about 10 meters when I heard someone shout, “Hi, Lady!” I turned round and saw a young man calling me. He said “please wait a while, maybe there’s some way…” At this moment another person ran out of the hotel and told me that he’d tried and no way…

I was so touched by the people of Paris, they are so friendly, cultured and warm; they listened to my questions carefully and with a smile, and then answered them patiently, gave me help warmly. In Paris I got so much help and friendship from so many strangers.

I really feel that there are so many friends and so much friendship in the world.

Written in 2000,

Edition on 3th.,April,2005


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