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I got friggin’ lost in Le Bois de Bologne!! I had TWO maps with me, my young son (who can usually tell me which way is north), and my little girl who is getting too heavy to push in an umbrella stroller. I chose a route (entering from Porte d’Auteil) that turned out to be unfriendly to 6-year-old-ageing strollers AND the mums who jostle them. We walked and walked and walked, had a hard time finding road signs, my son started to sound like a hypochondriac whenever he smelt poo (ahh, spring is coming, and you can smell les crottes again) and I couldn’t find the other rather large lake which was necessary for me to direct me to the kids’ playground. You know you are in trouble when you can’t find a huge body of water the size of a horse-racing track. I know, because we almost walked around the ENTIRE “hippodrome” when we made a wrong turn. Spidey senses, why does it have to be cloudy? I have no idea which way is north.

Ahh, we finally found the missing lake! It must be quite lush in the summer when the leaves fill out the trees.

An hour and a half later and with the aid of two separate French men (they saw me frazzled with two maps in my hand), we retraced our steps and saw some lovely views of the missing, man-made lake. Then we realized we were on the wrong side of the lake and…man, do I feel old. When we finally found the playground, I think I spent my time figuring out how to get OUT of Bois de Bologne.

“Are we still lost? -I don’t know. Mummy always looks like that.”

After playtime, I steered us onto a road and saw two hookers standing on either side. Oh yeah, I read about them. The Bois (=woods) is notorious for being a red-light district, which explained why we saw many, single, shifty men wandering along the road. Anyways, I stupidly turned the other way so the kids wouldn’t see the scantily-clad women and went in the wrong direction, until I realized that I needed to go north again. Thank God the sun was out! We about-faced and went on winding paths through the forest and found some road signs, of which two white vans were parked nearby. As we approached the one van from behind, a man stepped out and in the outside mirror, I could see the reflection of the hooker in the passenger seat looking at me and my kids. I thought, “Am I on the wrong road or what?!” But we made it back. And I give thanks to the dried mango, grapes, rice cakes, apple sauce, cereal bars, chocolate bars and water packed in the snack bag. I know —  if we were French we wouldn’t be snacking (and snacking on-the-go at that)!

Photo taken from http://www.lexpress.fr/actualites/1/societe/au-bois-de-boulogne-les-travestis-confrontes-a-des-violences-accrues_1000963.html

Needless to say, I’m not sure I needed an extra day of ageing outside of Paris but my children were very patient with me (and likely on a sugar high) and excitedly told their father that we had gotten lost that afternoon. [They overheard my strained phone call on the cell. I told my man that I wasn’t making dinner that evening as we were currently lost in the forest.] Fortunately, my hubby is used to my lack of Spidey senses. Next leap year, I’ll spend February 29th in the comfort and safety of my own home…

Yes, I felt like sticking my head in the sand that afternoon. Hmm, sometimes my kids are too supportive…