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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (sixth day)

Paris, France 
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Fifty-five years after liberation, I storm up to the Arc de Triompe in a Second World War American tank.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureUnlike 1944, our progress is almost completely ignored. Though tourists wave and point, the first French people to acknowledge a tank in their traffic are two gendarmes who bring us to an undignified halt half-way up the Avenue Hoche and demand to see our papers.

The good news is that the papers are in order. The bad news is that the tank won’t start again. Patrick and his assistant tinker around for a while before diagnosing a failure in the fuel supply. It might take an hour or two to get it fixed, so they suggest we try and kick start it. Just how easily the filming process can turn human beings into automatons is that we all without question agree to Patrick’s suggestion that we push the tank.

In 1944 he would doubtless have had thousands of willing volunteers, but today there’s half a dozen of us and we manage to shift it only as far as an old lady crossing the road, who shrieks at us in a most un-liberated way.

Patrick notices a tow-truck about to hitch itself to a trailer full of builder’s rubble. He races through the traffic and manages to persuade the driver to hook up to the tank instead. He agrees with remarkably good grace and after a moment the M8’s engine is conjured into life with a puff of smoke and a flash from the rear exhaust.
Paris, France 
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Stopped by the gendarmes within sight of our goal.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (sixth day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 88

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  • Around the World in 80 Days