Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Rough, Rough, Rough Guide to France

Day One. 'No, no, mate, just wanted a spot of tea.'

Money? What a drag. Just ask Mark Boyle.
A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after getting as far as Calais, France. Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

People thought he was "free-loading"? Of course not. He was doing them a favor, walking halfway around the world, expecting people -- most of them surely poorer than him -- to treat him to three round meals a day and make him a pallet 'cross their floor so he could kip down during a few hundred nights.


Day Two. 'Je ne suis pas asylum seeker, mates. Er, peace and love! Avez-vous un spare baguette?'

Mark is an idealist, you see. Doesn't believe in money. (It's easy when you have plenty.) Doesn't, apparently, even believe in a barter economy, since he didn't carry anything to barter with. He is the perfect infantile product of the socialist state: I exist! I am entitled to the fruits of your labor!

This walking collection of The Rights of Man can hardly be said to violate the norms he sees just by swiveling his head at home in England. The Labour government hasn't quite reached the pluperfect state in which money can be dispensed with as a barbarous relic, but it's got the porchlight on for anybody who fetches up from Africa or Pakistan without a brass farthing. They'll be on the dole before they can say Jack Robinson.

Day Three. 'Do you know who I am, you ungrateful bloody sods? I'm Mister Organic Foods! I'm Freeconomy!'

Don't even have to speak the local lingo, like those blinking Froggies across the channel make a mountain range out of. Her Majesty's gov't will hire a translator to make sure every migrant gets his due with no degrading questions like, "How do you plan to support yourself?" The migrant and the state both already know the answer to that.
Mr Boyle said he could not explain in words the disappointment he felt at abandoning the journey and he apologised to his supporters.
As well, one assumes, apologizing to all those on the long trip to Sri Sri Sri Sri Maha-maha-mahatma Gandhi's most recent incarnation spot, who missed their chance to support this king of the road with his invisible means.


1 comment:

zazie said...

I did enjoy this post ; I love dry humour....Yet I have to tell you something: your man can't have gone very far inside the town of Calais ; if he had, he would surely have met a few do-gooders who keep a canteen for would-be immigrants, even fighting the French police-force when the latter try to send intruders back home! You must be right, this man is a by-product of the British government ; what on earth has happened to the Throne of Kings ?