I was tired after a long week's work and I was looking forward to the short but precious weekend. One of my colleagues suggested going to Asterix Park outside Paris. “Asterix Park? Where is that? I thought. Not far, he said. I could take the metro to the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Terminal One Airport, and from there a bus could take me directly to the park.
I thought, well, why not? After all amusement parks are not just for kids. I preferred the idea of going to see Asterix Park rather than Eurodisney. I find Disney too American, even though I have nothing against America and I was born there. On the other hand, I have always loved Asterix and Tintin books.
So there I was the following day at Charles de Gaulle Airport waiting for the bus. A young man was also waiting, so I felt less ridiculous. He had a T-shirt with “Polska” written on it. I suspected he was Polish, which indeed he was, and soon his Indian wife and daughter joined him. Once in the bus, he told me he lived in Canada and that he was bringing his family to France for the very first time and that they couldn't miss visiting Asterix Park.
As we arrived, we said goodbye and I cheerfully gave them an “Ave” salute. From outside the Roman Gates surrounding the village, a huge statue of Asterix overlooked the park. Hundreds of little boys and girls dressed in Gaulist Roman armor were running everywhere, while worried parents tried desperately to keep an eye on them.
After visiting the different areas of the park, I decided to have a lunch break. So I headed towards a fast-food restaurant which had a terrace in the back yard surrounded by familiar-looking walls. Then as I was enjoying my hamburger and Coca-Cola, it struck me! I was sitting in front of what looked like a replica of a portion of a Persian or Mesopotamian palace.
I quickly swallowed the rest of my lunch and went to get a closer look. As I turned to another corner of the terrace, I found myself facing a fellow ancestor, nose to nose. Well, he could have been a fellow ancestor. As you can see in the above picture, he is a replica of a Persian “Immortal Guard” which used to ornate the winter palace of the Achamenid King Darius in Susa.
Well, I said to myself, Immortal Guards are indeed immortal — if not in Iran, at least at Asterix Park. I continued to visit other attractions and met an Iranian couple who had come from Iran. Since I do not look Iranian, they seemed surprised when I spoke in Persian. We broke the ice with a light-hearted chat. They had also seen the Immortal Guard and the little Persian palace.
I asked whether they had any of the Persian translations of Asterix or Tintin books. The husband said he used to, but had given them away. Then when I told him those books published before the revolution had become collectors' items, he suddenly changed his mind. He turned to his wife and said, “I should ask your mother to give me back my books. I hope she didn't throw them away.”
I wished them a nice trip back home and we parted with a smile.