Ancestor in Paris
Nose to nose with an Immortal Guard
By Darius Kadivar
October 20, 2000
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
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
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.