Taking The Language Plunge
The overnight train from Paris to Venice was easy prey for the thieves who used to slip aboard and rob passengers in their sleep. And one night, true to my fears, I awoke at about 3 a.m. to the dark shadow of a man hovering over the bunks. Even though I spoke almost no French at the time, my mind thought back to words I had heard over and over in an ad on French TV. In it, a housewife finds an intruder in her kitchen, and she shouts something at him. I didn't know what it meant, but I knew it was good for scaring off robbers. So I yelled, more or less, the same thing: "Qui etes vous? Qu'est-ce que vous faites la?" ("Who are you? What are you doing there?") It worked. He ran away.
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