It was November 2006: I was post-college unemployed and had just moved to Long Island City. When I wasn't job-searching, I was pretty deep into reading random Wikipedia entries and watching Arrested Development reruns.
Naturally, this is when I became infatuated with the Citroën DS. As you do.
New York is one of the harshest environments on an old vehicle, but somehow it still remains a fantastic place for finding weird, obscure cars. I was still learning this when I was out at night and found a white Citroën DS street-parked a few blocks away from my apartment. I ran home and grabbed my terrible 2005-era digital camera and took some terrible 2005-era digital nighttime photos of it. Our apartment wasn't large enough so store a tripod, so, I apologize for the general crumminess of this image:
Knowing how bad the shots where and that I didn't have a lot going on the next morning, I made a return visit to the Déesse the next day.
But when I got there, there were two of them! And the owners were standing beside them chatting! It was a Citroën DS Ambulance, covered in handprints and graphics and grime. I guess he had stopped to meet up with another local DS enthusiast. I spoke to them, briefly, and they explained the Tour, but it didn't set in immediately. Before I knew it, the DS ambulance was on its way.
This happened years ago and I still think about it. It's one of the most serendipitous things that's ever happened to me. Much later, I researched the Lunaya World Tour, and found little tidbits across the internet. The driver, Manuel Boileau, (or maybe it was Lunaya) described the purpose was "to meet local populations and to produce photo and video features depicting children from all over the planet."
Citroën and Lunaya both used to have news features about the trip but they don't seem to be reachable anymore. According to this article from Brazil, the whole trip lasted from 2005 to 2008, and Boileau only used paper maps to navigate, no GPS, which is kinda cool. It's a remarkable achievement and I'm glad I was able to be in the presence of it, even if by accident.