Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Américain in Paris

We're back! 

We arrived back to Paris yesterday morning at 9am.  Coming from California, we're completely off the local time zone, hence the morning tea at 2am. 

It's a 11+ hour flight from the Los Angeles Airport to Paris' Charles de Gaulle.  Fortunately, our rickety old plane touched down safe and sound and customs was a breeze. They looked at our passports, confirmed our names, and Voilá: Bienvenue à Paris. 

Arriving with 6 pieces of 65+lb checked luggage, 3 carry-ons, 3 backpacks, and two kids (3 computers, 3 iPads, and my son's Xbox 360, which he couldn't live without), we were a force to be reckoned with upon arrival. 

We lined up 3 carts right in front of the baggage claim carousel. Within moments, an older French gentleman decided to give me a piece of his mind about lining up 3 carts side-by-side blocking other travelers from reaching their bags. Never mind the fact that there was 10-15 feet of access on either side of us... 

Vive la France - Liberty leading the People
Eugene Delacroix, 1830

I thought this man was going to rouse a riot with his complaints as other passengers soon took notice and began glaring at us... that is until the luggage started coming down the conveyor system and I singlehandedly - as if they were goose down pillows - flung off all 6 of those suitcases snap dab onto the carts! 

I am Woman
Hear me roar! 
Me (in my mind) 

In the midst of pulling down our own luggage - which actually won me a few nods of admiration - I saved a man from being pulled along the carousel by his luggage as I yanked both he and his suitcase back to safety (he was literally pulled onto the conveyor belt, refusing to let go of the desperate grip he had on his suitcase).

Within less than 5 minutes, I had all the luggage loaded and we maneuvered our way out from the chaos we had started - to the promised safety implied by the word: Sortie (exit). 

Had we been in a predominantly English or Spanish speaking country, I might have had a funny or witty comeback to diffuse the situation at the airport, but not being fluent in French makes joking an especially interesting challenge - one I'm looking forward to overcoming. 

Rather than telling jokes "about" the French, I guess it's high time that I learn how to tell a few basic jokes "in French" to diffuse future, socially awkward situations. 

Bilingual Joke

An American thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings and made it safely to his van. 

However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied, “Monsieur, I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.


If you have De Gaulle to become an art thief, you probably think you have nothing Toulouse!

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