Dada I Hungee, Mama I want a cwasant

Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 29, 2006

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Flag of France  ,
Saturday, August 5, 2006

We have left Paris and are currently being rocked gently by the swaying train as we enter the French countryside. Buildings are slowly being replaced by wheat fields and small stone houses. A glimpse of a castle every now and again reminds us that we have left home.

Leaving was a tough juncture. I was being stressed by being stressed and so stressed out we couldn't freakin' stop being stressed. At one point, after the house was cleared out, Collette laid on a piece of cardboard and turned to me and said, "Dada, is the house broken?" "No, we are just moving to a new house, and it will be next to a park. But first we are going to travel for a long time." Collette: "A park? I like parks!" Her resilience is amazing and her powers to deduce the situation is stunning.

Just before we left during the Move (it is one of those experiences that it is so momentous that it gets the name of a proper noun so from now on I will capitalize it) Blaine got lost on his way to Susan's house in Oakland to drop off the car and to explain to Christy that I couldn't deposit my work check and that only one ATM card might work for our entire trip. All just part of the Move. Anyway, as I passed what surely was the third gang of crack dealers I had seen in ten minutes and to demonstrate that I was an outsider to the bad streets of Oakland, as if a white Subaru LL Bean Outback is not enough, my radio did not blast the low base thud of rap--it clearly broadcast All Things Considered on NPR radio. Ironically enough that very article was about how the homicide rate of Oakland had been skyrocketing this year. Finally I found my way to Susan's with the help of my phone that comes with the LL Bean Model. How come it is called Oakland? I didn't see any Oak trees. Crazy guys ranting on the street-yes, oak trees-no.

THe airplane ride was one can expect from such endeavors. Long and tedious. I felt all three movies I watched were morphed into one giant one. They all entailed brilliant criminals with unlimited resources and Ivy League degrees battling people with dazzling reflexes to match their dazzling teeth. THe only highlight came when Collette's diaper leaked through onto the seat. I use the word highlight here quite liberally. Yes, Javier it was only pee. See if anyone out there is sitting on United I recommend not sitting in seat 33a. Paris was, as always, great and exciting. Except for the jet lag we are still battling. Poor Collette. All she knows is that it is either light or dark outside. There is no better joy than laying in a hotel room at four in the morning, half way between consciousness and the state my students are in when I lecture, thinking about how much you need to get to sleep and how much it sucks that you are still awake and how much you need to get to sleep because everybody else is asleep and how there is nothing to do at 4AM and...

We felt we had to, so we took Collette to Luxembourg Gardens. For those of you that have not had the pleasure it is a place filled with trees (not like Oakland) and an immense grand building (very French), and a small lake surrounded by immaculate and expansive lawn highlighted by two stone lions.

However, the energy focal point of the place is a park in one corner that is the release point of fifty to a hundred badly behaved children. Pure chaos. I figure the park is putting out about 25 kilowatts of energy just from the screaming. Collette put in her share of leaping into a red plastic spinning sombrero and face planting several times. She put particular emphasis on her favorite French passion: pigeon stomping. She runs full speed with a high squeal like a siren and what is obviously glee on her face and tries to chase after any hapless pigeon within twenty yards.

After playing on the structures and a god hour of pigeon stomping we went to the puppet show. It was an appreciative crowd down-right raucous in their exuberance for the show. I hesitate to call them a mob but I am being generous in calling them an audience. The kids would point at the mouse and laugh hysterically when anybody or any animal hit their hide with any force. Just plain good entertainment.
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