In France

It’s very French. I’m very tired. Chat with you all later.

38 Comments on “In France”

  1. And you were expecting?? Not to be tired? I have done that Transatlantic thing about 9 times. And everytime it wipes me out.
    BUT hey!! Scalzi is in France! I an sure Franci will never be the same!

  2. Be sure to tell passport control “Je suis un espion” — that smooths things out every time (NOT!)

    Also, make sure you tell everyone you meet, “Je suis célèbre parce que je lard attaché à un chat.”

  3. Be sure to eat at some bistro that has an AAAAA sign in its window.

  4. I wish we knew what hotel he was staying at… we could have something fun delivered to his room.

    Like a stuffed Moose head, or 12 cans of Nair…

  5. God, I hate the French. At least Parisians. The most unfriendly, unhelping people I’ve ran into, and that includes New Yorkers.

    It didn’t help that it was my first trip out of the States. A now nothing Ugly American. I almost (and should have) made up a shirt for the trip calling for the Ugly American tour, with France and Switzerland on it. I may still do one the next time I travel to Europe. I’ll have to add Italy since I hit that in a unplanned side trip.

  6. #11 Ex-Fed: louder and slower. Like you’re speaking to a retarded five-year-old.

    Also, make sure to ask “How much is that in real money?” when they quote you a price in Euros. (Though that gag isn’t as funny since the Treasury decided to inflate our way out of the trade deficit.)

  7. I love Parisians. Visited twice – once for 10 days, and then for 2 months, and never had a problem other than with the people at the railway station who are professionally rude.

    The secret sauce in any foreign country is to know at least a handful of words in the local language. Even I got sick of Anglo tourists coming up to me and just launching into English without even a Bon hour or Excusez moi.

  8. #11 Ex-Fed and #15 Brett L.

    You can complete the “piss-em-off” trifecta if you adopt a bad French Accent.

    “No, Garcon, I said Le ‘hut-doge'”
    **Aside to Krissy, “Sheeez, these guys are dense.”**

  9. Nathan, Ex-Fed, and Brett L:

    Those are all good suggestions, but if you really want to piss off the French – just ask your waiter for Ketchup….really doesn’t matter what the meal is.

    Actually, I’ve spent a lot of time in France and I had a great time. The southern French countryside beats the cities any day – people are nicer, prices are lower, and the pace is much less hectic – but that’s true anywhere.

    Plus, as much as it embarrasses me to say it – somebody should probably apologize to the French for America, you know, since they were right about the whole War and all. GWB ain’t gonna do it, and since Scalzi’s already there, I figure he gets the job…

  10. Horia Nicola Ursu – I am an editor and translator, and also a former publisher at Millennium Books. I read, write, translate, edit and publish books. I also collect them. Own them. Possess them. Love them.

    I guess I’ll see you around :) Look for the big bearded guy speaking french with a strong Romanian accent. Bonne nuit!

  11. …somebody should probably apologize to the French for America, you know, since they were right about the whole War and all.

    I not sure about this. I mean yeah, they were right about the war, but telling them so would just make them insufferably pleased with themselves. As if they aren’t enough already…

    And be sure to ask for an American ketchup, such as Heinz 57. You don’t know what the French would put in their own version of “ketchup.” :)

  12. And whatever you do, be sure to tell the “Do you speak German? you’re welcome!” joke. They love that one.

    By the way, if you visit any tourist attractions, try this fun game: keep notes to determine which nationality of tourist is the most supremely obnoxious. When I was there last it was a photo finish between Americans and Italians.

  13. I realize I totally forgot who I was speaking to here.

    You may customize your hot dog by adding, “avec bacon, silverplate.”

    Your Welcome.

  14. Carol Elaine – Spend my days being creative with acting stuff & cleaning up after animals for money. Spend my evenings cleaning cat puke for free. 'Tis a glamorous life.
    Carol Elaine

    Christian Says:

    I wish we knew what hotel he was staying at… we could have something fun delivered to his room.

    Like a stuffed Moose head, or 12 cans of Nair…

    Harumph! As someone who is of French heritage and has a French last name, I’ll have you know that not all French women are so hairy that they require 12 cans of Nair. I, for one, only require 1 1/2. For each limb. Including my forearms.

    TMI? Sorry about that!

  15. Have fun in France, John!

    and as they say in France,

    Ne poussez jamais une banane dans votre oreille quand vous avez une vache sur votre toit

  16. My wife has been teaching me French.

    “Ne mettez pas votre Chihuahua dans le micro-ondes, s’il vous plait. Il va exploser.”

    You may find this helpful.

  17. Will a small pet actually explode in a microwave oven? Has anyone actually tried this experiment, outside of an urban legend?

  18. #22 Ex-Fed:
    Obviously, you’ve never had a Japanese tour bus pull up at the spot you’re visiting. I have the pictures to prove it. Something like a quarter of my pictures of Topkapi palace feature one of my family members plus some random Japanese person who stepped into the shot, approximately evenly distributed between front (posing for someone beside me) and back (stepping in my shot to take their own picture). And it’s not like we were discreet about setting up for a pic, nor did we take more than 20 seconds to set up.

  19. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, liberated!

    Make sure you say “Allo!” to The Thibaut’s at 54 Place D’Italie. They were very influential in 8th grade for me.

    Mme. Thibault was always rather willing to show me her bedchambers. Plus enchante.

  20. Ex-fed:
    In my travels I also find that the Italians and the Americans are by far the most obnoxious travelers. I have seen the funniest scenes unfold at many European airports. And I have seen all of the above communications techniques applied.

  21. I dunno, Finns in St. Petersburg were the most obnoxious travelers I’ve ever seen. It didn’t help that the only reason they were in Russia was to get tanked on the cheap booze.

  22. @16, Mike: The train personnel where the first Parisians I had to deal with, and basically dealt with all day. Although I must say that the cabbie who transported me from one railroad station to another was quite helpful.

    Yes, I was so frustrated (and tired! Business class meant that the stewardess had no problems plowing into my shoulders while I was trying to sleep, and they weren’t sticking our hardly at all! And I won’t go into the person that had the window seat that had to keep getting up and down!) that I had to resort to a cab to get to the train station that I actually needed to be at. To make the second (and last) train to Basil, Switzerland.

    And the one thing that I forgot to get done? Tell Cingular that I was going overseas, and to turn my phone on in France and Switzerland! The plastic worked just fine. I didn’t have my wife’s Swiss phone # to call to let her know what was going on.

  23. 1 of this days I R gonna learn Engrish.

    Know goes to now

    Were goes to where.

  24. “And whatever you do, be sure to tell the “Do you speak German? you’re welcome!” joke. They love that one.”

    I’m sure, Ex-Fed, the French can counter that with a “Do you speak with a british accent? Your welcome!” response.

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