where did all these americans come from?
One last glance down le Rue de Buci.

Normally, deJean and deCol do not jump out of bed when summoned, but they did this day. The only thing worse than not being able to sleep in was missing a plane, so they got up and got ready ASAP. The taxi would arrive at around 11am, and they needed time to dress, have lemon tarts AND pack.

They hauled all of their belongings downstairs just in time for the cab's arrival. With everything thrown into the trunk, they waved farewell to their hosts and jumped into the cab. deCol noticed that the cabbie almost never had his hands on the wheel. He was busy talking on the phone, and/or talking on the radio and/or smoking a cigarette, which didn't seem to leave a free hand to steer. Still, he did alright, and what a way to go, huh? In a Mercedes in Paris. The cabbie got them to the airport in, what had to be, record time.

In line at the airport, deJean and deCol were suddenly surrounded by a million American couples, all returning from their trip to France along with them. It was horrible. They complained about the French people, they complained about the food, they complained about the prices. One woman complained over and over about how she bought a subway ticket from point A to point C. She got off at B, went up to the city to have lunch, and returned to the metro with the same old ticket thinking she could get back on at B and continue onto C. And they wouldn't let her, they made her buy another ticket. Who knows. Who cares.

Normally, deJean and deCol would have politely excused themselves with some story of how they are expected somewhere across town, and are already late. Must go, bye bye. But they were trapped in a line. They couldn't leave. They both instinctively made sure not to make eye contact with the folks around them, but somehow still managed to invite whining from the other people in line.

With the huge luggage carts and carry on's and whatnot, it was hard for deCol and deJean to stand together. When it was there turn in line, deCol went first, with her two wheelie suitcases, followed by the huge luggage cart, followed by deJean. The man asked deCol, in what had to be the thickest French accent ever, a question. In fact, he asked her the same question roughly four times. She couldn't understand a word he said and looked desperately at deJean for a translation. For deJean to move up to hear what the man was saying, he'd have to push deCol out of range with the luggage cart, which he did. The man and deJean stood there conversing very seriously. deJean is shaking his head no. The man refers to deCol and again deJean shakes his head no. Now deCol has to know what they are talking about, and puts down her wheelie luggage and makes her way past the luggage cart and up to them both in time to hear the man say "...guns or knives?" and without thinking, deCol emphatically, and in her worst French accent, said "AH, NON!!!"

All conversation stopped, and the man looked at deCol. deCol looked at deJean. deJean looked at the man and the man looked at deJean and he started to laugh hysterically. Punch drunk with fatigue, deCol and deJean begin laughing, too. Soon, the three of them are doubled over, tears streaming out of their eyes, with the man putting "passed inspection" stickers all over the luggage and repeating over and over "AH NON!!!" just the way deCol had said it. This little scenerio attracted a lot of confused glances from everyone else in line.

Their flight home was uneventful except for the couple in front of them who slammed their seats back even before the plane took off. There was nothing to do, and nothing to watch, so deCol was watching a woman make a phone call on the inflight phone. She kept saying hello, HELLO?, louder and louder. She glanced around to see if anyone was disturbed by this, as she still couldn't hear the person she had just dialed. deCol indicated to her that if she turned the phone around, so that the receiver was near her ear, maybe she'd hear something. Oh yes, that works much better, the woman said.

So they returned to New Jersey, and then later deJean returned to New York. And they promised each other to Do It Again Sometime!

day ten