Customs 2009

From my journal. I keep forgetting to pass some of this on to you...

"Customs" coming into the country was all but nonexistent and consisted of five or six uniformed Frenchmen standing off to the side pretty much ignoring us (half facing the other way, the better to yak with their pals) as we passengers went out the main door where non-travelers await with the various signs, etc., beckoning arrivees. They chuckled when I asked where customs was (in my defense, there was a sign with an arrow to go straight ahead even though all of my compatriots were taking the left turn to go out the door and into the world). One guy goes, "C'est nous." (We're it.) If I'd been on my own entirely, c'est-à-dire, not directing a program where I was going to be ushering numerous students through the airport 1.5 weeks later and therefore trying to be extra vigilant to details I might need, I'd have gone through the doorway right away but I wanted to doublecheck. His eyebrows raised in surprise when I rephrased (in French), "Everyone's just leaving - we don't need to go through you? You don't need to see anything?!" I could tell he was biting his tongue (What IS it with these Americans!? Such lambs, you could tell them anything and they would do it! No wonder they never go on strike!) but he only allowed the slightest twinkle in his eye when he said, as if dealing with someone obviously fragile, "Non, madame."

I'm not sure if passengers coming from other nations get more scrutiny. Obviously the French aren't too worried about Americans tho. Hey, I don't mind being regarded as innocuous if it gets me out of the airport faster.

1 commentaire:

Applecart T. a dit…

Well, they DO check our bags here when they leave … at least that's what they say … and the whole take-off-your-shoes thing …

BTW, I just spent $28 to send 4 Reviews to a fellow I met last summer who is in art school in Quimper. He also does some graffiti and happened to stay with the sister of one of the main anchors of the ATT crew via CouchSurfer.com, which is how we met. (Sigh, I am all full of details that matter not a bit … this week+ is the worst "vacation" ever. Mi casa no es los casa (apres / ato de / after / español?) 4 dios).

Does not seem like a bad option in travel, CouchSurfer, since one can dictate to one's guests the length of stay / things are fairly organized and respectful, from what I can tell from the Web site.

Anyway, the custom forms are stupid. I had to fill out two, since the one I already did was for a non-Priority Mail envelope, the free kind I had already put them in. To be fair, it costs about $8 to send the same thing domestically. And people wonder why magazines and newspapers struggle, esp. small ones such as Review. : ) I'm defensive and chatty today.

And I had to declare a value on something that is free. And it wasn't "documents" or any other check box that made sense. So, "other: art publication."

House is empty. I am getting picked up in 1/2 hour by Chuong to go to Josh and Tricia's to see Tim and Heather (college friends) and maybe Erin (C's wife) will come after she gets off nursing at 7. Grilling. We see very little of each other … life is stupid.

I could SO sleep for hours. It was a short night again and a much-interrupted morning. People started calling Gear at 7 a.m. for directions to some industrial private property they have permission to go and paint on, when there are clear detour signs posted (for a historic bridge they meant to take that I had forwarded a press release about its being closed as of Friday).

Then there are the birds. And dog next door. And my grammar.

Anyway, let's honor the military dead, shall we?

Salut. (which is totally wrong for closing. Valde!)

: )