A recent trip to the south of France.

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    Dec 09, 2007 11:41 PM GMT
    I arrived in Capbreton (southwest France) on Sunday afternoon last week. The night before, a block from my sister-in-laws's house where I'd be staying, there was a bit of Basque terrorist activity. Two policemen from Spain had followed a car driven and passengered by suspected Basque separatist/terrorists. The terrorists drove to Capbreton and stopped at the cafeteria of the town supermarket LECLERC. The cops followed them in. All sat down at respective tables when suddenly the terrorists opened fire. They killed one of the cops and wounded the other. They made their escape and while doing so, kidnapped a woman from the parking lot, taking her with them in their car. There were a lot of witnesses. Most people in France and Spain are not sympathetic to the ETA (the separatist organization). A combined 1.8% of people in Spanish and French Basque territory favor separation and anarachy. They want no government at all. The wounded cop was taken to a hospital, the other pronounced dead on the scene. The next morning, the abducted woman was found in a woods off a highway. She'd been tied to a tree. Days later, the second cop died. Both cops had young children and wives.

    On Thursday, two of the suspects were captured in the interior of France. A man and a woman. Apparently, the woman was very high up in the ETA chain and is suspected of a lot of terrorist activities.

    On the Paris to Newark leg of my trip home, I discovered just how evil I really am. The chaotic boarding process was almost complete. It was chaotic because Air France didn't bother to call people onto the plane by rows, they just called everyone at once. It was a battle for overhead space. Luckily, I got mine. I only ever travel with carry on luggage. There were a lot of languages being spoken and too many people didn't know where their seats were. Four or five rows in front of me, a toddler started screaming at the top of her lungs. It didn't sound like she was trying to make words in any language, just screaming. I heard a woman trying to talk gently to her a couple of times, I supposed in an effort to quiet the kid. The kid would have none of it. The screaming continued. People were smacking their lips, huffing, tsk tsking, etc. It seemed like the woman trying to calm her, who I have to assume was her mother, seemed to have given up trying to calm her daughter and let the screaming continue unchallenged. This went on for a solid 10 minutes. People's nerves, including my own, were fraying. Airline personnel didn't want to get involved for whatever reason. I don't imagine they didn't hear the racket going on. I'd had enough and with my biggest monster voice I yelled "SHUUUUUUUUTTTTT UUUUUUUPPP!!!!!!". The entire plane went completely silent for about 3 seconds, but for the humming of it's engines. I heard the guy behind me say "ah, ey, iss no necesserry to do zat". On my side, somebody said "oui shut up". I heard a couple people applaud, shyly. A few people groaned. The Dutch husband and wife next to me were completely horrified. I think they held in going to the bathroom because they were afraid to ask me to get up so they could pass into the aisle. When they finally did, they were timid and the wife was clutching her husband's arm.

    The kid was completely silent for the remainder of what turned out to be a 10 hour trip. There were strong headwinds which delayed us and caused quite a lot of turbulence. The steward/stewardess team were a couple of Robert Palmer video dominatrices who seemed very unhappy and angry with everyone, and a couple of very queenie men.
  • Justbe_NYC

    Posts: 18

    Dec 10, 2007 12:53 AM GMT
    And so ?

    That's your way to tell us you love Frenchs?! and that you had a good time in this beautiful country??

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    Dec 10, 2007 1:02 AM GMT
    I had a great time in France. I've never had a bad time in France. It's getting there and back which suck. France is a great great place. I'd live there. I think I'll take a cruise ship there next time.
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    Dec 10, 2007 1:43 AM GMT
    Sounds like you missed your calling as a drill sargeant there McGay -- at least isn't that their job to make snivelling children shut up?
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    Dec 10, 2007 2:29 AM GMT
    Dear McGay: Thanks for the education re: France, I had no idea about the isolated violence.

    As for the flight home - Way to go - Some people tend to feed off other's behavior(s) - and it takes the flight crew(?) to stop the cycle, or someone like you to wake these idots up!

    WELL DONE McGay - C'est tres bien!icon_biggrin.gif
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    Dec 10, 2007 2:51 AM GMT
    Ahhhhhhhhh yes, Reason #112 why I don't fly coach anymore.

    If you fly at all frequently, spend the FFM points for the upgrade. It is more than worth it not to have to wedge yourself like a sardine into a can too.

    Be aware though, you got away with it this time - maybe because it was AirFrance - if it had been an American Carrier, these days the P T B might very well have asked you to leave the flight.

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    Dec 10, 2007 2:07 PM GMT
    hystericalicon_lol.gif i love it mcgay. i was in tears reading your post. man after my own heart.

    i remember a female friend of mine screamed at a child in a pushchair in a supermarket queue to shut up and came home without any shopping at all, she was so shocked by her outburst. 'am i a monster' she cried.icon_lol.gif

    only a week ago i awoke at 1am to discover some men walking on a neighbouring roof near my bedroom window attempting to do some maintenance work. i threw open the window and bellowed at them to stop immediately, get off the roof and don't dare come back before 8 am at the very earliest. they scuttled away into the night like good troglodytes and peace was resumed. my ex who was staying with me that night said, 'that's my boy!'
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    Dec 10, 2007 2:43 PM GMT
    Lucky you...I'd love to visit France.
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    Dec 10, 2007 3:32 PM GMT
    I'm considering a career change and I'm wondering if "SuperNanny" is hiring.
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    Dec 10, 2007 5:12 PM GMT
    Sigh. Flying used to be so glamorous, once upon a time. Babies and children were often prescribed tranquillizers by their paediatricians for the long-haul flights. Then the package holiday was created and mass tourism flooded the airports with the common people and their equally ill-mannered spawn. It would get worse a couple of decades later with the advent of no-frills airlines; yipee.

    Next came 9/11 and air travel became even more of an ordeal. Shortly after the US invaded Iraq I swore I wouldn't visit the States again until Bush was out of office. The most unpleasant part of any trip to the States became ten times worse: US customs & immigration interrogations. And then the lying sonofabitch was re-elected and I swore off ever visiting the States (yes, even New York) as long as there was a Republican in the Oval Office. I have patience, that's for sure.

    I've flown much less these past five years due to the increasingly distasteful aspects of international air travel; I even flat out refuse to take connecting flights through the USA, which in itself eliminates many possible travel destinations. Oh well... in a way, it really simplifies things.

    I miss Concorde.
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    Dec 10, 2007 5:38 PM GMT
    Just imagine how we'll pine for these "good old days" once cell phones and internet (including VOIP?) are allowed on transcontinental flights.

    (When I used to fly a lot for work, out of a small western city, my apartment was 12 minutes from the airport by freeway. I could roll out of bed 25 minutes before my flight, grab breakfast from the stand at the end of the terminal, and walk right on to the plane with my carry-on. Coming home late at night from the East Coast, many of the flights were often almost empty, but they flew anyway because they had to get the equipment in place for the next day. It was relatively quiet with plenty of room to stretch out and sleep. Just a distant memory now, I'm afraid.)

    Um... but apart from transit and headlines, how was France?
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    Dec 10, 2007 6:12 PM GMT
    In a word - delicious! Expanding on that, intoxicating.
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    Dec 10, 2007 6:43 PM GMT
    MMh France a good place? I could tell a story about a dutch truckdriver, that is been hold in prisson there for 2,5 years, without being convicted or even see a judge..... Threatening to kill himself because his hopeless looking situation in (what we in the Netherland call "middel eeuwse toestanden" middle aged surroundings... Three men in a cel, with only two beds on it..... Really a good place, where the secret service blew up de "Rainbow warrior" of Greenpeace, killed a photographer of Greenpeace with that..... Had some "Nuclear tests"in Mururoa, killing most of the coral over there.... Where discrimination is allmost more common then in the south of the USA...... Where the people are so much "proud" of there language that they are felling offended if they vissit the Netherland and they can't speak French? MMhh, let's just say that France is nice to see and that there are really nice French people.
    Love the way you handled the kid though, it could have been me: I smacked a (strange) kid once, he was jerking on my coat and wouldn't let go, even when i asked him twice( It was a kid from a stranger, otherwise i only had asked it once off course) when he was still jerking at my coat after my second notice i smacked him.... It helped ;-)
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Dec 10, 2007 7:04 PM GMT
    I have to disagree a little there Thygros. France is a great place and has a lot of interesting places to visit and great things to experience.

    Like a lot of places it has it's fair share of jerks living there, but has a reputation that is often un-deserved.

    Admittedly the French are very touchy about their language (which is a very beautiful language) and don't like change. But in recent years I have noticed from my frequent visits that attitudes are changing and France is making great strides to drop some of the snobbishness that it has historically been known for.

    You're from the Netherlands, maybe should be a little more forgiving towards other countries that are not as enlightened and liberal as your country in perceived to be.

    Lozx
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    Dec 10, 2007 7:44 PM GMT
    "SHUUUUUUUUTTTTT UUUUUUUPPP!!!!!!"

    nice.
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    Dec 10, 2007 7:48 PM GMT
    I am the Patron Saint of Parents with Screaming Kids!

    I do a wonderful Donald Duck voice. I use with screaming kids all the time. Grocery stores, bookstores, and airplanes are usual venues. The kids love it. They usually stop screaming immediately ... then smile or giggle. I had one little screamer in Barnes and Noble bookstore sprawled out on the floor wailing at the top of his lungs. I did my Donald Duck. The little guy didnt even get up off his belly in order to give me a high 5. Another didnt want to have his coat put on for some reason. Again with the Donald Duck. The little tyke was so fascinated by Donald that mama got to slip the coat on with only one problem...junior was walking over to get closer to Donald and she was kneeling down and had to follow him. ... icon_lol.gif
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    Dec 10, 2007 7:53 PM GMT
    @Laurence: [quote]MMhh, let's just say that France is nice to see and that there are really nice French people. [/quote] I meant that line in every way. And believe me when i say that the Netherlands aren't what they used the be anymore if we talk about enlighting or liberalism. We also struggle with a lot of things, not much enlighting or liberalism going here at the moment. But that is another subject