Foster’s voice sounded dreamy and far-away. We were in the front living room, and Mom was already in bed. The stars were bright and the sky was clear. It was a perfect summer night. “Climb up here and look out,” Foster instructed. “Don’t you ever wonder what all is out there in the world? I mean, all the adventures you could have if you could just go outside?” Before I knew it he jumped down from our den and went to the front door. “If I was just a little smaller I might be able to fit through this opening…” his voice was muffled. “Umm, I don’t know,” I mused. “I’m happy just staying here in the house. If cats and pandas were meant to be outside, we would be able to open doors by ourselves. Besides, we’ve had plenty of adventures already.”“I guess you’re right,” Foster replied sleepily. “But I was just thinking how fun it would be to go to France.” I was surprised. France? Since when was Foster interested in France? I knew one of Mom’s friends used to teach French, but other than that, I couldn’t see what was so interesting about France. “Well, it’s getting late,” I yawned. “Let’s go to sleep.” Foster agreed. “Okay. Hey, get on the carpet with me. You’re going to get cold on that hardwood floor.” I complied, and before I knew we were both sound asleep….Or at least I thought we were! But then I noticed the we were moving and I remembered we had fallen asleep on our flying carpet! “Whoa!” Foster exclaimed, looking down. “We’ve been there!”
I blinked. Yep, we’d been there, all right: India, China, and Africa! Ah, the memories… The next thing we knew we were flying into Paris! The view was breathtaking. We were so excited to see the Eiffel Tower down below. “Hey, did you know Mom has been up in the Eiffel Tower?” I asked. Foster laughed, “Yeah, before she was born! Grandma was expecting her when she and Grandpa were there in 1958.” “Well I guess it sort of counts,” I replied, not willing to be proven completely wrong.“What’s that building?” I asked later that night, after we had parked our carpet safely at the airport. “Dude,” Foster replied. “That’s the whole reason I wanted to come here. It’s the Louvre! The world’s largest art museum!” I was still confused. “But why do you want to go to an art museum?”
“Well, you know how much Mom likes art, right?” Foster explained. “I thought it would be fun to go there, and we could even get her a souvenir from Paris.” I agreed. “Okay, I see your point,” I said, as I hopped up to get a better view of the famous glass pyramid. Foster stayed back a little way, mumbling something about not falling in and being raised by Swedes.Once we got inside, we started looking at all the paintings. I thought you weren’t supposed to take pictures in museums, but lots of people were. I climbed up onto a guy’s head to help him get his focus just right.“Hey Panda, check this out!” Foster whispered when the other tourists had left. “Get down from there, Bro!” I admonished. “You aren’t supposed to touch the paintings!”Once I got Foster down we went to see the Picasso section. “Hey,” Foster said. “I thought the Picasso Museum was in Spain!” I shrugged. “You could be right,” I answered. “We’ll have to look it up when we get home.”It looked like there had been an art class about drawing cats Picasso-style. Even on close inspection I failed to see the likeness. Foster, on the other hand, thought the paintings were spectacular.Unbeknownst to us, the Louvre also has a section on Egypt. Foster jumped up on the sphinx statue and made himself right at home. I had to jump up to get him down. “Dude,” I whispered. “We’re going to get in trouble! Quit jumping up on stuff!” At the same time I was thinking “What’s wrong with this picture?” Usually on our trips Foster is the one telling meto get off of stuff.Then we went to see the Napoleon III apartments, which are also at the Louvre. There was nobody in there, so we took advantage of the time to take a short rest on the luxurious furniture. Once we were rested up, we decided to explore Paris and find a souvenir for Mom.“Hey Panda, check this out!” Foster said when we were outside. To my horror, he had climbed all the way up to one of the majestic lion statues!He said the view was so pretty that he didn’t want to come down. I actually had to climb up and get him. “I’m getting hungry,” I said. “Let’s go look for something to eat.”“Wow!” Foster said when we found a cafe. “Mom would love this place because the trim is turquoise!” I agreed. “Can you see anything?” I asked. “I think they’re closed,” Foster replied.“Let’s try the door,” I suggested. “Maybe if you boost me up I can reach the doorknob!” But it was no use. The door was locked and the place was closed.
We continued down the street until we found a cute outdoor cafe. We helped ourselves to a table. After all, we had heard that in France people can take their dogs into restaurants, so why not cats and pandas?After a delicious snack we decided to check out the mall. There was a really cool escalator with designs that we both agreed looked like something Mom would draw. No one seemed to notice us so we went upstairs to look for her souvenir. We searched and searched for the perfect gift for Mom, until we got tired and decided to stop for some coffee. While we were waiting in line we noticed some “Paris” coffee cups sitting on the counter. We both immediately thought the same thing. Foster asked if they were for sale and man said,”We!” I blinked, confused. “That’s oui,” Foster explained. “It means ‘yes’ in French.” We ordered our coffee and bought one of the “Paris” cups for Mom. As we carefully put it into the backpack we had bought at the mall, we decided it was probably time to head home.We went to the airport and picked up our carpet. In no time we were flying the incredible Paris skyline. After awhile we saw the U.S. below and we knew we were almost home. “Thump!” We landed on our chair in the front living room. The jolt woke us both from a sound sleep. “Aw, man!” Foster said, looking around. “Don’t tell me that was all a dream!” I agreed. “Bummer! It was so real, I thought we were really in Paris!” “Yeah, me too,” Foster replied. “Well, I guess we might as well get up.” It was then that we heard Mom’s voice calling us from the other room.
“Do you know where this Paris coffee cup came from?”