TMN: What were your impressions of Paris, and of the Parisians?

Bear: Well, Paris is enormous. I only got to see tiny parts of it, but I must say I am very impressed by the vastness of it. Everything is so gigantic and yet sophisticated and designed down to the tiniest detail. I like this about cities that were given time to grow. Parisians seem very friendly and kind. Some wanted to take pictures of me. A boy at the Pantheon actually took one. I cannot say for sure he was a Parisian of course, but maybe he will become one in the future?

TMN: Do you speak French? Was it difficult to communicate?

Bear: I speak one of the original languages [Bear—eds.]. French developed from it and so did English and every other language spoken by most species here. The language I speak is the language many humans stop using once they start learning their local dialect. By the age of 13 or so, most deny ever having used it. Some return to it when they need to communicate with their non-verbal children or even pets; some poor chaps die without ever admitting to knowing it. (Some do get a bit carried away using it though…) Having said that, communication is not at all complicated for me. My needs are so simple. I just want to see, admire and explore. Almost everybody understands that.

TMN: What do you enjoy most about traveling?

Bear: I like to discover the familiar in the unusual and the unusual in the familiar. Travel is really perfect for this. It cleans the mental palate of sorts. It allows for a fresh look at things. I like to realize that what might seem exotic to some is incredibly familiar to others. And this is valid for the most mundane things, when you think about it.

On the other hand I like finding myself at the window of an airplane traveling at unfathomable speeds in incredible heights, and then also love to see the familiar sun rise over a place I have never seen before. Oh, I am looking forward to the next trip.

TMN: Is traveling more difficult when you’re only three inches tall?

Bear: Well, I have my own travel compartment and so my comfort tends to be somewhat ensured. I prefer to travel in the carry-on class. It has better pressurized air and the screening process for it involves weaker radiation.

Last time I traveled in the check-in class, I not only got cold feet but the radiation deprived me of a shadow for a while after my arrival. I guess it is good to travel in check-in from time to time. I hear it is good for the general well-being. Some say it gets rid of germs. This could be some new American myth though.

So, traveling is actually very pleasant as long as I am accompanied by a human. Traveling via the Postal Service or via Federal Express is perhaps incredibly safe, but last time I took this route was maybe in the early ‘90s. I collect stamps however. They remind me of my childhood.

I really hope I was able to answer your questions to your satisfaction. Typing is a bit of a workout for me.

translated from Bear by Witold Riedel


TMN Contributing Artist Witold Riedel is a draftsman, photographer, and writer who explores the often-unfamiliar corners of the seemingly familiar universe. He was born in Poland, lived in Germany (in the city where the Grimm Brothers were born, actually) for many years, yet is a New Yorker by choice. He recently moved to Brooklyn. More by Witold Riedel