(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the sparrow has landed...

well, that may be a bit presumptuous ... but as I am inspired by the sparrow ...

yesterday I received my 3:00 a.m. wake-up call from monsieur JY and when he arrived, singing, at 3:30 I didn't know whether to choke him or hug him!

in any event, I abandoned mes petits chiens amid much last minute chaos (mad search for fr checkbook, alas non) and we departed. in gale force rains and wind. and pitch black. and Rag Mama Rag cranked up on the disc player.

with help from friends, I discovered a direct TGV from Angouleme to Roissy/Charles De Gaulle Aeroport in Paris. In fact there are several throughout the day. For those who'd like such information for my area, there is also a daily 7:00 a.m. train to Roissy/Charles De Gaulle Aeroport from Limoges. The train arrives in Terminal 2. There is a simple to find-and-take shuttle train from Terminal Two to Terminal One, should you need it (and if you are flying United Airlines to the states, you will). Use the above link to SNCF and be sure to type in Roissy as your destination. also fyi, the train ride is about 3 hours.

We arrived around 5:15 a.m. to a deserted station ... no open cafés or such. JY benefited from the coffee machine and I produced a 'nut bar' from my bag to complete his petit dejeuner! We loitered and laughed and did our little dance (as always) until finally he decided to collect my bags from the car. For a while there, I didn't know who would win out, JY or the winds ... he took it all in stride like the personal super-hero he is.

After he left, I found my way to the platform and boarded. I brought one bag of clothing and one empty suitcase ... my backpack with laptop and my traveling bag with complete with nouvelle vie sentiments!

When I checked-in, the United rep asked if I would prefer to streamline my itinerary (because I made last minute changes to my flight which used frequent-flyer miles, I had 2 stops before Portland) and I said absolutely. Unfortunately, she couldn't find an open seat so I left girding my loins for a very long day. On top of it all, I had lost my business class seating due to my changes and was facing all of these 'legs' with no leg room! (economy seating). So I wasted miles on better seating that I ultimately didn't experience.

Well, the first leg I was in Econ Plus, 2 seats to myself (on the plus side) and the food was shit ... absolute shit ... (on the downside). Lean Cuisine deserves a Michelin star compared to what I was served. And when did they eliminate free drinks from international flights? I paid $6 for the shittiest bottle of cloyingly sweet Chardonnay I've ever tasted.


When I landed at Washington Dulles, I had happy(er) news. Somehow that darling woman at Paris/CDG worked magic on my itinerary and instead of flying next to San Francisco and on to Portland and arriving at 12:17 a.m. ... I was confirmed for direct to Portland, arriving at 8:00 p.m.ish!! yay for me!

Within 15 minutes of this news, my flight was delayed an hour! *lmao* And then the juvenile couple with screaming baby twins from hell arrived in the waiting area .... and, upon boarding, imagine my glee at finding said couple seated in front of me. So, first I spent $9 (5 and 1/2 hour flights smack at dinner time no longer rate so much as a pretzel bag ... ) on a further piece of shit salad consisting of limp lettuce, diced cheese product, bacon 'bits'-read fako baco, and mush diced tomatoes .. and then I spent 5 hours sleeping fitfully whilst said couple passed the alternately screaming infants like batons at a marathon. Not once was a bottle or pacifier spied ... nor was a willing breast exposed for the sake of nearby passengers. We were all fit to be tied.

sigh. But I DID land at 9:00p.m.ish, was actually greeted at the airport for the first time in my life by my dear friend Kathleen who took me straight to her amazing beautiful old home in Portland and ensconced me in my own private and well-appointed bedroom and my own bath assigned to me ... the bed is a dreamlike cocoon of memory foam and down duvets ... the bath is stocked with luxurious personal comfort goodies. Unfortunately, only one bag arrived with me but the travel gods remained somewhat merciful and the one that arrived DID have my clothing ...

And so, 27 hours later, I put myself to bed. slept like an angel. awoke to the scent of freshly-brewed coffee. I'm now lounging and writing and wondering how long I can take it (the states) before I can finally return home.

because yes. not 24 hours here and I know that France is now home.


La Belette Rouge said...

Welcome to your old-home. Hope your stay is lovely and perhaps will make you more appreciative of your new home( if that is possible).

Stacey said...

"I know that France is now home."

Was probably worth the trip, and the screaming baby-devils, just to find that out!

Call me, email or something, so we can have lunch or drink or? whatever you have time for is great.

Randal Graves said...

If a woman breast-feeds in public, the terrorists win.

Quite a statement at the end. Enjoy Murka, but glad to hear that emotional bombshell.

La Framéricaine said...

Holy shit! That was money and mileage well-spent if you found out France is now home within 24 hours! You rock, girl! I wish you were not so far away. Can we SKYPE?

OK, so later on, check out Air Tahiti Nui from CDG to LAX, or, perhaps, SFO. Le F says the food is still great on it and on Air France. And the people are nice. I can personally attest to the good food and great passengers and flight crew, even security crews, on Mexicana.

I'm jealous of this bedroom your sleeping in. Did you scrutinize the photo of my bed in the beater trailer in "One Step Forward, One Step Back"? Do you know anyone who would like to put up moi et Le Framércain in a room like that?

Alors, Joyeux Noel et bonnes vacances aux Etats-Unis, ma chère amie. Je te verrai en France en 2009.

Our Juicy Life said...

argh, babies on a flight..we had them in front of us coming back from paris and the parents had 2, parents fell asleep, kids didn't and they had stinky diapers, we had to have the flight attendant wake the parents to change their kids diapers. I think there should be 2 flights - one with kids and one without!

glad you made it - sorry about the food, it is shit!
it's still raining here in france, wtf! I'm so so tired of this weather and i'm happy to hear that you know france is home. enjoy your stay and i'm sure those soft towels after a bath were lovely.

amy said...

So the getting-to-the-airport was the easiest part of the trip! It is such a shock to go back to America...but hope you have a great time. And home will be waiting. (with weather that kinda resembles Portland?)

microdot said...

In case you are getting homesick, we are experiencing high winds, intermittent thunderstorms, occasional hail, torrential rain and totally flaky internet service.
The sun might come out on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Grace Jones interview and performance on Canal+ last week are up on You Tube.

Mrs C said...

Wait. They still use Terminal 1 at Roissy? I remember the first time I visited France and arriving in that spaceport. To me, it seemed that the glamour of France had no bounds.

Ah hell. What can you expect. I was 17.

And I know what you mean about France being home. I really do.

Utah Savage said...

Sounds like traveling hell to me except for the trip with JY. I love that man.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Lbr-good perspective... as always.


RG-If a woman breastfeeds in public, we ALL win! lol. and yes, it was a bombshell.

laF-I'll contact you about the skype...and Air Tahiti is pretty good, I've flown them once with miles. And yes I saw your bed and thought how decadent it would be to have a bedroom as an office ... see how my crazy mind works?

OJL-well now I have something to be thankful for re: my trip ... no olfactory experience!

Amy-I can't begin to describe the shock ... but then, you can relate I know. it will be fun to compare notes post-excursion.

micro-bookmarked it !

mrs c - OMG, you gave me a first trip to Paris flashback! I thought terminal one was the epitome of french-euro cool when I arrived ... especially the people-mover that slides up and down with no stairs and the big glass bubble...I STILL love terminal one because I am a big ass (well maybe not the ass anymore) FREAK for kitschy french retro modern pseudo-cool. shoot me.

US- me too, me TOO. *wink*