That I’ve basically been on a plane or in an airport since the last time I blogged? 48 hours?
July 16, 2009
We set out driving from Hondarribia to Biarritz on Thursday mid-morning–made a stopover in St. Jean de Luz which I LOVED–then returned the rental car and got on an evening flight to Paris.
Arrive CDG no problem around 9:30pm and had pricelined a several star hotel for the night at the airport–the CDG Hyatt. Since it was late we figured instead of waiting for the shuttle we’d hop in a cab. Commenced to spend 45+ minutes in the car with a very large, very aggressive man who did not know where the CDG Hyatt was (within 2km of the airport naturally), would not stop to get directions, drove the entire time with his hazard lights on, because, oh yes, there was a HUGE thunder/lightning storm/downpour. But at the time, I was merely amused by cabbie’s ridiculous capers. I knew we’d get to the hotel, it was just a matter of waiting out his macho-nervous-breakdown. My husband was not so amused.
To be clear, we did drive around CDG in circles (retracing our steps) the whole time, and ever so often I’d break in with a little “Monsieur, je pense que l’hotel est en l’autre direction…” and he would bark back at me, and I would stifle a chuckle, because frankly he scared me, even though I thought it was funny. He left the meter running the whole time. Since we had so much time in the cab I had loads of time to practice my speech in French in my head about why I wouldn’t pay him his fare. When we finally got there though he didn’t even try to collect the whole thing…but my husband was fuming that we gave him anything at all.
As a result of cabbie we didn’t get to the hotel till just after 11, which is when the restaurant kitchen closes. The CDG Hyatt proved to be amazingly nice though. In the end we were able to order bar food (great burgers), had great help from a number of wonderful employees, and got a great room with one of those big fluffy American-style white hotel beds. Slept great. It would all be OK.
July 17, 2009
Got up for the 9am flight home. When we purchased it it was advertised as “direct,” but later we discovered that it actually stopped in Amsterdam, but was considered direct because we didn’t change planes, or something. Whatever, short stop, not so bad.
Flew successfully from Paris to Amsterdam. Departed successfully from Amsterdam. About one and a half to two hours into the flight (we were just passing the British Isles) my husband and I conferred–to take the sleeping pills or not to take the sleeping pills? Hm…OK–we’ll try to do the thing where we sleep when it’s night at our destination (now) and wake up when it’s morning there (later). Took the pill, started watching Best In Show, started to feel very drowsy…and then got the announcement that the plane was turning around and going back to Amsterdam because of a cracked windshield.
The rest of the day (by the time we got back to Amsterdam I think it was about 6pm, but I was pretty drugged so it’s all hazy) involved lines, lines, lines, “it is not possible” repeated by several different individuals several different times, a complimentary toiletry kit, no luggage, a bad airport hotel, a comped cafeteria meal (iceberg lettuce that did not approach the color green despite best attempts and some gravy concoction that could not be identified), scratchy sheets, $500 change fee for our connecting flight from Boston to Oakland on a different airline (screwed travel plans due to Martha’s Vineyard wedding on the outward leg).
July 18, 2009
Woke up at 6am for the first flight out. In same clothes. With the same group of passengers. All in the same clothes. If you have not experienced this, let me tell you it is funny. Kind of like camping, but not as much fun.
Flight commenced to be delayed twice (again) due to computer problems. They kept us in a secure gate that they had checked us into (they do security screening at each gate in Amsterdam) and wouldn’t let anyone leave. A team of ten security personnel and the KLM flight attendants (all very tall, very blonde, very tan, and in very bright blue–more intimidating than you would expect) kept us penned in. The scene–think young women crying, businessmen screaming, children screaming, kicking…that lasted till 12:30pm at which time they told us that they would be bumping that day’s scheduled flight and giving us their plane. Go to a new gate.
No longer believe anything or anyone. Mentally prepare for another night in the Shiphol Hotel Ibis.
3:30pm EST miraculously, against all odds, arrived Boston Logan after having watched Best In Show (aborted the first time), Doubt, and Harvey’s Last Chance (a weird RomCom I’d never heard of with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson).
Cleared customs, got bags, re-checked-in for domestic flight home to Oakland and…guess what? Our flight is delayed over two hours. Why? “Because God hates us” says my husband (a recovering Roman Catholic) (speaking of God, who he is, whether he exists, and whether he is a beneficent or vengeful God, I’ve been reading Nothing To Be Afraid Of by Julian Barnes).
Right now: 1hr till most recently posted departure time to Oakland. Catching up on top 40 of the last 10 years thanks to Boston Logan (lots of Maroon5 woot). While I’m currently watching another child cry in front of me (I really can’t count how many it’s been) I’ve yet to shed a tear, except maybe for Dustin and Emma’s unlucky-in-love characters. But maybe I’m hallucinating and/or having an out of body experience and that child crying in front of me is really me.
Just kidding! Off to photo-edit Provence in preparation for more pretty travel posts.
International travel was originally booked through kayak.com
Paris-Amsterdam-Boston flight administrated by the conglomerate that it Air France/KLM Royal Dutch/Northwest/Delta. So which is it? Dunno. Ask them–it says something different everywhere you look (plane, boarding pass, monitor, etc.).
Boston-Oakland by Jet Blue.