Tag Archives: flying

Would You Believe…

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.


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Grizzly Bear, Fillmore 6.21.09

I’ve started writing something about Grizzly Bear in this window six or so times now.  I’m vacillating.  “Grizzly Bear played at truly great show last night.”  “I’ve seen Grizzly Bear play many, many times.”  “I couldn’t count how many times I’ve seen Grizzly Bear if I were asked.”  I’m wondering what the value is of lauding these people publicly.  Music writing.  Such a load.  This isn’t a story about Grizzly Bear.  It’s a story about me.


Pre-show at Absinthe.  Above, the “21 Hayes.”

Nouveau Carrè

the “Nouveau Carré”

loading in

loading in





Bear gets ready to take flight in response to something Simon said


Taylor watches


Dan in the mist

grizzly bear

At this point I left to eat some Vietnamese food in the Mission with some very nice, very well-educated people.  In spite of my desire to honor Edward Droste’s love of Pho, I at the clay pot fish.  I can’t help it.  I just love it.

the show

I’m pretty sure this picture was taken during Lullaby, one of my all-time favorite Grizzly Bear songs.  When I watched the show (from the middle-middle where the sound is the best), and actually when I watch almost any Grizzly Bear show, I can’t help but get emotional.  While I’d love to be able to avoid sarcasm, I can’t help but add that this sentiment of mine surely isn’t unique judging by the crowd last night.  But I (again, like many others) feel like that emotion is mine only, and completely unique.  What is it about pop music that does this to us?  I’m sure if Timothy White (one of the greatest music writers of my time, I must say, since it doesn’t seem to say it anywhere else) were here, he could write much more eloquently on the subject.

But, in full disclosure (finally, though it must be somewhat obvious), I know these guys.  I “grew up” with them.  I watched them play Zebulon (seated, all jazz-like) in what? ’03? ’04?  Over the years, Grizzly Bear has become less a band and more a soundtrack for me (and us all?  and all music pop music is soundtrack?).  Each song denotes a different age, separation, or season.  The identification is intense, as are the memories.  Walking through Greenpoint in the snow, pining for lost carefree days in New York City, and finally realizing it’s not mine anymore.  I’m all grown up, for now.  But in a good way.

And so is Grizzly Bear.  These four, once a loose collection of three master instrumentalists and one vocal boss aren’t playing around any more, but they aren’t taking themselves too seriously either.  They are all constantly moving and stretching different ways; more rock, more psych, less self-obsessed, more self-disciplined, less noise, more sound, less harmony, more vocals.  And, slightly more rarely than when I was a New Yorker, I get to ride alongside of it all.  Being there; remembering when I was in Argentina, that I met someone who fixed it, that it’s my existential crisis–imagining myself on a ranch in the Rockies asking myself what now?  And that it’s my folk revival, that I see the unexpectedly lonely image of two dories.

Maybe that’s it.  That’s the beauty.  And if Grizzly Bear does all that, for me, and apparently so many others, who can find fault?


all grown up now


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