On a a DC-10 awaiting departure. Hungry. Should always carry snacks. M. said “everyone’s eating” and a woman sitting across the aisle smiled and offered her some M & Ms.
20:05 Paris time, in-flight, on the way home. The map says that we still are more than three hours from our destination. We’re over the east coast or Canada, the Maritime provinces. We flew quite a bite south of Iceland and Greenland, then over a smaller then a larger island which I estimate was Newfoundland.
Amsterdam was a bit in the wrong direction and Memphis is maybe an hour to the south. So the total trip looks like eight and a half rather than seven as it was o the way there.
I got up to go to the lavatory and got a nice view, through the portal in the exit door, of Newfoundland as we passed over the western coast.
In Paris, we told the driver of the taxi van that we were flyig on Northwest so he dropped us at the NWA terminal, which was Terminal 1. Realized that the NWA windowws were all closed, and in asking, found out/realized that our flight to Amsterdam was with KLM, not NWA. A seeming technicality, but it put us in the wrong terminal.
Our Information booth lady told us that we needed to go outside and catch a Number 1 bus. We got on a bus and it left and then I realized that it was a Number 2, not a Number 1. I think it had been in stall 1, maybe that is why we thought that it was Number 1 bus. We needed to go to Terminal 2F. The Number 2 bus driver told us that we needed to get on a 5 bus, which we ran for and it was packed. But it did get us to the 2F terminal.
At the 2F terminal the 2F information person told us to go to counter 6. Thus began a huge screwed-up log jam. There are are 16 ticket counters at 2F, 1-8 on one side and 9-16 o the other. As we approached the 1-8 side, there was a crowd of people gathering against a line-control ribbon on the other side of which were the eight counters, half of those for the terminal, and they were completely empty. As it turned out, it was because of some unclaimed luggage. Doesn’t take much to foul things up.
So then we hear this guy yell something in French. A fellow near me translates it as “go to 8.” Some people head off, but most of us stay put until the French guy blows a whistle and tells us “port huite” and he and a uniformed buddy start herding the crowd off to the other side of the terminal.
Problem was, once we all got shuffled over, there was no Door 8. So we all milled about. Some more indesypherable shouting in French and whistle blowing, we’re all flowing back to where we started.
Now it is clear that there are people needing to catch nine o’clock flights that just aren’t going to make it. I don’t know, itwas a colossal mess. This Hindi-looking guy yells at this woman about budging in line; she explains she has a nine o’clock. Turns to us and says “it’s crazy and it’sFrench; just whatever you do, don’t yell.”
At every step of this process I am thinking that the whole thing could fall apart: we could oversleep, miss our van, go to the wrong terminal, get on the wrong bus, and these are just the things that we could screw-up.
We were supposed to get to the airport two hours early; actually got there two and a half early, and that was probably a good thing though it was unintentional.
Madeline just said that electronics on the plane don’t like me. That does seem to be true, In fact it has spread to her in that the audio for the inflight movie doesn’t work. So they tried to start “Mean Girls” twice, but no go, so all we get is the position map.
She didn’t like her food, so didn’t eat much of it, and so must be quite hungry.
While we were visiting Celine, we got six bottles of wine, three each from two local vintors near Chinon. We stopped at La Poste and bought two boxes that were specifically designed for holding three bottles each, contemplating mailing them.
As we went to the vinyards, tasted wine, and collected bottles, our thinking changed to checking them as baggage on the plane.
Madame Prunier, proprietress of the bed and breakfast where we stayed, “chambre d’hote,” named “la Pilleterie,” got us a big plastic shopping bag with with handles that was large enough to hold both boxes. We lugged that box around with us in our rental car, on the local train to Tours, on the TGV to Paris, on the Metro at rush hour, and for a mile down the Rue Quartier de September to our hotel.
At the hotel, I called the airline and found out that I could only bring in two bottles of French wine per adult passenger, so our only hope was to ship them. Now I was wishing that I’d have just mailed them from Chinon. So not only did we need to mail the wine, but I still owed Madeline the Eiffel Tower.
So, the Metro to the old hotel that still had some of our luggage. Then to the really nice grocery store about five blocks away by Le Bon Marche department store. Back via foot to the Rue de Bac hotel, then to the subway and the Eiffel. Now it was dusk. We got done with the Eiffel Tower and got back to our new hotel about ten.
The guy at the front desk was very helpful. We taped up the boxes and made out shipping labels. I was paranoid that if we did somethign like used the wrong kind of tape or made an error on the labels the French Post Office would reject the boxes. He called us a cab, and off we went to the one and only post office in Paris that is open all night. I had been by it one night earlier and knew that there homeless guys that hung out there. Would be a randy experience for sure.
Which it was. and also futile. With Madeline translating, it was determined from the guy on the other side of the glass that the window that dealt with boxes as heavy as ours had closed at ten.
We walked back. All the cabs we saw had fares, not to say that one would have stopped for us anyway. Plus I went quite a ways in the wrong direction on the Rue Fourth of September.
Madeline actually got to the point of taking the map and figuring out where we were–after I admitted I’d gone the wrong way and we’d turned around.
At the post office I considered just setting the bag of wine down and walking away. But I felt that I had too much invested. I had tasted those wines. I had met the people who grew and harvested the grapes.
I determined that Madeline’s suggestion of asking the hotel to ship back the wine had to be tried. And so that is where it stands–I will email them and tell them the specifics and they’ll have UPS pick up the boxes and will charge it to my credit card. Still don’t know if this will work.