Sunday, October 05, 2014

to the Midwest

If you go at it long enough, you're going to come across every bump imaginable on the travel path. I thought I'd already used up all possible quirks and permutations: bad weather cancellations, unexpected landings for every imaginable reason: mechanical problems, sick passengers, even tired crew! Really, I've seen it all.

Except today I got a new one!

It began yesterday when I tried to pick up my boarding passes at the airport and the agent could only issue the first out of three. But, he had an explanation and I believed him. Never mind, I'll do it Sunday, day of travel.

It means an even earlier start to my already early day. No time for a Parisian breakfast. Dark skies still. 7 a.m. in October is not exactly a chipper moment, but I slog on, up the hill to the Luxembourg Gardens train stop.

(The Odeon)

And for the first time since I've arrived in Europe, the weather turns unpleasant. Drizzly and cold. I take out my jacket. Hi, jacket! Glad I have you! Some precautions are worth taking.


I pass the gardens..

(closed park, autumnal chestnuts, dark and damp skies)

...I throw a glance at the magnificent (if dark) buildings, I catch the train to the airport.

And I stand in line again and ask for my boarding passes.

Madame is flying only to Amsterdam?
Heck no, Madame is flying then to Minneapolis and tomorrow to Madison.
Madame has made a separate reservation for those other flights?
Wrongo bongo on that one too! I take out my printed itinerary. Again, some precautions (printing out your flight itinerary) are worth taking.

The agent plugs in the numbers.
Ah! I see that. But the rest of your trip has been cancelled, no?
Wow! Three wrong guesses!

So here I stand at Paris's CDG airport with a ticket to Amsterdam. End of journey.

These days, I would not fret. These things get ironed out. I am retired. I have time. Costly airline mistakes are typically payed out by the airline. But I have a dinner date with my daughter, her husband and my friend in Minneapolis tonight! Not in bloody hell do I want to miss that!

So I'm sent to the Air France lounge to wait it out while they convene with Delta to work out the "what nows" and I am given a little box of chocolates to help tide my mood over, but I prefer to eat breakfast -- that one that I missed in Paris because, thank God, I decided to come to the airport early.


Words of advice to travelers out there: always take a jacket with you when traveling in Europe in October and always print out your flight itinerary. 


Well, it all came together in the end. Of course it did. I wont even tell you about the funny moments, the cold moments, the hopeful moments. It's enough that it all worked out.

...So that I could come to my daughter and her husband's place and settle in...


This is what homecoming should be like. This feeling of joy at finally seeing the people you think about when you're away.

We go to The Third Bird for supper, and here's a pleasant surprise -- my Florida friend is in town just now and so she joins us.


(the -not really- serious duo!)

I'm on some other clock right now, barely aware of anything beyond what is in front of my nose. By my clock, it's 4:30 a.m., but that European clock is fading rapidly for me. I am, after all, back  in the Midwest.

And that's a good thing.