Sunday, May 7
Not really a lot to report for my trip home. On Saturday, I'd asked the reception desk to arrange a taxi for me at 9:30 for my 2 pm flight out of CDG. I know. So early. But last year I'd had a flight at the same time (2 pm) on the same airline (NWA). The taxi was late getting to the hotel that year, then I was thoroughly disoriented when I arrived at the airport and couldn't figure out what line I was supposed to be in. When I finally got in line, I still had 2 1/2 hours before departure time, and if Air France hadn't brought in more ticket agents, I wouldn't have made my flight (nor would the rest of the people around me in line who were on the same flight).
So this year I wasn't taking any chances. I went to Paul's, having been told it opened at 7:30, but it was closed until 8 so I took a little neighborhood walk and came back at 8. Paul's still hadn't opened and a woman was standing outside waiting to go in, so I decided I'd eat at the cafe around the corner on Rue de Buci. Can't remember the name of it, but everyone else seemed to be finishing up from the night before, eating steaks and drinking wine. I had two fried eggs with fromage, bread, chocolat chaud and they were delicious. I wish I'd had a few more breakfasts here, but there were so many places in the area I hadn't noticed until the day before, like Amorino and Carton. In fact, I was just starting to feel comfortable in the neighborhood.
Back at the hotel, I brought my luggage down on the lift (thank goodness it was fixed) and realized I'd forgotten to pick up pain au chocolat to go for the trip. I left my luggage in the lobby and hurried to Paul's. In the few minutes that took, my taxi arrived (early) and the driver was hustling my bags out to the car. We took off for the aiport at 9:20 and arrived at 9:45. I don't know how he did it.
Along the way, I checked the meter. Ack! I'd forgotten that when a cab picks you up, there's alredy a charge on the meter for the distance he's come, and I only had 60 euros left. I suggested to the driver that he might want to stop at a cash machine for me, but he said I could use the one at the airport, which I did. When we arrived at the airport, he said he would write me a receipt for 75 euros (that included his tip). He came into the airport with me, I used the cash machine and gave him his money. The next time, I will take the RER back to the airport.
Departure was from Terminal 2E. I went up the escalator to the departures area, and right at the top is this huge sign with flights and the number of the ticket windows where I should line up. I swear, I never saw this sign last year in all my bumblings through the airport trying to figure out where I was supposed to be. Anyway, got in line behind only one other person, and zipped through check in, passport control, security with no problems. I was really glad I'd bought the bread because I had a long wait at the gate where the only food could be found at a counter and a very limited choice. Even duty free shopping was limited.
Busses took us to our plane when it was time to board. I had an aisle seat in the row with two people, and a couple got on behind me and asked me to change seats so they could sit together. The other seat was an aisle seat in the row with four people. I wasn't going to at first since I'd picked out that seat early on, but I started thinking how I'd want to be sitting next to my husband for a seven hour flight (if he'd been with me, that is) so I did change. It took 20 minutes from the time the plane started taxiing to the time the plane actually took off. The captain announced we had a six hour fifty minute flight time to Detroit.
The plane had individual screens in the seatbacks, so I stayed entertained. I got my special vegetarian dinner and somehow I'd been put on NWA's list as wanting Asian vegetarian. I'll have to remember to change that if I fly NWA again. The transfer went well at the Detroit airport. Passing through customs, then security, I had to stand in this booth that sent poofs of air around my body. First time for that, and I hoped it could poof out the most hard to find explosives. My flight to St. Louis was delayed an hour, but I never mind somewhat short delays on the return.
Thanks to all who helped make this trip memorable for me. I really appreciate all the helpful hints that get posted here. Well, for all that I said I didn't have much to report, I gabbed long enough.