Travel Day

N had to travel to Bangalore, India for work and suggested that I fly to Europe and meet him on his return for a vacation. I agreed. We went to Munich for a couple of days, taking an overnight sleeper train to Paris where we stayed for three days. It was a short and sweet trip.

I tend to be a bit of an overplanner. I stress and research and come up with backups to my backups. I usually relax once I am on the road — because I’ve planned for problems and know I can handle them. Getting to that point is the hard part for me.

I slept horribly Friday night — the dogs were at camp, N was in India, I was worried I wasn’t ready for the trip. I woke up at 0600 after falling asleep around 0300.

The airport shuttle picked me up early and I checked in at the Air France desk with no problems. Security at Sea-Tac was freaking insane — the line stretched across almost the entire main terminal. I waited and waited and waited and made it through security with no issues and headed to the South concourse with a couple of hours to spare.

plane plane
waiting on board (CDG)

I took up shop in a bar, having an early lunch of a sandwich and salad and a couple of Stellas. I was mistaken for Canadian by a friendly older couple (I took it as a compliment). We boarded on time and I settled into my window seat with a French woman next to me who reminded me of my mother-in-law.

They fed us a warm meal — dinner — within the first hour of boarding. I had specified a vegetarian meal (when I was a vegetarian I learned that the vegetarian meals are usually more consistent than the meat ones, so I usually specify a vegetarian meal if I remember) and received a tasty meal of penne with tomato sauce, mixed steamed vegetables (including my one hated vegetable — lima beans — I did try eating a few of them) a tasty curried cold salad with cucumber and orzo, tapioca pudding (I gave it away), and cheesecake. I was momentarily amused by everyone ordering the (free) champagne with dinner — I had a gin and tonic.

I tried watching Invictus on my entertainment unit but they were having some sort of issues with playback on the plane, so I took an Advil PM and went to sleep.

I awoke about seven hours later with an awful headache. I forgot that Stella, if I have more than a single beer, gives me an awful hangover. Little sleep at home + bad sleep on plane + air travel + stellas + gin&tonic = wicked bad hangover. Not a good thing on a transatlantic flight!

I snoozed through the rest of the flight until the cold — breakfast — meal. This meal included plain yogurt, fruit, bread with chocolate bits, butter, juice, and a croissant. Plus coffee. Mm!

I wouldn’t understand until I got to Paris why the French flight attendant kept asking me incredulously why I didn’t want any sugar for my coffee.

The meal did a good job of waking me up and making me less cranky. Landing in Paris, I thought to myself disappointedly that airports pretty much look the same from the plane. It wasn’t until we drove over a highway and I saw some distinctly European signage that I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore and got a little bit excited.

In researching my connection in Paris to my flight to Munich, I discovered that I would have to exit CDG Terminal 2E, go through passport control and exit into an insecure area, then go back through security to get to Terminal 2D. Internet reports indicated that this was a complete mess that usually took an hour or two to get from one to the other. I was worried about meeting up with N and making my flight to Munich since I had less than two hours between flights.

2E
CDG, 2E

In reality, it was a really long walk from 2E to 2D, but passport control took mere minutes and there was no line at security.

Security wasn’t entirely easy — first the man managing the bags on the conveyor belt told me to take off my “veste” — which was actually a very lightweight cardigan (Eddie Bauer Long-Sleeve San Juan Cardigan). I understood that (knitting has helped me learn clothing terms in other languages!). Then I walked through the human scanner, which beeped (it had not in Seattle).

The security woman on the other side of the scanner started barking things at me in French. I stared at her and raised my arms to let her wand me. I pointed out the snaps on my pants (Eddie Bauer Adventurer Ripstop Pants) as a possible culprit. She shook her head and continued to yell at me in French. I still have no clue what she was saying and I probably looked really stupid as I stared blankly at her in a mix of travel exhaustion and cultural/language confusion. She eventually gave up on me after yelling at me about the American cash in my pocket and waved me through.

Once through, I spied N across the way and shouted to him since he was scanning and rescanning the crowds for me. He took temporary control of my Tom Bihn Tri-Star and I ran off to the restroom where I dealt with a bloody nose — 10+ hours on a plane will do that, next time I’m travelling with nasal spray.

I returned to the gate, and it was already time to board!

What do you think?