Thursday, November 17, 2005

A&G Back from France--Day Fourteen

(Author's note: This entry is the fourteenth--and last--of two weeks of daily entries about our trip to Provence.)

29 October 2005

It's a long way back, from Avignon to Santa Barbara. Just by transport the trip went taxi-train-bus-plane-monorail-plane-car-car, with a few escalators and moving walkways in-between. I won't bore you with details, but the good news is everything happened on time and the flights featured no bonus moments with the seatbelt sign on. Otherwise:
  • Be very careful with how they say a TGV is supposed to pull into a station. When the train comes the opposite way as advertised, you have lots of running to do--with your suitcases. And there will be people running in the opposite direction.
  • EuroDisney just seems wrong. Maybe it's because Disney is so American and having a train stop near it seems to ruin visions of endless autopia.
  • Charles DeGaulle airport just seems wrong. It's not like Dulles doesn't need a facelift, but DeGaulle seems beyond the help of any plastic surgery. It's even possible that the mistaken notion that the French are rude simply comes form the design of this one airport that can't even bother to tell you what airline is inside what door at what terminal.
  • Or bother to tell you about a bomb scare. When we get off the shuttle bus from the TGV, we can't get into Terminal 1. Eventually Amy says lets go stand outside the United door at least, and when we get to it, that part of the terminal is open. Guess it was a small bomb.
  • The good French food ends somewhere outside Charles DeGaulle.
  • Relatively early in our Paris to Chicago flight, a very large passenger comes up to the woman sitting alone in the exit row the row in front of us. A heated discussion follows, as he asserts a flight attendant said the seat next to her was empty and he planned on using it to sleep and she counters, but I paid for this empty seat next to me--even if my husband who was sitting in it has since been bumped up to business class--so the big guy couldn't have it. She goes and gets a flight attendant and the big guy, despite further arguing, loses. Why he would insist on sitting in a seat where he's clearly not welcome is beyond us, but the whole incident leads me to say, "Amy, this means we're back in America."
  • On our Chicago to San Diego flight (the dogs are in San Diego with Amy's parents), a man in our row across the aisle turns pasty and ashen. The flight attendant hooks him up to oxygen for most of the flight. We do not get diverted to Denver. He seems healthier when we land.
  • Before leaving San Diego to get home to Santa Barbara on October 30 we have Mexican food. As good as French food is, they don't have carnitas.


Anonymous Amy said...

For the record, I suggested finding the United door when we first got there.. It just happens that we didn't until "eventually" you agreed to do so.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

Thank you both for this wonderfully written travelogue. You reawakened so many wonderful and tasty memories I have of Provence. One particular moment always amused us, and as you've mentioned a visit to Saint Maximin la Ste. Baume to visit the Basilica, I'll add it here. Chryss, Cassidy and I hiked to the top of Mont St. Baume to see the view and the chapel commemorating Mary Magdeline's reputed daily miraculous ascent from her cave to the precipitous mountaintop. An official safety sign scolded us, without irony (and in French, of course), not to throw stones.

1:16 PM  

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