Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Le debut: Paris, France

Thursday September 3rd; 4:55pm

Scheduled flight from San Francisco to Paris. We should drive into the city a few hours early because the Bay Bridge is closing tonight for construction, and the traffic will be horrendous.

There is no traffic.


Arrive at the San Francisco International Airport and stand in line for check in. 75 lbs of luggage. What? Oh, my flight has been delayed util 6:40pm? I suppose I can get some writing done and make a few goodbye phone calls.


Board flight 284 SFO to Heathrow aircraft after much anticipation. Two lovely ladies greet me eargerly in seats 45 B and C. Both from the East bay, traveling to Rome to visit relatives. Sandee and Barbara will be my only life support for the next 24 hours.

There is no air conditioning.


Flight 284 leaves the gate 30 minutes behind schedule.


Flight 284 returns to the gate.

"This just isn't our day, is it?"

Says the pilot. Technical problems. Engine 3 blowout. We're working on fixing it and should be leaving shortly.


"We're trying to reach the engineers in's gonna be another hour or so until...Immigration laws forbid passengers to exit the aircraft after...while you wait, our complimentary beverage and meal service..."

There is no air conditioning.


One movie, two meals, and three pounds of sweat later. The flight is cancelled.
We will be reclaiming our luggage and receiving hotel vouchers for a nearby Hyatt until the next available flight, tomorrow at 3pm.

(A word: Sandee and Barbara paid for the van from and to the airport, let me borrow their cell phones for emergency phone calls here and abroad, and kept my spirits above the tiring frustration of it all. For them I am eternally grateful. We even took a picture together. They're in their sixties.)

Friday September 4th; 3pm

Flight 284 SFO to Heathrow has been delayed.


We board. Flight 284 SFO to Heathrow leaves the gate, and does not return to the gate.

Saturday September 5th; 10:30am

Flight 284 arrives in London 2 hours behind schedule. Flight officials at the Heathrow terminal 5 security gate redirect me to the reservation kiosk to reschedule the connecting flight to Paris that I've just missed.


I readjust the shoulder strap of my 40 pound bag.


Scolding hot coffee seeps into the fabric my new 70$ peacoat.


(Re) Rescheduled connection flight from Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle.

Saturday September 5th; 5pm

My arrival in Paris, France. I contemplate running off this godforsaken, cursed steel machine of death and kiss the French soil and hug everyone in sight, but decide against my wild, delirious, sleep deprived impulse as I've been traveling for a total of 24 hours now and I probably smell and I definitely look like shit.

I sit in the back of the bus to Montparnasse and recite words of reassurance.

And so, the adventure begins...