Posts Tagged 'France'

On the road again

A colleague of mine calls the AF salon in Paris her CDG office. I tend not to work here but rather relax and eat as there is much good food to be had.

I spent the day preparing for my trip while Axel was the official photographer at the Manchester Club’s annual golf tournament in Peabody and so we said our goodbyes in the morning.

Axel is not a golfer but there are two golf courses that make him wish he was one – this one in Peabody and another one in Jackson New Hampshire up the road from the valley golf course – he prefers the one higher up where we have skied in the past.

Axel being unavailable to drive me to the airport our friend Andrew jumped in, saving me, and the American taxpayer, a taxi or bus fare.

I tested a new chemical to knock me out during night flights and it worked beautifully; it is like Nyquill but without the medicine. As soon as we had departed it kicked in. I woke just before we landed. Managing sleep during this trip is important as I choose the last possible departure date – leaving no time to catch my breath before it is show time in Kinshasa. I have no regrets – this last summer weekend was perfect – I would not have missed it for anything in the world – I have missed too many perfect summer days this year.

Yawning in Paris

After the dishonest taxi driver in Ulaanbataar my luck turned with having an entire row to myself on the flight to Moscow. On the AF flight to Paris I got a seat on the last row before the business class curtain. Technically speaking it was not business but premium economy (my row didn’t have the middle seat blocked) but the flight attendants treated all first 8 rows the same and this meant a nice lunch, good wines and lots of chocolate. I probably shouldn’t have taken the wine because ever since I have been yawning. It was getting increasingly difficult to keep my eyes open during the 7 hour wait in Paris.

Luckily there is the AF lounge which is as nice as the Moscow lounge, with showers. Unlike the showers in Amsterdam, where you have to put your name on a waiting list, here you can simply try your luck and see which showers are free. The showers are entirely wheelchair accessible – I am sensitive to this now: wide doors, a folding bath seat with rails if needed and lots of room to move around, with wheelchair or without.

In the evening France was playing Greece in the World Cup which made for big excitement among the natives and travelers alike, especially when France won. Even the usually serious and proper ground staff had French flags painted on their cheeks and forehead. Bands of young men draped in French flags and singing the Marseillaise moved noisily between gates. Bread and circus (in this case, croissants and World Cup wins) keeps people happy when there is otherwise much to be unhappy about.

After boarding the plane I realized my luck continued even with my eyes nearly closed from lack of sleep. The flight was packed with families and babies. I had already resigned myself to a seat in the tumultuous main cabin, when I noticed my row was in the premium cabin, something not quite business class but more spacious and quiet than the main cabin. There were only 3 of us in a 21 seat section. When the large man sitting in back of me was pushed forward to the (also empty) business class section because he didn’t really fit in his seat, the flight attendant told me and the third occupant that it was only fair if all of us got pushed forward. She apologized that we wouldn’t get the business class food – but who cares when one has a nearly flat bed for the last 7 hour night flight on a 30 hour journey.


November 2017
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