Thursday, December 6, 2012

6 Dec 2012 Thursday, Camping at CDG Airport

I'm at the airport at 6.12 am and it looks like all the flights are being diverted to Pisa. They're going through the boarding process, but I see a tour bus outside. Time to stay attentive.

I could NOT sleep last night. I had packed, weighed my bags and laid out clothes for today, thinking I could relax and sleep.

I was in bed by 9.30 and up at 4.00 to catch the 5.00 taxi. The new Amerigo Vespucci Airport is modern and so easy to use. An Air France rep stood at the automated boarding machine and pushed all the buttons. Insert passport, pay for extra bag with credit card reader, make seat assignment changes.

Evviva! I changed to a window seat. I'll be able to sleep. Step up to the counter, weigh in bags (22.3 k and 18 k). Carry-on bag and purse over the shoulder and through security.

In the transport bus, I saw this hand rail, with three strangers grasping tightly to keep balance.  I  had capture this picture.  We are all traveling together, through this airport and through life.  We have these close encounters, but do we really notice and appreciate these moments.

We flew to Paris on CityJet. I think we were on-time. Honestly I was so tired that I immediately fell asleep and didn't wake up until we touched down in Paris.

What a disorganized transfer we had. Something may have been going on. The tram dropped us all off at an inbound security corridor, where there was no signage to know where to go. One lone man was at an intersection directing us right or left. We went though passport control. The lights which show red-green were not working. We were all herded into a small room. There was a list of boarding gates, but I couldn't get close to it. Then I saw my flight was flashing boarding.

An Irish security man asked to see my boarding pass. "Get off at the second bus stop L," he barked.  L for Lincoln I asked? L for love, he responded. Ok. I have it.

But the bus did not come. Ten minutes, no bus. Men started to shout in English, where's the BUS? Finally one arrived, but already full. Tempers were rising. I thought, we're all still here in this room together, they must know to wait for us.

The Irish man made a phone call and buses arrived a few minutes later. Packed like sardines, everyone was looking at their watches. We stopped for five minutes to let a taxiing plane pass in front.

At Terminal L,  I walked as fast as I could without running, passing three men pacing and armed with Uzi weapons resting on their hips. No way I would have run past them.

Finally, I arrived at gate L22 just in time to see, "boarding is closed" (in French, of course) flashing. The plane was still was too late to board.

Ten of us missed the plane. I was directed to the assistance desk and given a seat on the next plane, plus a voucher for lunch. The assistance lady had me follow her to another terminal, where I had to go through Security once again. She spoke perfect English.  I was polite and nice.  It was not her fault they had closed the gate.  She asked why had we been so late and I told her!  Stuck in the transfer room for 25 minutes, without a transfer bus.

So, I'm camping here for 6 hours! Instead of getting to LA at 3pm, it will be 10pm.  That means arriving home after midnight.

The voucher was only good for a drink, hot dish or salad and dessert. The hot dishes looked scary. I paid 10€ for Pita Bread, hummus, tabbouleh, which was really delicious. No charge for the water and French Macaroons.

I brushed my teeth and found a resting good spot. With two bags on the seat next to me, I slept soundly for 2 hours.

There is frost on the car tops outside. I searched for the neck massage stands but they have none here. I asked. I always wanted to try one...

For an afternoon snack I choose yogurt with a real vanilla sauce and Bio crackers. This stand near gate 49 only sees organic food. I've found a wonderful salad!

I've walked around and finding the terminal is mostly empty of passengers. Lots of shops but no customers inside. I have no desire to shop nor eat anything sweet. Time for another nap. Thank goodness for the iPhone and its alarm.

One more walk around the terminal and I've found something I really really wanted.  I've already bought one of these in Cremona  for Marta,  when she first learned she was pregnant with Baby B.  And now I have for myself. It's a French, Moulin Roty mouse.  Adorable and filled with memories.

After a safe trip home, I unpacked the following day.  My treasures all arrived safe and sound:


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