Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Spaceship! Spaceship! Spaceship!

I find myself in France for the first time.  As you can tell by the post title, I feel like Benny when he was finally able to build his spaceship.  I find Toulouse to be quite fascinating.  I can't believe that I get to live here.

Dan has been here for a week.  This is his second trip so far.  I'm joining him for the second week of his trip to find a place to live and also to check out the kids' school options.

Coffee is the Goal
I left on Monday afternoon. Prior to departure I grabbed a Starbucks, primarily because I had two hours to wait until my flight departed but also, to make a reference point for the rest of the coffee to be consumed during this week.

Airport Starbucks grande 2-pump cafe mocha

My Plane
I didn't get much sleep on the plane over but the flight went by quickly.  The most awesome part?  Double-decker plane!

So we can all hang out and be buddies!

Food Options
During the flight, dinner was served.  As a continuation of my goal of nine years ago to be less picky, I tried everything served.  This meant that even though part of the meal looked fishy, I ate it anyway.  I consumed a scallop, some squishy probably fish eggs, and tried the pheasant terrine.  Also served were some innocuous pasta noodles in sauce.  Oddly there was orange cheese, Tillamook brand.  I will let you know if I see any strange orange cheese in France.

Terrified Pheasant flies into corn field, then turned into loaf of meat

Of course, I also sampled le aperitif, champagne.  Then I had vin rouge avec mon repas.

For the morning airplane meal, there were strange tasting cheese crepes, which I did not prefer.  But there was also bread and muffin and yogurt.

Paris Airport
Je cours!  Je cours!  << Like most of the French that I anticipate speaking in the next few months, this is probably not correct, but I'm going to say it anyway.
As my LAX flight had left late, this meant I arrived to Paris late.  Instead of having 2 hours between flights, I had closer to 50 minutes to clear customs and transfer to my Toulouse departing gate.

I departed the plane.  I ran up the stairs since the escalator was full of people and the stair case was empty.  I ran down hallways.  I finally got to security.  I hadn't realized that I would need to go through security, but figured it was no big deal.  Until... My water bottle was full of water.  I told the lone security guy that he could keep it.  I would miss my "I heart ACL" water bottle, but I would miss  missing my flight even more.  Something was clearly lost in translation as the security guy then looked around, located an empty disposed water bottle, and carefully poured water out of my water bottle and into the empty bottle.  He threw that out, then suggested that I drink the rest of the water.  I dutifully chugged it down, hoping that he would just let me go.  I only spilled a little in my comic efforts to completely consume my water.  He joked that at least it wasn't wine.  Then, I was finally able to go to the next step, passport control.

Passport control had decided to limit their open lines.  Everyone was backed up.  People kept trying to cut in line because their flights were imminently leaving.  But that was the case for everyone.  Eventually, I made it through.  And then more running.  Much running.  I made it with a few minutes to spare and the flight took off on time.

Missing Luggage
I made it.  My luggage did not.  Air France was on top of it though.  I received a text message as I was walking up to the baggage claim.  I went to the baggage office.  It was easy to file a report, so I did.  Then I found an ATM, got some Euros, and went to take a taxi.  My luggage was delivered to my hotel later that night.

The taxi seemed to be working quite well.  I gave the hotel name, the guy started driving.  I was so excited to see the city of Toulouse for the first time!  As we approached the area with the hotel, the one way streets got blocked by delivery trucks.  So my taxi driver, who hadn't spoken to me thus far, proceeded to explain that the hotel was up a couple of blocks.  I asked if I should walk, he confirmed.  I paid him 50 euro for the 36 euro trip, then promptly forgot to get any change.  I was a bit preoccupied with the idea of wandering in the general direction of my hotel.  C'est la vie!  I found the hotel without a problem, tried to ask for my key in French, ended up talking with the lady at the desk who spoke more English, and made it to the room.  Accomplishment!

The evening was a bit blurry.  With little sleep, I was in the stage of tiredness where I feel nauseous.  Dan came back from work, we went to get some food as I hadn't had much since the airplane breakfast.  The cafe near the hotel had some delicious quiche with broccoli and ham, along with a salad and mashed potatoes.

After the food, Dan showed me around the general area, telling me many things which I may have already forgotten.  We went shopping for an extra shirt for myself since the luggage was missing.  We found a shop called Camaieu which seemed to be a discount clothing store.  The clothes were excellent colors for my skin tone and the sleeves of the sweaters were actually long enough for my arms.  I ended up getting two cardigans, one shirt, one tank top, and two scarves.  Everyone seems to be wearing scarves.  Dan must acquire one.

After successful shopping, we were supposed to meet people from Dan's work for dinner. We had done a bit of walking around, and I was exhausted.  My tiredness had moved beyond feeling simply nauseous and was now entering a new phase.  We shall call it the PHASE OF TEARS.   Dan and I were still walking around the streets of Toulouse.  I was tired, Dan was hungry.  Every time Dan suggested a plan that did not involve me being asleep, it nearly brought me to tears.  I just could not consider being awake any longer.  So, in a practical solution, I went to the hotel to sleep and Dan went to eat.

About 7 and a half hours after falling asleep, I woke up.  It would have been about 7pm California time.  But it was about 4:30am in France.  I tried to stay in bed longer, but it did no good.  Dan and I got up around 5.  We watched some morning news, got ready, and arrived at breakfast as soon as it opened.  For breakfast there were many options of bread, various meats & cheeses, and bowls of coffee.  

After breakfast, we still had some time before our 10am bank meeting.  So we went and grabbed coffee at the 1st floor coffee station.  I was a little worried that I wouldn't have anything to do while Dan "worked from the hotel."  Then I remembered that I would have this problem every day after we move.  I then took to my new work, that of reading, drinking coffee, wearing scarves, and blogging.

Serious Work

1 comment:

Valerie Mendenhall said...

I love your last line about getting to the work of reading, wearing scarves (the funniest part!) and blogging. I haven't met you, but I have worked with Dan in the past, and was part of the NG interview team when we hoped he would come work with us.