Posts Tagged ‘Euro’

Home Again

July 29, 2018

I got back from my travels last night.

I was in motion for 24 hours.

Although what with the time change it looked like I had just traveled 11 hours.

But no.

When I got in to my studio last night the clock said it was 6 a.m. Paris time and I had been up since 5:30 a.m. the previous morning.

It was a long day.

I am very, very, very grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off, it was too hot to sleep and I kept waking up and having difficulty falling back asleep, so when I woke up at 5 a.m. I never got fully back into sleep, just lay in bed sweating lightly and wondering if I should just get up and get going.

When the light began to grow bright enough I gave up the ghost, got up and started my getting ready to leave.

I gave myself time to have a light breakfast, which thank God I did, because there was no time at the airport to get food, I was super lucky to be able to snag a bottle of water for the flight, let alone have had anytime to forage for food.

I had done most of my packing the day before, even went a bought a cheap suitcase to haul back my goodies from my trip.

Notebooks, a stuffed hippo for one of my charges, a model car for another charge, stickers and rainbow unicorn rub on tattoos and a pretty notebook for the little girl.

Other gifts for folks.

And then the things that I had gotten for myself: a purse, a market basket from Aix-en-Provence, an art book from the Zao Wou-ki show I went to at the Musee Moderne, lots of notebooks, five or six I think, magnets from the Klimt show and one from Marseilles, some notecards, three dresses (three! I was so thrilled to have found a shop, with the help of my friend, that carried my size and had lovely clothes), a sweater coat, and a blouse.

I can’t believe I found such lovely clothes, it’s very rare for me to find clothing when I have gone to Paris before.

Partially because I just didn’t know really where to look, having a friend who lives in Paris show you the spots is a huge perk.

I also got a vintage candle holder/lantern from a shop on Ile St. Louis and some prints from the Klimt show.

I couldn’t have squeezed all of that into my little carry-on.

My carry on, which as it would turn out, was not so little anyway.

It got flagged at the airport.

I was not happy.

This was the first time that it’s been flagged.

I didn’t even get it through security.

A couple of times I have had to check it at the gate but never before did I have it flagged before even going through security.

I was not happy.

I was on the same airline I took to get to France, so I knew it would fit, in fact, it had slightly fewer items in it since I had bag checked the other suitcase and figured I would fill that one heavier and keep my carry on fairly light.

But nope.

It got flagged.

Ugh.

I had already had a bit of a rough start to my Charles de Gaulle experience.

I got to the airport with plenty of time, I splurged and took a cab.

Again, thank God, if I had done the train I would have likely missed my flight considering the amount of time it took to get to the gate.

When I arrived I did a check in on a kiosk, printed off my boarding pass and got a sticker for the checked bag.

Then I stood in line with my checked bag to get it to a counter to get loaded onto the plane.

I was in line about thirty minutes.

About twenty minutes into being online a little voice in my head said, “hey, did you get your card from the kiosk?”

I couldn’t remember.

I took a deep breath, got out my wallet, opened it up and looked.

No debit card.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had left it in the machine!

I flushed very hot then almost started to cry.

I took another deep breath.

What should I do?

Odds are it’s gone.

Somebody was right behind me to use the machine.

Either they took it and went wild at the Duty Free shop.

Or maybe they turned it in to lost and found.

I started to think about how to ask the next Air France agent I saw about where the lost and found was in French.

I resolved to stay in line and check my bag and then go look.

It was a long ten minutes.

I got my bag on the belt and dashed back to the machine.

Of course.

The card was gone.

I looked around, there was a desk next to the kiosk, but nothing on it.

I turned to go back to the line that had to Air France agents working it.

I should mention that there were three different areas to queue up to, each area having two agents, then agents roaming between and agents at the desk.

I don’t know how I decided to ask the woman I asked, but I made a snap decision and walked towards her.

I approached and asked if I could speak English with her, I really wasn’t sure I could get across in French what had happened, although I had been practicing it for the last ten minutes.

She said of course.

I told her what I did, I pointed to the machine, I was about to ask if there was a lost and found and she said, “you’re Carmen?”

I nodded, yes, yes, yes, as she pulled my debit card out of the front breast pocket of her jacket.

I nearly wept for joy and thanked her profusely.

What are the odds that the person I asked would have my card in her pocket?

I don’t know, but it felt like winning the lottery.

I was so happy about it that when I was told my carry on would cost me 80 Euro to process I didn’t give a fuck.

Who cares?

I had found my card.

And though the whole process set me back over an hour and a half of going to and fro, it was all worth while.

I made my plane with minutes to spare, enough to be able to dash to the nearest counter and buy a bottle of water and then get myself settled in for a very long flight.

There were a few other adventures.

Like the plane having to sit on the tamarack for another hour because a person had to be de-planed, which led to me literally sprinting through the Atlanta airport to make my connecting flight, but I did then too.

So even though it was a long trip getting back.

Get back I did.

And I am very grateful to be home, unpacked, all my laundry washed and put away and almost ready to get back to my regular routine.

Almost.

I have one more delicious day off.

Ah.

Summer vacation.

You did me good.

A Long Strange Day

May 12, 2017

But.

I’m here.

Whew.

It took a minute.

I have been in transit for a long time and it’s nice to finally be situated, although I won’t be here but the night.

I am at Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet, and happy to have finally figured out the internet, and gotten myself fed and sorted out.

I had an unexpected delay at Charles de Gaulle that threw me for about two hours.

My flight got in right on time, which is awesome, since my first flight had to stay aloft for 40 minutes to be cleared for landing and that meant a sprint, well, a fast hobble, to my connecting flight, which I made, but yes, heh, I broke a sweat to get to.

Yeesh.

I also got a bright orange card to wave at everyone I ran through to get to the gate, I don’t know how I did it, I just did, up and down a couple of escalators, on a train, through the crowds at Heathrow and I made it just as they closed the gate, I was allowed on and even got to bring on my carry one, which technically for the size of the plane was too big.

I got through customs quickly and I got a quirky smile from the French security when he saw my tattoo and got waved quickly in.

Then.

It happened.

On my way to purchase the Museum Pass–pro-tip to any one traveling to Paris, buy the Museum Pass at the airport.  You can buy it at the museum you go to, but you have to stand in line, which is a pain, and the whole point of getting the pass is to not stand in line.

So.

I see my trusted Banque de Postale, which is where I traditionally pulled money from when I lived here and inserted my card.

And it got denied.

I lost my breath.

I got faint of heart.

Hmm.

Maybe I asked for more than my limit.

I tried again.

Transaction denied.

Fuck me.

I started to panic.

I was hot and cold all at the same time.

I had set my travel alert, it should have been able to allow me access to my funds.

Fortunately I got myself together enough to sit down and pull out my laptop and log into the WiFi at Charles de Gaulle and I saw, yup, “suspicious activity” reported on my account and I had to call the bank.

Fuck my mother.

I had the hardest time dialing out.

I finally got some assistance from a very sweet woman at the information desk and together we figured out how to place the long distance, COLLECT, call to my bank.

I am scared to see what my phone bill is going to be, I was on and off hold for ever.

I was finally able to get through to a live person who rectified everything, assured me I would be able to use my card and sent me back to the Banque de Postale to use my card.

And.

Motherfucker.

It was denied again.

I was going to melt into the floor and dissolve into tears.

I did not.

I rallied.

I also noted I was getting marked by a pick pocket, so I gathered myself, looked him in the eye and made sure he was aware that I was aware that he was casing me.

He skulked off and not a minute later a cop strolled by.

I got back on the phone with my bank, more holding, more transfers, three different service people and finally, FINALLY, they over rode the system so that I could use my card.

I kept the woman on the phone with me until I had successfully made a withdrawal, thanked her profusely and then promptly went and bought myself an iced coffee.

Then I went to the Toursime desk and purchased a four-day museum pass.

It’s the first time I bought the four-day one.

I am going to get my museum on people.

I said, screw the train, I’m over it, I had planned on being settled at my hotel and out strolling the neighborhood for a few hours, not stuck at the airport, so I hopped a cab.

And.

Hahahaha.

Got stuck in rush hour traffic.

ARGH.

It’s funny now, but at the time I was just like really, REALLY?

Enough already.

Then.

I just breathed.

I am ok, I have money, I am in a taxi, I’ll get to the hotel, I will brush my teeth and wash and put on some perfume and go have a nice meal.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I ask the super sweet, super friendly front desk guy what his favorite place was in the neighborhood and he directed me to this sweet little bistro Blaise et Brasil.

I had a salmon tartar.

Veloute avec chou (silky smooth cauliflower soup with truffle oil and crisped kale).

Fromage, (cheese plate with greens) two kinds, a Gruyère and another I don’t know what it was, but I made a very happy face eating it.

A bottle of Perrier.

And a cafe creme.

Heaven.

Welcome back baby.

I probably won’t be able to sleep for having had a coffee at 10 p.m.

But fuck it.

I’m in Paris and it felt really good to sit and eat and watch the people walking by and the patrons in the cafe.

I spoke French in totality and in fact, was able to make a funny joke with the table next to me as the waitress brought them my bill and not theirs that I really appreciated the kindness of strangers.

It was sweet.

And I feel settled now.

Writing this certainly helped, it always does.

It is just a damn good way to process all the stuff that happened and help me see, with perspective and humor that I am fine and things happen and I get to roll with it and still be grateful.

Hell my cabbie dropped my fare by 7 Euro when he dropped me off.

Of course, he also gave me his phone number, so maybe he had an ulterior motive, but it was sweet, we were stuck in traffic for close to an hour, I was grateful.

And now.

Well.

I am going to try to get a little rest.

I know.

There’s not much for the wicked.

But.

I shall try.

Bon soiree mes amies!

Bisoux.

 

 


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