Thursday, July 2, 2009

France Day 1 Arrival in Paris

My plane was an hour late taking off from Chicago. This gave me a good bit of time to work on the oral history project. I had a good seat -- exit row aisle, so plenty of room and I could sleep. I got a free glass of wine (French Bordeaux) gratis because American Airlines was apologizing.

I didn't meet up with Gwyneth and the girls until 10:30 am when I was supposed have landed at 8:30. They landed at 7 am so they had quite a wait. Gwyneth had already purchased our tickets for the RER and Metro, so that was lovely. However, I managed to have two crises. When I was getting on the train at Charles DeGaulle Aeroport, I lost the $15 strap that I bought in Chicago to connect my bags. Then when I exited the turnstile to go to the Metro, I jammed my toenail on the bag, and my toe bled like crazy. I took off my sandal, wrapped my toe in tissue and put on socks and my Crocs. Thankfully Gwyneth was strong enough to carry both her bag and mine up the steps at the various train stations.

Our apartment is on the 5th floor -- there was an elevator (but no air conditioner). It is very hot (88 degrees). I was able to hook up my computer to the ethernet, but Gwyneth's MacAir can't use it and there doesn't seem to be wireless. She and the kids are ostensibly watching news on TV but they are all asleep.

The apartment really does overlook the Jardin des Plantes. In fact, the natural history museum is literally across the street.

View a slide show.

I tried to nap, but there was a lot of commotion outside -- a multitude of people from Comores were going to the mosque across the street from the apartment building. There was a memorial service for the people killed in an airplane crash. Gwyneth and the girls and I went out to see -- and ended up being swept up in the crowd and seeing Sarkozy's motorcade when he came to address the gathering.

We got some bread, cheese, wine and milk and had a snack before venturing out along the Seine where there were a lot of end of term parties.

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