9.27.2005

Misadventures: mes aventures

Thaaaaat's right, it's 4 in the g.d. morning. Again. Welcome to jet lag, dear readers, and plenty of it. I get tired at 8:30, stave off sleep 'til 10, thinking, "Oh, if I go to bed at 10 I'll sleep 8 hours and be ready for the day at 6" -- HAH!!! My circadian whatsit has other plans for me, as, apparently, does my bladder. I get up, glance at the clock which taunts me with its numbers of redness that say it's 3 full hours before the alarm will go off, go tinkies, and try in vain to fall back to sleep before 6. Curses!!

However, since I'm here and since I'm up, I figured I'd draft a little something that I can come back and proofread later. I'm sure you're all interested in the details of the trip to Paris itself, but they have for the moment been supplanted by our near miss (or our near near-miss) attempting to get home on Saturday....

Our United flight from CDG to SFO (and for me, on to SNA) was supposed to leave Paris at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, September 24, arriving in San Francisco that afternoon at 2 -- don'tcha just love that wacky time zone thing?? We ultimately ended up on Air France to Dulles, to separate and fly to LAX (me) and SFO (Amy), not leaving Paris 'til 4:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon, arriving on the west coast at about 12:30 a.m. Monday. "Sacre bleu!" you say. "Did you miss your flight?! Were you too fat after a week in Paris to get on the plane?!" No to both of your questions, even the impertinent last one. [Kindly note that we spent between 4 and 8 hours a day walking in Paris, so even if we'd eaten 6 meals a day rather than the 2 we did, we'd have come home trimmer than we left!]

No, friends, what happened was this: Our flight was delayed some 2 1/2 hours. This wasn't really a problem since we whiled away the time in the Red Carpet Lounge (yay, United!!) and Amy napped while I started a beautiful spring green scarf. Talked to strangers, got flirted with by men nearly as old as my dad, etc. Boarded UA925 at 1:45, got the safety briefing, settled in for our 11-hour trip home.... at 2:00, we were in full takeoff mode, blasting down the runway at 160 knots p.h. or whatever, literally at the point of slipping the surly bonds of earth, when the pilot SLAMS ON THE BRAKES, reverses the engines, flings the flaps to upright stopping position, etc. HOLY CRAP! As this is happening, I glance past Amy out the window and see the French fire engines (pompiers, for you linguists), streaking toward the plane with all lights ablaze. {I would like to note here for those of you who've not been to France that their fire engines are white. No offense, but white does not scream "emergency" to me -- it sort of screams "hygiene incident" instead, which is sort of, you know, less urgent, all things considered. But I digress.}

And speaking of ablaze, it turns out that our brakes or landing gear are ON FIRE, thanks to our abrupt arrest on point of takeoff. So the little (more on that later) French firemen (or firepersons) leap from their flashing white trucks and trundle hoses out and spray the plane's belly with foam and water and run around a lot. Much spraying, much running, and we're all sitting there wondering, frankly, whether we're going to blow up. Because, you see, fire + enough jet fuel to get us 6000 miles = potential conflagration, as I understand it. Did I say "HOLY CRAP"? Yeah. Ok. Just checking.

Anyway, obviously, all's well that ends well, since I'm sitting on the yoga ball typing out the tale rather than rapping it out to you on a Ouija board or something, but suffice it to say that it took something resembling the greatest effort of my life to get me on not one but TWO planes the following day, after spending the night at the Holiday Inn Roissy Charles de Gaulle. Nevertheless, after Amy and I discussed the logistics of driving or boating home, we trusted the fates and laws of averages to get us home safely on Sunday. Which we both did, along with all our strangely heavy luggage.

I'll tell the tale of the week in Paris tomorrow morning -- prolly around this same damned time! For now, I'm going to join the slumbering giant for another hour of shuteye.


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