Nov. 30th, 2006 06:43 am
kespernorth: (Default)
Posting from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. The tubes are very clogged here, so I'll make this short. We flew all night and go to the Louvre at about 7:30 local time in a fog so thick we couldn't hardly even see the end of the wing. As in, the only way we knew we were near the ground was when the tires hit the pavement.

We had about ten hours to kill, so Allyson and I decided to take the train into the city. We ate lunch at the Louvre and wandered through the Egyptian Antiquities wing before making a pilgrimage to see the Mona Lisa. The Louvre is vast, and I found the architecture almost more eye-catching than the artwork.

After that we sat on a bench on the banks of the Seine for about half an hour (1 Seine == .5 Thames in width) and watched the riverboats go by before deciding that we were exhausted (we last slept when?) and wanted to just go back to the airport and park ourselves until our flight goes.

Which is what we're doing right now.

On the upside, the strike in Israel is over, so by midnight central Europeam time tonight we should hopefully be landing in Tel Aviv, and we can get some sleep.
kespernorth: (Default)
We have the best luck and the worst luck imaginable.

So an ice storm hit Seattle the night before we were due to leave Seattle. We got up at 5 AM and started calling cab companies and found that none of the buses or cabs were running. But luckily, my parents were willing to get up before dawn and drive across the bridges to take us to the airport. We made it to the airport an hour and ten minutes before departure... and then saw the vast line winding through the terminal. Probably a couple of thousand people in it. Probably about a two hour wait. But luckily Continental sent a ticket agent out to comb through the line and sneak us around to the special security line, which whisked us right past those thousands of poor bastards and out to the gate. We hopped on the plane to Newark, crossed the country (I watched Lady in the Water), landed and settled in to wait out the 7-hour layover to Tel Aviv.

And then the Israeli public sector workers' union went on strike and all land, air, and sea borders were closed.

Our flight was cancelled. The airline put us up in a hotel and booked everyone on later flights. A lot of people had to wait around till Thursday or Friday, but luckily we were two of the fourteen people who got booked on the very next flight to Tel Aviv at 3:50 EST the next day (today). We figured this out while everyone else was still flailing around uncertainly and even got to refine our seat assignments. We finally got to the hotel at 2 AM and collapsed for eight hours before returning to the airport. We waited in lines and were bored. Finally it was announced that the strike was still ongoing and all flights to Israel had been canceled for the foreseeable future.

At that point, our hopes for salvaging anything at all from this vacation collapsed.

But when I called Continental Reservations to arrange a refund and a flight back to Seattle, I managed to get the airline to try sending us to Tel Aviv through Paris on Air France, as Air France hadn't cancelled their flights yet and they have a codeshare agreement with Continental. So now we're boarding a 777-200ER for Paris in about twenty minutes.

I sure wasn't planning to go to Paris when I got up this morning, but, hey, what the hell. If we still can't get a flight to Israel we'll probably just spend a few days in France before going home. After all, it's better than being stuck in Jersey.

The thing is, awful as this sounds, we were the lucky ones in all this. We got hustled past the 2000 person line, we got to the airport safely, we got seats on the very next flight (hey, sure, it was cancelled but it's the thought that counts) and each time stuff went wrong we while we launched into action and got our flights figured out or improved our seat assignments or made alternate arrangements to go through Paris or whatever while everyone else was still flipping out at the gate agents. Sure, it's fucked our vacation up beyond recognition, but we're so much better off than the rest of these poor people it's not even funny.

Unfortunately, Allyson is horribly sick and losing her voice. I'm still waiting for a "fortunately" on that one. Universe make Ally better plz.


kespernorth: (Default)
Kesper North

February 2011

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