So, on the 21st I went to Seattle on SWairlines. It was fine. I stayed at the Radisson across the street (from the airport...literally...wish I'd known that before I called for the van to pick me up).
I had a dinner of salsa, cornchips and an orange (all things I figured would be least likely to result in food poisoning. Food poisoning on an airplane is NOT a good thing).
In the morning I went to the airport 3 hours before my flight AS RECOMMENDED by the airline and the online airport update thingy. But there was no Air France desk to check in at. Turns out they don't open until 90 minutes before the flight. Interesting and would have been super information.
Eventually we all got checked in and because it was before the airplane shenanigans that would happen a few days later, security was no problem. I had a chance to grab a snack before we boarded.
Once on board I had a window seat. The side seats are in pairs. Next to me was a skinny chick about 29 or 30 years old. And yet she was bringing EVERYTHING SHE OWNED on the airplane with her. She proceeded to spill into my space the entire trip. I started just playing a game trying to guess what would creep into my space next and how many times I could shove it back at her before she noticed. The neck cushion (which was HUGE...I've staying in smaller tents) was the most frequent offender. She was a dip. And she had about 10 cognacs, a bunch of glasses of wine, and some other booze on the flight. Then she couldn't figure out why she was SO TIRED when she got to Paris. It's good to see that sorority girls stay the same.
And there were good movies on the plane. I watched L'Affaire Farewell and part of Le Petit Nicolas (finished the second one on the trip home). We each had a personal TV on the back of the headrest of the person in front of you. The person behind me thought that if the touch screen didn't work, then you should punch it. He (this was an adult who had both seat to himself) was apparently watching a participatory show on "how to kick box". I'm basing that on the frequency and force with which he kicked and punched my seat. I wanted to give him whatfor, but then thought what if he's developmentally challenged or a jerk. I don't want to cause an incident. At one point he was backwards in his seat with his butt forcing my seat forward. Weird.
Landing in Paris (at 8:45am on the 23rd) was no problem. There is no real "customs" check on the way into Europe. They don't care. Just a passport check and off you go.
I found the bus to the Gare Montparnasse (Montparnasse Station) and had only a 5 minute wait. On the bus, it's about a 45 minute trip, I met Marie. She's from France but teaches in San Diego now (after meeting and marrying an American...now her exhusband). She might visit some day in Idaho as she loves biking and we have that. She was quite amusing to chat with and very understanding of the gaps in my French vocabulary.
The bus stopped right across the street from the hotel, Le Meridien Montparnasse. So that was handy. Uncle Pat had primed a woman at the front desk, Estelle, that it was covered and that I would be in early. She said my room wasn't quite cleaned so she just moved me to another and got Pat and Chris on the phone so I could say "Hello" and let them know I was there. I got the room. Took a shower, and we were off for the day.
(that's the hotel room...very nice (pretend the TV isn't on or that I was using it to study french, definitely NOT watching porn on Unca Pat's dime))
I was pretty tired the first day and begged off going for dinner. Between the ever expanding sorority girl and the kick boxer and the being excited to be on vacation, I had barely slept. But we still got quite a bit done that first day, the 23rd.
Horse poop on the street in Paris...made me feel like I never left Plummer (where I once saw a fat cowgirl driving a roman chariot down the street), except that it has 17million MORE people in it and they are largely French.
These are rental electric bikes in Paris. They are all over the place. You use a credit card or a velo-bike card and rent one that has a green light on the post (the red light means it's charging, green is charged up) BUT you need a European credit card with a chip in it. Can't use an american one without some shenanigans. Anyway, once you rent it you can ride it one way and drop it at a similar station with charging posts at your destination. How cool is that? I saw TONS of people riding them. They have a basket in the front, fenders, and skirt-guards on the rear wheels. I really wanted to try one out. We'll see.
This is the christmas display in a lovely hotel where we stopped to use the turlets a few times over the course of our stay. I'm sure the hotel staff were wondering what was up.
And this is just a super cool boat on the Seine. I want to live in a boat on the Seine. Or at least rent one for a vacation.