Yesterday I got on the airplane. But first I stood in a really, really, really long line. And then I bought a heavy magazine, by which I mean a magazine full of pages. But before I bought the magazine, I packed a lot of things, like striped shirts and jeans, and two heavy books, by which I mean books full of pages. And I also charged batteries for things like my camera and my laptop. So, while I was standing in a really really really long line before I bought my magazine and before I got on the airplane, I was full of things: contemplations about whether I had packed the right things, and whether there would be internet on the airplane (no), and all the things I hadn't finished and whether I should worry about them, and the thought that I would be on an airplane facing an unknown dinner and many many many hours in a window seat.
All this precedes my arrival this morning at the French hour of onze heures in Charles DeGaulle Airport. Whereupon I had to figure out precisely where my connecting flight was, but then had several hours to cool my heels. But first I had to stand in a really, really, really long line with my laptop and two heavy books and not my heavy magazine which I left on the first flight, but even so, all that stuff had attained a specific gravity that was somehow heavier than when I left Salt Lake City. Maybe because of the hours on the long flight in a window seat.
Well, when the heel-cooling started, I was able to obtain for you the following observations:
- airport food is expensive, but there is some good airport food in a French airport. But it is expensive. I had a baguette with crevettes et pamplemousse et epinards and some spreadable fromage. And that, ladies and gents, mesdames et messieurs, was a pretty good airport sandwich. But the exchange rate!
- the French--speaking now about the entire culture, history, arts and design and economy --have some pretty impressive luxury goods. Some of which you can buy at the airport, but whoa. The exchange rate! not to mention the original cost of things!
- macarons. (I am not a fan of eating the macaron, but I think they are adorable and very, very pretty.)
It is possible to lose track of what's going on in a French airport when you have hours to cool your heels and you've previously spent many many many hours on a trans-Atlantic flight in a window seat and--I think this goes without saying--not enough sleep, plus the steward guy kind of woke you up by shoving a heated-up bagel in your face because you have the special, aka ovolactovegetarian, meal. For instance, you might think your flight is leaving from one gate because that's what the kiosk robot told you when you got off your trans-Atlantic flight at onze heures, French time.
But then, after the heel-cooling and the light dozing in fits and starts you did because of all the aforementioned, you might drag your heavy bag and your heavy self to another display to decipher that your heel-cooling locale is, in fact, not your actual gate. So then you depeche-toi to your actual gate, and get on your airplane, and despite the fact that they're speaking French over the airplane's intercom and that the crew seems to be, in fact, bona fide French, the flight is sans amenites. Nary a pastry nor a baguette with jambon, nor a macaron (I think this goes without saying).
But this is, paradoxically, not so bad. Because the lack of amenities means that, for the first time on this trip, you sleep. For the whole flight. Two hours of excellent airplane French-inflected sleep.