WALKING THROUGH CLOUDS France, Part II: An Aside (as Well as An Attempt – Futile, as It Turns Out — at Writing a Shorter Blog!)


Twenty years ago, Zona Rosan Ann D. and I created what’s known today as a dream (or vision) board – only ours were in looseleaf notebooks. In them, we pasted pictures from magazines that depicted our lives as we wished them to be. In mine, my favorite photo was an ad in which a chic woman, a fur jacket over her arm, a sleek purse and a brief case in hand, is getting off a plane. It was a picture I selected long before I knew – though I had journeyed several delicious times to Guatemala, Costa Rica and Mexico — of the travel that was to come in my life.

It’s 5:40 a.m. when I arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport, a.k.a., known as the airport out of hell, though I don’t feel that way because it’s the doorway to – well, Paris! Except for those few hours when I managed to eat or sleep, I read manuscripts for the whole eight hours plus of my flight from Atlanta, because, as usual – given my other commitments, plus my shopping and packing — I hadn’t had time to read them at home. Thus my emotions are still on that rollercoaster that follows on reading one person’s poem or story after another – and, this time, doing so with very little sleep.

Aware that I have a flight from Paris to Marseille from Orly at 12:30 p.m., and having no idea how long it will take to get there, I opt, after going through immigration, to go to Paris’s other airport by taxi. Even at that early hour, as I stand in the taxi line, I’m exhilarated by actually being there. But what follows is a two-hour taxi ride out of hell: rush hour through the unpretty — read, industrial! — parts of Paris (yes, it exists!), plus two wrecks en route. I have plenty of time, but the driver is anxious and as I hop out at Orly at what he says is the right terminal, I hand him a hundred Euros for the 87 Euro fare – more than a hundred dollars.

Inside, a pretty woman at the information desk tells me that I’m at the wrong terminal – “go down to Gate K, up to the train and take it to the other one.” Once on the elevated train with my purple purse and black carryon with it’s pink ribbon, I see a sign and realize: as well as going to the other terminal, this train apparently runs back and forth between CDG airport – for free!

Once in the other terminal and at my gate, I have plenty of time for first, a café crème, and then a delicious seafood salad, as well as to look around at my fellow travelers. I nap all the way to Marseille, and once there, I discover that we are to deplane via  – my nemesis, given the vertigo I’ve been prone to practically forever – a steep little stairway down to the tarmac. But by now, long accustomed to depending on the kindness of strangers, I know that a Prince Charming will appear, happy to flex his biceps, if only I look helpless enough. And lo, a handsome Frenchman swiftly swoops up my heavy carryon, lifting it effortlessly down the stairs for me.

Inside, Air France, it turns out, had once again “misplaced” my luggage. Another charming Frenchman, a representative for the airline, hands me with a packet containing a white T-shirt, toothbrush, tooth paste and shampoo (what, no condom this time?)

But all around me, people are speaking that beautiful liquid language that I still hope to learn. And nothing — even wasting over a hundred USD on cab fare, or the unknown whereabouts of my oh-so-carefully packed pink bag, can tamp my happiness at arriving in the South of France at last!

Many writers have written about Bad Trips. When has a travel glitch only added to your appreciation of being able to be there in the first place?

© Rosemary Daniell 2011


2 Responses

  1. Rosemary,

    I love this piece! I felt as though I were with you every step (and taxi ride and train ride) of the way. Wasn’t our trip fantastic? You have given me an idea for a blog post of my own about my trip to Aix.


  2. Wonderful blog! Travelling always makes me happy…even if its only for a night. Change of scenery is always good for the soul. I appreciate anytime away from work (s)!! A glitch is only part of the journey:)

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