I flew to France yesterday for a writer’s retreat. Thankfully my husband has a ton of frequent flyer miles and I was able to get a business class seat on a 777! If you’ve never been in business class on a triple seven, it’s like a mini man cave. You have your own little sofa bed with a castle wall around you. There’s a pop out TV, a seat that lays flat and even has a “massager” in it. The only thing missing is a toilet, but you probably wouldn’t want a toilet right next to you for seven hours, anyway.
Since we were flying through the night, I ate dinner, put on my PJ’s and went right to sleep. I got a few strange looks, but hey, girls like Spider Man too, you know.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep. And, I accidentally hit the “massager” which is really just an annoying rolling motion in your chair. So, every 35 seconds your head nods as it rolls up the seat back and then down again. I think the flight attendant thought I was going to be sick because she brought me an extra barf bag. When I told her I couldn’t sleep, she suggested the eye mask in the goody bag.
I had forgotten about the goody bag! I broke it open, brushed my teeth, gargled with the mouth wash, spritzed my face with something I assume is a sleeping potion and put the eye mask on. Still, sleep eluded me until we touched down and I heard, rather loudly, “Thank you for flying Delta. Please remember to take all your belongings.”
Customs was slightly awkward in my jammies, but if they said anything about it among themselves, I couldn’t tell because I don’t speak French. Except to say “I don’t speak French.”
I had five hours to kill before the train to Angoulême where we would be picked up and taken to the castle – yeah, the retreat is in Miles Copeland’s castle! Did I mention this was a cool trip? More on the Rocaberti Writers Retreat next time.
Another cool aside, I noticed most of the men in France wore scarves. Not on their heads; around their necks. I just have to say, it’s a pretty hot look. (I know what my husband’s getting for Christmas.)
Anyway, most of the other retreat attendees were arriving today, so I pulled up their photos from the email I got and tried to pick them out of the crowd. Immediately, I spotted one of them. I wasn’t completely sure and she didn’t appear to recognize me, so I refrained from being “the loud American.” But then I thought I saw another one and another. In fact, about every five minutes I was sure I spotted one of the people from the email photos.
After two hours of playing “Where’s Waldo” in the airport, I realized they had all headed down the breezeway to the train terminal. Duh! They wouldn’t stay in the airport, they would be down at the other end of the terminal waiting for the train.
It was harder to find them in the train terminal because it was so crowded. I started snapping pictures of the suspects so I could compare with the photos from the email. I guess it looked unusual to be taking seemingly random pictures of people, because six very nice French Police in plain clothes had a little talk with me. I would never have guessed any of them were in law enforcement. In fact, I thought two of them were attendees! But one of them flipped out a security badge, just like in the movies. It was so cool!
Since I don’t speak French, I tried to explain in my best French accent, but I don’t think they understood.
They just looked at each other, looked at my ticket, and seem pretty happy I was catching the next train. Then they said “Au revoi.” Don’t you just love French?
Until next time “Haricot Vert!” (I think that’s French, but I forgot what it means.)
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