travel journal

About traveling…

I’m a wee bit pissed. My last 4+ trips have been nothing but nightmares, as far as the getting there part goes. I have no idea if this has been brought about by the issues the travel industry has faced in the last couple of years, but it has become too commonplace in my travel experience to not be “the norm” now. This time around, the first leg was marred by JFK having “issues”, which delayed my flight by 2 hours, just enough to miss my connection. The positive, was that Delta rerouted me to a direct flight to Paris and I only arrived 2 hours late. The negative, I got another toiletry bag to add to my growing collection (they couldn’t remove my bag from my original flight and load it onto the reroute).

The way back? Started off decently, was upgraded by Air France to the upstairs deck of the jumbo jet (assuming business class), where there were hot male attendants, larger seats and no one sitting next to me. Arrived at JFK 20 minutes late, but no biggie as they gave me a quick pass for the re-entry line. All’s going well….until my bag is one of the last ones off the plane. I applaud Air France for their fore-thought, given their penchant for being “fashionably late” that they might think to put bags with connections in a section that gets unloaded first. But apparently, being fashionably late is more important than efficient. Which leads me to the actual problem…

My flight was with Delta, my reservation number and flight numbers were Delta. I go to check my bag onto my next flight….Sorry! You need to go to the long Air France line to check your bags through. But wait! They require and hour to get your bags to your Delta connecting flight, so you can’t board unless you can carry your bag through security. What? You have unapproved liquids in your checked bags? Sorry!

They offered to transport me to LaGuardia, where I might have made the last flight out, which would have stranded me at the Atlanta Airport (gotta love MARTA). So, instead, they put me up at a slightly better hotel than Montreal, with an alarm clock set an hour ahead and walls so thin my neighbors kept me up an additional hour with their family movie full of explosions (my flight is still 1.5 hours away and I was up at 4.30).

IF, I have time this afternoon, a phone call will be made to Delta customer service, because that buck passing was bullshit. The Delta guy who passed me off to Air France was smiling at my negative commentary on the whole thing and I should have slammed Delta for the buck passing and gotten his name. All of this shit is ridiculous and there was no reason for the buck passing. I was a Delta patron on a flight being operated by Air France, not an Air France patron.

I honestly don’t know if this is just the universe saying that I shouldn’t travel, or if the industry is just ensuring they don’t get my money. I’m really not keen on it anymore.

France, day 4

My shoulders have finally relaxed, I don’t feel them as much, even though my neck still hurts a bit. So far, I’m adjusting better than the last visit, helps that we don’t sleep in till 12.

My bag still isn’t here, and I only bought one tank top the other day. At this point, it’s a bit wet from all the walking I did. Opted to roam the neighborhood and walk over to the mall. I think I covered about 2-3 miles. I much prefer the sports stores here, even though I was never able to find the other “multiple sport” swim suit from day 1. I did find a surfing swim suit that should accomplish what I need it for…stupid water workouts that require suits to stay in place.

Still nowhere near where I should be on the language front. My sentences are more a jumbled mix than anything meaningful. Oh well, not much I can do, considering the manner in which American schools choose to teach their languages and the fact that I have to undo all of it to learn the way I learned Portuguese and Danish (I’m at the point where I can at least understand what they say to me, even if I can’t respond. With French, I can’t even get to the understand part).

Tomorrow, bag arrives and it’s in-law time. I can’t remember if tomorrow is the pedicure or the facial. Either way, gotta wake up early. 🙂

Freak Trip ’11 France part 2

I have finally arrived. I am going to say that the airline industry is continually convincing me to save my money and not travel abroad. Yesterday’s drama started in the rush to arrive at the airport on time, which resulted in me being overly early….again. I set my updates for 3 hours ahead of time, so I might actually get everything done that I needed to do. Got to the airport, checked the bag in, everything is on-time, till boarding, started with the initial 30 min push back which turned into an hour, then an hour and a half, then we boarded and were told we had another hour. By that point I had talked to 3 agents about switching my flight, opted not to twice because my connecting flight had also been delayed (conflicting stories about AT controller issues and the weather). By the time we were stuck on the plane, I decided to give the last agent a call and see what was up. That news was that I would be stuck at JFK over night because I would miss my plane. Not wanting to take the chance on whether it would be further delayed or cancelled, I opted to switch to a direct flight. All’s good, right? I headed over to the international terminal to get checked-in and try to get my bag taken off the flight to JFK, which apparently failed, despite watching the woman talk to someone about it. I say apparently, because at this point no one has received a call stating my bag is in Paris and half the plane was at the Air France baggage service deck. So, there’s a decent chance my bag is still in Atlanta. I think I’ll have to create a new category for keeping tally, as my trips with connections are 0-3 on baggage arrival while my direct flights are 2-2 on arriving with me….except in this case, which is a bit special given the circumstances. I don’t fault them, but I am getting tired of over-sized Delta SkyTeam shirts and trial size deoderants. But Air France one-upped Delta, they gave me a 100eur/day allowance vs Delta’s $25-50/day.

I didn’t kill anyone, but whatever happened up there was pissing everyone off. Our Pilot was none-too-thrilled due to Atlanta telling us to get the fuck out of our gate and JFK telling them they can’t leave. In de-planing, I almost got security called because I failed to check out, mainly because I was in a hurry to get a seat on another flight. In all, I spent 6 hours at the airport. Normally, I’m ok with that, but only because it involves being at an airport other than my originating port. Reminds me, I need to check my Delta account.

I’ve arrived in France. First time with more internet time than downloading and responding to important mail.

I am crossing Chicago off my port city list, as well, the concept of airport maps by their terminal map is apparently a foreign concept. And it looks like I’ll need to do direct flights out, and connecting flights in. This is the second time Delta has left my bag behind, so either I have to take direct flights, or I need to carry-on my bag. This is bullshit, 4 hours isn’t enough, and neither is 1 hour. Makes me wonder if Delta needs a full day, and if that’s the case, they can fuck off.

Otherwise, I love Under Armor. My compression shorts are the best thing this side of boy shorts.

Politics-wise. I’m not sure if this is a reaction to the current anti-burqa policies of the state, or if I just didn’t get out as much last time. But I am seeing more women in head scarves than I ever have. I also saw my first fire bombed car and truck, as the protests are moving further and further outside of Paris (I’m 3 hours southwest). I plan to get a picture of it later, because I don’t think the news that makes it to the States is a decent portrayal of things.

Otherwise, visited Grandmere today and got to see more of Tours, last night was Iron Man 2, which I was completely lost for a couple of reasons. Lack of language, and the fact that it was disorienting to be reading lips and hearing something completely different. Almost made me fall over in my chair, which was weird.

Oh yeah, for those keeping track, I did get felt up in Chicago. But I managed to avoid the full-body scanner in Atlanta. We’ll see how it goes on the way home.

Tours, France

Thursday, March 19th
I figured the day would be pretty low key, with a few errands, training and the hope of getting adjusted. So much for that idea. Training happened, and resulted in a nice gash on my septum (really, that is an injury that only I can manage) from my training partner’s gi. No adjustment, but I did snag my “Speakeasy” shoes, stopped by the bank, and got a call from the ex-boss. It was hard to avoid texting back with, “I’ll answer your question when you return the stuff you stole and pay me $1500.”

The rest

Apparently, Facebook is verboten at CDG airport. If not, I’m not being told why I can’t access it. Grrrrrrrr.

That said, trip was awesome, made new friends and I look forward to visiting Julien’s parents again – preferably with a better grasp of French, as my French is better than their English (which is not saying much). Blog will be up at some point, since I was able to keep up with it daily. Right now I just need to finish up yesterday and start/finish today (not like there’s much to update there). Although, I’d like to point out that the concept of security at Hartsfield Airport, is non-existent and I’m hoping that everyone who travels through there truly grasps the fact that it is a joke. Every time I leave the country, something on the way back gets caught – this time, it was my toothpaste, I was 1oz over for a single tube (which isn’t true, but they go by the volume of the container, not the volume actually available). It wasn’t even caught on the way here, and I separated it out.

And FYI, no, I’m not blaming this on the current administration, as nothing has been changed as far as airport enforcement goes, this blame lies solidly on the staff of TSA and their inability to do their jobs – or take the job seriously, as the case may be. YMMV

So, in my effort to give meaning to my life (yes, I’m having a day of questioning, it started last night while sitting in my window overlooking Copenhagen – got a wonderful shot of the view to post later). I’m putting a question to all my readers, LJ users and site visitors alike….

What do I mean to you? What aspect of myself provides something to you? Why do you enjoy reading what comes out of my head?

*For you non-LJers, you may post anonymously, but please sign your post so I know who it’s coming from.

To contextualize this, I’m in the process of evaluating where I am, and where I want to go. Unfortunately, I’m a bit lost, ATM, and feel highly detached from almost everyone around me, including the people I’m supposed to be closest to.

It was raining when I got here, but thankfully it’s not too bad anymore. I got in Thursday, around 3.30 then proceeded to find out my credit cards don’t work here (though the Hostel was able to run my main one). After checking in, got settled then ran off to get my ass kicked at Choke Academy. Fun as always, and meeting new guys. Yesterday was the start of ProgPower Scandinavia, got to hang out with my friends here, and actually got tipsy. They have this drink called Cult Shaker, which is vodka and something similar to red bull. Had no problems with it, other than the bubbles up my nose. Was still fun. The concert lasted well into the night, with Vanden Plas finishing out the evening. Finally got to see Wuthering Heights live, which was nice, since I missed their performance at ProgPower USA the first year. Oh well, this made up for it. Also made some new friends, and got to take pictures of everything that was lost on Drew’s camera from last year. 😀

Oh yeah, skipping the horrorscope this week. I’ll resume next week when I get home.