A Travellerspoint blog


17. Boring Logistics and then: Home

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Paris, Île-de-France, France
Thursday, November 25, 2010

During my list of things to be thankful for, I forgot to add safe airline flights. Duh.

At Charles De Gaulle, I have access to the Air France Business Class lounge during my six hour and 15 minute layover. Sure, I could clear immigration and then customs, find something to do with and or place to put my baggage, grab a train and head into Paris and see the Eiffel Tower again or whatever but, you know what? I am not going to do that. That's a bit of stress that I don't need. I am simply going to wait right here, take a nice hot shower and read. I have been to France twice (or is it three times?) and a whirlwind dash in and out of the City, beautiful though it is, is more than I want to attempt. What about a traffic jam? What about a wildcat train conductors' strike--as the French love to do? What about...

After arriving back home, I get to rest up until Tuesday morning when I fly to New York for a couple of days. That's Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I'll be fit as a fiddle by Tuesday. Just watch.

For those who have inquired about logistics, I think this is all correct:

Event Local Time in KC Elapsed Time

Arrive Mauritus Airport 5:35pm 7:35am 11/25 0:00 hours

Flight leaves Mauritius 10:35pm 12:35pm 5:00 hours

Flight arrives Paris 7:35am 12:35am 11/26 17:00 hours

Flight leaves Paris 1:50pm 7:50am 23:25 hours

Flight arrives Detroit 4:35pm 3:35pm 32:10 hours

Flight leaves Detroit 7:50pm 6:50pm 35:35 hours

Flight arrives Kansas City 8:55pm 8:55pm 37:40 hours

In airline parlance, in business class (and in first class where it still exists) there are "lie flat" seats and “flat bed” seats.

A “flat bed” seat is one that, when you push a button, the part beneath your behind slides forward, the part beneath your calves angles upward, the part beneath your ankles stretches downward and the part behind your back angles backward to create one long, flat, level with the floor “bed.” I have had the pleasure of sitting—or lying—in these seats on various trips abroad and they are, without exception, great. In every case where I have experienced one of these “flat bed” seats, they are angled in the cabin...not facing directly front but, instead, facing at a slight angle in the direction of the aisle. If they didn't do that, the space required between rows would be increased so much that the carrier would lose a lot of potential high dollar seat space.

The best one of those I ever sat in was on a Japan Airlines 747 from Chicago to Tokyo where I was given pajamas to change into and while I was in the double-wide toilet getting that done, the flight attendant fitted a sheet onto that seat, tucked in a top sheet and laid a quilt over the entire masterpiece. Unbelievable. And, you get spoiled. Your expectations are raised for every flight you take in the future.

A “lie flat” seat? That’s a whole different animal. These seats have the same button to push with the same component parts sliding around but, while they still create a one, long, flat seat, they are not level with the floor. The seat slants with the head several inches higher than the foot. In this way, not so much space is taken up and the airlines don’t lose a precious row of seats.

The problem with “lie flat” seats is that, with your head higher than your feet, gravity takes over and you tend to, over time, slide down the seat until your feet are pushed against the seat in front of you and that is uncomfortable. Add the inevitable vibrating of the airplane which hastens your sliding and you find yourself—if you are like me—being awakened every half hour or so to “scootch” yourself up in the seat to relieve the pressure on your feet.

From Atlanta to Johannesburg, I had a “flat bed” seat. There’s a picture of it in that first blog entry. From Johannesburg to Mauritius, from Mauritius to Paris and from Paris to Detroit, I had “lie flat” seats. The difference is six to eight hours of blissful sleep in the lap of bed-like luxury to very satisfying half-hours of blissful sleep.

For all of you “coach” flyers who know what it is to be crammed into a too-tight space where the word “flat” applies only to the carbonation in your soft drink, go ahead: tell me where to get off. I just don’t do “coach” any more on long flights. If I’m going, I’m going to sleep well and not curse the journey’s first and final legs. With frequent flyer miles and with careful searching of fares (which vary from one flight to the next in wide swings) I can be semi-economical and highly comfortable.

All of that is background to let you know that on the twelve hour flight from Mauritius to Paris, I didn’t sleep all that well. Poor Paul.

Where I stayed
Paris Marriott Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel - 5 Allee du Verger, Roissy, France
pentahotel Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport - 12 Allee du Verger, Roissy, France

Posted by paulej4 14:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

16. Au revoir, Mauritius

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Port Louis, Mauritius
Thursday, November 25, 2010

This time, I drew the drapes tightly so I would not be awakened by the light. It worked. I was not awakened by the light. Instead, I was awakened by my long-standing idiosyncrasy of being--what shall I call it--tense on "get-away day." The anticipation of the impending journey gets my mind on the destination at the expense of the present. I was awake at 5:45.

I had asked the hotel the night before about securing a late checkout for this day. I am supposed to be out of the room by noon but I would like to keep it until I am picked up for my Port Louis tour at 2:00pm. No.

I had a big breakfast and returned to the room to pack. Once I was all set to travel, I headed to the beach for a last walk and then to the lounge where WiFi is available to check email. I ran into Donna and Matt, who are also leaving today, and we had a farewell lunch. They are the nicest young (28) couple.

Picked up by "John," we drove through the old part of Port Louis, a city on this island. It is much like the old part of every city in the world. There is a fortress atop a hill overlooking the city and their weekend horse racing track; it is unremarkable. There is a newly redeveloped waterfront that is much like the newly redeveloped waterfronts of every city in the world. It, too, is unremarkable. There is an old market. It is much like; oh, well, you get the picture.

I got to business while in town. Pepsi has a presence here but Coke still dominates. Coke's advantage is clear: it is distributed by the brewer of the top selling local beer: Phoenix. Pepsi does have some creative on-premise presence and has done a bit of signage with local bodegas as well. My favorite on-premise promotion of all time was sighted here: Just Say GNO. GNO? It stands for Girl's Night Out. Attract the ladies and you will have attracted the men. Brilliant.aa4c3930-3015-11ea-a024-f1276fa42fbe.jpgaa896940-3015-11ea-a024-f1276fa42fbe.jpgaa4904e0-3015-11ea-b63e-ab448738f224.jpgaa495300-3015-11ea-8cec-9d4679a1377d.jpg

I arrive at the airport extraordinarily early for my 10:35pm flight...at 5:30. I am apologized to by several people telling me that I cannot check in for two more hours which means that I cannot gain access to the Air Mauritius Business Class Lounge. As soon as airline people who have said I cannot do something leave their posts, I ask the next airline person. This tactic works everywhere in the world. When one airline employee--it makes no difference which airline you are dealing with--when one airline employee says, "No," find anther airline employee and smile even bigger and ask again and you will eventually find an airline employee who says, "Yes." This even occasionally works in the United States.

Anyway, I got checked in and made it through customs and security and into the lounge. It isn't much but it is more comfortable than anywhere else in this small airport. And, I have made one more discovery. Until this point, I was under the impression that everyone in Mauritius was kind and warm and happy. Well, that isn't true. The two servers at the Air Mauritius Lounge are surly and rude and grouchy. My faith in human nature has been renewed. Yes; there are mean people everywhere.

Of course, no one here knows it but today is Thanksgiving Day at home. Mauritius seldom gets American tourists so they know very little of us. The reason? Mauritius is wonderful but no more wonderful than many or most Caribbean islands and is one heck of a lot further away. I asked a few Le Meridien employees how many Americans they remember meeting and they mostly said five or six...in the last few years.

Upon awakening, I began to consider all the things for which I am thankful this year. There are many.

I am thankful for my son and my daughter. They have held me close to their hearts during this most trying year of my life--and theirs.We are closer now than we have ever been. I love them more than they can know. Their partner and husband have been equally caring. The rest of my Russell family has rallied around me with no concession or stipulation. Andy has been there for me in ways that I cannot describe even though his years has been more trying than my own.

I am thankful for other friends who have not let their suffering with my divorce alter their affection for me.

I am thankful for Chalise (for those of you who don't know her, it is she from whom I am buying my new home). She is an amazing woman in so many ways and I will find a way to remain close to her after she leaves Kansas City for her Sarasota condo. She means a great deal to me...she alone knows how much.

I am thankful for Gloria who has been and is my dear and close friend and confidant. For those of you who don't know her, she lost her husband of 41 years to cancer and we have shared our losses and, I think gained much from each other. She means a great deal to me...she alone knows how much.

I am thankful for everyone at ej4 and BeerCampus and P1 Selling for their support, their dedication to excellence and their creativity--all of which has culminated in making me look good in front of our many clients. I am thankful that they run the show in my absence and have embraced the idea that they do not need me to thrive.

I am thankful for the Regency where I live and for the staff there who has welcomed me, cared for me and smiled at me every morning of my residence. I intend to spend the rest of my life at this Plaza Condo Extraordinaire moving from 1005 to 1502 in just over a month. Life there will only get better.

I am thankful for being able to get into 32 inch waist pants. I am thankful for my health.

I am thankful to have gotten through that most miserable hemmorrhoidectomy--a procedure which I cannot recommend to you while, at the same time, I also highly recommend to you.

I am thankful to have nearly gotten through this most miserable divorce process--a procedure which I cannot recommend. One thing I know: divorce itself may not be as bad as divorce lawyers. Debi and I have paid their bills while they prolonged our (my, at least) agony. I am thankful that Mockingbird is sold and closed and now, sadly and happily, a part of my past.

I am thankful that Debi has a new home and is happy to be moving on without me.

I am thankful to be embarking on a new phase of my life. I intend to live it for me while still practicing, as best as I am able, my STUN process: Satisfy the UnMet Need. Now, I shall endeavor to STUN others and also myself...wherever possible.

I am thankful for IRAs and 401(k)s without which my financial situation now and in the future might very well have been perilous.

I am thankful for Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Larry and Larry and VIcki and Clare and all the rest there. They have shown creativity and trust and leadership and they use ej4 as it should be used and they, with their caring about and attention to quality, have made me and the rest of us at ej4 better.

I am thankful for places to walk and places to run and places to eat and places to check out books and places to get take-out and places to just be--all within walking distance of where I now live.

I am thankful that my Republican friends embrace the likes of Sarah Palin because I rest assured that such support will ensure that President Obama will have four more years to try to dig us out of the mess that George Bush and Dick Cheney got us into.

I am thankful for the 66 countries to which I have now traveled. I am thankful for The World's Greatest Travel Agent, Kathy Sudeikis, who flawlessly put this odyssey together and who will now, I hope, find a way to get me via Iceland to (maybe on a cruise) Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, (and from there then maybe overland via train) to Estonia, Latvia and Poland and then flying home (maybe connecting via Portugal) in, say, June, 2011. Are you reading this WGTA?

I am thankful for elephants.

I am thankful for friends who have tried to help me find a new church home even though that has not happened yet.

I am thankful that the Chiefs don't disappoint me this year. They have already surpassed my expectations.

I am thankful for the internet and the fact that you can access it even on an island without electric lines in Namibia and how it allows me to stay in touch and share and communicate and keep up with work so that I am not overwhelmed upon my return.

I am thankful for the one who telephoned me--what was it?--four times, to check up on me during this journey. Nobody ever did that before.

I am thankful for Thanksgiving.

Did I mention that I am thankful for Cianán and Megan? Oh, yes; I mentioned them first. I shall now mention them last because they are, first and last, my most cherished support and source of great joy.

Oh: I am thankful that my flight to Paris leaves in three hours and that I have a business class seat.

Posted by paulej4 14:06 Archived in France Comments (0)

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