26 August, 2010

Bonjour! Check your dates.

I generally consider myself a smart traveler. I am not a huge planner.  I do make sure I know how to get from the airport to whereever I'm staying. But I prefer to choose one or two must-dos in a new city, and leave the rest up to whim and fate.  Stu is the same kind of traveler, which is why he is my favorite traveling companion.

In coming to Paris to visit with my friend Faye on Tuesday, I flew into CDG, got EXACT directions on which RER to which metro to the address of the friend of Faye's apartment we are staying in the 11e, writing down every landmark and doorcode he gave us. Faye flew in from Chicago and was supposed to either meet me at his apartment or leave the key in a pre-designated spot. I got in a little earlier than anticipated, and no Faye in sight. No key in the hiding spot, either.

I hadn't eaten lunch (here I thought SAS would feed me, but no! I even had to pay for my CocaCola light.) so I thought I'd run to the marche for a sandwich and come back to wait. I ate my sandwich, rang the doorbell a few more times, pulled out my book, and texted Stu that I had made it to Paris, but was waiting in a stairwell for Faye. Half an hour had gone by, so I asked Stu if he could email her my number, just in case she was out and didn't have it. He did, but the text I got back was "In her email to you, Faye said she arrives the 25th." I was sitting in this stairwell on the 24th. Holy crap! There was no key because we weren't expected until THE NEXT DAY. Faye was still in Chicago. I came to Paris a day early without even realizing it.

I guess when I booked the ticket in May, Faye said she'd fly out of Chicago on the 24th, so to maximize both Faye and Paris time, I arranged to fly out the same day. Of course, hers was a transcontinental flight, meaning overnight, meaning arrival the next date. We had even exchanged travel itineraries, but neither of us caught it.  You know, it's not so bad that it happened. But I am embarrassed that I didn't even realize it until on some stranger's doorstep in a foreign city and it was my husband who had to clue me in via SMS.

Stu, by the way, found a great, inexpensive hotel around the corner while he was online, and I got an upgrade to a top-floor suite with a balcony overlooking the city, so it was not a sad story after all. I got the whole bed ot myself. And I only lost about 2 hours of Paris-time to figuring out that A) I am an idiot and B) I needed to sleep somewhere other than the street. And Faye arrived the 25th, the apartment we are staying at is fantastic, the friends of Faye are super.

The only two things on my list to see are the Centre Pompidou and a walk down the Champs Elysees. And some serious eating of French pastries. Anything else is just icing. Yesterday, we went to both the Palais de Tokyo, the Museum d'art Moderne and managed some fantastic Moroccan food and French wine.

Not my actual view because I didn't bring my camera cord to Paris.

1 comment: