Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Never Ready

Pages From Jan's Travel Journal: Sunday, May 29 2016

After a restless night, it was difficult to arise at 5:30 AM, knowing what a long travel day we had ahead of us. We dressed sleepily and stowed our pajamas and toiletries away and were soon heading down the stairs to the lobby. We were too early even for coffee. We bid the usual tearful farewell to Darcy and Mathieu, who were remaining at the hotel for a while longer. They had just come down to see us off. 

Au revoir for now!



Traffic was light, so we made good time to the airport. The lines were shorter than usual and it wasn't long before we were upstairs near our gate. We gravitated toward the coffee shop, which was just opening. I was more than ready for my first morning coffee! I chose a pain au chocolate to accompany it and joined Craig at a little table next to the window. After breakfast, I browsed in the duty-free shops and picked up some last-minute souvenirs.



As boarding time neared, I thought I heard my name on the loudspeakers. There was already a crowd forming at the gate and with some difficulty, I managed to squeeze through to inquire if I had been paged. I was told that no, I had not been. I returned to my seat, but after a short time, we decided to join the queue at the gate. Once again, I thought I heard my name! I wove my way through the crowd to the gate attendant, who immediately ushered me forward upon hearing my name. I told her that I was traveling with my husband, so he was allowed through the barrier with me. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that the reason I had been paged was because I had been selected for one of the random bag searches and additional pat-down! My carry-on and purse were both stuffed with the items I had purchased in the duty-free shops. I actually felt sorry for the TSA agent who was gingerly but thoroughly examining every item. Craig just stood by, looking amused.

Finally, we were able to find our seats and settle in for the long flight. I immersed myself in a book to pass the time, as I can never sleep on the daytime crossings. Craig and I also played a few games of Scrabble on his laptop. My seatmate was a very sweet young French woman. We chatted off and on during the flight. 

Wanna race?
When we arrived in Chicago, the airport seemed more crowded than usual. It took some time to retrieve our luggage and trundle it through to Customs. That part wasn't bad when compared to the lengthy wait we faced at border control! I have never seen such a crowd. The room was teeming with people and the temperature in there was stifling. The lines crept forward at a snail's pace. When we finally broke free of the lines and were in the terminal, we bumped into our French friend, who was now accompanied by a German woman. They both seemed lost and confused, so we offered to show them to their gate. We enjoyed visiting with them as we walked, and we would have liked to join them for lunch, but we had to catch the tram for another terminal. 

The last leg of our journey was uneventful. I suppose I was glad to finally return home, but really, my heart was still in France. I'm already looking forward to our next visit.

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