Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bonjour! Ou' est le lit?

Here I am drinking a cup of joe at a cafe in Montpeyroux. It was quite an ordeal getting to this point in the trip.

We left for Raleigh-Durham at 10:00 AM and arrived in plenty of time to get checked in and to the gate. We waited and waited and finally were told to move to a new gate. We boarded a new plane and took off an hour late. Unfortunately, we only had an hour layover planed in Boston - so we should arrive at Logan Int'l right as our international flight was taking off.

After landing in Logan, we jumped on a shuttle to make our way to the British Airways terminal. Just as we neared security we heard the final call for us to board. Of course, there was no way we were going to make it. We got through and to our gate just in time to see the plane pull away.

I told my wife and daughter to sit there while I went back to see if we could make a later flight that would leave from that same gate. Once I made it to the BA ticket counter, I was approached by a Brit who informed me that the plane was overbooked and we would not be able to get out on that flight. He suggested I go to American and see what they would do since they were the originators of our tickets.

This meant I would have to go to a different terminal. I didn't want to leave my family sitting there so I headed back through security to reach them. This time it took even longer. Once I finally reached the xray equipment, took my shoes, placed everything in the bins, I was pretty ticked. I had just finished doing this 45 minutes earlier. Only this time the security guard looked at me and told me to take my belt off. I told him, "I didn't have to take it off last time." He replied, "These machines are all different." I then informed him that it was this very machine I had entered earlier with my belt on. He just shrugged and made me take my belt off.

I got my family and we headed to the American terminal. They were very helpful and in a matter of moments we had a non-stop flight to Paris. They then sent me over to American Eagle to get a hotel voucher. Then came the quest of finding the baggage.

Between three different airlines, no one seemed to know who was responsible for where the baggage currently was located. After going back and forth for about 3 hours, I found the man who knew where it was. He was in a small closet back behind the baggage claim area. He had my bags to me within five minutes. If only I could have found him earlier.

The next day, I got up around 8:00 AM and took my daughter swimming in the hotel pool and watched Shrek II on the TV. Around 1:00 PM we headed to the airport and had lunch. I signed up for a wireless Internet account in the airport and was able to do some email communication from my iPaq. I also started reading a book I picked up "Truman" by David McCullough (one of my favorite authors).

At 6:00 PM we had boarded the plane and headed across the Atlantic. The flight was uneventful. I was glad that our seats were the first ones behind the first class section on the 767. It gave me plenty of leg room. The neatest thing about the flight was being able to look out the window on one side to see the moon setting and looking out the other side to see the sun rising.

We landed in Paris at around 7:00 AM Paris time. We had arranged to have a chauffeur pick us up to take us to the Gare de Lyon. It was very interesting riding in a stretch Mercedes limo through the streets of Paris. It was amazing where the driver could place that thing. It was also interesting to watch the people look at our tinted windows and start talking amongst themselves. I guess they thought we were someone important.

The chauffeur was very helpful and delivered us directly to our voie in the gare. However, we had another wait since we arrived about four hours before our train was scheduled to leave. I took the time to do some exploring and eat some baguette. We were all very tired and looked forward to sitting on the train.

Unfortunately, we had lost our reservations for the train due to the delay. We had to get on the train and find empty seats not taken by the reserved passengers. This placed us in 2nd class smoking. The 2nd class wasn't so bad. The smoking was horrible. It was about 85 degrees outside and there was not air conditioning in the coach. I think I could have handled the smoke had it not been so hot. Sitting there in the heat with cigerette smoking wafting around my head made me nausous. For four hours, we crossed the countryside and endured.

How happy we were to see Clermont-Ferrand appear on the station signage. We were more happy to see my sister and her kids there to meet us. I handed the baggage to the strapping young male members of the family and we all piled into a seven passenger Peugot 807. Off we went pick up my brother-in-law at the Michelin international headquarters. Once he got in, we now had 10 people in the vehicle. It was fun driving through the narrow streets and onto the autoroute to Cournon.

That night we went for a walk through the pretty town. We then sat up until around 10:30 PM talking. I finally went to bed around 11:00 PM. I had been up for more than 32 hours without sleep.


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