Thursday, June 23, 2005

Vienna: Eric's travel interlude

Airplanes Suck, Air France food is good.

At 4:00 am, Eric’s fifty-five alarms drive him out of the bed in San Francisco. Bill—who was the most important alarm-- also calls, just to make sure Eric really is up.

Already packed, and ready to step out the door, Eric is already missed by the cats, who thoughtfully leave him with parting gifts of an organic nature on the living room floor. Delay number 1.

But, he gets on the road and makes it Bill’s house, where the car is going to be stashed for the price of one bottle of Ravenswood Rhone style Icon wine, and in no time at all, he’s waiting on the security line at Oakland Airport. Around the baggage claim, out the door, down the street… to the next terminal…

On the Jet Blue flight Eric begs and pleads for a front row seat, so he can get a sprinting start to make his fifty second connection to Air France at JFK. It’s an uneventfully crammed flight, though, and our hero makes it through to New York relatively unscathed.

Despite getting on the wrong airport monorail train, and going the wrong direction, he makes onto the flight to Charles de Gaulle with only a few snooty run-ins with their impeccably manicured staff. But when they place glass of wine in his hand and serve up some chicken fricassee with smoked salmon and a wedge of Camembert, he’s mollified…

Charles de Gaulle, considered by some to be the worst airport on the planet, is a living, breathing circus sideshow of design flawed tunnels that go the wrong way and officials with an uncanny ability to ignore you, even when you are begging for help.

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