Take off to the great white north

I woke before the butt-crack of dawn after spending a restless night. You know how it is right before travel, all the anticipation and worry about silly things, like forgetting to set your alarm or fear that you’ll turn off the alarm when you meant to hit snooze. Anyway, I was glad that 4 am finally rolled around so that I could begin my adventure.

My younger two wanted to go along when my hubby took me to the airport. Of course, my hubby cannot go from bed to any activity without coffee. Fortunately, hubby knew of a Starbucks that’s not only open 24 hours, but on the way to the airport. Score!

They dropped me off at the curb and we hugged and kiss goodbye. I stood in the long check-in line, something about needing to see my passport before issuing me a boarding pass. Then off to an even longer TSA line that, despite its length, moved faster than the line at the ticket counter. The TSA agent who checked my passport was nice if a little off his game. Instead of placing check marks next to my name on the boarding pass, he marked my passport. We both got a good chuckle over it.

I arrived at 5, boarded the plane by 6, and we took off just a tad past 6:30 as one of the crew members was running late. I’m guessing he had to wait in the Peet’s Coffee line, which was twice as long as the security line. Go figure.

I changed planes in Chicago. One of the UA staff members was engaged in conversation with a cute girl of about 3 or 4, telling her she is beautiful and asking her age; you know, the usual stuff adults do with kids. Once she was finished chatting up the child and her parents, she glanced at me. I asked her “are you going to tell me that I am beautiful and ask my age?” We had a good laugh over that. Still chuckling, I boarded the plane.

The kitty has landed
The landing was smooth, and the walk to customs was sprinkled with greetings of “bonjour” from airport personnel. I’m not sure what I expected when it came to going through customs. I suppose I imagined long lines, and tables cluttered with the luggage of angry passengers whose belonging were being riffled through by cold, dispassionate agents. Perhaps there might have been a room like that where people of interest were directed. My experience was much more enjoyable than the one I imagined. The short line moved quickly, and I flirted and bantered with the customs agent who laughed at my antics, and then kindly directed me to the baggage claim area.

My bag was conveniently waiting for me on the conveyor belt. With bags in tow, I marched off toward the taxi queue. Forty minutes later, I was directed to a cab. Don’t cry for me, my oldest daughter picked the perfect time to call, and we chatted amicably while I slowly progressed through the line.

About that driver
The driver was talkative, and entertained me while we drove to downtown. Quintessentially French idioms peppered the driver’s stories, which centered on the topic of, you guess it, love. He really was quite charming, and the story of his one cab fare who became the love of his life for over 5 years was touching. When we arrived at the high rise building where I’d rented a flat for the week, he wrestled my luggage, hugged me farewell, and made sure I got into the building safely.

As far as travel days go, this one was filled with many pleasant surprises.


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