The iPod saga

My daughter saved her money and asked her relatives for cash for her 12th birthday in June 23. She broke her first one dropping it on the sidewalk (more than once). 

She carried it through Paris, in its brand new puppy protective case I bought her last week. She snapped photos of IM Pei’s pyramids.

Six flights. Two different airlines. Four hotel rooms. Eight days. Multiple continents.

She filmed video of trees in Russia. She recorded herself in airports making silly faces under time lapse.

She played her video games recklessly and typed notes in the Pages app and listened to music.

And as Air France flight 0054 between CDG and IAD landed, I suggested she put it away. I didn’t want her to miss touch down of the huge A380. 

In the car, halfway to DC, she gasps, “Mom, I left my iPod.”

She searches her bag. I search her bag. M searches her bag.

We email Air France’s lost and found. It bounces. We try tweeting to Air France US. “My daughter left her iPod on 0054 between CDG and IAD 8/20. Email to lost and found bounced.”

My husband then tweets her ticket info. We also get the number for Dulles.

We make the child call. The voice menu suggests using the Internet and directs her to a different number if she wants to talk to a person. She doesn’t have a pen ready so she has to call again. 

She gets the number. She calls that. It’s an answering machine. She leaves a flustered message but she can’t remember her phone number. She gives mine rattling it off so quickly I can’t understand her.

I make her repeat it.

It will be a miracle if the iPod returns. But perhaps some good soul will find it. Perhaps someone will restore some of my faith in the human race. 

Arrival in Paris

My daughter was fascinated by every stage in the airports. Luggage, security, the lounge, the jetway, the plane. She loved take-off. She loved landing. She loved airplane food.

But Paris didn’t get quite the reaction I hoped for. She yelled in her boldest American voice, “It’s just like ‘Merica only better decorated.” And that the people carry themselves “so dignified.”

The two hours sleep she got on the plane and the one nap in the hotel had started to wear off… We headed down to the patisserie around the corner where we had pastry and café crême. Well, pain au raisin and pain au chocolat and hot chocolate for the traveler.

Then off to what she wanted to see–

I.M. Pei’s Pyramids at the Louvre.

We walked from Pont Neuf to Musée Orsay along the Seine and the took #7 train from the Louvre to Gare de L’Est and meandered back to the hotel across the street from Gare de Nord.

AF 0668 into Djibouti

I left France so exhausted I went to sleep as soon as the plane took off. My rest for the first couple days of this trip has consisted of nothing but one hour naps. I think I dozed for about 3 hours, on and off, on the plane.

I skipped dinner, having filled up on cheese, chocolate and apple tart in the airport lounge (which I washed down with a small serving of port). M and I were both concerned that the airline food did not agree with our digestive systems.

On the flight from DC to Paris, we had the  seats in the front of premium economy. Despite the extra leg room and lack of proximity of other people, I found the arrangement difficult. 

We sat in the last row of premium economy this time and felt I had an endless array of ways to wedge my body around the seat and window.

I also got out my music. I hoped it would help since music is often an important part of my wind down ritual at home. All or some of these things may have contributed to my success at a longer nap.

I woke up and went back to “cattle class” to use the toilet, get a drink and stretch my legs. That was when I noticed so many families and babies hanging everywhere. I often joke that the back of the plane resembles a refugee camp. This one, between the fullness, the children, and the clothing strewn about, might have qualified for some sort of UN-sponsored humanitarian aid.

The plane also featured a lot of French and American military personnel. The main difference between the American and the French people seems to be the fit of their clothes. The French wear tighter clothes.

I woke over the Nile Valley. I glanced out the window and saw the brightest lights and thought to myself, “that looks like Orion.” I didn’t have my glasses and reached for them, sure enough confirming the gorgeous night sky and the crispness of the winter constellations.

I witnessed the pale blue, orange and pink stratification of sunrise in a similar fashion.

Coming off the plane, the biggest shock was the mid-80 degree F temperature, the breeze and the 60-something percent humidity. The weather is perfect.

Because the plane was so full, the baggage claim was a riotous mess of people pushing and shoving.

All and all, a nice flight.