Friday, March 21, 2014

Thursday, midday

12.30 p.m. Thursday, I’m at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, waiting for the flight to Montpellier. I had a long holdover here, so as soon as I’d walked for 40 minutes through this vast airport, from Air Canada arrivals to Air France departures and checked my bag, I found a bathroom, wrestled off some of my winter clothes and went to sit outside, lapping up the hot sun like a starving creature.
Last night at 9.30, when the flight from Toronto started, I was crammed into the tiny seat beside my young seatmate (going from Wyoming to Paris to visit her mother, a long story) dreading the long night. But the plane was not full, and very late, after watching the documentary “When Jews were funny” – which is funny - I noticed that the entire centre back row of our cabin was empty. The stewardess said Go for it, so I moved and spent the rest of the flight stretched out over four seats – paradise! 
I did not sleep, of course. This brain never sleeps in strange situations. DANGER! she shrieked. THE BED IS MOVING! REMAIN ALERT! But my body was happy, not squashed into an econo seat but at ease, my head on the four pillows I found in the row. Now, that’s luck.
So here I am having had no sleep – it’s 7.30 a.m. really. The first thing I have to report about France is that the toilets are remarkably clean, and there’s paper. Anyone who has travelled here in the past can’t help but remark on that. And how grateful I am to my father, yet again, for making sure I speak this language. What a gift. 
Smokers everywhere out here. Time for my flight to Montpellier.

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