lundi, avril 02, 2007

Kristy+IynVisit Day 1: Delays and Creamy Chicken

I got up very, very early in the morning to head to the airport and pick up Kristy and Iyn. I checked their flight status and realized that the plane was 4 hours behind, so I went back to bed (thank goodness for internet flight-checking!) and got up a few hours later.

I got to the arrival area of Terminal 2E a bit early, so I took a moment to drink some coffee and sit down. A few minutes later, their flight appeared on the board as "landed", so I headed over to the plexiglass wall that separated me from the baggage claim and watched for Kristy and Iyn. What I soon found out was that the customs and passport check were taking very, very long. The first group of people that streamed out were actually from Detroit (I learned this by asking the other folks waiting at the plexiglass like me); the Detroit flight had landed almost an hour ago, so this was some indication of how long things would take.

As I prepared to wait another hour to see my friends, I begin to hear distant drumming. Now, an airport terminal is possibly the last place I would've expected to hear distant drumming, but nonetheless there it was. At first I thought it might be some sort of hare krishna procession, but: a) we're not on the West Coast of the US; b) post 9/11, I suspect religious processions are not welcome in terminals.

The noise was coming from above, on the departures level, so after making sure that the Chicago flight hadn't started to flow into the baggage claim area, I headed up the stairs to see what was the matter. As it turns out, there was a union strike / demonstration of some sort. I couldn't figure out what the acronym stood for, so all I could figure out was that they were unionized and pissed off. They were beating empty water drums with sticks and chanting something rhythmic that I couldn't make out. Also, the leader had a bullhorn, which is always bad news.

A while later, the group reappeared on the arrivals level, stopping to rest on the row of seats behind me. Of course, this didn't stop them from drumming and yelling, so now I had this once-amusing noise-parade parked behind me. Clearly, I wasn't the only one unamused, as soon a few people around me abandoned the French pro-union ways and started heckling them: "Au chômage!" they yelled. This translates to "go to unemployment!" in other words, telling them to give up their cause and collect unemployment insurance instead. Very sweet.

Kristy and Iyn finally arrived and claimed their luggage, and we started the trek back to my place. Alas, Iyn had developed a powerful cold / flu / plague just before the flight, so he was miserable. We stopped at the pharmacy near my place to get him some decongestants, and it turned into a drug-fest. Pharmacists in France have the power to give out many medications that would normally require a doctor's prescription in the US or Canada. The pharmacist asked me a bunch of questions about Iyn's symptoms, and then we left the pharmacy with 4 different medications (all of which cost only 7€!).

After checking in to my building, getting the keys to their room and letting them settle in, Kristy and I headed off downtown to exchange Kristy's travel vouchers for a set of transit passes. This had to be done at this one particular office near the Tuileries (gardens of the Louvre), so we headed over there and took care of business. While we were there, we took a short walk past place de la Concorde, over to Madeleine. We stopped at La Durée for a bit of tea, some macarons, and a fantastic réligieuse filled with rose petals and raspberries. On the way back home, we also stopped in at the Maille mustard store at Madeleine and I picked up a few little bottles of unusual mustard flavors (Cognac, Thai Spice) as well as a small crock of their fresh "on tap" mustard. For the record, the fresh stuff is amazing, and far better than what you get in a bottle at the supermarket. Finally, we swung by Fauchon (also on Madeleine) to pick up a bottle of violet mustard, which is a mustard preparation from Brive, France, which uses grape must instead of white wine.

With that taken care of, we dropped by my place and collected Iyn, who was feeling better. We did a quick run to the grocery store, picked up the necessary items to keep everyone fed, and then headed back home for dinner. I made my frenchy creamy-mushroom chicken, which Kristy had always liked. It was great to finally make it for her with real creme fraîche. The chicken turned out a bit tougher than I would've liked, but Kristy & Iyn seemed very happy to eat it. We were also joined by DJ, who brought up some wine. I had already opened a bottle of wine, so we made our way through two bottles by the end of the meal.

This was part of my plan all along. By the time we were done, Kristy & Iyn were so sleepy, they went right back to their room and collapsed in bed. I, meanwhile, stayed up until 5am working frantically on a teaching application that was already past due. Yay!

P.S. Check out this ad that I saw on in the airport. This is part of this amusingly relativist ad campaign by HSBC.

2 commentaires:

Humingway a dit…

Nice ad! I'm curious about the text on the right. Do you remember what it said, in full?

LMGM a dit…

Hmm, I can't quite remember, but the entire series of these ads read like this: "At HSBC, we're always able to see both sides of any situation."

I'll be at the airport again tomorrow morning to pick up my sister, so I'll see if I can find this ad again!