(they havn't stopped talking)
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Houston IAH to Nice (Celebrities & Getting Acquainted with Vence) Sept 5-6, 2010
Houston to Nice, France (Celebrities and getting acquainted with Vence) 9-5/6-2010
Right on time Susan and Jacob picked us up at 3:30 last Sunday afternoon and we were off to IAH. Going over to France we elected to go 1st Class using accumulated miles. We wanted those seats that recline into a bed so we could sleep on the flight. This was going to be good because I’ve always wondered about how it would be going in style and I have to admit you could get used to it.
We checked three bags all the way to Nice via Frankfurt, Germany. The only problem was the agent couldn’t produce a boarding pass for our connection from Frankfurt to Nice on Lufthansa. MA was fretting about that because no boarding pass plus a super close 1 hour connecting time could be a problem.
In any case our next stop was Security. No problems. On we went to the Continental’s President’s Club where MA has a life-time membership. It was really crowded but we found two empty chairs and flopped down for a couple of hours, dining on chips and pretzels (more carbs than I’ve had in a long time). I roamed around the Club just to see who was there and saw this man I thought I recognized but I couldn’t place a name. I went back and sat down and thought about it. Then it came to me! It was Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial pastor for twenty years. For someone who railed against the rich and the evils of capitalism, he looked quite at home in the President’s Club.
Well, it got time to head to Gate E18 and as we were leaving none other than the actor, Robert Duval, was coming in. I had time to say hello and,” I loved your movies.” He responded with a big smile.
But back to the Frankfurt to Nice boarding passes. MA found the “international concierge” there in the club and explained her concerns about boarding passes on Lufthansa. The concierge tried to access Lufthansa and print them but alas, no luck until she tried again and finally “voila” we had boarding passes and seat numbers. I knew MA would worry about this and was glad the problem was solved.
I can see how flying 1st Class could get addictive. The flight attendant brought us nice hot towels and a cold drink to begin before we ever took off. Another flight attendant brought us these little travel bags filled with all kinds of goodies: eye shades, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, mints, tissues, lip balm, comb, pen, and little footie’s so you don’t walk around in your socks.
Once airborne we were served huge steaks with salads, potato, later fruit and cheeses and for dessert, Blue Bell ice cream. I righteously passed on the Blue Bell. Following the meal I watched a movie about the Iraq war, “The Green Zone,” on a large LCD screen right in front of me. There were dozens of movies, music, games, etc to choose from. It was time to get some sleep so I pressed some buttons and the entire seat flattened out into a bed. We both slept most of the way across the Atlantic and were awakened with offers of freshly made omelets for breakfast.
Apparently there are no international in-transit areas at the Frankfurt airport. Our 777 aircraft had parked out on the tarmac near the runways and we were bused to Terminal A. There we discovered we had to get in a very long passport control line even though Germany was not our final destination. Then there was another very long line to do the whole security check thing again. And we were nowhere near the Lufthansa gate.
In fact we would not have made to Lufthansa at all except that MA discovered the Continental Elite Passenger security line which was much shorter. Whew! I thought the Germans were supposed to be efficient, but this was ridiculous. We were almost through security when MA was stopped and “wanded” and then they took her shoes to test for explosive residue! She was not happy but managed to button her lip and “endure”.
But finally we made it through security only to discover Lufthansa was in the opposite part of the airport in Terminal B! So we quickly found ourselves running down five flights of stairs and then nearly sprinting a half mile to catch the flight to Nice. Try that with toting a 40 pound camera bag!!
We did make it to the gate with 15 minutes to spare and were immediately sent down another 4 flights of stairs to another bus that took us back out practically to the runway where the Lufthansa aircraft awaited. In hindsight this was all a good morning workout after the all-night flight. And it wasn’t long after that when we finally arrived to the airport in Nice, France.
MA’s youngest sister Nola and husband Randy were waiting outside customs with huge welcome smiles. They live there six months out of the year and then back to California for the other six. French Customs never bothered checking anything and we were soon headed for Vence and the Hotel Diana. We spent the afternoon walking around the old town, stopped for coffees and I, of course, took some photos. We dined on pizza at one of Nola and Randy’s favorite outdoor cafes.
Throughout our first day in France neither MA nor I experienced “jet lag”, that feeling of exhaustion because your body is still in another time zone. Several days before we departed Houston we had slowly began to put ourselves on French time, which is 7 hours ahead of Houston. We did this by going to bed at 7 or 8 PM at home and waking up at 3AM. It worked! No jet lag.
What a life! God is great! More tomorrow! Au-Voir! Take care and God bless! WW & MA
(they havn't stopped talking)