Airlines …grr

Today I officially booked my flight home to California for Christmas. After looking at flight options for a couple of weeks I finally found an awesome fare. And I’m even flying direct on the way home.

Booking the flight was a whole different story. I’ve decided the AirFrance website is officially a fiasco. Not my first choice of carriers but at least this way I can start to collect some miles. If only I could have logged in to my existing account. After several failed attempts I was told I had to call the 800 number. So I tried. 4 times as a matter of fact. But the line didn’t play nice with Skype. And my french cell phone wouldn’t work with a US based 800 number. And since the cheap fare was on the US site I had to call the US hotline not the one in France. So…I ultimately ended up booking the flight without accessing my account and I will have to try to call again tomorrow.

But it gets better. I wanted to book my flight through Detroit. At least that way I was minimizing extra flying time. But that was a frequent flyer member special. So while I was able to see the price because my computer was recognized by website – I wasn’t actually able to book that flight. So now…Delta…Salt Lake City…in the middle of January … keep your fingers crossed…maybe they will take pity and allow me to change my flight over the phone tomorrow. But that would take a rather large miracle.

Grr. Just Grr. That was probably one of the most frustrating hours I’ve ever spent. Oh well. California I’ll see you in December.

Belle Bordeaux

Clearly, I have made it to Bordeaux!! But, I’ve been a bit too jet-lagged to write coherently.

After a stressful fight with AirFrance in Paris – apparently the automated system is great until you have something like a large, heavy bag that doesn’t work fit within the system – and another visit by the flying panties – I finally made it to Bordeaux. I spent my first night at a quaint, small and very European Best Western at le Gare St. Jean, Bordeaux’s primary train station. Apparently, this is one of the city’s rougher neighborhoods – but I wasn’t concerned for my safety at all. It was a bit like being in a baby-SF Mission. Or maybe just downtown SJ after a Sharks game. I would love to say I saw a ton of cool things and explored the neighborhood in detail but I will confess despite an hour plus long walk, I don’t remember much.

The next morning I conquered the tram and made my way to the city’s Chartrons district and my new flat. My lovely landlady drove me back to the hotel in her Twingo where we actually managed to stuff all of my luggage into the back of her car and make our way back. And the lovely staff at the hotel actually allowed me to check out early. Unfortunately, I wasn’t expecting such a precipitous move and in the process of frantically re-stuffing my bags I missed one of my hairbrushes. But that was my only loss – and I really can’t complain. Particularly as my favorite hairbrush made it.

That afternoon I unpacked and started an initial shopping list. So I set out to master the local supermarche (a bit like a Walmart on crack). However, I have to confess I was completely overwhelmed. It took me 20 minutes just to find the milk and the eggs. So I grabbed basic essentials (toilet paper, milk, eggs, cheese and bread) and a few items for the flat (Swiffer, hangers, etc) and made my way back. I spent the rest of my evening getting organized and trying to stay awake.

Yesterday I began running errands in earnest and explored my new neighborhood. I picked up my first piece of mail – a package for my birthday sent from London, made an appointment at the bank to open a new account, and found a place to make copies. I also made my way back to the supermarche for a more in depth exploration and more essentials. Now at least I have ziplock bags, trash bags and some real food.

And last night, in honor of my upcoming birthday, my landlady invited me to a dinner party with her friends. I learned that my French is coming along better than I thought, but I have a hard time understanding conversations when more than one person speaks at the same time. Also, to state the obvious, French people speak very fast. 😉 But all in all it was a lovely (if very late – I went to bed about 2 am) evening. And there was even cake!

I’ve had a lazy morning but am getting ready to head to centre-ville (city center), camera in tow, to find the Apple store, a cell phone provider and go exploring. My one major communication fail with my landlady has been about connecting my time machine to the wireless router or modem. So far we haven’t made it past “but we have wifi.” Hence the hunt for the apple store – I will just manually back up my computers for the time being. Plus I don’t want to impose too much as the wifi is centered in her apartment. And I would like to feel connected again.

A plus tard!