Swapping Homes Anybody?


Monday, August 22, 2011

The last repas

Only in the last few days did we learn that there were places of interest in the immediate vicinity of our little town; e.g., St.Germain-en-Laye, situated close to the Carrefour we used to shop at, had a lovely castle.We never knew. Plus the only open restaurant on a Monday night in August which also was a holiday: Assumption Day. We had a friend visit us whom I hadn’t seen in 13 years. What a reunion! A lot to catch up on including the introduction of a new husband.
The next night we drove around Medan, a neighboring village, looking for the house where Emile Zola lived. In addition, we were rewarded with a beautiful meal for less than what we were used to paying in the city. Quite en famille and next to a volière. Our home exchange partner had only divulged this info in the last few days. I guess everybody visiting the Hotel de Paris would have preferred to go downtown to Paris anyway. The chance of a lifetime. There is so much to see. Weeks aren’t enough, just to scratch the surface.
Then it was time to pack our menagerie of 6 Big Berthas again. Half of my clothes I didn’t use due to the weather. We don’t travel lightly, but the tool kit we brought was used twice, once in each house. The superglue came in handy and we used the coated wire to fix the dishwasher.
The pre-ordered taxi arrived on time. We had to make sure it would hold all our stuff. Price ca. 90-95 EUR. That was exactly what my in-laws paid coming from the airport. But the logic of same distance didn't hold. We were charged EUR 125.Pourqui? Mais oui, the taxometer was showing 125. Aha?!Maybe the man had fallen on hard times or saw that we we're business travelers. I didn't argue in my weak French. Then they normally refuse to help you unload or even drive off with your stuff.
The flight home went with Air France although we had booked Delta as usual. I much prefer the new aircraft Air France provided, a Boeing 777-200ER; more leg room, wide seats and the fact that the seats went back almost horizontal. My first time on a flatbed. In the last delta Sky magazine I had read about Delta’s investment of 22 millions into flatbeds. Hubby actually had the good fortune to avail of one on his short trip to San Francisco. It makes all the difference.
Food wise, however, I was rather disappointing. Where was the famous French cuisine? Delta’s menu and wine list won hands down. We made it back to the States without any hiccups. For once, my fingerprints matched on entering the States. We had problems there before. Our car that was parked at a friend’s house closer to the airport needed a new battery. That’s an obstacle you can do without after a long tiring day.
The trip has come to an end. Still hoping to get that NPR interview with Melissa Ross that had to be postponed due to bad phone lines from France.
What questions is she likely to ask?
What questions do you have for me?
What am I going to do about my dissatisfaction with the last exchange, however?

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