I just got home a few hours ago. Cale and I got to the Paris airport at 8:30 AM Paris time on 5/30/05 for his 10:30 AM flight. My flight was scheduled for 12:55 PM. After Cale got checked in, we said our goodbyes and my saga began.

First of all the f*****g idiots that design European airports need to learn that people don’t remember what terminal their flight leaves from, but they do know what airline they fly. This means it is extremely helpful to have the names of the airlines that are in a terminal posted outside of the terminal. Also, on the maps inside the terminal, you should have the checkin locations noted for each airline on the damn map. This is especially true when you have lazy French f***s that don’t man checkin counters all day and you keep people waiting in line outside of the maze of ropes and clogging up the ridiculously long terminals so people can’t walk up and down the ridiculously long terminals looking for the f*****g checkin location that should be on the f*****g map and on signs outside the terminal. Also online checkin is a wonderful thing so you don’t have all of the amateur I’ve-only-flown-once-before people wasting my time in checkin lines. My last point about the efficiency of the Charles DeGaulle airport is that since terminal A and F are only about 150 meters across from each other, you should have clearly marked underground or overhead walkways to connect them rather than routing people to overcrowded buses that are fairly infrequent.

So I finally find my checkin counter where there is no opening in the rope maze for elite members. No problem, the line is fairly short so I get in with the amateurs. A minute later another elite comes up and asks where the elite line is, and they finally open it up. I move to that line and get helped quickly. The lady informs me that the plane coming from Houston is running 4 hours late and the earliest connecting flight from Houston to Portland won’t leave until 5:40 PM Houston time on 5/31/05. No big deal, I can handle that, maybe Dan and Dana will be around and I can see them. Continental gives me a meal voucher which is valid in only one restaurant. Of course the useless f*****g map of the terminal doesn’t have the restaurant names on it, so I’m wandering around trying to find it when I run into two cops that are standing in the congested terminal telling people they can’t pass. No explanation of why. More cops and military show up and start pushing people back from both directions. Apparently someone had left luggage unattended and as a matter of procedure they call in the bomb squad to check it out. This lasted for quite awhile, so I went the other way and through security figuring I’d do some duty free shopping, find a book to read, and find a little something to eat since I didn’t find the restaurant which was supposed to be “right by McDonald’s”.

After I got through security, I walked to my gate and on the way found the f*****g restaurant upstairs past security. The guy could have told me it was past security or at least pointed upstairs. Grrr…I ate some weird cafeteria food and went to my gate for the remaining 6 hour wait.

I settled into a very comfortable seat and chatted with several people while waiting. Pretty soon some more goons with guns started pushing everybody out of the terminal, giving no explanation and causing a lot of confusion for everybody being told to move it or lose it in French and broken English. After waiting around for half an hour for them to let us back to the comfy seats, I said to hell with it and went back out through security to mail my Cuban cigar box to myself. I had two hours before my flight was going to leave, which should be plenty of time.

When I came up from the post office to return to my gate, they had blocked off BOTH sides of the terminal. I sat and waited and found that there was another unattended piece of luggage on the secure side that had caused the problem. Two bomb threats in the same terminal in 3 hours. F*****g tourists should believe the constant barrage of messages that say not to leave your baggage unattended or security will destroy it. I saw the bomb squad come into the terminal, no big deal, just the procedure for this. Half an hour later I hear a whistle and a few seconds later there was a big explosion that was closer than I would have liked. They detonated a charge next to the bag to make sure it wasn’t a bomb. I can’t believe they didn’t evacuate the whole building or at least make an announcement so people didn’t panic.

Anyway, my flight left 5 hours late, but I did sit next to a knockout from Moscow and her husband. I’m pretty sure they were active members of the mile high club, as they left a couple of times for awhile and came back with big smiles on their faces. I had a head cold set in during the plane ride and wished I had a hot Russian girl to take pity on me 🙂

Continental put me up at the Marriott in Houston and said I was on the 9:10 AM flight for 5/31/05, so I didn’t go to see Dan and Dana. When I got to the airport this morning, they said I was still booked for the 5:40 flight, f*****g b***h at baggage, I could have slept in. A really nice guy at the checkin counter worked some magic and got me the last seat on the 9:10 flight, which was upgraded to first class at the gate. It was great to stay in an American hotel with cable TV, A/C, a comfy king sized bed to myself, and best of all, WASHCLOTHS!!!!

I ended up sitting next to a guy that does consulting, speaking, and training for the kind of work I do. He even knew the software that I’ve worked with for the last 2 years. He took my contact info and may give me some leads for work.

I’m so glad to be home and look forward to telling everybody about the trip! I’ll post some more pics sometime today or tonight.

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