Sunday, April 18, 2010

Still waiting in SF

After hearing some of the tragic stories of a mother missing her son's wedding, a family with three young children camping out for three days on the airport floor in Berlin, and people spending $700/night at the Frankfurt airport hotel or paying $3,000 for a rental car - and that only after waiting in line for eight hours, our plight is a mere set back. Yet is still seems worth telling.

After hearing that our last Thursday's flight had been canceled, we got on the phone and Air France was able to re-book us on a flight through Toronto for Friday. But The news, however, was not good, and we really didn't want to get stranded in Toronto for days, but we were unable to get through to either Air Canada or Air France to cancel. So Friday morning we got up at the crack of dawn; an overly generous neighbor drove us to the airport at 4:30 am, but were told by Air Canada that we couldn't even go to Toronto. The Toronto airport was jammed, and they didn't want to bring in any more people scheduled for Europe.

So we went home and I began calling Air France to rebook us. Each time I dialed, there was a lengthy recording: for English, push one; to make reservations, push... etc. After getting through the whole thing spiel, the recording said, "Due to high volume, we are unable to process your call at this time. Please call back later." I knew I had to persist, because so many were trying to rebook and the seats would be gone. So for 45 minutes I kept pressing "redial...redial...redial..." each time listening to the spiel and pushing the buttons. Then, OMG, the music started playing and I was IN the system. They didn't hang up! I was on hold with Air France for over 3 hours when a lovely French accented young man came on the line asking if he could help! What's the next plane you can get us on, I asked. Not Saturday, not Sunday, not Monday... "I can get you on the non-stop flight leaving San Francisco on Tuesday, April 20."

"Great, I said."
And we learned that Liliane and Gerard, our French exchange couple, were able to rebook for this Wednesday- ces't perfect, no?

Presently, we are in a state of limbo or suspended animation. Our suitcases remained packed, although we have retrieved our toothbrushes; the refrigerator remains empty; we have been sleeping on the couch so as not to disturb the ironed pillow cases. It's as if we have left, as if we know we shouldn't be here. It might, perhaps, be a bit like those stories of people who have out-of-the-body experiences and are looking down on themselves. I am hyper. I need to leave the house and do things. We went out to lunch on Thursday with friends; we went up to Melisa Hickman's for lunch on Friday; we went to Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay on Saturday; and treated ourselves to a lovely French brunch at Cafe de la Presse with friends, Carolyn and Liz. I am wearing my red beret and listening to Edith Piaf cd's; we rented two films that take place in Paris. All this activity helps me.

Loren, on the other hand, has a different coping mechanism. He is so calm, to the point that periodically, I'll look up and he is asleep with the newspaper in his lap. He woke up yesterday morning and said, "I have no list!" This was a revelation. What does one do when there is no to-do list?

In the meantime, we have been in touch with our friends, Val, Larry, Glorita and Geroncio, who are waiting for us in Paris. Val and Larry went over to our place to meet with Lilian and Gerard and to get the keys. They said the place is beautiful, and located in a great place. There is a small round elevator in the center of the building. (Apparently they put elevators in place of the spiral stairs that many of these old buildings had previously.)
The small outdoor patio is charming, and there is a modern lovely kitchen. The weather in Paris is gorgeous. Larry and Val are planning to cook a French meal for six in our new place the first night we arrive, and Glorita and Geroncia will join us! Beautiful friends, a wonderful home, French food, and sunny skies- what more could we ask for? I just wish we were there to enjoy it. Keep your fingers crossed that flights will be up on Tuesday. If we can't get there on Tuesday, we're not sure what we will do.


Claudine said...

I so hope you get there soon!! And I want photos of that wonderful dinner, of friends, food and scenery dashed with snippets of your wonderful conversations!! xxx Clo

Unknown said...

Keep the faith. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

Regina said...

Am hoping you made it!