Hi Everybody!!! And greetings from….HOME!!! I’m back in my “office” of the dining room table.
Back in my “office”. Luckily Bonaparte is busy with his work because when he sees this mess he’ll be back speaking in French. And not telling me how much he loves me either!
The skies are sunny for now and I’m listening to one of the CD’s I picked up on the trip. Daniel Balavoine. One of my favorite French singers (I’ll be writing about the goodies I bought in a separate post!).
Balavoine. R.I.P. He was great–and I have lots of new music!!! I’ll be writing about it!
We arrived back in PA at about 9:30 last night. No traffic on the NJ Turnpike, the Belt Parkway was, with the exception, near JFK airport, empty, which is rare. Most of the unpacking was completed upon our return but our bodies conked out after a short while and we ended up with a solid night’s sleep. I think my favorite part of returning from any trip is sleeping in your own bed.
I look like an unmade bed today. It’s because I just wanted to finish unpacking, upload a ton of photos and start writing. No makeup–actually makeup left over from yesterday morning before we left for home. Look at my roots–what a disgrace. I’ll look better tomorrow!
But-I don’t want to tell too much about our return home because I’m just gonna start this post off at the beginning of the trip. OK?
I will say that the vacation had a major twist. We didn’t get to see everything we had planned on due to a Lartigue family event. I also had the news of one of my son’s moving at month’s end to L.A.
And, as usual the trip proved to be great and bittersweet at the same time.
Aww—let me just copy my Journal entries. OK? Hope you enjoy. I’ll tell you, I’m thrilled to be back at this laptop that I curse because I’m just so happy to be writing. Here goes it:
June 16, 2017
Another June. Another trip to France.
Earlier this month, Vincent’s (I’m writing Bonaparte’s given name, Vincent, in these posts-sorry for the confusion, but that’s how I journaled) dad, Dany, suffered a broken hip from a fall. He had surgery and, at 96 years, his recovery has been slow and not going to well. He’s out of the hospital and back into his residence—and even though he is ailing, we’ll be able to visit him in St. Tropez!
Someone doesn’t want us to go. Out of hiding Chippy. You’ll be on vacation from us!
Chippy is with the vet. Bags are packed in the car and we are off to JFK.
On our way to J.F.K.!
My sister will be picking our car up at JFK tomorrow and bringing it back to her home for the time we’re away. Timing proves to be everything as she and her family return from their vacation in the Caribbean tomorrow to the same airport and same terminal. Rather than an Uber, they’ll pick our car up!
This is how my sister and I communicate. Instead of calling her and explaining where the car was, I sent photos and text messages. Not a bad idea–huh? We left the keys in the car and the door unlocked. It’s safe. Read about the security at JFK in the post and have a laugh at the irony!
Yeah. We hit no traffic as we drove to the airport. We drove early because traffic is just so unpredictable—especially on the Belt Parkway!
JFK is crazy crowded. Compared to our trip to Paris last November when the airport was virtually empty, it is now a zoo of New Yorkers and Tri-State residents (like you-know-who), who are stepping hurriedly and lively while the tourists from other walks of the USA and world-wide are inching by at a snail’s pace looking totally confused and like deer in the headlights.
The lines to get to the TSA are ridiculously long and a woman standing behind Vincent and me strikes up a conversation. She has an accent and I find out she is going back to Austria to visit her family, who she hasn’t seen in 5 years. We talk and find out that we both live in the Philadelphia area. She, like us, refuse to take flights to Europe from Philly. The price airlines charge from Philly is sinful. The price to fly out of JFK is half of what it costs from where we live. And trust me, the way the airlines treat people these days, we should be getting discounts!
My travel ensemble. I’m very surprised the jeans still fit–albiet a little tighter around the ass, thighs and belly. The diet starts tomorrow! BTW, I was ready to take most of these items off for the folks at the TSA but everything stayed on.
There is no security here at JFK. I’m not kidding. I always jump at the opportunity to disrobe for the TSA no matter what airport I’m in. Perhaps I was a stripper or burlesque queen in a past life! Just as I was ready to take my sneakers off, I heard a loud voice yelling. “KEEP THE SNEAKERS ON!!!”.
So, then I decided to take my scarf, actually, my lady bib off and heard the same voice—but this time with even more of a demanding loudness “KEEP EVERYTHING ON. ON!!!!!!”
The watch, bracelet, earrings and wig all stayed put. Cell phone in purse as I walked through the arbor of security. Nothing beeped.
I must admit, I was now feeling both pissed off and mighty confused and concerned. I had shit in my bag that should have been confiscated. Hair stuff that I forgot to pack in my suitcase that was checked in and randomly stuffed into my purse. OK?
There were no trays for change or little items. I later spotted the trays in a huge bile. A Tower of Babel of security trays if you will at the exit of the security lines.
WTF? I was no convinced that our plane would be lost somewhere over the Atlantic and the sharks would feed well off the grilled human remains that would drop into ocean like manna from heaven!
Everyone looked suspicious to me. I caught a glance of myself in a mirror and even I looked suspicious!
Something else needs to be clarified here. I’ve been reading and watching on the news about so many Americans being afraid to travel overseas and remaining in the States for “staycations”. Really? If that’s the case then why is it that this International terminal, with surrounding gates having flights to Italy, Paris and other parts of Europe are jammed packed with mostly Americans? Americans who are traveling out of the country? It’s a great sight to see because it proves that we aren’t afraid to travel! Yay US!!!
At 5:15 PM, the skies are still bright and sunny and surprisingly, contrary to the rain always delaying any flight I am on, there is no change of precipitation. So why then are we not getting ready to board our plane—which isn’t even at the gate yet?
There is a lull in the terminal. Two other flights to Paris have left. The flight to Italy is gone. And a flight to China has just taken off.
Our flight has been delayed. There is no explanation for this. We should have been airborne at 6:40 PM. It’s now after seven thirty. I’m getting a bit cranky. Perhaps we will be boarding the plane some time before Air France decides to go on another strike.
A family of four adults is standing about five feet in front of us. They are bitching and complaining that their water bottles are leaking. From the looks of it, these are water bottles they took from home. I can tell. And I’m shaking my head that the lack of security here should have taken those bottles away. What if the bottles are holding liquid bomb stuff?
Vincent is giving me “that look” because he knows what I’m thinking. He also knows that I’m hungry and cranky. I just wanna get on the damned plane that still has not arrived.
It’s 8:30 PM. I’m thinking how many birds would it take if they formed a flying carpet of sorts and flew me to France. I could explain to the little flying rodents that they would be able to scavenge better crumbs in the land of snails and frog’s legs.
The only people in the terminal are the more than 500 who will be on our flight. Seating is limited. There is no place to charge my phone. I am realizing that when the plane does arrive, it’ll take forever to embark due to the number of travelers.
I HAD to take this photo because of the man bun. I’m telling you this much. France is the man bun capital of the world. I regret not taking photos of all the man buns I saw.
You know what? I like my flights empty and my wine glass full. Just sayin’.
Our plane finally arrived. Our two-hour delay has turned into a four-hour one.
Finally. Our plane arrived. The only people not cranky were the guys loading the luggage. They were thrilled thinking about the OT they would be receiving on payday!
The flight, thankfully, was uneventful. The only thing on my mind at this point was if we would be further delayed and miss our flight from Paris to Nice.
Saturday, June 17th
Well—we arrived in Paris only to spend an hour on the tarmac while our terminal location was changed.
My guess is that we’ll miss our connection flight. The one Vincent assured me we would never miss because we had plenty of time in between flights.
People are freaking out because they’ve missed connecting flights to other parts and there is no explanation nor offers of assistance for them. I’m a bit put off by this because the flight attendants on Air France are some of the most congenial, most pleasant and efficient attendants I’ve ever had the pleasure of assisting me. I’m guessing they haven’t received any information from the powers-that-be.
It is now almost noon. Paris time. Our flight to Nice is 2:30 PM.
But—we still must go through customs. Get our baggage. Recheck our baggage and get back through security. I am convinced we will miss our flight.
As we approach the customs line it dawns on both of us that we will be spending at least an hour-and-a half on this never-ending snake of humanity. There are two—two—border police in booths. Vincent, being adept at the “French Line Cut” grabbed me and motioned for me to follow him. We scurried over to the European customs line—the one for those with European passports. Then when we were at a good close distance, he whispered to me to “look surprised that I got on the wrong line”. I did. And was able to cut ahead without people being angry at me.
The wait was cut down to an hour. We had an hour-and a half until our flight to Nice.
Luckily,because of the time spent at Customs our luggage arrived at baggage claim before we did.
We lugged our stuff onto the tram to bring us to the terminal where the flights to Nice arrive and depart.
I do believe that St. Christopher was watching over us at this point—either that or he took pity on Vincent, who had to deal with my mini-meltdown in the middle of CDG airport.
You’re still my travel saint, Christopher. Doesn’t matter to me about the Church taking your status away. You’re a saint to me!
Surprisingly, check in was a chinch and the lines at Security were non-existent. Then I realized it was lunch time in France!
At 1:30 PM, we were at the gate with an hour to spend before our flight. I found a seat to charge my phone, there was plenty of room to sit and relax, and we received news that the flight to Nice would be delayed! But only by a half hour.
Time to relax a bit before leaving for Nice!
Our seats were great. Plenty of room because we were by the emergency exit. Just my luck a man with gross feet had to end up sitting next to me. I spent the one-hour flight making sure his filthy manfeet didn’t come anywhere near me!
You know me. You know that I have a thing about feet. Especially manfeet. Look at his big toenail. I spent the entire flight focusing on this guy’s feet!
As we did make the descent, Bonaparte was kind enough to snap some photos for me!
And while I was focusing on manfeet, Bonaparte was concerned about “all the clouds in the sky”. Yeah. He thought THIS was too cloudy!
OK. Ready to get the Alps-Maritime out of sight…
…and the first sight of the Cote d’Azur!
..and a second view!
Landed and baggage collected it was time to get the car. And as we were in the car, air conditioning on, my favorite radio station Nostalgie on full blast, we were ready to exit the airport and begin our vacation 2017!
But—just as we were making our exit, Vincent needed to check something. He wanted to make sure the car was diesel rather than petrol. Diesel is far less expensive. Guess what? Back to the Hertz car rental to change the car!
This time the exit from the airport is for reals!
Baggage out. Baggage in. Again, we were ready to make our exit from the airport!
On Route A-8, we finally had a good laugh about our misadventure to finally make it to France. Stress magically disappeared as we arrived at the apartment.
It’s funny how trivial things make a lasting impression and can give you a sense of “home”. I always know that I’m close to our place in Theoule when I see the “Pepinieres Jacky Rubino” sign. It’s crazy but I almost feel as though I know Jacky Rubino.
I didn’t take a photo of the sign in Theoule, but Jacky Rubino’s name is always such a welcoming sight to me. It reminds me we are really on vacation!
To some familiarity may breed contempt but to me it breeds a feeling of belonging and comfort!
The apartment looked the same with one change. Where a huge palm tree grew on a neighboring terrace, blocking the view of the sea, the view was now in full swing. The tree was cut down making the vista more spectacular and larger than ever.
Turning the key to enter into our familiar place always brings a smile…
…the view from the terrace never fails to bring a smile to our faces…
..and the view got better with the cutting of the overgrown palm tree…
Someone was freaking out because of the cloudy sky. Are you kidding me?
The plants on the terrace have been well-maintained..
…and add a pretty touch.
With no time to waste, we dropped the luggage off and headed to our happy place, Geant Hypermarche!
OK. Back out of the apartment and on the way to do some grocery shopping!
It didn’t matter that the market was jammed packed with shoppers. We were drooling over the produce and French groceries. And our dinner consisted of a roti chicken. Smaller than the ones sold here but packed with flavor. Cheese. Olives. Other staples we would need for our stay added up to $128 euros—which is a great price for quite a lot of stuff!
I swear to you, if we lived here, every single staff member of Geant would know me by name as would I theirs! I am obsessed with this hypermarche!
…and this isn’t even the GOOD cheese the marche sells!!!
This is the deli section folks. The DELI section. Look at the sausage and pates and good stuff. It’s no wonder I gained weight!
Our first dinner was spent overlooking the sea. It was as smooth as glass and was just the medication I needed to bring calm and comfort to me and to destress.
The view during dinner. Luckily the clouds disappeared!
It was even more comforting to go to sleep with the doors to the terrace opened and listening to the concert given by the cicadas, frogs, owls and doves. They were welcoming us back!
To be continued….
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Here’s one of my favorite Daniel Balavoine songs for you to listen to: “L’Aziza”