A Trip Deferred

If years ago you would have told me that I would travel to 24 other countries before visiting France, I would have been dubious, not just of the overall number, but of the sequence. Somehow, however, that’s how things have worked out, and now this is country number 25, and my fifth new country to visit in 2018, which is a personal record.

Yes, I’ve had plenty of transfers in Paris, and my reports of Charles de Gaulle airport have ranged from Calcutta-terrible to outright decent. Because of delays and missed connections I’ve spent more hours there than intended, but on none of those occasions did I have a meal outside of the airport, so none counts as a visit to France.

This one will be different. This time I fully intend to leave the airport.

This isn’t the first time I have tried to make this journey. I previously had this trip planned for February of 2016, but because of scheduling conflicts I was asked to move my vacation. The new schedule wasn’t amenable to a cheap fare to Paris, which is how I ended up on that glorious trip to Turkey. I have absolutely no regrets about how that time was spent.

This trip began yesterday with a positioning flight and overnight stay in New York, which is a fitting first leg, because that’s how the trip to Turkey started as well. I woke this morning under blue skies streaked with clouds to the expanse of the City around me and Bryant Park below.

As is my Saturday morning practice, I hurried down Broadway to the Union Square Greenmarket, where I examined the fruits of the fall season. There were grandiose squash in motley shapes and autumnal shades of orange and yellow and green and blue-grey.

And there I found glorious pears and apples in varieties you can’t find in the neighborhood supermarket. I even bought some for Thanksgiving, which will be just a few days around the corner when I finally return home.

Ooh … these French Breakfast Radishes were tempting, and fitting, but I didn’t need them.

The rest of my day involved laundry and relaxation in preparation for my flight.

So here I am now, in the sky somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on an Air France flight to Paris. I’m on an A380, the world’s largest passenger jet. I wanted to fly this plane because it’s an incredible aircraft, and frankly from everything I’ve read it’s a failing model that I suspect isn’t long for the skies.

Upon boarding, I found confirmation of the reviews I had read about the Air France interior: it is out of date. Seriously, it’s 2018 and my seat doesn’t even have a power port (this is a major failing even for economy seating). Still, this is just a minor annoyance.

The food in economy isn’t bad. That’s chicken with a red pepper sherry sauce. And there in the right lower corner is applesauce fruit compote.

Yes the menu describes it as fruit compote.

Anyway, my friends, Butterblogger is finally on his way to France and on some level he’s even a bit intimidated. You see, he doesn’t speak French, and we all know what they say about how the French treat American tourists (it isn’t good). But he’s going anyway, and he fully intends to make the best of it. However it turns out, I hope you’ll join me for the next week, because I expect it will be unforgettable.

So what happens to a trip deferred? Well, in this case, I go on it in November two and a half years later. And I simply can’t wait.

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