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Montréal 27 June 2016


1472 : 969

We can walk home from here

The jackhammer started promptly at 7:30, but we were ready to be up. A little breakfast and final packing took us an hour and a half, and then it was 9. The plan was to catch the 10:08 RER B to CDG (Airport Charles DeGaulle) but by 9:15 it was down to, Would we rather be here (with uncomfortable chairs and the jackhammer) or in the Air Canada First Class lounge?

Not far in the back of my mind was the interruption in service we experienced on our way home from St-Germain on Saturday. THAT we did not want to happen. “A train in the hand,” said I, and Rochelle said Yes. 


1473 : 964
<p>Of course the train ran fine;...

Of course the train ran fine; we found Air Canada and they were open; they were very helpful in checking us in and sending us to the lounge. By way of whatever the French call their Transportation Safety Authority, a real working out of liberté, egalité, and fraternité: everyone gets abused and insulted! One of the unavoidable costs of travel by air these days. But this too will pass…

… and then there we in a quiet, comfortable, understated (compared to Turkish Air's Istanbul place) lounge, with wifi, herb tea, cute little chocolates, and three hours to wait.

1474 : 962

Our flight got called earlier even than expected, and we were all boarded and tucked in 15 minutes before scheduled wheels-up … and we were wheels up five minutes after schedule. Comfortable digs, and a much more interesting in-flight computer. We're out over the Atlantic as I write, so the views aren't very interesting, but from CDG to the coast of France over Brest was. Rather than a downward pointed camera, like Turkish Airlines (very cool when taxiing) this is a cloudless daytime earth view from a virtual 30,000 feet.

1475 : 959

The view from 3,200 feet on the way up from CDG.

We're in row 1, and so the Director of Services, a lovely middle aged career stew, takes solicitous care of us, expresses interest in us ... and later, when my chair eats my glasses, this stands us in good stead.

 


1476 : 957

The French coast above Brest. From here until Nova Scotia, it's blue (cloud-covered) ocean.

 

 

They take good care of us here in business class: drinks before take-off, a water bottle for later, nuts and more drinks after take-off, the lunch:


1477 : 955

For me, the entrée of foie gras isn't too attractive, but the tiny salad with a tinier bottle of balsamic vinaigrette is. The main is good quality airline food (which isn't saying much in terms of the last seven weeks!), a half guinea fowl in what a French chef would call “basquaise”, tomato, pepper, onion, and oil. Cheese for dessert with a nice little glass of Dow's Port. A snack is promised before we land.

1478 : 943

We're flying a route that loops south, presumably to get around weather in the North Atlantic. At this point, we're just about crossing the mid-Atlantic ridge, 2,127 kilometers from CDG and with 3,644 kilometers to go, aiming for landfall just north of St John's on our way into YUL, Montréal's Trudeau Airport.

After lunch, Rochelle rests in her horizontal bed; I actually nap a little. When I awaken and roll over to sit up, I hear a clunk, look around, see nothing, think nothing of it.


1479 : 939

. Half an hour later, when I want to read, I realize my glasses are missing. I heard the clunk on the outside of my chair. I crawl around on the floor, get out my flashlight, look under the chair as far as I can. One of the attendants and our friend the Director take over the search. All of us come up empty. "Don't worry," she says, "this happens all the time, usually with phones. The mechanic guys will find them. There's only one place they can be: in my chair (unless, of course, they've fallen right through 35,000 feet of air and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic.)

Reassured – either they're gone or they're not – I stop worrying, and get out my spare pair.

1480 : 935

An hour and a half before we're scheduled to land, we raise the Canadian coast, and awhile later, half an hour out, we start our gentle descent. The pilot comes straight in from the east, makes a smooth landing, and a few minutes later, we're submitted to the tender, but not terribly efficient, ministries of the Canadian Border Services. Eventually, they let us in. Enough said.


1481 : 933
<p>AC885 on the ground at YUL</p>

AC885 on the ground at YUL

Today's a day of brisk transition. Beyond the 5,800 odd kilometers of translation (and going from a francophone land to one that's at least ambiguously anglophone) we're having a 7 hour flight on a 29 hour day, counting from midnight last night in Paris to midnight tonight in (presumably) Montréal. Tomorrow will be a 27 hour day with a five hour flight. The old circadian rhythms don't appreciate that kind of loose time-keeping … but I'm curious to see how much it helps to have the layover in the middle. As I write this, it's 1:06am Paris time, 7:06pm here. G'night.

Tomorrow begins for us at 5:15am.

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