Travel Journal
Ah yes your dear little bunni has returned and she has many many stories. So many stories that I am going to have to pace myself telling them all. So let's get started, shall we?
The All American Send Off
The night before I leave my friends all take me out for drinks. Everything is set. I've managed to put everything into one carry on bag: my black cocktail dress, my favorite green bebe skirt, all of my make up, my purple gap lounge wear/pjs, my mother's digital camera. I don't have to be up until eleven or so. My friends take me to a favorite Irish bar for early evening bloody marys. The bouncer, a former Dallas cowboy, tells me stories about Paris ( some cafe where everyone is an aspiring model, an art gallery by the Louvre where the owner was a big fan) while he flirts with me. We end up ordering wings to be delivered. We sit at the bar with Miller Lite, atomic wings, and a former professional football player. I stumble home at about eleven o clock ( we started at six) happily drunken thinking that it was a perfect send off from the US.
Because If You Must Fuck Up
I have often joked that the Jews should be the best travelers in the world, because we've been kicked out of every fucking country. You want a group that knows how to get their shit and go, we are that group. It's even in Exodus, what would become a paradigmatic event in Jewish history.
I say we SHOULD be, because I have terribly travel anxiety. I'm not sure what I am afraid of, but somehow I get terrified that something awful will happen. My luggage will get lost, my passport will be stolen, I'll end up stranded naked and stripped of my American citizen ship in the middle of place vendome. You know the usual stuff.
So the car comes to pick me up and I psyching myself up. Nothing is going to go wrong. It's going to be smooth. I'm going to be at the airport early. I'll check in. I'll sleep on the plane, and in only a few short hours, I'll be in Paris.
I go to check in at Delta. Let me tell you, the foster children of Satan all work for Delta. (I would give credit to the person who invented the phrase "foster children of Satan" here, but she would rather remain anonymous.) If you are given the choice between donating organs while you are still conscious and flying Delta, I would at least the time to ask which organs would be harvested.
I get through the huge long line sweating fenced in by those ropes. I feel like a cow being herded slowly into the slaughter house. By the time I reach the front, I am hot and sweaty, my hair is frizzed, I no longer look like a sleek world traveler.
I check in, get my boarding pass, and tell them my one bag is a carry on bag. The woman directs me around the corner where one of the security officers takes the bag to examine it for contraband. (One of my favorite displays in Delta is the small glassed in case that says "Did you bring any of these items?" It features, among other things, a full size chainsaw.) And then he puts it on the conveyor belt for checked luggage. I try to get his attention, but by the time I do, the bag is gone. I then spend the next two hours before I get on the plane trying to get my bag back. No one seems to want to help, the guy who chucked the bag is only concerned with it "not being his fault". One person, Mohammed Khan, goes out of his way to help me find the bag. He calls down to baggage claim. They say they have it. I go down there, they have no idea what I'm talking about. They send me back up. Finally, I have accepted the bag is not going to go to Paris. My phone number is on it, so I figure it will get back to me eventually. I go to gate and wait to get on the plane. In the waiting area I see that a young priest and teenage girl with a large stuffed bunny will be boarding the plane. I think "everything is going to be fine."
You are not the jeans you wear
On the plane, I don't sleep. In my bag were the keys to my apartment, my French phrase books, my guide, not to mention my underwear and deodorant. Luckily I have memorized the address and metro route to my hotel. On the plane, I try to tell myself that this is a good thing. A Freudian would say that the act was symbolic. I left behind my old identity. I left behind David's list of the cafes I have to go to ( an overwhelming ten pages of cafes written in indecipherable scrawl), I've lost the Upside Down Ruskie's guide to Paris. My copy of "Twenty Years After" which the UDR insisted I read before I left. I will be arriving in Paris with a passport, 140 dollars in American cash, 2 credit cards, a cd player, 8 cds, a copy of Adam Gopnik's "Paris to the Moon", a marked map of Paris, and four years of high school French I took over a decade ago. I write in my journal. "If I make it in Paris, if I find a lover, if I enjoy myself, it will all be because of me."
A Digression About Atlantis
On the flight to Amsterdam ( I was changing planes), there was a special on, yes, you guessed it, Atlantis. According to the History Channel, Plato was the first to write about Atlantis. Many believe that he invented it to be an allegory.
Transferring Planes
In Amsterdam, I need to transfer planes. I have fifty minutes. On the plane, I think "I'm sure that they wouldn't put me on opposite ends of the airport." Right, right because that would just be too cruel.
Needless to say not only do I have to make it to the opposite end of the airport, but I have to go through passport control AND security again. About two gates away from my plane, I lose my shoe. I don't bother to tie it, I just pick it up and run for the gate.
The people at Air France see me huffing and puffing. The flight has to take off in two minutes, but instead of rushing me on, they insist I breathe and calm down. They seem more disturbed by my rushing than delaying the plane. This is the first cue I have to have different things will be in Paris.
How much French I actually no is completely dispelled when I get into the airport. I can not even understand the ticket kiosks for the metro and have to wait in line to deal with an English speaking ticket seller. I finally get on the RER and immediately an accordion player gets on and starts playing. All of us in the car look at each other and smile. It is a moment without language.
I ride through the French countryside and discover that figuring out the metro quite simple.
Skip to the Good Part
OK, my wrist is getting tired and I want to enjoy the day. I know what you are all wondering, "So Bunni, how long did it take?" Well let me say this, the UDR once told me that if you had two eyes and cunt in Paris you could get laid, this is not completely accurate. If you were blind in both eyes, and your cunt was soldered shut in a freak glue gun accident, and your mouth only worked occasionally or you had a particularly wide aural canal, you could still get laid in Paris.
I leave you with the answer and you awaiting the details: 12 hours. I landed in France at 10:10. I was in Paris by 12:30. By ten o'clock that night, I had a lover. Before I had deodorant, or another pair of panties, or even a glass of red wine.
More to come tomorrow....

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