Well, here we are at our hotel, which will be our home for the next 7 nights. So far the weather’s not the greatest. Supposed to be rainy today (which is almost over) & tomorrow, then nicer (around 70) after that. We have to be up & on the bus for our excursion tomorrow a.m. at 7:15.
If I seem tired & grouchy, after I explain a few things, you’ll know why. Also, I’m drinking some well-deserved San Miguel beers right now, so bear with me…
We had a really nice room & stay in Seattle at the Red Lion–very close to the airport. Bill & I took a brisk walk after breakfast. It was sunny but cool.
We were told by our fearless Chamber leader to meet everyone in the lobby at 10:45 in order to take the shuttle to the airport. We decided to go down a little bit early, but wouldn’t you know, when we got down there everyone else (except for Carol & Tom) had already left on a previous shuttle. Strange.
So we get on the Air France plane bound for Paris. The plane itself was nice & clean, but it seemed to be made for people under 4′ tall and 85 pounds, with extra short legs. Shall I say it was cramped? By the time we got to Paris all of us were stark raving mad. I thought I’d never get out of that plane. Around 10 hrs. worth of torture. And to quote that kid Wayne S. back in junior high school, I had a terrible case of “T.B.” (Tired Butt) from about the first hour on. Add to that the fact that we were relegated to the very back of the plane near the toilets, which isn’t exactly considered prime real estate. The staff, however, was very nice and accommodating, thank goodness.
We didn’t fly over the North Pole either, as we had previously been told we would. We flew up over Calgary, Edmonton, over the northern boundary of Hudson Bay (I didn’t see any polar bears, as far as I know), over Greenland (where we had a terrible episode of armrest-gripping turbulence), over the southern area of Iceland, Scotland, & then on to Paris. I read that the outside temp. was -85 degrees at one point, though I wasn’t continually looking at the screen the whole trip, so it could have been even colder.
When we finally landed in Paris, I noticed a bunch of large bunnies (I guess they were ‘hares’) scattering in the grass as we taxied by.
After we funneled through Customs in the Charles de Gaulle airport, we were standing & waiting for the rest of the group, when, lo and behold! I saw Viktor Petrenko (& his wife?) walk past right in front of me. I turned to Bill & said, “Isn’t that Viktor Petrenko?” (V.P. is a famous figure skater, for those of you who are out of the loop.) Bill, being Bill, said “Ask him.” And then he proceeded to yell, “Viktor!” & waved, much to my humiliation. Poor Viktor looked back and around, gave Bill a dirty look, & then kept on walking, faster than ever.
OK, so then we get to wherever we’re going to catch the next plane to Spain, and we find out that half the group (which didn’t include us) gets to leave 3 hrs. earlier on the first plane, while the rest of us have to sit around in the crowded airport twiddling our thumbs waiting for the next one. It seems that the people who had chosen not to do the extended trip to Madrid were the ones who were chosen to go early. Does that seem fair to you?? Not to me either. It seems that the people who paid more money should have been given preference. I think I’m going to have to have a serious discussion with our trusty travel agent when we get back home.
We finally got on our plane for the last leg of the trip to Spain (relegated to the very back of the plane, as usual). Upon arrival 2.5 hrs. later at the Malaga Airport (very pretty airport, by the way–I guess it was designed by Picasso or so someone claimed, since Picasso was actually from Malaga & there is a Picasso museum in the city, which I really want to see), Bob, Bill & I proceeded to get separated from the rest of the group. We got lost on the way to finding the bus that would take us to the hotel. Finally, our tour guide (who, by the way is a Scottish lady living in Spain) rounded us up, & we finally made it to the hotel (the Triton), which is right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
I’m trying to hurry up in writing this, since everyone is now congregating for dinner. Gotta go clean up & get going. Will update you all tomorrow night after our Granada excursion!
RED ALERT! Colleen just informed us that they are planning to have a NATIONWIDE STRIKE here (bus drivers, taxi drivers, airplane pilots, tour guides??) on Thursday. Oh boy…
Joe, Colleen, & Dallas at the airport
Bill, John, Bob, & Joe at the CDG Airport
The pool area at the Hotel Triton