I would really like to say the trip has been a blast so far. And it has been exciting, but for the wrong reasons. Missing out on Dublin was really sad, especially since we were supposed to meet a friend and enjoy a private VIP tour of the Guinness brewery. But, we went with the flow pretty well. What choice did we have but to look forward to extending our time in Paris? All seemed ok until we arrived in CDG airport and Josh’s luggage arrived, but mine did not. I filed a claim with Air France but realized that the bag could be missing forever. I don’t have a bunch of grungy clothes in there. Before we left, I condensed my most important possessions into a single backpack. That’s the stuff that went missing: A lot of irreplaceable and expensive items I needed. I don’t buy insurance, and even if I did I don’t think I could have faced having to deal with the claim process.
In addition to the stress I experienced over the baggage, I had some problematic loose ends at home. My landlord evaded me, and might not pay back our security deposit. The anger over that plus the fear over my lost luggage pushed me to the breaking point. I felt like crying most of the time and wore sunglasses all day to hide my eyes. Every step and every breath was difficult. There was a cannonball in my stomach. It was rough—the two things that helped hold my delicate person together were Paris’s great food and Josh. Without one or the other I think I would have had a breakdown. Paris is not my favorite city, there is no good beer here, and I do not do well under circumstances in which I have no control.
So yes, it’s been a blast but a stressful one. Now that I have my bags back, losing the $575 of security deposit doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Funny how that works!
Here are some highlights of the trip so far:
1. Air France. We were supposed to fly Lingus. They botched an otherwise simple delay, as Josh mentioned in his blog post. Rerouting us on Air France gave us two meals as well as old-fashioned airline customer service almost unheard of in this day and age including smiles and a creature comfort bag with useful items like eye mask and earplugs.
2. Air France. When I lost my luggage, the baggage inquiries department handled the case quickly and with intelligent customer service. They explained everything clearly and I barely needed to ask any questions. They even offered a conciliatory toiletries set with some overnight essentials. My luggage was returned to me, delivered to the hotel.
3. Our hotel, Villa Montparnasse. A low-key but classy establishment to be had for about 90 euro when booked through Venere or Priceline.
4. Our neighborhood. The area surrounding Denfert/Rocherot in the 14th Arr. is one of the coolest I’ve walked through in Paris. Full of old world charm and few tourists.
5. The food. Thankfully, my dad has lived in Paris and is a foodie. We had great recommendations, the best of which for me was the Laotian restaurant (there are many; ask if you are interested).