Pre-WVUV-2005 001

[Dr. Valérie Lastinger, happy to have a French-fast-food-crepe-lunch near the Montparnasse Train Station in Paris.]
One special element of our trip this year:  pretty much every stage of the voyage was marked by a special little problem.  First, we left Morgantown in plenty of time to catch our plane last Friday evening.  But..., we ran into one of the slowest and longest traffic jams I've ever seen in our part of the USA.  We ended up leaving the Interstate and take to the back roads across southwestern PA, fearing every minute that we would now barely make our flight to Newark, NJ.  We arrived at the Pittsburgh airport just in time to catch our flight.  But..., we learned there that Newark was closed to incoming traffic and that all flight were delayed by 2-3 hours.  We were not late at all, but we were three hours early!  But..., that's for our flight, which now had little or no chance of taking that flight and being on time for our connection from Newark to Paris.  But..., the flight before ours, now delayed, had that chance.  Continental Air gave us standby status for that flight.  And..., we missed being on it by just two or three spots.  But..., as the storm cleared from Newark, flights were being loaded a bit earlier than foreseen.  Now they were telling us that we could easily make our connection in Newark if all worked out just right.  We boarded the plane happy at last to be in the air ... NOT!  We boarded in plenty of time to make a quick change in Newark, but then we waited on the tarmac for what seemed an eternity.  We were set, again, to miss our connection.  We finally took off, but all seemed lost.  We flew quick and got to Newark just in time to hear the last call for our flight to Paris.  WE RAN.  WE RAN.  WE MADE IT -- but our baggage DID NOT.  After a standard flight, we waited and waited for our baggage in Paris.  Now we were set to miss our train to Les Sables d'Olonne where our lodgings awaited us.   After officially registering the lost of our baggage, WE RAN again, this time to make the train to Paris where we'd make the connection to Les Sables.  Once in the station, only one ticket window was open, and the line ran all across northern France.  There we ticket machines available, but the lines there were long, too.  Finally, and after one or two attempts that refused our credit cards, we had tickets to Paris.  In the end we did catch our train, but just barely.  Needless to say there were other delays in Nantes on the way, but we did finally make to Les Sables.  There we had everything all set, but, but, but...  The main problem we met there was the phone in our apartment, which we had arranged in advance to have on line upon our arrival -- well NOT.  In fact the account was indeed working, but the lines to our apartment were down.  France Telecom identified the problem and was ready to come to our aid, BUT we arrived on Saturday.  Everything's closed on Sunday.  Monday is always heck for service, so they offered us an appointment on Tuesday.  Fine, BUT we had to be in Angers on Tuesday to meet with faculty from the University of Angers and the Catholic University of Angers.  The phone would have to wait until our return in Thursday.  As for the baggage, same story.  Delivery on Sunday and Monday wouldn't work.  They'd be here on Tuesday, too.  We did give them the address of our uncle and aunt in Les Sables.  Our baggage did arrive, but we were gone and still living on emergency laundry every day... As it turns out, today Thursday May 26, 2005 we do have our baggage and we do finally have our phone.  That's how you'll get these pages if by chance no other problems occur between now and the time I get them ready....




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This page last updated on 2005-05-26 1:19:47 PM.