On May 4th of 2011, Bill and I embarked on our first international trip together: Italy (Venice, Florence, and Rome). The last thing I posted on Facebook that day was a cryptic allusion to the Hellish plane ride that left us in Paris. And that kicked off four (!) days without Wi-Fi.
May 4, 2011
Traveling with an iPad is awesome. My Kindle books are on here. It can teach me Italian. I suck at air hockey even in non-real life and there’s practically an app for being okay with that. Our neighbor had an iPad signed by Steve Jobs. (She couldn’t bring the prototype 2 along.)
Bill and I did a shit job of sleeping on the plane on the way to France. I’m sure we’ll pay for it later.
And so we learned I cannot handle Oxycodone. I didn’t even know how to spell it when I was composing this draft. What is “oxycoton,” why does it have a place in my vocabulary, and why did it seem like a viable spelling for Oxycodone? I don’t know. Point is, Oxycodone and I were never properly introduced. Until a down and dirty session in the airplane lavatory on the flight into Charles de Gaulle. Make that three down and dirty sessions in the lav, and one down and dirty session (a virgin experience for me!) into my sick bag.
Note I typed to Bill on my iPad because I was too embarrassed by my vomit breath to speak: Maybe we can be cool and get a wheelchair at CDG? I just want to brush my teeth.
Update: We also learned Mayka cannot handle orange juice plus Oxycodone. I don’t think I need to elaborately explain the feeling of helplessness at being sick on an airplane. Of all traveling situations, facing a toilet. Of all toilets, a public toilet. Of all public toilets, an airplane toilet. People want to join the Mile High Club, they do not want to make intimate congress with the lavatory itself.
May 5, 2011
Three cheers, though, for prime sick on a plane conditions: Row next to lavatory? Check. Bobbed hair in no need of a hair tie? Bam. Traveling with beloved who will deal with these things? Fan-tastic-o.
We ended up missing our flight from Paris into Venice. I’m usually all about powering through whatever is ailing me in the name of making non-stop travel memories, but I actually gave up once we got out of the gate. I couldn’t walk a straight line and there was no sense in overestimating my abilities. And so that’s how Bill and I experienced my third international medical facility.
This was my first medical trip to an airport doctor, and lemme tell ya, Charles de Gaulle is THA SHIT for its traveler advocate agents. “Dolly,” the first woman to wheel me around in my super skinny (Americans, beware.) wheelchair, was incredibly thorough explaining to Bill and me how to ensure Air France would not charge us a penalty for visiting “Medical” and rescheduling – In excellent English, of course. I started consciously covering my ring finger because as she advocated for us, she repeatedly referred to us as husband and wife, and I was worried I would squander our chances at getting medical attention with Bill present or rebooking our flights if we revealed that we were merely American boyfriend and girlfriend, solidly living in sin. In hearing my accounts of my nausea, she had a revelation, “Maybe you are pregnant, no?” – Oh, Paris, you and your romance and marriage and baby talk! (FACT: I am not pregnant.)
So Dolly wheeled me through Paris’ belly of a ship-like architecture and I tried to take in as many visual drinks of duty-free Longchamp and itty bitty authentic macarons (Again with the “Americans, beware.”) as possible without excessive whipping around of my head.
After tipping my legs over my head without asking and outing a very French “Whee-ooh!,” the airport doctor blessed me with pills (something for the nausea and something for the acidity in my stomach [which explains why I couldn’t breathe – my throat was constricting in response to the acid producing in my stomach]) and this lil certificate that deemed me unable to fly, thereby giving us clearance to reschedule our flight. Dr. Pascal and I are clearly of kin. In the “light foods” he recommended for getting my stomach back into shape, he listed “bread, toast, pasta…” I hear half of Italy is built on pasta, and 73% of my body consists of carbs. This was the Get Your Groove Back Plan for me.
This entire time, Bill and I were concerned about something Dolly warned us of: that (according to her), there were only two flights out of Paris to Venice per day, and hopefully we wouldn’t be stuck in Paris for one night. Per usual with her agent role, she had to leave us once we entered Medical, so Bill and I were left to hope we’d get as good of a new agent *and* a same-day flight into Venice.
Eventually we were fetched by a new agent, Fanny (These names! I know.), whose charge it was to deliver us from Medical to a hopeful new flight into Venice. Fanny pulled through, too. She approached two different Air France agents, neither of which seemed to want to talk to us, and she did a lot of pointing at our medical certificate and cancelled boarding passes while speaking a lot of Amelie and keeping strong eye contact with the AF representative. (Makes you really wonder about the traditional airline attendant’s desk role. There is no room for sympathy or compassion.) The AF rep capitulated and Fanny handed us two new passes. She was completely nonchalant about it, but by a complete stroke of magic, she secured us two seats on a flight to Venice departing in just an hour. We went through some special end of Security and she dropped us off at our gate. Fanny assured us that she’d be back to walk us onto the plane. I had Bill fetch me a free copy of Madame, which is surprisingly good for an airline magazine, and sipped on some Lipton peach iced tea. Already, I felt worlds better, and for once, I got to pre-board!
And thus we were off to Venice. Couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion or team of agents to help me. You don’t want to know how sad I’d feel to have been sick with a stomach virus and be forced out of the promise of pasta every day. We are currently on the second leg of our trip – in Florence where we have free Wi-Fi – and I think what Bill and I felt is true. If we could get through that before even touching down in our final destination, we can get through anything.
On with the trip!
P.S. YES, I composed this entire post on my iPad! And then downloaded Canon G12 pics using the camera connector kit! I love wired traveling.