Monday, August 25, 2008

Back in New York City

Sunday began very early for me. I suspect that I may have contracted a touch of food poisoning. Let's just say that I spent the majority of the night doing something other than sleeping. Eventually I got to sleep somewhere between 4:30AM and 5:00AM and slept until about 9:00AM.

I blame the crappy jambon cru sandwich I'd had the previous day. Something was not right about that sandwich.

It was raining in the garden outside our room when we woke up. We had breakfast downstairs at the hotel and even the yogurt and muesli wasn't ready to sit with me. We went back up to the room after breakfast. I left before Jen so I could lie down and watch the Olympic basketball gold medal match. Jen came in very quickly after an awkward fight in the dining room between a couple at breakfast.

Our plans of touring Les Invalides were scrapped as we stayed in our room just about until it was time to check out. By that point I was feeling a little better but not quite ready to eat anything that wasn't bread or crackers.

After checking out late and watching the French handball team win the gold medal we headed out and walked down the Champs-Élysées. It actually rained on that last day in Paris after being told it would rain our entire trip and being a liar every time.

We were having lunch with Jen's old host family when she lived in Paris. Jen had really been looking forward to seeing her old host family who she's talked about a lot over the years. I was looking forward to meeting them and enjoying some of their famous cooking. Unfortunately I was not nearly well enough to do anything but try little samples of everything. It might have been one of my favorite meals we'd had if it hadn't for feeling ill.

They started out with various olives and crackers. The first course was a great smoked salmon mousse with a great simple salad. Jen had always said that her host mother made amazing salad dressing and she was right. Next we had duck confit with little hash browned potatoes. Then a cheese course and finally a chocolate gateau with some sort of Spanish cream (similar to Creme Anglaise). We finished with coffee and tea and, sadly, had to be on our way.

We picked up the cab back at the hotel and I slept most of the ride to Charles de Gaulle. When we got there we realized the cab driver had dropped us off at the wrong gate so we had to drag our luggage across to the other terminal and then take a shuttle to the gate. I had the privilege of then being put through secondary screening which meant I had to delicately unpack my entire carryon bag which had been very neatly assembled as to fit the tremendous amount of merchandise I was carrying back.

After that it was still a while before our flight so we snacked on something called Chipsters, which were not very good, and waited to board the plane.

Once we reached cruising altitude we were able to use the in-seat TVs to watch mediocre American television. The highlight was a recent episode of The Simpsons.

We were served a strange dinner. The goat cheese and tomato crumble was a little odd but it was all right. It also had some really thick nectar-like juice which had orange, carrot, and maybe apricot in it. It was strange but I felt like I could use the sugar. The main course was pretty tasty, just grilled chicken, rice, carrots and broccoli. Probably another thing I needed to keep my stomach at bay.

After dinner I fell asleep and made up some of the lost sleep from the night before. I woke up in the middle of the night to discover Jen playing Mahjong on the games section of the seatback TV. I hadn't thought of Mahjong as being her cup of tea so I got excited and found out that she had taught herself to play.

Then, of course, I started my own game, and that pretty much occupied the rest of the flight.

We landed at JFK and, after an excruciating wait at the baggage carousel -- where they appeared to dispense approximately three bags every five minutes -- we caught a cab back home. One of the cabbies and one of the women directing the taxi line got into a big fight while we waited and we knew it was good to be back home.

We got home and immediately went to sleep. We didn't really even open any of our baggage, just straight to bed. When we woke up this morning we unpacked our spoils to appreciate their majesty.

As we finish up our laundry and look back at the week we are happy to be home and extremely grateful we had the opportunity to take this trip. Luckily we we seem to have avoided any serious jet lag at least of the sleep variety. We do appear to be suffering from stomach jet lag though as both of us were starving at 10:00AM this morning for dinner which, at 4:00PM would have ended up being our afternoon snack.

This evening we may even have dinner in the neighborhood of 6:30PM. Just don't tell any of our Parisien friends we did.

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