Paris 2019


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In a rare turn of events, Tom will be writing the captions for this travelogue. Take it away, Tom!

Sunday, December 1, 2019: I arrived at the airport on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to travel to Paris to meet with a potential new client. My business partner, Scott, met up with me when I was almost through the line to check my bag.

It took a little over 30 minutes to check my bag, get through security, and get to the gate.
This was my first international flight directly from Indianapolis, so I was suprised by the luxurious chairs in the gate area.
An hour later, I was in my Comfort+ seat and browsing the in-flight entertainment. It was a space-themed extravaganza, starting with Hidden Figures ...
... and First Man. Also available were Apollo 13 (one of my favorites), Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but unfortunately it was only going to be a seven-hour flight.
Shortly after take-off, the flight attendants distributed the menu, refreshing hot towels, and bottled water.
That's quite a menu. Let's break it down, shall we?
What's this?! A welcome cocktail? I'll have one of those, ...
... and the shrimp appetizer, ...
... and the four-cheese ravioli, ...
... and the ice cream, of course. I didn't even realize that there were more snacks available in the back of the plane. Nice.

Monday, December 2, 2019: After watching one movie and starting a second, I fell asleep and awoke to see sunrise somewhere over France.
Let's see if we can figure out where we are.
Farmland, flat, no distinguishing features. Hmmm.
That winding river could be the Seine.
If that's true, we might be able to see the Eiffel Tower soon.
Hey, that looks pretty Eiffel Tower-ish.
Welcome to Paris!
At Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, we breezed through immigrations and customs, collected my checked bag, and met up with our Uber. We were headed to the town of Cergy, ...
... specifically, to the Mercure Hotel Cergy Pontoise Center.
Since it was only 10:30 AM, and normal check-in time is 3 PM, we paid €25 each for early check-in. We had a seat in the lounge area while they checked on our rooms.
Twenty minutes later, I was in my room. There was a king-size bed with a single chair for sitting, ...
... a shower room with a sink and vanity, ...
... and a separate toilet room.
There was construction going on across the street. Wait. What's that next to the tall building in the center of the picture?
3M! In France! My father-in-law, Bob, worked for 3M for 30 years.
One of our favorite things about traveling is looking at the entry and exit stamps we get in our passports.
I settled down for a nice long nap to counter the jet-lag, and then met Scott downstairs to head out for dinner around 6 PM.
We walked to the Buffalo Grill, which was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. It was one of the few restaurants that was open at 6 PM. Most restaurants didn't open until much later, and we were starving. It was an interesting mix of American food interpreted by the French. There was a bread basket, popcorn, and a fresh salad with greens, corn, and some creamy dressing.
I didn't remember to take a picture of my entree, but I did remember to take a photo of the excellent beer that helped to make me sleepy. We had a very enjoyable dinner, talked through our expectations of the next day's meeting with the potential client, and walked back to the hotel. I called Debbie and then turned in early.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019: I awoke early, had a cup of tea in my room, and then met Scott downstairs. Our plan was to go next door to McDonald's for a quick breakfast before taking an Uber to see the client. We were quite surprised to find out that McDonald's in Cergy didn't open until 11:00 AM. Disappointed, but with little other choice, we walked back to the hotel and grabbed Diet Cokes from their snack area for breakfast.
It was a very short Uber ride to our potential client's office in nearby Osny.
We were here to see to work out the details for the client to potentially incorporate our DNA software into their biometric identification platform. Our meeting lasted for several hours, and then we returned to the hotel. We walked back to the same restaurant as the night before, had a nice dinner, and then returned to the hotel to pack our bags and go to sleep.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019: We traveled back to the Charles de Gaulle airport very early the next morning to make sure we didn't have any issues with traffic. We had breakfast once we cleared security, and made it to our gate with plenty of time to spare. It's always good to see your aircraft at the gate waiting for you.
After a two hour delay leaving Paris, we landed in Boston about 20 minutes before our original connecting flight was scheduled to take off (at 2:30 PM). While we were still waiting to clear customs and immigration, our phones notified us that we had several options for new connecting flights. We decided to skip the earlier departures that were offered, all of which had at least one intermediate stop, and booked the direct flight back to Indianapolis, scheduled for 7:15 PM.
We had plenty of time to walk the miles and miles from the arriving terminal to our departure gate.
Boston had recently had a lot of snow and ice, and it looked very pretty.
When we cleared security in the departure terminal, the monitors showed our new flight was on-time, and that our original flight was long gone.
We departed on-time from Boston, and arrived back in Indianapolis about 30 minutes ahead of schedule, having slept for almost the entire flight. It had been a very long day, and I was very glad to finally be home.

** THE END **


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