It has been a while, two kids, a mortgage and voila my travel went from regular travel abroad for work and pleasure to periodic travel mostly to visit the grandparents. When a childhood friend asked me to be with her in Paris for major surgery, I went online to find my flight. There were very few direct, nonstop flights from San Francisco and I decided to go with Air France. A 10 hour flight was important, particularly given I was cutting it close, and that the last minute the surgery was moved up to accommodate the French August vacation schedule, the hospital was closing for the end of August—vive la France. Not the best time of year to travel to France but eager to be there for my friend, nearly $2000 later I was on my way….

The seats were cramped, boarding hot, sweaty and bit like festival seating at a concert. I speak fluent French, albeit a bit rusty and usually I need a ramp up time to reconfigure my brain and mouth muscles. Perfect—a ten hour flight where all communication is in French. The music blaring was not the expected pop tunes but one of my favorites, “Morcheeba.” When I was asked to sit next to a young boy because a child couldn’t sit alone I was skeptical, but ultimately the changed seat was roomier. Once I got that the boy’s name was Quentin (he said “Kaund-tyn” four times before the eureka light went off and I realized his name was actually Quentin) an unusually Anglo name, we developed a quite poignant relationship. He was 11 and from Toulouse traveling with his dad and three brothers—they were all surprisingly well behaved. He asked me a few sweet questions and often how much longer till we arrived—he even fell asleep on my shoulder, his mom was not there and I had left my boys with my husband so all in all very pleasant

Food was fine, even a small bottle of wine; love that! You gotta appreciate the wedge of camembert and yummy French bread—not bad when other airlines are charging for pillows! Beverages were available throughout the flight and it was a very smooth trip. Once in Paris I marveled at the free carts; small things make me happy.

RER to metro, relatively easy and I met my friend at a cafe near her apartment. My first blow was a 3 euro bottle of water—basically five dollars; glad I lugged some staples from Trader Joe’s!

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