Dear Tom, my trip to France began before my trip to France.

Or at least my French time zone began three days before I entered French airspace.

My youngest, sans (a French word!) the now ex-boyfriend, flew to Paris three days before we were scheduled to fly to Bordeaux. Unfortunately her luggage got stuck at Heathrow. But! Fortunately British Airways got the luggage to Paris the day of her arrival- four hours later. However, the French delivery service couldn’t manage to actually deliver the luggage.

In addition, despite the fact that both she and I have international calling and data, her iPhone (yeah, I’m talking to you, iPhone) would not call out or receive calls or text or receive test messages. Therefore we were forced to communicate via email. With a nine hour time difference.

I received a call from the delivery service. The woman only spoke French. My French is appalling. But I can understand more than I speak. She said the luggage would be delivered at 5 p.m. Guess what? My daughter was not at the apartment. She’d been told by the same delivery service before she left the airport that they would deliver her luggage between 8 p.m. and midnight. So of course she’d gone out to buy a few things and get something to eat/drink (Paris) and I had no way to contact her. She did email me when she returned to the apartment. I told her about the phone call and she said– “They said between 8 p.m. and midnight.” She’d given them explicit directions to her third floor apartment (Airbnb) but still she sat in the cafe across the street until midnight, watching for them.

No luggage.

By the time she returned to the apartment and emailed me, because she had no way to call the delivery service, their office had long since closed. And there was no message machine. Even if there had been a message machine I’m not sure I’d have left a message. So I called BA. The BA luggage specialist provided me with the office hours of the delivery service and several phone numbers in Paris. I managed to reach them at 11 p.m. Pacific time, 8 a.m. Paris time. Again, the woman did not speak English but she did promise a noon delivery. I, in turn, emailed my daughter who said she would go out for breakfast and shopping (Paris) and return by 11:30. The luggage never arrived.

You can see where I’m going with this.

I called the delivery service, exacted another promise – “We will deliver her luggage between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.”

She sat in that cafe (and she said it wasn’t really a cafe but a little sushi bar so it’s not like she could sit there and nurse a cup of coffee) until 10 p.m.

This really was ruining her visit to Paris – this waiting for a delivery service that had decided not to deliver her bag.

Once again I called the office. Once again it was closed. And Oscar and I were leaving for Bordeaux the next day and I had beaucoup (French word) stuff to do.

At 2:30 a.m. my cell phone rang. “Madame! Madame! Blah blah blah blah blah blah…”

I asked if she spoke English.

She did, some. She claimed they’d tried to deliver the luggage three times but no one was at the apartment. I said that was because they kept giving us the wrong times to be at the apartment. She told me to contact my daughter ASAP and schedule a time, then to call her back.

At 3:30 a.m. I managed to reach my daughter via email. She said she was sick of waiting for them, that they were ruining her visit to Paris. She said – “I’m going out to the farmer’s markets and I want to do some shopping. (Paris) Have them deliver my bag at 6 p.m.”

I called the woman back and told her, 6 p.m. She replied, “Very good. 6 p.m. I will tell the driver.”

6 p.m. rolled around. No bag. So in the midst of packing and dealing with getting Jake to the kennel and stressing out about everything in the world, I called the delivery service. I had to hurry. Their office closed at 7 p.m. Paris time.

This time I got a guy who spoke no English. He told me that they cannot guarantee a time, that you must sit in your apartment all day long until your bag is delivered. I told him, “Well, that’s great. She’s waiting right now and if you don’t get it to her tonight you will be shipping it to Bordeaux because she leaves for Bordeaux early in the morning. (White lie. She had another 24 hours in Paris, but we’d all had enough of this.)

“Oh!” He says. “I will call the driver immediately!”

She had her bag in fifteen minutes. Success!

I shoulda thought of that earlier.

Anyway, Jake was a wreck. His suitcase-itis was off the charts. He was like… “Just get me to the kennel already. I can’t take this anymore.” (Made me feel terrible. Dropping him off was like making him walk the plank.) But we did get to the airport early enough to enjoy the British Airways lounge. You ain’t lived until you’ve enjoyed the British Airways lounge. Except in Bordeaux. Skip it in Bordeaux.

I knew there was a reason I’d been saving BA miles for 25 years! I mean, they stock those lounges with every single thing to eat and drink you could possibly imagine! There’s like… beer from all over the world! Plus showers, gorgeous bathrooms complete with attendants, and foreign newspapers and fashion mags. How great is that?!? I can’t travel on these long-haul flights with my feet down. I need a fully reclining seat. If you get one credit card, make it a British Airways credit card.

A small part of the lounge. No shite...

A small part of the lounge. No shite…

Our seats. Again, no shite...

Our seats. Again, no shite…

I love British Airways. The flight attendants are the moms I always wanted. They make you feel secure and appreciated, and yes, beloved. You just know that whatever they tell you to do in any circumstance will be right, even if it’s like… should I get a divorce or not. It’s gotta be the Mary Poppins accent. Besides, they ply you with champagne and other alcoholic beverages. And an endless supply of Coca-cola, which I needed because by the time we boarded I had a whopper of a migraine. (Had to do with three days of no sleep-daughter’s luggage-trying to understand and speak French over my cell phone.)

Tomorrow – The nice man at Heathrow! Tom, did you send him?

XOXO! Julia

10 thoughts on “Dear Tom, my trip to France began before my trip to France.

  1. Roberta

    Who ever said, “Getting there is half the fun,” never had to fly. Based on your recommendation alone, if I ever travel again I will be sure to try BA. ‘Alls well that ends well,’ seems to still be true. I guess. Good luck on the next part of your travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Diana Stevan (@DianaStevan)

    Oh, how frustrating! I would’ve been up one wall and down the other. We’ve had that kind of experience traveling. No fun and so much time wasted. Glad your daughter finally got her luggage. And yes, it’s surprising how quickly you get things done when you threaten to do something that will cost them money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Exactly, Diana. I figured the idea of a delivery to Bordeaux, actually St. Emillion, would get her bag delivered ASAP!


  3. Marylin Warner

    When it rains, it pours. Especially when traveling anywhere with a passport and a change in languages…and with luggage. Wrong locale, but I’ll paraphrase Shakespeare’s “all’s well that ends well.” And the airline sleeping seats are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      And those are the cheapest sleeping seats, Marylin! Wonder what they do in the two more expensive compartments! Yes, all is well. But we had some funny moments!



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