Thursday, June 19, 2008

Return to "North of Andorra" Headquarters

We have no internet acess yet but here is an update on our travels.

We have arrived in Leran, but first let me back up and explain the last part of the journey. We spent a couple of days with my niece’s Anna and Katie in Burlington, Vermont. We had built in an extra day to account for car troubles or the unforeseen, like flooding in Iowa. But the time was not needed so we did our laundry instead and prepared for our flight. Fergus and Ajax became fast friends and rasseled for two days with barely a break.

We headed out to Montreal, Kate’s car loaded to the gunwales with a dog crate on the roof, four adults and one dog and plenty of baggage in the cabin. All went well. We found the shipping point for Fergus with plenty of time to spare, in fact we arrived an hour early, five hours before the flight, instead of the four advised. But eventually we got the crate put together, Fergus in it, paperwork in order (always, there is paperwork), and then it was time to say goodbye to Fergus and leave. Not having done this before, and not knowing when, if ever we would see him again, it was a bit emotional, but Kate, Anna, Nancy and I said “Bon Voyage” and “Au Revoir” and off we went to the Zoom Airlines terminal.

Anna and Kate then said goodbye to Nancy and me and off they went to see what two attractive, single young ladies could see in the big city of Montreal, Canada. They had booked a place for one night and were working on French translations of: “Hey, Sailor” and “Buy me a drink, big boy?”

We endured the four hour wait for our flight and then seven hours on the plane and we were in Paris. (May I say that somehow, the Canadians have done airport security just right. They have found the perfect balance between safety and the absurdity of inspecting one’s shoes). Zoom is no frills, none. No magazines, no booze, no first class. They have what you need; a meal, something to drink, seatbelts, two movies, a couple of pilots and stewards and not much else. We had booked extra-legroom seats, which turned out to be right next to the door. Nancy and I were the first ones to step off the airplane, about the first ones to get our baggage and about the first ones through the French customs. This consisted of two Douanes officials giving us a glance without breaking off their conversation.

Then began the difficult part of finding out where Fergus was. We drove around the airport looking for the freight area, not knowing for sure if we were in the right place. Sunday morning is rather quiet in the Paris airport realm. With difficulty, we found the freight area, then the address, and then our poor French led us on a wild goose chase from facility to facility, Nancy and I growing more and more frantic as each one turned up empty. I began to despair of getting our dog out of hock. It began to remind me of finding old Smokey in Barcelona. Finally we found the correct freight terminal, then the “porte bleu”, contacted the right person, paid the right amount and were told we could take Fergus. They would not allow us, however, to walk over to the crate, which we could see, open the door and walk Fergus out to the car. It had to be transported by fork lift the thirty feet to where we stood behind a yellow line.

Then a long drive (not as long as the one from Moab to Burlington) but long nonetheless in our jet-lagged state. We lucked out and found a beautiful old hotel and had a nice dinner in the little bitty town of Vatan near Limoges. We picked up Smokey at Bill and Sally’s, and Smokey seems to be in fighting trim. Bill gave it a wash, the only one it’s had since we owned it. It’s good to be back. The house seems to be in fine shape, with the addition of several feet of cobwebs and numerous dead flies and bees. All is well. Vive la France.


Anonymous said...

Let us know when Fergus hitches up with a French Poodle.


Anonymous said...

Luke is glad you've arrived safely in la belle France...and the icing on the cake is that Old Smokey was ready willing and able...what more could you want?

I'm sure Fergus is finding it totally fascinating to be free of his travel cage and running around with new scenery...and some new French friends?

I can't wait to hear which renovations you attack first...but be more visits to French emergency rooms...OK?

Take care...and ENJOY!

sarah alexander said...

Vive la France indeed! I've been longing for some time in France the last few days...

Can't wait for pictures of Fergus in his beret!