Air France 0636 Boeing 777-300
Paris Charles de Gaulle international airport to Houston International Airport
10th January 2011
0701 train from Becon les Bruyers in Paris to Gare San Lazare, walk over to Opera past Printemps department store and then on Boulevard Haussman (he who created the wide streets), to the magnificent Opera Garnier. Just in front of that opulent building now undergoing renovation, the bus RoissyBus run by the Paris Transport begins its journey to the Paris CDG International Airport, some 17 km away.
The fist stop is Terminal 1 which we reach by 0805, having left Opera at 0740. Then Terminal 2A and therminal 2C and I get off Terminal 2 E.
Very slow check in at the Elite Member section of Air France, I just wondered how it might be on the Economy check in. To check in at the Elite line, the Airline has to recognize you as a frequent flier.
I told myself it is not worth getting worried and upset over such things, even though I would have preferred a quick check in .
Quickly through Imigration. I have to say that the French Immigration is the fastest immigration check that I have ever encountered, Singapour comes a close second. They glance at the passport and glance at you and may or may not decide to stamp your passport, then you are on the other side. Take the little train to the gates from where most of the USA and Canada bound flights leave. The train compartment is heavy with the sleep of the passengers who had arrived from India and Africa and now going on to another long leg to USA. Some of them were traveling with young children. How tough on their little bodies to take two 10 hour flights and lack of sleep and crossing so many time zones?
Quickly through the security, there is also a special line for Frequent Fliers and then direct to the Air France Lounge.
The same routine.
Open the computer and connect with the free wireless Internet
Pain au chocolat
Jus de Orange or something similar
Welcome e-mails from Paris and Teheran. Quickly answered them.
Tenderness over every one. I cannot afford not to harbour tenderness over the same people who feed me tenderness.
(Listening to Miles Davis : autumn Leaves)
I leave my Skype on when I switch on my computer. The Vietnamese student who helped with the research in Mekong Delta is on line and we have a very pleasant chat. I truly wish to help her establish herself as a social scientist in Vietnam. She will present her research findings sometimes in February towards the end of it, I wonder it would be possible for me to be present there. Also she could attend the discussions on International medical Anthropology when I am participating in it at my old University.
0945 time to leave the lounge. One more glass of Perrier Please
Boarding is orderly and soon I am ensconced into seat 23 B. nice seat. An American lady with her daughter sitting behind was conducting a conversation that could be heard all the way to Alaska, I thought. Why do they have to talk so loud? Are they all deaf? Why do they want their presence to be felt? Of course I am a master of ignoring my fellow passengers. Each voyage and each flight to me is as if it is new, and exciting but I have come to expect nothing of my fellow passengers.
I will one day write an article: You don't meet any interesting people travelling the way I do. I pray to all the spirits to change my luck but this is the bad luck in my skies.
But in another note I want to tell you about two wonderful meetings I had, yesterday at a Starbucks in London and today at the Air France lounge in Paris airport. Life is full of unexpected pleasures.
So far I have had a glass of champagne, a glass of white wine and a Hindou non vegetarian meal.. All very pleasant.
I have watched a documentary on the Pa Pu Nya people of Australian desert; the Easter get together of the Norwegian Sami people and a documentary of two interesting French metropolitan islands: Aix and Frioul.
I have made up a List of music to play on the Ineractive screen: John Coltrane Miles Davis Ibrahim Ferrer Cristina Branco Frank Sinatra Nina Simone.. a little melange..
We left Paris at 11 04 am ie 13 34 in Teheran, 18 04 in KL and 504 in Havana.
This flight would arrive at Houston International Airport at 2 14 pm i.e. 9 14 pm in Paris, 4 14 am in KL and 11 44 pm in Teheran.
Each voyage is unique, it is also about separation, even though for some of the people, it is I who is gone and not them, for me, I am leaving all who are dear to me, even if it is only for a few days.
My dearest friend, Azadeh, is leaving for India for three months, to enter another world altogether. How this new world of hers wood affect our friendship remains to be seen but I have no expectations.
Paris is Paris and I am determined to fall in love with Paris this year. My heart has only so much love to give: Havana Miami London KL all demand their share and poor Paris, the moveable feast now has to compete!
One thing came to my mind: it is I who share other people’s lives and no one shares my life? Is that true? Do I have a particular life? Or is it just shekinah, the Jewish mystical idea of wisdom being broken and reflecting, shekinah, so that the various affections are reflecting my love, each of them, so that there is one big love, that is for the universe, which is much bigger than each of us