Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nous sommes arriver a Marseille

We just got up from a very long nap. We got in to the Citadine (where we are staying) around 11am French time (5am your time). We dragged our things into the room, got Oreo's thing set up, then crashed on the couch bed (yes, we do not have a bed here). We just woke up to someone opening our door and telling us we had left our key card in the door! Needless to say, we are WIDE awake now.

Carolyn and David took the shuttle van with us over to Newark yesterday afternoon. Newark airport was very easy to navigate. We were amazed at how smooth check in went even with Oreo. The line through security was at a crawl, but they were so helpful with Oreo...speeding us through so he could get back in his carrier. Everyone was talking and staring at Oreo...he was the star of the show! We found our gate and waited to board. Chris had the very smart idea of going ahead and boarding first when they called "those traveling with babies or children and those needing extra time). We were one of the first one's on the plane, and had plenty of time to get Oreo under the seat and ready to go.

We ended up taking off about an hour late. The flight itself was very smooth and pretty comfortable considering we were in the middle of the plane, and Chris had the aisle, I was in the seat next to him, then there was an empty seat and a woman on the other aisle. I had plenty of room to pull Oreo out from under the seat and have his carrier just on the floor so he could stand up and move around. He slept most of the flight though.

The first thing the attendants did was bring drinks through, including free alcohol. Chris had some white wine with his dinner, and I had some Campari, which helped settle my nerves. The dinner was actually quite good...creamy chicken with rice and veggies, grapes, a roll, salad, and cheesecake (which wasn't so good). Chris and I were asleep before the in flight movie started (Made of Honor), so we missed that.

We were given a small breakfast of cheese, roll, granola bar, and some mixed fruit which had mango in it. I only figured out there was mango after I had taken a bite, but luckily I caught it in time and spit it out before swallowing.

It only took about 6 hours to get to Frankfurt, Germany, but with the delay, we were only going to have 10-15 min to get to our next gate to board the plane to Marseille. We booked it through the airport as fast as we could....which was difficult since we had a long way to go. We had to go through an additional security check point, which held us up for a long time. They put us in the one line that the metal detector had stopped working, and they were patting down and wanding each person. I had to stand there, with Oreo in my arms (free from carrier) for over 10 min. They finally waved me ahead of everyone else so that I could get him back in his carrier quickly. He just clung to me and looked at everyone and again, he was the star of the show because everyone was smiling and staring at him.

We were so late to our gate we figured we would have to catch the next flight, but to our luck, the plane was delayed, so we got on just in time! We hadn't thought to check our seats ahead of time, so Chris ended up in an exit row, and me 3 rows back in between two women. We were served more cheese and bread on the flight and another granola bar (I am SO sick of airline cheese!). I guess Chris ended up speaking to a very nice French couple on the plane and they were eager to see Oreo after the flight.

I could see a little bit of the city, the Mediterranean and the Alps flying in. The view from out the airplane windows was amazing...especially the mountains.

Getting off the plane and to the baggage claim was fairly easy. We got our bags and headed over to customs...which was the EASIEST thing all day! We could have walked past the guys and they wouldn't have cared. We walked up and asked if they were customs and they said "Yes. Do you want to declare anything? Do you have any cigarettes or over $10,000 in cash?" We said No, we wish we had that much money, and they said "Welcome". That was it! They didn't look at Oreo's papers, or anything. We walked right out and got a taxi.

We barely got all our luggage into a taxi, but we made it. The taxi driver spoke some English, so we told him where we were going and we headed into the city of Marseille.

The drive was a bit wild considering how fast they drive and all the tiny cars on the road. We arrived at the Citadine (the apart-hotel we are staying at for October), and we found out that the room wouldn't be ready until 3pm. We told them we have a cat and lots of luggage, so they got a room cleaned out VERY quickly for us so we wouldn't have to wait all day. The room is just like a hotel walk in, and there is a small water closet (toilet) to the right, mini kitchen, then the living room/office/bedroom. We have a tiny TV and stereo, desk, sofa bed, and a few nightstands. There is a balcony just big enough for one chair to be on it. Good sized windows and a closet are also in the main room. Then there is a small bathroom with sink, bathtub and shower. It is smaller than our basement apartment in the Bronx, if you can imagine that!
It's going to be tight the next month, but we will make due. Oreo is settling in and exploring as much as he can. He might get bored rather fast.

Chris just turned on the TV and there are American shows dubbed in French. Hilarious!

We are going to get cleaned up in a bit and head out to the store to get a few supplies. We should also get something to eat since we really haven't had much more then airplane cheese and bread today.

I think the nap really helped calm my nerves. I was about to have a breakdown earlier from exhaustion and the trip, but I'm feeling better now...ready to explore the city and eat.

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