Having landed right on time, I grabbed a triple iced espresso for fuel at the D-gates Starbucks, and headed straight to the Washington Flyer bus, where I learned that the bus doesn’t start until 7:45 on weekends. It was only 7:10. Grrrr. In an attempt to (a) be fiscally responsible and (b) curious about the new bus to metro service on the silver line, I waited. This meant a $5 bus plus about $5 metro ride vs a $55 taxi….
Shortly, the bus arrived, and the Washington Flyer bus is no longer a nice coach bus, but a glorified public bus with luggage racks. Actually was glad to see this, because the bus now runs every 15 minutes instead of every 30, and is $5 instead of $10, so it’s definitely a win. Soon we were at metrorail, and I was enjoying a quick ~25 minute ride to my place. Can’t really complain about 40 minutes door to door on public transit from Dulles!
Emerging from metro, looking a bit scruffy, bags already forming under the eyes, but none the worse for wear:
So, I had exactly 10 hours in DC, one of which was eaten up getting home. So, first order of business was a load of laundry. Then packing a weekend bag for Andorra. See, I’d left my luggage in Honolulu, to be picked up on the way to Vegas, so I had only my laptop bag with me. Packed a weekend bag, and by 10am I met some friends at a local restaurant for a quick brunch and catching up on this crazy trip. One of the friends did a 48 hour Johannesburg mileage run with me about a year ago, so the insanity was easily related to.
Now 11:30 and still 6 hours before my flight….so I unwisely went and played an hour of hockey. Why not, right? It’ll make me tired for the flight! Had a great time, more than a little amused at my own insanity, and by 2p was home, showered, and right back on Metrorail to take me to Dulles.
I’d checked in online, so it was straight to security where there was almost no wait at pre-check, and less than 15 minutes after arriving at Dulles I was already in the D-gates Red Carpet Club, which I don’t think I’d been to in years. It was time for some delicious Tilamook cheese and a few glasses of Château le Jeff. Despite a huge brunch of french toast and two sides of bacon, I was starving from hockey, so I went to town:
The Dubai flight was also leaving from the D gates shortly, and the people watching was nothing short of fascinating. Several younger military looking types getting absolutely tanked on Bud Light (their lack of tolerance made me ashamed to be American) and perhaps the scariest part…a middle aged portly Texan guy who ordered “6 shots of Jack Daniels on the rocks.” Yes, he paid like $70 for it and didn’t seem phased. I’m gonna guess he has a fear of flying…more surprisingly the bartender didn’t seem surprised at all.
After catching up on e-mail, it was time to join the crowd at the gate to board the absolutely packed flight.
United Airlines flight 915
Washington, DC, Dulles (IAD) to Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
Depart 17:15, Arrive 6:55 next morning, Flight Time 7:40
Boeing 767-300, Registration N673UA, Manufactured 1999, Seat 1D
Welcome aboard…1D again. I was becoming very familiar with this seat. I actually like it a bit better on the 767-300 than the 400, because on the 300 you’re closer to the lavatory, and on the 400 everyone comes up there expecting a lavatory, and not finding it. I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Welcome aboard, here’s your bubbly…in a cracked glass…which I didn’t discover until I gripped the class and it dribbled all over me:
Of course, that just made me be more careful….wine abuse is a serious crime and I wasn’t about to waste it! The crew was absolutely great as well, and I was impressed with the level of French spoken by the crew. I don’t know if this is a legacy from the Pan Am days, but it was a nice surprise.
So, what’s for teh nomz today?
Service was quick after takeoff, and the crew was actually able to make a good recommendation on the wine. First time in a long time the crew knew anything about the wines, and actually had a recommendation. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten which it was.
The “sesame coated tuna” ummmm…..
The salad was above-average, but seriously…packaged croutons out of a hub? Come on United you can do better!
The beef? Well as is the norm out of Dulles it was harder than a hockey puck, and only slightly tastier. At least the veg as reasonably good.
Another bonus from this crew, they did the cheese service before the sundaes. It was a small thing, but a nice touch.
I’d so enjoyed the caramel-hot fudge combo the night before that I decided to go with it again…just to be sure. It’s part of the scientific process you know. I only got two cherries, so felt mildly cheated…but there was amaretto, so that helped. This brings the sundae count so far up to three for the trip. We weren’t even 60 hours into the trip yet, and over 10,000 miles already covered.
The great things about flying so many miles, and crossing so many time zones in so little time is…the body does what the body needs. No silly “it’s a 5pm flight…no way will I sleep.” This was my second redeye flight in a row, and I was tired…so I crashed. For six hours. I only woke up 15 minutes out of Paris.
…where for the first time ever, the immigration officer actually bothered to ask me why I was coming to Paris, where was I staying, for how long, etc. Maybe he just wanted English practice (which I refused to let him have, despite his repeatedly trying), or maybe I’m finally in some international database of suspicious people who go to Somalia on vacation, and go DC to Andorra via Hawaii, who knows…but eventually he let me into France:
Wandered the terminal a bit, where I finally found the holy grail: Starbucks! It was dead at this hour, and had a nice chat with the Moroccan guys who worked there while I refueled with another iced triple espresso and a chocolate muffin….and paid nearly 8 euro for the honour. Ugh! Then it was time to find my way over to Terminal 3 for my connecting flight to Barcelona with…eek…Vueling!