|Among the last civilized moments of the trip,
despite the automatic weapons.
Got up early on our last morning in Paris to go see the Eiffel Tower at dawn and then hustle with our luggage from our hotel in the Bastille to St. Michel to meet Casey’s friend and mentor Mario Sprouse, who arrived in town that morning for his own tour. Straight to Gare du Nord on faith that our train to Brussels will be running despite the raging austerity strikes happening there.
Made it to Brussels for mussels and champagne, and then white box wine at Olivier’s house with Casey, Catherine, Bram, Teun, and Bruno until way late. Up at 6 for a typically hairy early rush hour ride to the airport, then our flight to New York (on the incredibly civilized Brussels Air). Three hour layover in which we had to collect our bags, go through customs and immigration transfer from JFK to the Newark airport— a 30+ mile manic, Cairo-style shuttle ride— for our domestic leg, on the incredibly uncivilized US Airways. Think Greyhound with wings.
Last minute itinerary change routes us through Phoenix (key moment: bleached blond sorority chicks at the gate complaining loudly in church-lady voices about all the weirdos in Portland, and the “quality” of people there in general); ~5 hour flight with no movie and no meal (OK, you could buy one, but the hell with that) and lots of not very restful sleep in 3-second increments. Brief 65 minute layover before equally miserable two hour flight to Portland itself (key moment: after weeks of listening acutely to how people speak, noticing the middle-American, slightly-country Oregon accent on the people in the airport, and how much quieter people are in general.) Adjusting nicely after first real sleep since Paris, which was the first real sleep since Portland before that. New content coming soon.