samedi le 3 juin 2017
We’re in Boston! We had a long day of travel — barely slept the night before, leaving the office at 3AM after packing all our stored things and moving into rue de l’Université. Then we had a few hours to sleep before departing for the airport at 9:30AM.
We got all our VAT refunds — Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Galeries Lafayette — and now we know the drill. There’s basically no boarding pass required most times, but worst case, purchase a cheap ticket to Ukraine or something. Also, it’s worth it to pay the 1€ fast track fee to get to the front of the line at the Travelex counter. Be sure to ask for euros rather than getting your VAT refund foreign currency. If we had done so we would not have lost 50€ for no reason at all.
As for our flight from Paris to Boston, today was a reminder to always always check-in online — there were long, long lines snaking all around but we got to the very front at bag drop because we were checked in already, and only needed to drop off our bags.
We first flew three hours to Reykjavik next to a Chinese dude in his 30s working in film distribution. He was in France for Cannes Film Festival. He opened up the conversation by bragging about the $15M budget for an animation film to try and get some attention, after getting my attention by commenting on my embroidery, “That’s nice… looks like it will take lots of time and patience.” Albert-Claude was sleeping so as not to be rude I talked to the guy (but while sewing, I merely put my Ramayana audiobook away). He first asked what I did, and when I replied “fashion designer” he replied “I can tell.” Maybe because I was wearing a long floral sea green shirt dress. Albert-Claude said the guy’s eyes bulged when he saw my Louis Vuitton trunk. The guy told me about his animation studio’s new film, a modern Cinderella remake, so then I woke up Albert-Claude to see the trailer. We told him we wanted to remake Ramayana. “Storyboard it first,” was his advice. He thought that would be a good way to “pitch to studios” but unbeknownst to him we would never need to pitch to studios.
At our connection in Reykjavic, this fat-ish Icelandic blonde working the Schengen desk was not nice at all, giving me a hard time. It seemed to her, based on my passport stamps, that I had overstayed in the EU. Her colleague next to her even seemed to think she was too much when she asked him his opinion. After a nerve-racking few minutes, she let me go, but she wasn’t happy about it. She acted as if she was freeing a criminal.
The six hours to Boston we spent mostly sleeping, next to some weirdo who sang to himself. Close to landing, he also commented on my sewing, “It’s very nice,” and I found out that he is French and flew from Paris, too. He asked where we lived, and I said 7ème. He lives in the 3ème, and he’s in Boston to visit his brother who is graduating.
Albert-Claude was antsy close to landing about going through immigration. But in the end, all the guy asked him was if he was traveling with anyone (this CBP officer could see on his computer that he was in fact traveling with someone) and Albert-Claude saw this so he said “Yes.” He also asked if he is staying in Boston or visiting other cities? His eyes widened when Albert-Claude said he “May visit Nantucket,” thinking it’s too much for someone holding a passport like his to go to Nantucket. He asked what is the nature of Albert’s business in France? “Digital marketing.” This CBP officer even wrote the date he can stay in the U.S. until, which is sometime in December 2018.
As for me, she saw my Louis Vuitton while I was in line, along with all the other CBP officers. Perhaps this was why she merely asked where I live. “New York,” I said. She asked what brought me to Boston. “Just visiting,” I said. “Bring anything back?” she asked. A resounding “Nope,” was my reply. And that was it with her questions. “Have a nice day,” she strained. I don’t think she’s used to being so nice. She asked others what they did, how long they were gone, why they went…
We had landed in Boston 40 minutes ahead of schedule, but we were kept waiting inside the plane for an hour after landing. We found out later that our flight was checked thoroughly for baggage — someone suspicious was on board. It was clear to Albert-Claude that my big Rimowa was opened and tested for drugs. This is why our entire flight’s bags kept showing on and off the carrousel computer. Everyone walked back and forth, wondering what is happening with their bags.
Albert-Claude thinks had I landed in NYC instead of Boston, 50%+ chance I would have been stopped. We came to Boston because of nature. We were upgraded at the W Boston, to an extremely large but unclean room. It hadn’t been properly maintained since the room was newly built 10 years ago.
We were starving, having not eaten all day and were looking forward to a great dinner. We ended up having terrible shabu, and we both got sick. So we got back to the hotel and slept it all off.