Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paris, home of lost luggage and really stinky antiperspirants

    Lucy and I have arrived in Paris, thanks to a $50 fare on Iberia Airlines, although we actually flew on its low-cost carrier, Vueling.
    Fifty dollars is a great airfare. Unfortunately, the bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price. Vueling/Iberia lost my little checked suitcase, which had my seersucker suit jacket, two paris of shoes, several pairs of pants, plus toiletries. Plus socks. Plus more.
    I’m not happy. Technically I’m entitled to replace some of these items, but I’m at the mercy of the airline in seeking reimbursement. European clothes are terrible; they don’t fit the local citizenry properly, and I’m sure none of them will fit me. Plus, from a cost standpoint a really nice pair of pants that costs $25 in the U.S. costs about $200 in Europe. Did I say I’m not happy.
    I went to a Monoprix today to buy some toiletries to replace those in my bag. The St. Michael Monoprix is about as crappy as they come, by the way. Among the things that I needed to buy was antiperspirant. I spent 30 minutes looking at and smelling the varieties on offer. All of the products contained perfume. I don’t want my antiperspirant to work by stinking more than I do. I want an absolute absence of odor. Why can’t I have this? Why? (To the store’s credit they did not have Right Guard and Mennen Speed Stick (the brown kind), which stink worse than any human I’ve ever smelled). I finally bought a product that I thought didn't smell too bad, but the odor from it is making me sick.
    Did I say these jackasses have lost my luggage and I’m not happy?
    Paris was not part of our original plan. I was willing to fly almost anywhere in Central Europe, but the $50 fare to Paris was the cheapest by almost $100 per person, so that’s where we went.
   Two years ago my dad took the entire family on a Mediterranean Cruise, after which Lucy and I spent four days in Paris before returning home. Last year we managed to scrape together enough frequent flyer miles and hotel points for a family vacation to Paris and London.
    So I feel a little like Forrest Gump. Due to the way the airline tickets were priced, Lucy and I had to go to Paris, AGAIN.
    I had planned to make Paris a quick stop, but last year and the year before Lucy was sorely disappointed that she didn’t get to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Tickets have to be purchased a certain number of days in advance, but I discovered that you have to be sitting at your computer right at 9 a.m. Paris time (that’s about 2 a.m. Mississippi time), as the tickets sell out in a matter of minutes.
    I finally got the Eiffel Tower tickets, but using them requires us to stay in Paris for four days. There are worse fates.
    For the past three years I’ve purchased a goodly number of Choice Hotel points during the American Express Daily Getaways promotion. I’ve managed to use these to get decent hotel rooms relatively cheaply. For example, before our family cruise two years ago I was able to treat the entire extended family to a free night at the Hotel Diana in Venice. My cost, about $38 per room, versus about $200 or more if we simply paid cash.
    I’ve booked quite a number of nights with these points for this trip, including our Paris hotel, the Andre Latin. The cost in points per night is 20,000, so I’m shelling out just under $80 per night for a decent Paris hotel room in the Latin Quarter. It’s more than I’d like to pay, but I’m not sure one can pay any less in Paris.
    Now I’m just praying that my luggage will arrive tonight and be delivered to my hotel tomorrow.

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