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Graduation "trip" to Paris, Mom and DD

Old Jul 7th, 2009, 02:37 PM
  #21  
mms
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Day 4

We slept in this morning. I was having a hard time adjusting to limited movement, and DD, well she is 18...she likes her sleep So after our late start, we took a taxi to Printemps. We had a great driver. He spoke a fair amount of English and was curious where we were from, etc. He was Algerian he told us. Really a nice guy who seemed to love meeting people.

At the intersections at Printempts, there were these huge plastic(?) bunnies in bright colors. Taller than a person. Lots of these in the window displays in Printempts too. Does anyone know what this was about? We figured it had to be some promotion, but we couldn't figure it out.

BTW, window displays all over Paris were fun. Definitely much more creative than here in the states.

Anyway, on our trip 2 years ago I bought some demitase spoons at Printempts that I love. So I was on the hunt to find more of the exact same. I thought it might be a stretch, but I lucked out! They were 8 euro each, so not cheap, but worth it. We didn't bother with the regular store, we just headed over to the home store. There is also a small area of Pylones items in there, and those are always fun. DD and I both found some items we couldn't live without Of course when we got home and I showed DH and DS my new whisk, they looked at me like I was nuts, lol!

Then we headed over to Galleries Lafayette. We had lunch in the cafeteria there. We split a sandwich, and had a yogurt and shared a coke, 14 euro. Spendy, but at that point it was breakfast and lunch and so we were hungry and not too picky. Did some shopping. DD got a beautiful pink leather case for her cell phone, and I bought a red Longchamp bag for my mom.

After that it was time for the fashion show. They do this on Friday afternoons at 3pm, and you need a reservation. Finding the area was hard though. Several other people were lost too. Finally figure it out. The last escalator up is not working, so those steps were a killer for me. Then it was this tiny area we were all packed in like sardines waiting for them to let us in. Of course there was some large group that decided they must be allowed in first. Besides them, everyone was really polite in waiting though. We showed the printout confirmation and they showed us to our seats. I will say that when I saw the room I thought this was going to be incredibly cheezy and wondered if we should just bail right then. We waited it out, and were glad we did. It turned out to be ok! It was pretty warm in the room though, so everyone was fanning themselves with the program. But it was fun and I was glad to sit for a few minutes.

After that we headed to the rooftop. Nice views from there!

Once we got back to street level, DD spotted a kiosk outside with sandals. She got a cute pair for 15 euro, and she has been wearing them nonstop.

Then we headed over to the Opera. The sidewalk was cordoned off a bit, construction maybe, anyway, so there was a makeshift walking area around it. We saw a poor lady miss a step or something and go down face first. I am pretty sure she was a fellow tourist and it looked like she was with her DH and a few other couples, so she was taken care of so we continued on. About 2 blocks later an ambulance went past, so I am pretty sure it was headed to her.

Found a chocolate store along the way, Fouchon. They had every color of dragee you could imagine! So I bought some for my mom in her fav color, and we got a couple pieces of chocolate to take back to the apartment.

Made a quick trip into Monoprix for more Nuxe lip glosses, then headed back.

Dinner tonight was at Le Petit Machon which was a block from our apartment. Very good!!! The menu is pretty small, and all in French. The waitress spoke a bit of English, enough to give us the gist of what each item was. DD had the hamburger, which was not ground beef but more like a cut of beef. The fries were arranged like lincoln logs I had a curry lamb dish that was amazing! Wine and and a carafe of water, and our bill came to 58 euro.

After dinner DD said she forgot a few items she wanted at Monoprix, so we headed back there. Then headed over to the Tulleries for a bit, then into the Louvre as this was another night it was open late.

The Louvre was interesting for me to navigate with my knee. Since I could only do stairs very slowly, with 2 feet for each stair, it was tough. We decided scrulptures would be the focus tonight. Every time we were wondering what was in another area, DD would go scout it out and come back and let me know if the stairs would be ok for me, or if it was anything I would really like. That worked well, and saved me a lot of effort. It was not crowded at all tonight.

When we left, we went outside, near the gate for the Tulleries, and watched the Pyramid slowly light up. Very pretty!
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 02:42 PM
  #22  
yk
 
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Hi mms, perhaps I missed this, but was this a HS graduation or college graduation trip for your DD?
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 04:00 PM
  #23  
 
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You are a strong woman mms, I can't believe all the sightseeing and shopping you continued to do after your fall and injurying yourself. Your daughter sounds like a jewel!
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 04:02 PM
  #24  
mms
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yk--No, you didn't miss it..sorry, it was high school graduation

LoveItaly--I kept apologizing to DD telling her that I felt bad that I couldn't do very much. At one point she told me it was karma for always walking at the speed of light, lol! She is a jewel though...I wouldn't trade her for the world!
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 05:47 PM
  #25  
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Day 5

Today is Saturday and we decide to head over to the Rue Cler area. On our last trip, we brought some great coffee from a cafe here so DH and DS requested more of that. But, the cafe has changed names and there is no more coffee for sale! So we head further up and find another place and sit outside and have breakfast. I love sitting on busy streets like this and just people watching.

Then we headed over to the Rodin Museum. Long line, but we have our museum passes, which I show and we are escorted past everyone and in we go It was pretty stuffy (the air) inside, so we didn't linger and instead headed out to the gardens. I loved how so many of the sculptures were under thick awnings of trees. It was nice to just wander. The gardens were not very crowded which was nice. Even at The Thinker, I only had to wait for one person to leave before I could get some nice pictures without anyone else in it. There were big black looming clouds overhead, so that sort of added to the pictures.

We headed back over to to the Rue Cler and picked up some duck and potatos for dinner. We figured 2 pieces of duck was enough. So that and the potatos came to 15 euro. The place put them in plastic containers and then heat sealed the plastic lid. That was nice as there was no way for them to leak. We brought a shopping tote with us for the day which worked perfectly. Also on this street was a shop that had kitchen towels, tableclothes, etc. I bought 4 towels for myself and my mom. They were only 9 euro each and are pretty nice.

We find a taxi and head back to the apt to unload. We head back up towards the Opera as there was a store that DD spotted a little black dress. Tiny store, the shopkeeper did not speak any English, but with smiles and gestures and my pathetic French, it is workable DD tries on the dress and omg, it is stunning!!! It looks like something Audrey Hepburn would wear. It was only 49 euro, but looks like it cost several hundred dollars. Wonder if I can steal it from her?

As we leave the store, those big black clouds open up. Rain is dumping! Everyone on the street runs for cover or pulls out umbrellas. I told DD that we are from OR and won't melt in the rain We don't own an umbrella for use here at home, so we surely didn't need one there. So we keep going, in the rain, which pretty much gave us the entire sidewalks to ourselves, lol!

We did make a pitstop in Monoprix again. DD found a few more things she wanted, and we also bought some chocolates for DS and a couple friends.

DD wanted to go back to Fouchon for more chocolates. We pick out an assortment to have boxed up to take home to DH and DS. Rain has let up a bit at this point so the walk back to the apt isn't bad. I am just making sure I don't slip and fall again.

Back near the apt we stop and get two crepes for lunch, as well as croissants and 2 tarts. We hang out at the apt for a bit to dry off, but by then the sun is peeking out again, so time to venture back out.

This time we head for the Tulleries. We had some girl approach us asking if we spoke English...she was dressed as a gypsy or something, so I just ignored her and kept walking. Then she got right in front of DD and basically stopped her. I realized, turned around and said "let's go" and the scammer realized she needed to find someone else. We walked down to the Place de Concorde, then up Rue St. Honore. Did some window shopping, but a few stores called us inside Longchamp being one. I bought myself a nice red purse. I always go for leather, but this time I just liked the pilage bag so opted for that. Another store on the street that we liked was Texier. DD bought a really pretty hot pink leather wallet there. I think it was around 60 euro, and has lots of compartments. Really cute though!

Back to the apt for dinner. Along the way we go past a church just as a wedding finished up. The bride and groom were just getting into the car to leave, so it was fun to stand back and watch.

Heated up the duck and potatos and had some wine. OMG, dinner was sooooo good! We were so upset that we only bought enough for one nights dinner. We could have eaten that every night and been happy campers.

Our apt was across the street from another church, and that evening there was a wedding. So we hung out on the balcony and watched.

Our apt was up one flight of stairs, so below us were various businesses/restaurants. Well, one of them had a raging party that night. OMG, it was so loud. I went out and checked on DD but it was quiet in her room. Apparently the noise was coming through the courtyard by my window. So it kept me up til 4am. I was not happy, but I don't think if I went down and yelled at them in English that it would have helped
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 09:58 PM
  #26  
 
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Wow, you're really going to town on this, mms! You're making me feel guilty! But I'm very much enjoying reading it!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 03:22 AM
  #27  
 
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Oooh-la-la, mms! I've really been enjoying your report. So much shopping, a girl's delight! You must bring an extra suitcase for all your treasures, lol!

stw - be prepared for the biggest cobblestones you've ever walked on when you head to Versailles. Just from the street to the entrance can be trouble if you don't have the right kind of shoes, with good thick soles. A couple years ago, we were traveling with friends, and one of them slipped her ankle between the cobblestones and ended up with a hairline fracture of a toe.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 04:06 AM
  #28  
 
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mms, You and DD are girls after my own heart! Shopping, Shopping, Shopping, with a capital "S" !! Last night I had dinner with my dear sons and they asked me what I was looking most forward to on our trip to Paris and I gleefully responded, "Shopping!" LOL. I will be hunting for places with totes and purses, and lipstick, and food, especially chocolate (it's a food group, right?) ... oh what fun! I think this trip will be the only trip that I will ever pack lightly for, lol. You have inspired me to do so!

I ordered new tennis shoes from Zappos but I didn't like the fit. So today I will have to go and hunt for something to replace them. I don't need a whole lot of help falling, lol, I'm pretty good at doing that all on my own. swisshiker, I will not be vain, promise!!

So more, please mms...I'm running out of time!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 12:19 PM
  #29  
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Caph--Are you kidding me?! Your report is great!!!

Swisshiker--I admit it, DD and I can shop til we drop, and even then some, lol! We were actually very restrained on this trip. Our bags were about half empty coming over, so we had lots of room. We did mail one box home though. You are so right about the cobblestones at Versaille...omg, those were a killer for me when we were leaving!

STW--I have left a lot of the small shopping out of this. I will try and remember all the little stuff to and let you know.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 12:19 PM
  #30  
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Day 6

Today is Sunday, so we try to work around places that are closed. We head over to St. Germain to a market and buy a rotisserie chicken and potatos for tonights dinner. The seal on this was not as good as the place with the duck yesterday. And the chicken weighs a lot more. Then we head down to the Luxembourg gardens. But, along the way, DD and I have a meltdown. I ask her what else she wants to do today, and she doesn't know. Well I am tired of walking like a d*mn pirate, still sucking up the pain, so I tell her it is her trip and she better figure it out. So we each have a mini meltdown on the sidewalk. Then hug and makeup, lol, and continue towards the gardens. Wow, those are so beautiful! So many runners there too. We watch kids play with their sailboats in the water, buy some water and just wander. The d*mn chicken is heavy so we take turns carrying it in the tote.

Then we head up Blvd St. Michael and DD spots another store with cute clothes. This time it is a green silk blouse with a great leather belt...and we both commented that it was a belt that we would not find here at home. The two items came to 39 euro.

The d*mn chicken was annoying both of us, so we headed back to the apt to drop it off, lol!

Finally we arrive at Notre Dame. The other times we have been there there were very few crowds. But not today, it was swarming with people. Made my skin crawl a bit. Anyway, got approached again by a gypsy girl asking if we spoke English. DD remembered and we both kept walking. We didn't go inside as the number of people outside was bad enough. So we keep heading over to the backside to the Deportation Memorial. I like the backside of Notre Dame too, and there are so few people there. So we enter the memorial and wander. The main part of it was blocked off, but we read what we could and just sort of took it all in. It was a nice place to sit on a bench and figure out what we wanted to do next.

We crossed over to the other isle and found a place for lunch. I don't remember the name of it, it wasn't one of the big ones on a corner, but rather a small place with only inside seating. There were quite a few locals in there, and another couple that were tourists as well (they had a guidebook they were looking at). DD had a club sandwich, which was enormous! I had a quiche loraine and salad and cafe au lait. And our standard carafe of water. It came to 26 euro and was perfect...hit the spot and a good spot to relax.

We keep going and head to the Marais. It is bustling today and most places are open. We stop at Amorino and while in line I suggest that we share a cup. The look that DD gave me, lol! She quickly told me that one does NOT share ice cream, and that that is just so wrong, lol. So we each get a little cup of lemon and I agreed that it was good to not share

Wandered various streets, and talked about the fashions we saw on people. One item we saw in all the stores and on a lot of ladies was the MC Hammer style pants. I just don't get it...feeling like you are wearing a droopy diaper just does not seem like it would be comfy. Anyway, we keep hoping to find something to bring back for DS, but let's just say that the fashions we see in this are, DS would be horrified at . We take pics to prove it to him

In our wandering, we came across a sex store. Giggling, we decided we had to go in. Oh my! LOL!!! The entire back section was various "toys", and the rest of the store was misc stuff. We both giggled while checking stuff out, and then left. I think pretty much everyone else in the store were tourists like us.

Then to Pylones. OMG, it was so crowded that it wasn't fun to shop so we left. We instead opt for the smaller stores.

We notice music beginning to play all over. And a heavy police presence. Then I remembered that today was Summer Solstice. I told DD that for us it isn't a big deal, but other places it is. Our best guess as to why it isn't a big deal here is because our summers don't really begin til July 5th

Anyway, as we keep heading back to our apt, we see more and more police, and see/hear more and more bands. A few blocks from our apt we see about 6-8 police vans, at the ready. And lots of restaurants have music setting up outside. We passed our apt a couple blocks and noticed more police vans near the Louvre, ready and waiting. We went to a pharmacy for something, one near our apt, and the lady inside told us that Summer Solstice would be a big party tonight and it is a lot of fun, but to be safe we should be back at our apt by 11 as things can get out of hand. We didn't have any plans for tonight, so just figured we would stay in and watch from our balcony.

So we get back to the apt and the music on our street is starting in earnest. Dinner is that d*mned chicken and potatos. We had high hopes for it, but the chicken was not very good. We ate very little and tossed the rest. Potatos were fine, but we were sad that it was such a letdown, especially after the duck and potatos we had yesterday.

We open our big windows and sit on the balcony. A Greek restaurant below us, and about 2-3 doors down starts taking all their tables and putting them outside. I think it was the owners wife and her kids, and her girlfriends and their kids...they all start the partying. Anytime a car would come down the street they would all get in front of it and scream and wave their arms. They did let the cars pass, but they were celebrating and trying to engage the drivers. So here we are on our balcony just watching. The one lady starts dancing on the tables. She REALLY liked the 80's music...especially the hard rock stuff like Sammy Hagar, and some Rod Stewart. She was hilarious and I told DD to take a video of her so we could put it on youtube. I need to check with DD and see if it turned out. We were laughing so hard we had tears streaming down our faces. This lady would dance by herself, or anybody who would get up there with her. Her kids were all table dancing too. It drew a huge crowd and everyone was filming and taking pics. This lady spotted us, and knew we were watching. She would wave to us and motion for us to come join them. We stayed put, but smiled and waved back So the entire evening was people watching from our balcony. Thankfully we didn't see anything that got out of hand, just people having fun.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 12:36 PM
  #31  
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Day 7

This is our last day in Paris, which is a bit of a relief for me since I am still in a lot of pain. Today is Monday, which means we have a cooking class scheduled. Cookin with Class has a macaron class that goes from 9-12 and we are signed up for it. I reserved a couple months ago. It is very close to Sacre Cour, so we take a taxi. It is early, so we arrived about 30 minutes too early. We find a cafe for breakfast (Cafe Montmarte) which was terrible. We just got croissants and cafe au laits, but yeah, all of it was bad. But it killed enough time before class was to begin.

We head to the building, which was easy to find and is painted in red with some frosted glass. Easy to spot, which was nice. We go in and meet Pino, who is our teacher. He said another family cancelled at the last minute, so it is just the 2 of us and one other lady. That was nice as the space is pretty small. The 5 of us was just right for this. Anyway, Pino is great and makes us feel welcome immediately. We read the instructions, and I was really intimidated by the process. But, with Pino explaining everything as we went along, it eased my fears. Enough so that DD and I want to attempt this at home now! Anyway, we had a ball and made a ton of macarons. Some had a mint ganache, some chocolate, and some raspberry jam sort of thing. OMG, they were sooooo good! Made up for the horrid thing we called breakfast. Pino had plastic takeaway containers for us so that we could easily bring the macarons back with us. We had quite a few of the containers.

We had originally planned on spending some time around Sacre Cour, mostly doing a walking tour. But my knee was just not up to it at all. So we found a taxi and headed back to the apartment. We rode along Blvd Magenta which was a bizarre street. Full of cheap (read, tacky) bridal stores. One after the other...all along this boulevard.

Anyway, we get back to the apt and put the macarons in the fridge and head back out. First stop was the pharmacy for more pain patches. The pharmacist remembers me (not sure if that is a good thing, lol) and asks how I am. She was really nice and suggested a brace as well, but I told her we are flying home tomorrow so I will be ok with just these. So I get another box of patches.

Back to Gosselin for a couple croissants for the morning, 2 tarts for dessert tonight and a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Total came to 8 euro.

Back to the apt for lunch. Shared the sandwich and a coke. Then figured out which stuff we would mail home. We bought some lotions and such that were over 3 oz, and since we only do carryon we figured we would mail one box home. We didn't have that much stuff, so opted to toss in a couple pairs of shoes as well. So we had our bags of stuff and headed to the post office in the Louvre, down in the Carousel area. They were so nice there. I knew exactly which box I needed, but the guy insisted on closing it for us (which was nice as it can be a bit confusing). We had so many coins that we used all of these to pay for it. The guy was so nice and laughed about it. I was glad he wasn't annoyed

We wandered down Rue de Rivoli and in and out of various stores. Wandered in BHV again, and back to the Marais. This time Pylones was empty so we were able to wander and enjoy it. Bought a few other small things.

Back to Gosselin for another sandwich, which would be dinner, for a whopping 3 euro. So dinner was the shared sandwich, leftover potatos and wine and coke.

We will be up early in the morning, so we pack and do all the last dishes and get everything ready to go.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 12:54 PM
  #32  
 
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You started after I did and you're almost finished! I feel guilty for dawdling. But seeing you moving along has gotten me moving again. So thank you for that!

Okay, now back to read day 6 and day 7!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 12:59 PM
  #33  
 
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I am enjoying this so much, I hate for it to end.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 12:59 PM
  #34  
mms
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Day of Departure

We are up early today as Shuttle-Inter is scheduled to pick us up at 5:30am. I can't go down the stairs easily by myself, so DD has to haul both suitcases down the narrow, spiraling staircase. We are out on the sidewalk at 5:25 waiting. There is no activity this early in the morning. We wait, and wait, and wait...no shuttle. Finally after 20 minutes I tell DD that we are not waiting anymore and will go find a taxi so we don't miss our flight. So we start hauling our suitcases (yet another reason to pack light!!!) down the street about 3-4 blocks to the taxi stand. Our street is a one way, so the entire time we are watching in case the shuttle shows up. Nope, it never does. Thankfully the taxi stand has taxis there! So off to CDG. It turned out to be cheaper too, only 39 euro instead of the discounted rate of 50 euro with the Shuttle.

We arrive at terminal 2A for our Continental flight. We have to wait for them to open, but then are one of the first in line. I explain about my knee and how I cannot bend my leg at all. Unfortunately the flight is chuck full. They suggest I ask at the gate again though. So we head to the gate, which looks like something out of the Jetson's. Very odd design. Of course at security I get the full pat down, but they quickly realize I have nothing and let me go.

At the gate, DD and I take turns getting drinks, etc. In the little shop near us they had Eiffel Tower sour patch candies. So DD got a few for her friends.

Saw one lady get up from her chair, walk down towards us to the open area by the gate, open a soda that she obviously knew had been shaken, opened it, let it spew everywhere, then walked back to her seat. Unbelieveable!

When it was time to board, it was like the last time we left France...like a bad cattle call! OMG, forget rows, etc it was one big shoving fest. I of course kept getting bumped, and every time I did my knee hurt like h*ll. Finally got to our seat, and thankfully I am tiny...since I couldn't bend my knee I was able to keep it straight under the seat in front of me. But twice during the flight I just sat and cried I was in so much pain. Nothing else I could do.

That flight was just over 11 hours, then we arrived in Houston. We arrived with 2 other international flights, so the lines were attrocious, but at least they moved. The airport probably isn't as bad as I felt it was...I was tired, in pain, and so had no patience left. We had to go through security again to get to our connecting flight.

We found an area to sit at the gate. DD went to get drinks while I rested. A large high school group was heading for their European trip, so it was fun to talk to some of those kids. Most had never left California before. I was excited for them as I knew their eyes would be opened and the travel bug would bite them

Arrived back in Portland on time, and DH was there to get us. Vacations are always great, but it is especially nice to come home to our loved ones and all the comforts of home
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 01:12 PM
  #35  
 
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I'm enjoying this so much, mms! What a terrific graduation trip this was for your daughter!

As for the meltdown, wait 'til you hear about the one DS and I had our last morning in London. If I ever get that far, lol! But, you know, I think the fact that we're able to have those kind of meltdowns (and, yes, yell at each other) is one of the reasons we're so close.

It's very apparent that you have a wonderful relationship with your daughter! And that's a treasure beyond measure!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 01:13 PM
  #36  
mms
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When we got home, the next day I checked email. I had one from Shuttle-Inter saying their driver was there and I was not. OMG, I was not happy to say the least. I emailed them back with the facts, and have never heard back from them. Not even an apology.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 01:18 PM
  #37  
 
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I was reading/posting as you were posting the final part. Just wanted to pop back to say how sorry I am that you had so much pain during your flight home. So glad it didn't wreck your trip though.

Thanks again for this, mms. It was such fun to read!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 01:21 PM
  #38  
mms
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Caph--Yeah, DD and I were yelling at each other and we were both in tears. Sometimes thats the way it goes, but it never lasts long. I know I just finally broke, and I think DD had been keeping her stress inside too as she was worried about me. I am glad to know we aren't alone, lol! I can't wait to read the rest of yours!
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 04:37 PM
  #39  
 
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Your report was terrific reading . . . thanks for posting! Where are you off to next so we'll have something to look forward to????

Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 06:19 PM
  #40  
 
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mms, I really enjoyed reading your trip report. It made we feel very excited for our trip! And I understand meltdowns -- one of mine had one when we were in London (never finished that report -- I'm not nearly as good as you or Caph for trip reports). It's all part of the adventure and those meltdowns just bring everyone closer together, lol.

BTW, mms, I received the Metro tickets in the mail today. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! It was incredible kind of you to mail them to me. We look forward to using them!
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