I am motionless. Colleagues and friends trying to get home are having their hopes dashed with continued cancellations and delays. My office is only a few miles from Orly and I DID see some flights both landing and taking off. It is starting. But the backlog is huge and wait times are insane. Gare de l’Est was in fine form Monday morning and trains seemed to be moving. However, it can take up to four hours in line to get a ticket. The on-line booking system is puking from overuse I guess.
I am simply waiting until I hear more success stories than not. I’d hate to travel outside of Paris only to have my flight cancelled and be stuck at an airport, unable to work, with a mule-pack of luggage in tow. CNN reports that flight schedules are resuming and airports are opening, and then there is also news that the winds are shifting, which could push the ash clouds back over the airports in Northern Europe. A colleague reported she wiped volcanic ash off he car yesterday morning in Paris. My beer protector was a just-in-time invention. I’ll get to use it. I am also hearing this morning that 80% of commercial air traffic is running now. Heathrow is apparently “back to normal”. So just a matter of clearing the backlog.
I enjoyed a nice dinner with two colleagues, one from China and one from the US who are supposed to fly out on Friday. Tickets in hand, and crossed fingers that there are no cancellations. I have no flight at the moment. But I did change hotels to a cheaper one. It is better in terms of room size and service. There’s that at least. I packed about five days worth of clothing for a two week trip (yeah – I pack light) and now well into week three I am supplementing my wardrobe and catching up on laundry.
It is school vacation period in France and many people are on vacation. Traffic is light. However, as soon as you pass a train station, you can see the additional buzz. The partial train strike is not helping. More photos to come of Gare de l’ Est in the next post.