The Great Congolese Caper - Day 1 - In the Air

Posted in Family , OldBlog with tags Mireille -

Seat 9a to MSP

Leg one is done. Yes, the easiest leg, but significant nonetheless. My seat wasn’t bad - I was on the window next to an older woman who didn’t take up too much room, so that was good.

Things I learned from this step of the journey: * My earbuds suck. So much so that I have already replaced them with some cheap on ear headphones so I don’t have to monkey with them the whole time on the next two flights. * I’m too obsessed with food. Not knowing what the status of food on the upcoming flight is, I gorged myself at Charly’s Philly-style subs. Delicious, but didn’t need all that food! I think I’m afraid of starving in the next week and feel like I can stave it off by eating way too much before I go!

Now I’m sitting at gate G9 waiting for my next leg to board. Interesting room of people. Some people are clearly foreign, but it’s not super easy to determine. Going to be an interesting flight, but probably not quite as interesting as the next one!

Seat 33a to Paris CDG

For my first trip overseas, I’m blessed to be on an Airbus A300-330 (or something like that), a big plane. It’s a Delta flight, and this one looks to be newly decked out. The first class (or business class I suppose) cabin looks unbelievable. They don’t really have seats more than they have cubicles, with LED screen televisions in each of them. Looks nice! Now to head to my seat - to the right.

Yes, I’m with the cattle in the back of the plane. The seats are pretty much the same as any domestic coach class seat - not much room, very little ability to recline. At least the guy I was sitting next to doesn’t smell or take up too much room. It does have two really nice features, though. First, it has a USB port that you can use to charge your electronics. Sadly it doesn’t carry enough power to charge the iPad, but it sufficiently works with my iPhone. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t charge the iPad, because I don’t even need to take it out. They have little LED widescreens on the back of each seat where you can choose from around 50 or more recent movies, most of which I haven’t yet seen. So for the flight I took in three movies, “This is Where I Leave You,” “Whiplash,” and “Fury,” all three pretty good movies, and ones I normally wouldn’t watch (or get to watch).

Some other nice perks of this flight, all the drinks are free! Would that I only took advantage of that perk. I was so determined not to have to get up and go to the bathroom much that I pretty much went into hibernation mode. I did have to get up once during the flight, but timed it such that my seatmate was already gone, so I didn’t have to bother him a single time. But hey, free beer! Also there was a meal on the flight, which would have been amazing had I known that. I gorged myself at the MSP airport thinking there may not be a meal. It wasn’t a bad meal - I of course ate everything, including the “snack” they served as we approached CDG airport, a warm baguette with eggs and sausage on it. That was delicious.

As we took off from MSP, it was fun looking at all of the lakes with ice rinks carved out of them. Actually it was fun that I recognized them, I suppose. Another cool part of this trip, I actually got to see the sunset near MSP and the sunrise near Paris, all within an 8 hour flight! Technology is cool!

While not watching movies with my new, inexpensive headphones, I watched the map application that showed flight statistics and our position in the world. As we flew over Ireland I saw many tiny little towns with what seemed only a handful of lights. As the sun came up we flew south of London, which is as close as I’ve ever gotten to London! It was also interesting to note the air temperature outside the plane as we flew - it consistently read -100 degrees F. for the entirety of the trip until we landed.

Written by Brandon Grady
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