Well, that one-hour delay in Cincinnati turned into five hours, which means my connecting
flight was busted, as was Plan A. My new connection in Paris, where I write this post from, leaves at 7:30 tonight and arrives in Zagreb at 9:30. This means I can’t take the bus today to Zadar where I’ve already booked a hostel room for tonight and tomorrow night.
Delta gave us a voucher for dinner – $6 for Christ’s sake! Used it at the Outback restaurant at the Cincinnati airport for an appetizer, baked potato and two drinks. The $6 barely covered the tip. Airport food is expensive! After dinner, I had just enough time to buy Wi-Fi access and book a hotel in Zagreb (Hotel Holiday) for tonight ($91 for the room plus taxi fare to the hotel and then to the bus station tomorrow). Plus, I will be out the $50 I paid for the hostel tonight. I was told Delta might reimburse me if I write them. We’ll see.
The trip to Paris took 7 1/2 hours. Delta had to have a new jet flown from Atlanta because the one we were to fly on was broken and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They swapped out one 767 for another. Not a great plane in the economy section, although they did show free movies the whole way, which was good as I was up all night. Can’t sleep sitting up and with a crowd around me. As we boarded the plane, a Delta guy gave everyone a voucher for $100 for future travel, and the flight crew must have apologized 15 times about the delays before we landed. They also comped me on two Jack Daniels, which by that time I really needed. Nice older British lady sat next to me and didn’t try to engage in conversation. I wasn’t in the mood either.
The Paris airport is as I remembered – very spread out with lots of walking, sometimes on moving sidewalks. Going through customs was ridiculously easy; went to two stations and they simply stamped my passport without any questions. Thought I was supposed to claim my bags, go through customs and then recheck my bags, but when my suitcases didn’t show up at baggage claim I figured they were going ahead with me to Croatia without the customs check in Paris. Maybe in Zagreb.
Found an Air France window near baggage claim and the nice lady gave me a new boarding pass and directed me where to go. Good thing, too, as it is easy to get turned around in this airport. She also told me my bags would be on my connecting flight. Next to her window was a currency exchange window, so I exchanged a bunch of dollars for Euros. The Euro bills are wider than U.S. dollars and don’t fit so well in a standard billfold.
Had to go through security once again, which was no problem, except I had to take my camera equipment out of my backpack (it was buried on the bottom) and then they wanted to search the pack. I was carrying two nail clippers, which apparently set off alarms, but they let me keep them.
The passenger gate areas here are very open and in a modern building. On one floor are the gates and passenger seats and down a moving walkway is a shopping and restaurant area. I was hungry so went to see what was available. The food was mostly premade sandwiches, fruit, sodas and stuff you take from shelves. However, the prices are so high I didn’t get anything. A Diet Coke was nearly $5, a small bottled water $3.50, and a ham and cheese sandwich nearly $8. I’ll be here for another four hours so I’ll probably get hungry and bite the bullet – and the ham sandwich. Haven’t had a decent meal since Tuesday night and probably won’t until Saturday.
The Paris airport has Wi-Fi service for about $10 and hour, but also a free 15-minute service I will try to use. I haven’t found any electrical plugs to connect my laptop so I’m on battery. Such outlets were commonplace at the Charlotte and Cincinnati airports.
So now my Plan B is to stay overnight in Zagreb and catch a bus Friday morning for Zadar, where I still have a reservation at the hostel for Friday night. I have no contact info for the hostel but I did contact hostels.com, where I booked the reservation, to tell them my situation. I asked for an extra night at the hostel but I doubt that will happen. The hostel page on hostels.com did not have a phone number or e-mail, and I only received a confirmation from hostels.com so I couldn’t contact the hostel directly, something to keep in mind.
Also, a quick take on fashion here – lots of black, few colors, tapered slacks. I guess I’m standing out a bit in my Hawaiian. You think?