June 17th, 2015

krazy koati

And he don't need an airplane or some kind of engine and he never will

The flight hadn't had meal or drink service, naturally enough. It was too short and probably too turbulent. So we joined the line for the World's Slowest Tim Horton's. At least it was slow for everybody else, even though they were mostly just getting doughnuts and coffee. For us it was fast. We don't understand this phenomenon.

I asked the Air Canada gate staff whether there was a vegetarian meal on the plane. Expedia failed to offer a ``request vegetarian meal'' choice when bunny_hugger booked the flights. They said there wasn't one. So we went to other food vendors and looked for stuff we could eat on the plane. We got a salad and sandwich and some candy bars. On the plane one of the dinner options was vegetarian shepherd's pie. I feel that Air Canada could do a bit better about communicating information to people.

The flight had one of those personal seat TVs with a staggering array of movies and TV shows to watch. Thus I became aware of the existence of SNL Quebec, a Canadian version of the always-slightly-disappointing sketch comedy show. It was in French, which I should've expected, so I couldn't follow what was going on in some interminable courtroom sketch. This didn't bode well for spending a week in France. I bailed out at the monologue. I watched most of The Hobbit III: The Search For Smaug before nodding off. bunny_hugger watched Birdman, but drowsily, and trusted that she'd be able to watch it while awake on the return flight. The return flight came after the first of June, and that was one of the movies they'd dropped with the calendar change.

We arrived in Paris, at Charles de Galle International, and while there was an unexplained-in-English pause before our bags got going we did collect them in good time. We also found the train station, happily just at the end of the airport, and after a few missteps an ATM so we could withdraw some euros. This left us there a little before noon, Paris time, or somewhere around 6 am, back-home time, with a couple hours to go before our train. Fortunately we had something to eat: the sandwich and salad. We only had enough European change to buy one bottle of Orangina, but that was enough for the immediate need.

Our train was a high-speed train to take us from Paris to Rennes, location of the academic conference bunny_hugger was presenting at. We had reserved seats on coach (I forget): numbers 45 and 47. There were no seats 44 and 45 on the coach. There were numbers like 41 and 43 and even 46 and 48, but not our numbers. The spot where they should have been was an extra luggage rack. We were certainly in the right coach, though. We took some empty seats with the plan to ask the ticket-taker when we saw one. We never saw one.

The train moved fast, wonderfully quickly, just flying over the northern-French countryside. As the last of our major forms of motorized vehicles for the day --- (friend's) car, (Michigan Flyer) bus, propeller plane, jet plane, train --- it was, missing seat aside, the best ride.

In Rennes bunny_hugger had booked a hotel just barely away from the main train and subway station. So we eventually overcame the challenge of finding our way out of the subway station. The most direct route to our hotel was blocked off by new-subway construction, but we didn't go too far down any wrong roads either.

The hotel had a wonderfully tiny elevator, the kind big enough for two people or one person and luggage. Its outer door, the one that stays with the floor, swung out like a restaurant kitchen door instead of sliding out like normal elevator doors. I was delighted by this, though it was a claustrophobic experience.

bunny_hugger fell asleep first. While I sat up I got a bit hungry and ate the Crunchie bar (or whatever it was named) that I'd picked up in Toronto. She woke up at what I didn't think was a very loud ``crunchcrunchcrunchcrunchcrunchcrunchcrunch''. It stood out in the quiet of the room, though. And that was plenty for us to do for the day.

Trivia: In its earliest use, from about 1400 to 1600, the word ``surround'' meant ``to overflow with water, to inundate, to submerge''. Source: Semantic Antics: How and Why Words Change Meaning, Sol Steinmetz.

Currently Reading: Walkers On The Sky, David J Lake.

PS: Reading the Comics, June 16, 2015: Carefully Targeted Edition, as the mathematical themes mentioned in these comics seem to touch on my interests.