Thursday, March 14, 2013

New airline ticket pricing - good or bad?

I've just read recent articles from Time and the NY Times about how airlines are going to be testing this new pricing plan... charging frequent flyers HIGHER prices to get more revenue out of them.

Obviously, I do NOT like this plan because I travel all the time for business - what, so now I have to pay an arm and leg now for my fun travel????  It kind of negates the loyalty program.


Friday, March 1, 2013


Well! I got to spend a lovely Valentine's day with a very special person... Natalie! This year, Valentine's day happened to fall on the same weekend as President's day so we made her husband Eugene very jealous he couldn't come with us for our 4 day weekend.  Ha!

Natalie and I have both been to Paris before, and we got lucky because we scored the Air France direct flights from both SF and LA (her from SF, me from LA) with our Delta points, and it was a steal at only 60k miles!  60k for a direct flight to Europe?? This is the single best use of Delta points I have ever seen, and I will get into why Delta has THE WORST international redemption fares of all the three alliances. But getting back on track...

Day 1: I'm late to LAX because I tried to root my Kindle Fire and it wasn't having it. Give up, try to download a book on my Kindle reader and it breaks as I'm looking at it. So now I have no book/tablet for a 10 hour flight. Also, this is Kindle #6, I go through these things like.. I don't know what! Cursing. Flight is delayed. Woo! Fix Fire in time for flight and manage to download a book in time for takeoff. Get to Paris can't find Natalie in the airport, finally find her, get to hotel, shower, immediately go find a wine bar, have two carafes of lovely French wine, cheeses and oysters.  I have a meeting at 7 pm and I have to admit I was slightly intoxicated for what was an 11 am PST meeting. Oh well! Natalie ends up at an Irish pub for a bit while I'm at my meeting and I fell asleep.

Day 2: We go to this cute little outdoor market down the street. Chocolate croissants! Actually I ate one and I have NO idea what the big deal is.  But I hate sweets. There is a fromagerie and I buy some pate and foie gras and then I ate MY equivalent of a chocolate croissant, which was some flaky pastry thing with pate in it. Now THAT made me happy : )

  Next up is walking around, where I saw these really colorful marshmallows (they really like cute pastel colors in their food here!), saw the Panthenon, where I am standing in front of, and then we went to eat this ridiculous 4 course lunch with wine! Which was really good! We had this puree of cauliflower, duck, cheese, wine, all sorts of stuff. SO GOOD!

Next, I go take my siesta (still jetlagged, and I'm old!) and then we meet Cloe and Guillaume for dinner, who I know from my 2011 trip to Africa. When you spend a month in a truck with a group of people camping through 5 African countries, you get to know people. That is all! So it was great catching up, we had a lovely dinner where I ate rabbit in this sauce and I KNOW I've attempted to make it before but of course it was better at this place : )  And then we went to a birthday party for one of their friends. I don't know what was going on after that but this was definitely a hipster part of the neighborhood, and there was tequila being poured into peoples mouths, and for SOME reason, I don't know, there were people that started dancing on the bar and taking off their clothes, but they were guys!  Natalie made friends with a couple of gay guys and we accidentally stole someone's beer, it all worked out in the end though! Come to think of it maybe we were at a hipster gay bar. I have no idea except it would probably do well in SF. lol

Like Spain and probably the rest of Europe, France apparently goes to the bar until 2 am and then to the club until sunrise. So after this bar closed, we went off in search for a club. This went on until about 4 am when we found a bar, drank a beer, decided we were tired and headed back. After which I once again fell asleep (I'm a deep sleeper) and Natalie went on a really loud 1 1/2 hour Skype call and I apparently slept through the whole thing!

Day 3: Natalie and I wake up a little hung over and she goes to get this cheese from this fromagerie before they close for the weekend.  In the process she was soooo nice and bought other things for a nice lunch at Luxembourg Park (see, best Valentines day EVER! lol) but then the dude at the cheese shop wrapped everything EXCEPT the cheese we were going to eat today! So that didn't work out so well. 

Since it was Sunday, not a lot was open so we walked around a bit and found an area west of the Park that had lots of shops and cafes.  We did see a 24 hour cheese shop, but I forgot to take a picture : ) Then some more wandering and it was getting dark, so we went to see the Eiffel Tower since I've never seen it sparkle. Yes, I started drinking wine in the park because I'm a bum. But it does sparkle!

Then we had another dinner with some really amazing scallops. Everything is so pretty here. Again, best Valentines Day ever! lol


Day 4: We get up and go have what ended up to be a bit of a frou frou dining establishment.  I had a prix fixe menu with escargot and Natalie got oysters. I saw frou frou because I had a special tool to eat the escargot (see picture, this is NOT what they do in Morocco, that's more like they dump a bunch of snails into a cup and give you a toothpick lol).  and Natalie's oysters came out with dry ice and was smoking! Crazy!

I think from there we went shopping at Gallerias Lafayette, where I picked up some European food, caviar, some anchoas and a few other things I can't get in the States. Then we went to get chocolate, and macarons at Pierre something.  Again, I have no idea what the big deal about macarons are.  But I bought some!

Later that day we meet Cloe and Guillaume for dinner at their house, which was a very simple and delicious meal of cheese, charcuterie, wine, and this potato gratin thing which was really good! They have a really lovely flat right in the middle of everything and they were so nice to have us over for dinner!  Next we went off to another of their friends birthdays, as it was Monday it was a bit quieter. 

 Natalie apparently makes friends with French gay guys in about 3 seconds!  This is everyone with the birthday boy making faces lol.


Day 5: We are leaving today but the train broke or something.  Natalie and me being the resourceful people we are, asked a french person wtf they were talking about on the speaker, we found two dudes that were also going to the airport and split a cab with them.  They were pretty funny.  One guy was gay and he had the WORST southern accent ever.  Mix that with French and you can see what happens.  But they were super super nice and great conversation on the way to the airport.

At the airport, I managed to buy some more macarons and a wheel of cheese, and Natalie took off to go back to SF and I went to LA. And, we are both rock stars because we arrived and went straight to work. 

All in all, yes Paris can be done in a (long) weekend and if you have a short flight.  Lots of great things to eat, see, do and enjoy there.  Thanks to Cloe and Guillaume for taking us out, we had a wonderful time and I hope they come to California soon!