Our 15th Wedding Annivesary Trip started off with quite a treat. We boarded what may be just about the best plane I've ever been on. Shira and I were tucked privately into our own little twosome row, there was plenty of space in the overhead bin for my luggage, and the entertainment center was one of those fancy ones where you can select from over 200 on demand movies. As if that weren't enough, each movie had a trailer - so I could have just sat back and watched trailer after trailer. And the feature that tops all other features: the seat had a standard outlet I could plug my computer into. No more stressing over battery life of my laptop and cellphone.
It was, however, "just about" the best plane I've been on and not the best. That's because it wasn't able to fly. After about an hour, which I didn't notice because I was too busy watching trailers, they announced that our plane had mechanical issues.
We deboarded and a short 5 hours leater boarded a new plane. This one lacked nearly every amenity the first plane had, but did have the one feature the other lacked: we were able to fly in it.
We landed in Paris, dropped our bags at the hotel and immediately set out on a mission: to find and attend the French Open.
All of Shira's planning paid off as our hotel was a 5 minute metro ride to Roland Garros, the stadium that hosts The Open.
After going through an impressive ticket verification process we found ourselves on the grounds. Nadal was playing a match at the time, though we didn't have tickets to the court he was on. Still, watching him on the big screen and listening to the cheers live, was quite a thrill.
We attended a number of matches today, and everywhere we went we found names we recognized. People of note that we saw today were Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka. It was definitely a special kind of thrill.
We had tickets to the main court, and I was surprised at how relatively small it was. Our seats were high up, but compared to some venues (like say a football field or bascketball court), we were right on the action. And watching folks play tennis on the side courts felt like going to a little league game. The scale is almost comically small.
We've got a few more days of the Open ahead of us, so expect me to share more details over that time. Here are few snapshots. Sorry ladies, it was cold out, and so it was only Tsonga who gave us the thrill of a shirt change. Seriously, all of a sudden I hear cat calls from behind us, and look up and see him changing. Holy muscles. Anyway, search the photos below to find it.
One last thing. The biggest difference between Paris and home that I've noticed so far? There are so many smokers. I can't recall the last time I was walking down the street and was surrounded by so many people lighting up.