Just one pilot's attempt at taking an interesting picture every trip, often with a story to go with it. Come along for the ride.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Paris 3 day - Musée du quay Branley

August will likely be a month with little pattern or ‘cadence’ in flying. I love to fly a variety of trips, but many of our lines are either built with all Paris, all Manchester, or all Santo Domingo or San Juan. But I’ve managed to trade around and get a nicely varied schedule for July and August, flying one of each of the trips we have.

Mark is the kind of Captain I aspire to be. Sharp as a tack, great sense of humor and always enjoyable to fly with. I was the FB (relief co-pilot) for this Paris trip. I had flown with the co-pilot, Mike once before and it looked to be a really fun trip. We were all happy to see that Michelle would be one of our nine flight attendants. Many of the others were actually from the Dallas base, surprisingly.

Typically everyone sleeps on the bus ride from the airport to the hotel in the city. I’ve heard stories of the ride taking as much as 3 hours, but I usually fly Paris on the weekends or in August when everyone in the city is away on vacation, so, this being August, we were at the hotel in less than 45 minutes. So, while I listened to The Apple Phone Show podcast, (highly recommended, BTW) everyone else slept...

Michelle really wanted to go to the Musée du quay Branley, which displays ancient instruments of non western societies. Sign me up! And Captain Mark wanted to check out a restaurant that was a converted train station he’d heard about. So with our evening planned in advance, I could sit back and enjoy the ride, so to speak.

The last time I flew with Mark, Michelle was also on the trip. Due to a mechanical issue with the airplane, we were unable to fly home with passengers, so we ferried an empty 767 back to Boston from Paris. And prior to that, Michelle was part of the crew that went to a play in Manchester together. So we’ve always managed to have a good time. She’s extremely smart, funny, positive, and she teases relentlessly. But I like that, and it makes for some great layovers to have her come along. Or maybe it was us that was tagging along with her, really. We discovered that all three of us pilots had cell phones that could text message internationally. CA Mark figured this would be a great way to meet up in Paris if one of us wanted to go out early. We tested it out and it worked great.

When I got to my room, I realized that I forgot the charger for the iPhone. Oh, The horror! In good cheapskate pilot form, I asked at the front desk if they might have a USB iPod cable that was left at lost and found. No such luck. So just after arriving at the hotel, I found myself walking to a FNAC store to buy an iPod charger. 2 hours later and I was in business. But that really cut into my nap time. So I crashed for another 2 1/2 hours before meeting up with CA Mark and Michelle. We planned on meeting Mike at the museum later. After picking up a wee snack at the pastry, we jumped on the Metro to go over to the Eiffel Tower, close to where the Museum was located. I rarely get to that corner of the city, so I made sure to take a few pictures while there, even though the clouds weren’t helping with the shots. Here are a few:

So we hung around the outside of the museum waiting for FO Mike, but he was running late. It seems that the Metro station he planned on using was closed, so he texted us to tell us he’d be late. Ahh, you’ve got to love technology. We hung out at the Museum Cafe before finally giving up on Mike and going inside. We elected not to rent an audio device that would help us with a tour of the Museum. In hindsight, that would have been very helpful. I struggled a little bit with my limited french to understand what I was looking at. They had masks, costumes, violins, guitars, and weapons from ancient worlds. Cameras weren’t allowed inside, but I rebelled and snuck in one iPhone picture for you:

Now I’m a huge fan of museums. Let’s see, there’s the Boeing Museum, the Pensacola Naval Museum, Stephen Gray’s fighter collection in Duxford, and the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, California. So while this museum was really interesting, I think I would have preferred the Kalamazoo “Air Zoo” museum. But thanks Michelle for trying to open my eyes to new things. I’ll try out the audio tour next time.

FO Mike may have had the best idea. He met us at the museum cafe outside. I joined him and texted CA Mark when Michelle found us outside as well. It was really easy to get lost in there! Mark had secured reservations for 4 at the restaurant called Le Gare for 8 p.m. Imagine a train or subway station with the tables down where the train tracks used to be and the platform above and on both sides also featuring tables. I managed to get one picture inside that may help get the idea as well as an exterior shot of the restaurant:

Notice the ghostly blur in front of one of the tables? That was the only picture I got of the hostess who the 3 M’s (Mark, Mike and Michelle) found to be distractingly stunning. I hardly noticed her at first, as she really wasn’t my type, but they managed to point out one of the truly beautiful features of Paris. OK, she was hot. But if she had short blond hair, I would have flipped. (And taken pictures)

The dinner was great. As is somewhat common in Paris, you order a fixed price meal which runs about 36€ or $49. It comes with an appetizer, the main course, and the desert. (Shrimp, beef and half baked chocolate cake for me). Due to the language barrier, I ended up with well done beef, but it was still very good. And the dessert was to die for. (I’m convinced there are NO bad desserts in France)
So it was time to leave the restaurant and work our way back to the metro station before they shut down for the night. I think it was 11:30 or so. We passed the Eiffel Tower and stopped at a convenience store for some water and fruit for the morning.

We depart at 1:30 in the afternoon the next day. Since we got there a bit early, I wanted to take a picture of FO Mike with his window open. I got a shot of FO Mike waving from his window. 

Then CA Mark just had to share some of the limelight followed shortly after by Michelle. It quickly became a photo shoot!

I swear, it’s not always this fun. Sometimes we even have to work. But we’ll do our best to enjoy the next Paris trip, when we may go on a late night bike tour of the city with FO Mike and my good friend Captain Dave B. Will it be as much fun? Stay tuned.

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Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Grew up in Alaska, went to high school and college in Washington State. Commercial pilot since 1990.

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