Yesterday my aunt and my Mom said they would like to join us in Paris this September. We were thrilled, as I know they will love the city and I've just been dying to have someone else in my family travel to Europe and see the beautiful sights of the City of Light, as Paris is known.
There's a lot of fun and excitement in planning a trip...one might even say that half the fun is in the planning and looking forward to the trip itself. Yesterday, I spent most of the day looking for the best fares and booking tickets for everyone. I managed to get my Mom and Aunt on the same flight to Paris out of Houston (they're meeting there from other places on the West Coast).
I also booked my husband and my tickets as well. While that part was relatively easy, the hotel I have reserved for four now needs to change to six people travelling, and that seems to be where the fun comes in.
Christophe, the reservations guy at the hotel in Rue Cler where we're staying was a bit confused. I tried to make another reservation for my Mom and Aunt, and we're running into a language problem. He knows French and "Hotel English", and I know English and absolutely no "Hotel French".
Ah, Christophe, all I know is "hello", "please" and "thank you" in your language. I'm sorry to be an American with limited language skills. Perhaps today I'll bust out the French dictionary I have and try to pick up a couple more words every day until I get there.
First thing this morning I received an e-mail confirming my 2 rooms, when in fact we need 3. Well, I said "we now need 3 rooms for so-and-so", naming each of the pairs, and reiterating the dates.
This is one of those times when I feel a certain amount of nervousness. Paris hotels book up quickly in September, particularly anyone who is mentioned with glowing recommendations from Rick Steves, travel guru. Of course I want to make sure it's right, since I don't want my Mom and my In-Laws and me standing on a Paris street corner with nowhere to go.
I just got another three e-mails, only one is correct, and it appears I have more than one room added. So I got offline and called him on the phone. "Bonjour, Parlay vou Anglais" I say in my best French to date. "Yes," Christophe says. "Is this Christophe?" I ask. "Yes," Christophe says. Well, we talk a bit. He said he sent me an e-mail a half hour ago confirming everything, and I say "yes, but it says we're arriving on the 19th, and we are coming on the 18th." Yes, Christophe says. Don't worry. You have three rooms on Sunday the 18th for 7 days.
"Great," I say. "Merci" (using my last known French word unless I can work the word "Croissant" into the conversation).
OK. Now, maybe, we're set to go.