DAY ONE AND TWO – SEPTEMBER 14TH AND 15TH
Off to a great start. Air France pilots are on strike and my flight was cancelled from Newark to Paris. I had to travel across town to JKF to get a flight to Paris. I had a great driver from Bangladesh. Young guy who had lived in New York for 4 years. He was trying to get me to the airport as quick as possible and got off the freeway to take city streets. We traveled right through downtown Harlem! Scenic to say the least. At one point we were 4 blocks from former President Clinton’s new offices. He was a really “good” driver. Amazing for NYC. Several times he thought a car was going to pull over into his lane and hit him. He would give this really high-pitched little girlish scream then honk his horn and spend 5 minutes telling he how he thought they were going to hit him.
The flight on Continental from Nashville to Newark was on a little puddle-jumper jet – my favorite mode of transportation. Now I’m sitting at JFK (my FIRST TIME EVER in this airport) waiting for my flight to Paris. My daughter is on American Airlines and is meeting me there…hopefully. It’s going to be a challenge to hook up with her at Charles De Gaulle!
I went out with my former clients – Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen from Desert Rose Band – last night. They were performing at the Americana activities and I didn’t get in until 2 am. I should have NO PROBLEM sleeping on the flight to Paris.
I am probably one of the few people who has to fly constantly and is still absolutely terrified of flying. Every plane I get on, my first thought is, we’re going to go down. I always check out the pilots – I want one old one (experienced) and one young one (knows all the new techniques), and definitely don’t want a female (I know, I know, but there’s PMS). I also check out the year the plane was made. And if there is any turbulence during the flight, I watch the flight attendants faces to see if they look concerned. I saw a friend of mine on Friday night who manages Alan Jackson. She hates to fly as much as I do and she told me a horror story of being on his private jet and they landed and immediately when right back up. She thought he did it to try and scare her because he knows how frightened she is of flying. Turns out there was a Southwest Airlines plane on the runway. See, that’s all I need to convince me I need to drive. ‘Course there’s a write in Nashville who is still recovering from being in a shuttle van in NYC that flipped with her.
Air France was “different”….not bad, just different. I had never flown that airline and had never been to JFK before. New experiences.
Disney Paris is great. I was here for a week in 1994 (I think) and loved it. Tomorrow we do press all day and then Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s sightseeing in Paris. I was standing at the registration desk trying to get the Bellamy’s group registered before they arrived and I felt something on my shoulder. Turned around and there was an 8 foot “DONALD DUCK” in an aviator jacket. Scared me silly.
We’re going to dinner tonight at the Mickey Café. All the soap, shampoo, etc., in the bathroom has “Mickey” packaging. My daughter doesn’t want me to use it as she wants to take it home with her for a souvenir!
David, Wally, Lindsey and I had dinner at the “Mickey Café”. Susan wasn’t feeling well. All the different Disney characters came through at various times and we took photos with them. Lindsey was in “heaven”. One person in the restaurant had a birthday and all the characters came out and sang VERY LOUDLY to her. David made the comment that he was staying far away from the place tomorrow (his birthday). Hmmm…won’t be a good as the stripper in Denmark but I’m sure we can arrange a visit from them.
Going to bed early (11 pm) as tomorrow starts early with a tv taping, followed by a radio and newspaper interview. Check the website for some great photos.
DAY THREE – SEPTEMBER 16TH
Called the Concierge to see what time the gym opened and he said 9:00 AM! Could NOT believe it. I had to be at the venue by 9 am, so I decided just to get up at 6 am and go running. Alarm went off at 6 am and it was still totally DARK. So, I missed my workout this morning and have felt it all day long. No energy. Then I found out that the gym really opens at 7 am every day!
Bellamys performed 3 songs acoustically at Billy Bob’s for Channel 2 News – the national television network in France. They also did an interview for RTL Radio and Liberation Newspaper. We had lunch at the Steakhouse restaurant in Disney Village. They brought David a cake and sang loudly, but we didn’t get the Disney characters. He was happy we didn’t!
My daughter and I went into the park and walked around for several hours. We only took the ride for “It’s a Small World” since I’m not real big on rides. She is, but it’s too much like flying for me. Had dinner with Susan and David at a great seafood restaurant. Trying to get to bed before midnight so I can get up early so I can work out and take the train into Paris.
Very “normal” day for once. I’m sure tomorrow will make up for it.
DAY FOUR – SEPTEMBER 17TH
Up early and into the “gym”. Much better after a work out but can tell my throat is getting sore. Lindsey and I loaded up our packs and headed for Paris via the train and metro. Two “wild women” alone on the streets of Paris – just imagine! First destination was a “designer” warehouse that sold runway seconds. Only got lost about 3 times and then realized it really wasn’t what we thought it was. So, on to Montmarte. I had been there once several years ago and loved it. Knew the “general” direction and we only got lost about a dozen times looking for it. Finally stumbled upon the Sacre-Coeur and knew we had found our destination. It’s a beautiful little “art” village with a town square filled with aspiring artists. Lots of famous people lived there including Van Gogh (actually took a photo of where he lived), Picasso, Dali and Renoir. I found David’s birthday gift – a painting of the Eiffel Tower. I KNOW the artist is going to be famous one day because he was so cute!
After hiking all the way up a very steep hill to reach Montmarte, we realized there was a Funicular that would have taken us right to the top. Oh well, I’m sure we needed the work out.
I started feeling really lousy and KNEW I was coming down with a cold. Perfect timing. We decided not to each lunch but opted for a crepe and later on a gelato – two of our favorite foods in France.
Went back down into Paris and walked around inside Notre Dame. We were trying to kill enough time to take the cruise on the Seine at night. Decided to grab a pizza and wait for darkness.
We found a famous department store that has a view of the city from the 11th floor. But, we couldn’t find the elevator, so we walked all the way up only to find that it had closed 30 minutes before we arrived. But, a couple came down and said, “No, it’s still open, go on up.” Lindsey was already halfway up when an employee told me to come back down, that it was closed. I ignored him and went up with her. It was a terrific view and there was a film crew at the top filming the city. About 5 minutes after we got there, a girl came running up and told us they were sending a security guard to get us down. Needless to say, we made a hasty retreat.
Then we started trying to find a “boat dock”. We ended up walking all the way from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. But, it was worth waiting until dark just to see the lights on the various famous landmarks. The Eiffel Tower was, of course, spectacular. It turned cold and was very windy, which was great for my cold, I’m sure.
I’ve never seen so many attractive men in one city. And, forget what everyone tells you about the French not being friendly. The men were VERY friendly. Only problem is, we didn’t know what they were saying! I only recognized one word all day – “sexy”. Lindsey took French in high school and said that one man in the Moulin Rouge area was asking us to come over and do something but she wasn’t quite sure what. Probably didn’t teach her that in high school French class!
Got back to Disney and realized that we were on the same train with the Bellamys and their musicians. I bought a new backpack that I can carry or it “rolls”. Went through the doors for the subway exit and they closed on the backpack. Howard was yelling and I was yanking on it as hard as I could. We finally got it out but it was pretty funny.
Felt really bad by the time I got back to the room but had to stay up until 2:30 am working on email. Too tired to write this road report. But, I’m up early, already worked out, and feeling better. It’s off to Paris again today! Then a very early flight to Japan tomorrow.
DAY FIVE – SEPTEMBER 18TH
Up early to work out then back into Paris again. Today we went to the Museum D’Orssy. It was great – Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir. I took a picture of the painting of Whistler’s Mother. Left there and went to the Louve but didn’t go in. We had done that previously and my daughter was intent on doing “new” things this time. We walked all the way from the Louve up to the Eiffel Tower. Or, should I say, we “shopped” our way all the way up the Champs D’ Elysses. It was such fun. We even managed to find couple of deals.
We then make the required trip to the Hard Rock Café for tacky souvenirs. Then metro to an outlet mall that was huge. They sold Versaci, Prada, Gucci, etc., at bargain prices. Didn’t have nearly enough time there before they closed.
The highlight of the day was almost getting run over by two policemen rushing into the subway chasing someone. I wanted to go back and take photos of them but Lindsey wouldn’t let me. Didn’t pick up any men today but a tourist came up to me and asked directions in French. Like I look like a local now?
Had dinner with Jocelyne – the buyer for EuroDisney. She is a very nice person and very organized and professional. We ate at Billy Bob’s and it was very “American” – barbeque, Mexican food, and a GREAT DESSERT BAR.
Back to the room to pack and answer email. Have full-blown head cold and still not feeling great.
DAY SIX AND SEVEN – SEPTEMBER 19TH AND 20TH
Okay, messed up on what DAY it actually is. I lost a day flying over, so this is actually day 6 and 7….
In bed at 2:30 am and had a 4:00 am wake-up call….which is why there was no road report yesterday! Took forever to make the operator understand that I was calling her at 2:30 am and asking for a wakeup call at 4:00 am. She kept saying, “Yes, 8:00 am”. Finally I tried counting off – 1, 2, 3, 4 am but she only responded “Room 1234”! But, evidently she finally understood or I’d still be snoozing in my room! I’m sitting at the airport now, getting ready to board the flight to JFK, meet up with Rosanne Cash, and go on to Tokyo. It’s going to be a long day. I’m sure I’ll burn these clothes once I arrive at the hotel in Japan. The “Country Music Stampede” is a first-time event with Charlie Daniels, Rosanne Cash, and T. G. Sheppard. It’s been pretty unorganized from their end and I am plenty worried about pulling this one off without a casualty. We’ll see.
Slept a lot of the 10 hour flight from Paris to JFK. Landed and was able to re-check my bag at the Air France counter for the Northwest flight to Japan. I am definitely worried that I will ever see it again. Air France is notorious for losing luggage. I had a 5 hour layover at JFK. Yesterday as I was getting of the train at Disney, my sunglass fell off my waist clip and, of course, went right down onto the tracks! Unbelievable. And, the clip went with them. It was this cute little clip that I had bought right before the trip that allows you to clip the glasses to a purse, your pocket etc. Tried to find more sunglasses at the airport but Duty Free was the only store that carried them. Cheapest pair was $130.00 and with my luck with sunglasses, I’m looking for the Wal-Mart Special at $12.00!
When we were walking along the Avenue de Champs yesterday, we noticed a crowd bending over a railing looking at the street below. There was a tunnel and Lindsey decided it must be the tunnel where Princess Di was killed. Great tourists that we are, we went over to take a photo only to learn that it was a truck that was too tall and was stuck in the tunnel entrance. It literally peeled back the top of the truck. There seemed to be a great deal of activity surrounding how to get the truck out! Lindsey, who has heard way too many of George Lindsey’s jokes suggested that they simply let the air out of the tires!
Met Rosanne and her group at JFK. Had a call from Penny and everyone from Nashville made it to Detroit. Charlie Daniels had $2,000 in excess luggage – the airlines just won’t work with you anymore on waiving any of this! That means there’s two more flights and $4,000 more in excess charges. And the airlines are hurting financially????
I’m in the air now about to land in Tokyo. Once, a long time ago, I traveled from Brazil to Japan via Portland and swore I would never do anything like that again…11 hours from Paris to Tokyo, 5 hour layover, 14 hour flight from JFK to Tokyo, and still a 4-5 hour bus ride after I land to the hotel. I wonder if somehow I’ll get back all the days I’ve lost crossing the international date line these past 36 hours?
Landed a few minutes early and got on the bus for the trip to the Arai Snow Park. Supposed to be a 4 hour drive but because of traffic, it’s taking 6-7 hours. Not good after everyone is so tired from the long flight.