More on my Trip to Paris in 2009

07 Sep 2009
Posted by jcfiala

Well, here I am home again. It's been a lovely trip, all told.

It was nice having an apartment in Paris, and the area we were in was a lot of fun, but the internet was a big disappointment. It wasn't really until Wednesday that we had live internet in the apartment, and even then the wireless router that came with the place wasn't working properly with more than one user. Happily, both Matthew and Al were willing to hook up their laptops to the Ethernet cable and substitute as wireless modems, so it wasn't too bad, but still...

I think I went into enough detail in my last post about the day before Drupalcon. The first day of Drupalcon was a sprint, but I spent it more on work-related things. The University was possibly one of the most beautiful buildings to host a Drupalcon that I've ever seen - the building had huge ceilings, solid stone floors and staircases, tall rooms with worked in filigrees and all sorts of things I don't have the vocabulary to properly describe. And no two rooms looked the same. The only room that looked vaguely college/institutional was the eating hall, and even there there were some great touches.

Happily there was also an elevator, which helped to spare my feet. The sessions were on about two or three different floors, but happily all in the same building, unlike Drupalcamp LA, where it was scattered across four or five buildings. There weren't really any power available in the meeting rooms, but both the code-sprint rooms and the sponsor room had tons of french power strips, which allowed for easy recharging... especially with my power squid added in series at the pingVision table, allowing us all to work off of one outlet. Sadly, this is not a building which lends itself to air conditioning, so some of the rooms were deathly hot.

But, after the con each night was lovely, heading home, meeting up with my wife from her explorations of the city, and having dinner. Unlike American Drupalcons, it was far too expensive to really eat out, so there was a fair amount of cooking done by a variety of folks, which was really nice. And then once that was done, we could head out and explore, or just sit and watch the Eiffel Tower at night, or whatever. Apparently wine was extraordinarily cheap and plentiful, making my roommates happy, although I still wasn't able to drink it.

The only real down-note of the trip was on the last full day, a Saturday. I played hookey on the usual Code Sprint and instead went off with Tammy to explore Paris some more. Unfortunately my light shirt was in no way up to the cool temperatures that day, and I started having trouble with shivering and headaches. We skipped on walking outdoors and went by a fantastically huge department store, which had some of the most beautiful (and expensive!) clothing that I've seen in a long time. Tammy got my pjs so I could wear the top under my shirt for warmth, which did help, but even still we headed home after lunch, where I collapsed into bed and slept most of the next 16 hours. We were afraid it was Drupalcon Flu, but it seems to have just been exhaustion from the convention paired with me freezing myself that morning, as I didn't really have any symptoms and was fine once I caught up on sleep.

The trip home was pleasantly uneventful. We got out of the apartment a shade before 9am on Sunday, when we needed to be gone, and made our way through the metro to the Airport. We made our way to the correct terminal, checked in, handed over a bag at Baggage claim, and had time for coffee before our trip to the island where our plane was waiting. I'm very fond of the way they handle security at that airport - you don't go through it until you've gone out to one of the islands where the planes pull up, which means the line only contains folks going on your plane and maybe a few others.

The flight home was long, but we arrived at Charlotte a little early, which gave us even more time to go through customs and all, where I got to chat with Ken Rickard and his wife, who had apparently hung out with my wife while Ken and I were off doing Drupally things. They'd been on the same flight as us, and we chatted as we waited for our bags. (For those of you who have not travelled overseas and back, on the way back to America, even if your bag is checked in to your destination, you still have to pick it up at your first American airport and carry it past a final customs check... at which point you check it in again, often 5 feet after the customs check.) It was nice to talk with him, although I think we were all still a bit tired out. Still, there was much excitement for Drupalcon SF next year.

Customs dealt with we went on to our gate, where we enjoyed the free internet and then few on home, with our only stop at Starbucks to keep us awake on the drive back to the house. Today, happily, I can just sit back and relax.