What counts as bad?
- Very little sleep before leaving
- No sleep (and not even a chance to recline) during a 30+ hour trip
- Delays, causing worries about making connections (we had HOURS to come up with a Plan B)
- Puking neighbor (see turbulence)
- Going to the wrong hotel
- Connections made (tossed Plan B in the poubelle)
- WE didn't puke
- Beautiful sunny views of Marseille from the plane
- No lost luggage
- Hearing German* and French (and enough English to know what's going on)
- Making it to the right hotel, which was prepaid (this is still a plus, even though it was very late, and we noticed a few working girls walking in with their clients :-/ )
What is worse?
- New luggage, first trip, handle breaks
- 5 minutes after renting the car, my purse is stolen! Gone: tablet (with all my trip research, dictionaries, books, maps, photos, confirmations, etc), phone (with pictures of all those great sunny views), passport, credit cards (used by the thief within half an hour), driver's license, money, and all the normal purse things
- During the TWO HOUR call to straighten out ONE card, the "helper" accidentally deleted the WRONG card, leaving us with no way to finalize our car rental before we go home
- That accidentally-deleted card also covered us in case of damage to the car. Which (you guessed it) got damaged the next day.
- Now we're stuck without the deposit money for our apartment... More loss of sleep
- No money for tolls (and we know there are some)
- The apartment doesn't have a phone or internet
- Took several wrong turns on the road to the ATM, then again on the way to Montpellier, then again in Latte, while looking for a cell phone chip.
What mitigates worse?
- Luggage handle is not critical, AND the bag has a lifetime warranty (to be taken care of after the vacation)
- Rick has his tablet, so I can still blog and take some sort of photos (although they will be mostly selfies, since it only has a forward camera :-) )
- They still sell paper maps...
- I have a copy of my passport, and can (so they say) get an emergency replacement in Marseille
- The car company gave me a copy of their records, which shows proof that I can legally drive. They assured me that the police will accept this - hopefully I won't be able to confirm this.
- We were able to stop all the cards. Rick has one useable card, and we got another temporary card sent to us.
- We were finally assured that we could use the temporary card to finalize the car rental, and we have time after we return to take care if the damage paperwork.
- Found a useable ATM, and got some euros (not quite enough, but some).
- Lovely, understanding landlady, willing to take the deposit in parts, over several days
- I'm learning to drive, and Rick is learning to navigate. Paper maps. Patience. Driving several times around a round-point before exiting.
- Rick was able to connect ($20 for 30 days). No Skype or other VoIP allowed though. One device at a time. It will expire before we leave.
Then of course, there is also what we're here for:
- The murmur of the Mediterranean
- A slice of la vie quotidienne (daily life)
- More shared challenges bringing us even closer together :-)
- And this