European Open 2016 – Monday
My trip this year really started Friday, with a paperwork fiasco. I’ve been traveling internationally with dogs since 2007, almost 10 years, so I’m no newbie when it comes to the ins and outs of international veterinary paperwork. And for the most part, it’s been smooth sailing. The last two times, however, have been a little stressful. This time, it started Thursday when George asked me if my paperwork had arrived yet. I realized it had not. I’d mailed it via FedEx overnight on Tuesday morning, with a self addressed prepaid FedEx envelope for the return included.
I looked up the tracking number, and it had not been delivered! After a little hunting, I realized that although I’d put the address down correctly, I had put MY city and zip code instead of the proper Washington city and zip code. Doh! I called the USDA office and scheduled a last minute appointment in Olympia, a little over two hours away, for Friday. Then I contacted my veterinarian to schedule a redo of the paperwork that needed endorsing.
Friday, I got up bright and early, and drove the 2.5 hours to Olympia to get my paperwork endorsed. While there, a FedEx delivery arrived, with a stack of envelopes, the same envelopes I usually use to send my own paperwork, and I got a bit of a dry chuckle out of it. Paperwork endorsed, I headed back toward Portland. About 20 minutes later, I got a call from the USDA office; they had received a paperwork shipment from me, and what should they do with it? Of course…
Back home, I packed up Chispa and drove 45 minutes south to deliver her to a friend who would be watching her for the week, then drove home. So much driving. With all the dogs accounted for, and instructions left for the dog sitter who would be watching the dogs remaining at the house, it was time to pack. It’s not unusual for me to pack the night before or the morning of a trip, even an international one, so this wasn’t a source of stress. And, for me, once I have paperwork in hand, there’s not really anything that can stress me anyway.
My flight to Paris began with a leg from Portland to Seattle, and was at a decent hour, 9:20am. So, by the time I had to leave for PDX, I had managed to upload a video of Chispa’s recent training for the puppy blog, the last thing that needed doing prior to heading out the door. Arepa and coffee in hand (yep, I’m still eating Arepa almost every day), it was out the door to the airport.
Once in Seattle, I had a couple of hours to head to the Delta SkyClub with a fellow team member to grab some food, and then it was time to catch our flight. On the flight itself I finished up the last puppy training blog post, and watched three movies. Two of them were…like summer reading. Bad summer reading. The third, a movie called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, with Tina Fey, was great. After that, I managed to get an hour or so of shut-eye (not sure you could call it sleep, but at least I rested my eyes).
On arrival, and with Frodo in two, we waited a couple of hours to get up to the front of the passport control line, only to be told that if we had moved over to the veterinary control line, we would not have had to wait at all. And then, of course, passport stamped, our papers were NEVER checked. Go figure. The more trouble it takes to GET the paperwork, the less likely it is to get checked.
Our interim hotel, from Sunday to Tuesday, is quite close to CDG, and a train station. Since the EO Team Coach, Anne Braue, organized a bus for the team, and the hotel I’m at right noose to CDG and a train station, no car rental is required for this trip, which is super nice. One less thing to worry about. So, from CDG, it was off to the hotel, to check in, get settled, let Frodo stretch his legs, and then…whatever.
Which, as it turned out, was a three hour nap. Much needed. But, after that, I roused myself for dinner, and a nice game of cards with a fellow teammate. Yep, cards.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to stay awake till the bedtime you’d normally observe, local time. So, at around 10:30 pm, it was finally time to head to bed.
By some miracle, this morning I managed to make it til my normal local wake up time, around 5:30am. Well, I was awake; I didn’t bother getting out of bed til around 7:45am.
Although I’d planned on staying around the hotel for the day, I realized that there was no way I’d be able to sit still for so long, and so instead, I headed out with a few friends for the day. We ended up spending most of the afternoon in queues, but it was worth it; the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower was incredible.
After a dinner with friends, we headed back to the hotel, and now, it’s nearly 11am. I ate something that disagreed with me 🙁 Tomorrow, it’s up early to get on the bus with the rest of the team, and head to our first practice!