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April, 2010:

New York, New York

I think Chris is finally starting to like New York…

We’re staying in SoHo at a hotel called Cooper Square Hotel. Our dear friend Deborah connected us with the manager here and they gave us a great room on the 16th floor. Views are priceless here.

We came in on Wednesday evening and our first order of business was to go to a yoga class at Virayoga. It’s the best way to get over the jet lag quickly. We took a wonderful class with Zhenja. She worked on the neck and it was the best thing for the pain I’ve had in my neck for a while now. And no, the pain in my neck is an actual physical pain.

The next day we took Elena’s class at noon and what a treat!

We spent the rest of the day getting used to our iPads. 😀 Can you see the grin on my face?!?

Right now Chris is getting ready for the workshop tomorrow, and I’m testing out the new blogging desktop app that I just downloaded. It’s called Ecto, and it seems to work pretty good so far…


Well, we made it to Paris…
We are in the middle of an Immersion here right now. I just sneaked out of the room to do some scheduling work and I can hear and feel the joy coming through the door. It sounds like they are having fun in there…
When I left my technology job a year ago, I didn’t think I would actually be working this much. I thought I would be working a little, traveling, and picking up a language or two along the way… Not so. Although I did learn to ask for “coffee to go please” in a few languages. Useful stuff.
We have a back up of stories, but I’ll start with the latest: Getting from Istanbul to Paris. A simple sounding affair on a normal day.
We were in Ankara last weekend doing some workshops when the airports all over Europe starting shutting down due to the volcano in Iceland (I think with that name it will forever be known as the “volcano in Iceland.” How do you even pronounce it?). I was keeping an eye on the flights all weekend, but didn’t think it could possibly last so long. It surely would clear up by the time we fly on Tuesday.
Again, not so.

We got back to Istanbul on Sunday night, and things were getting worse. More flights getting cancelled, more stranded people, and no end in sight.

On Sunday night, I started looking into some alternatives just in case. South of Italy was still open, and so was Spain. I started looking into flights to Madrid; sold out. Rome; sold out. Barcelona; sold out. It was getting really late and we thought we’ll give it another day and see what happens on Monday. We still had a couple of days until the training in Paris would start on Wednesday morning.
Monday morning we woke up to a worse situation. I found a flight to Rome for Tuesday evening, but then we would miss the train from Rome to Paris since it was due to leave earlier and would get to Paris on Wednesday morning.

Oh, and did I tell you it was actually impossible to find train tickets anyway? All sold out.

Finally on Monday night there is a little glimmer of hope. Airlines are getting antsy and the test flights seem promising. It seems our scheduled 3pm flight on Tuesday might actually take off. We find an alternative flight anyway just in case. It goes Tuesday morning from Istanbul to Algiers, then from Algiers to Marseille. Then we can find a train ticket from Marseille to Paris. Good plan, though a very expensive one. We go to bed thinking we’ll check the situation in the morning and if looks like our flight won’t take off Chris will take the Algiers flight.
We woke up Tuesday morning at 6 am and start making phone calls and checking websites right away. At about 8 o’clock we decided to take the risk and cancelled the Algiers ticket.

At 11:30 we left the house to head out to the airport, still not 100% sure that our flight will actually take off. Needless to say the airport was quite crazy, full of people whose flights had been cancelled, who are trying to get on the first available flight leaving.

The rest of the story is less eventful. We took off with a 30 minute delay, and the plane took a longer route than usual (I think we were traveling pretty far south), but we landed safely at Charles de Gaulle just about 2 hours behind schedule. No big deal.

The point is though, I’m REALLY busy all the time now!

Here is what the air looked like as we were coming down:

And the airport was completely empty: