Monday, June 24, 2013

The Flight Home to California and a Brush in Amsterdam with INTERPOL

First and foremost, a big MERCI to Geoff Moulton and Fred Bastiand for driving us to the airport in Lyon at 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning so that we could get our trip home to California started properly.

Equally appreciated were Sam Ajavon and Matthieu Fayard both showing up at The Villa at that ungodly hour to simply bid us a bon voyage.

Boarding in Lyon was relatively easy for our comfortable KLM flight to Amsterdam.

Going through Passport Control in Amsterdam before leaving the European Union's sovereignty was not so easy or comfortable.

I was stopped for a long time because my latest entry stamp into the EU was posted in Paris back in January. I was pulled out of the line and sent to a back room because an American can only be in the EU for three consecutive months without some type of a special visa.

I had been there for six consecutive months and had no such visa. Since I was scheduled to leave on literally the next plane out of town, they released me after stamping my passport with a proper exit stamp and a stern warning.

I was informed that my name and passport number had been red flagged in the EU's Passport Control data bank. I was also told that before returning to the EU that I will need to contact the embassy of the country where I plan to first enter the EU to see if they will allow me into their country after committing this heinous offense.

I can feel INTERPOL's hot breath down my neck even as I write this . . .

That taken care of, the final 10+ hour flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles was very smooth. We said our goodbyes to John and Robin and our hello to our son Michael at LAX.

Mike then whisked us off to the magical kingdom of Camarillo, California where we found Mike's wife Vanessa and our grandson Jacob waiting to welcome us home.

Jacob enjoying the
fine cuisine at Casa Contreras

His French lessons started almost immediately.

 A New Heirloom for the Museum

The bottle of wine that Christophe Thuau gave us made it home in one piece.

It will be savored at an appropriate time to be sure.

Breakfast in France,
Dinner at Camarillo Cronies

After getting a lot of our unpacking done, we treated the kids to an early Sunday dinner at Cronies Sports Grill.

We were home.

Note that Michael was already proudly sporting his Falcons #32 game jersey.

Back at Casa Contreras, it was time to be a Grand-père again.

Jacob helping me get
the computer fired up

"Grand-père, show me the Falcons
Championship video, SVP."

How could I refuse him this simple request.

Michael may have put him up to it.

"Excuse me sir, who are you again?
And what the heck is a Grand-père?"

Jacob was right. We do need more quality time together.

Three Generations of Contreras Men

At least one of us still has his hair.

As much as I already miss France and the Falcons, it was good to be home again.

Even though I got a lot of sleep on the plane and went to bed at a reasonable hour Sunday night, my body clock said "WAKE UP" at 1:45 a.m.

Thus, I am on the computer getting mentally prepared to play in Monday's Newbury Park H.S. football team's fundraising golf tournament at Sterling Hills Golf Course in Camarillo. I have not played in nearly two years, so this could get interesting.

No pain chocolate in sight.

Reading Is FUNdamental

I finished this excellent read on the flight home. It is another of Zafón's books revolving around the mysterious Cemetery of Forgotten Books in Barcelona.

This was the third of his interesting books that I have read. While they easily stand alone, they are especially good if you have fallen in love with the Catalunyan capital as Laurie and I both have over the past five years.



Olivier R said...

I'm glad to see my taxes are "well spent"... it's sure that with the current state of the european economy we have to pay people to control all those americans trying to immigrate illegally in the EU! (irony* 10000!)

David said...

I figured Interpol let you leave because of your inability to figure out where Provence is.

George said...

Olivier and David,

You two scoundrels really need to meet soon!

Olivier R said...

lol. As long as David does not live in provence, I think it s a great idea!