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Monday, December 3, 2012

Musings – On Returning to the USA

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As John Denver would say, “Gee it’s good to be back home again”, if only we had the farm that he sings of in the next sentence we would be in absolute heaven.  But with no farm and, as of this writing, no Salt & Pepper, we find ourselves at the Comfort Suites on Amelia Island, Florida awaiting US Custom’s release of our beloved rolling home.

The flight back came off without any trouble despite the stress and panic clearly reflected in both Rosco’s and my eyes.  If you ever get the opportunity to fly Air France La Premier out of Charles de Gaulle, by all means take it.  The exceptional service starts upon your arrival at the terminal:  Before you even check in, they have a lounge waiting for you where they sit you (and your dogs) down in plush leather chairs (ok, The Noses remained on the carpet) while they arrange your boarding passes and check in your luggage.  If you happen to have Tax Free items that need to clear customs, they walk you through the back doors and into a private Customs office where your documents are all stamped post-haste.  This is the way to travel!

The flight seemed to take forever as I was worried about Rosco, but eventually we landed in Atlanta and they delivered the Alive (!) But Shell-Shocked Noses to us near the baggage carousel.  Atlanta is a wonderful place in which to arrive from an international flight:  The customs and immigration lines are almost non-existent (unlike, LA, San Francisco or NY) and the southern hospitality simply engulfs you as you disembark.  Indeed, our luggage porter knew just where to take the dogs for agricultural clearance and then led us directly outside to the pet area.

As the old New Austerity hadn't caught back up with us yet, we stayed two nights at the Westin in Buckhead getting a quick but deep dive back into the commercial aspects of living in America.  With streets full of Porsches and sidewalks full of people with large shopping bags we knew we were home.  Being all shopped out from Paris, we saved our money for Manhattans and wine in the lobby bar where The Noses were a huge hit and the wine was over $15 a glass.  Au revoir vin du maison at $2 a glass! 

One five hour drive later we find ourselves on the aforementioned Amelia Island in the delightful small coastal town of Fernandino Beach, just 30 minutes from the docks where Salt & Pepper await Customs clearance.  With any luck they will clear within a day or two, then it’s a quick jaunt into Camping World for the installation of new LP cylinders (had to remove them for the shipment home) before heading to Colorado.

And more John Denver:  All together now, “Colorado Rocky Mountain hiii-yiiii.”


PS:  As expected, The Noses weren't even examined upon our arrival into Atlanta.  The officer looked at their Pet Passports, specifically noting the rabies vaccination, and that was the extent of it.  Likewise, we slipped right on through Passport control in France despite our Schengen violation.