Fortunately for The Princess and I, The Husband is now so “used to” flying business class for business, he is unable to downgrade to fly cattle for leisure. Even more fortunately, Air France allows The Princess to travel business class for the bargain price of R2,000 – the cost of a last minute ticket to Cape Town but instead, she can go all the way to Paris. She even gets her very own flat bed, although that is about all she gets as she can’t partake in the champers or the fois gras. The problem with babies and business class is that babies don’t know how lucky they are that they’re not in cattle and so they still cry just as loudly. The Husband confessed yesterday he was not very sympathetic to parents with screaming babies in a class reserved for stressed business people in need of their sleep. He used to think to himself, “why don’t those lazy parents just do something?” That was until we were “those lazy parents” on Thursday night. Suddenly, “just doing something” seemed impossible. What was that magic ingredient that would make The Princess stop screaming? It turns out, in her case, it was food. She broke all records by gulping back 200ml of formula at 7:30pm (and that was a top up as she’d been breastfed at 6pm). By around 10pm, in desperation we prepared another 100ml which she drank, in stages, between naps. Under the circumstances, I think she was virtually as good as gold after her meltdown from about 9 to 10:30pm.
At one stage, she was fast asleep on my stomach (she wasn’t as impressed with her flat bed/ bassinet as she ought to have been and preferred to sleep on Mommy) when another baby, somewhere in the plane, was howling. The woman behind us had clearly had enough because suddenly a loud “Jesus Christ!” could be heard throughout our section of the plane. No doubt The Princess’ earlier screaming had gotten to her. Obviously, we felt bad for all our fellow passengers but firstly, there is precious little you can do and secondly, we were just thrilled that when this woman’s temper finally flared, it wasn’t our baby who had been the cause.
Having survived the flight to Paris, we still had a long journey ahead of us:
– four hours in transit at Charles de Gaulle
– a one and a half hour flight to Nice
– a six hour drive to the Alps The Alps was slipped into the holiday itinerary by the ambitious Husband who wanted to take part in a gruelling cycle race on Sunday 21 August, before embarking on the six hour drive to our villa in Fayence.
Air France, however had other plans. When we landed in Nice, only The Husband’s bike and our nanny’s suitcase arrived too. Two suitcases plus The Princess’ stroller had been left behind in Paris. There had been some kind of mistake at Charles de Gaulle and they would only arrive in Nice late on Friday night. With much sadness and negotiating about future bike races, The Husband agreed to forgo his race in the Alps. We now had to find a hotel for one night, before our villa would be ready on Saturday. And so it was that we found ourselves at the Park Inn, with a beautiful view over Terminal 2 of the Nice airport as well as the railway tracks, for added aesthetic value.
On the bright side, we had escaped the cold of Joburg for the beautiful balmy weather of Nice. On the downside, The Husband and I had nothing but the sweaty, stinky, hot clothes on our backs and so could not even take advantage of the hotel’s pool. But we had survived our first international trip with The Princess ….