I am, but we’ll get to that later
No travel story worth reading is going to be about an airline losing your luggage. Try to interest listeners with a lost luggage story and be prepared for everyone else’s lost luggage stories, so let’s introduce this episode as the one in which we spend our first three hours in Paris shopping for French Lingerie. I am herein capitalizing French Lingerie because it deserves to be.
It was United Airlines that lost our luggage but it was Lufthansa that made the offer to reimburse us for a day’s worth of clothes. I am not sure why Lufthansa stepped in to cover United’s screw-up but it seems the Germans do a lot of that these days.
Lufthansa having rescued us from UAL took us, but not our luggage now on a vacation of its very own, from Frankfurt to Paris. Upon arrival we checked in with Lufthansa’s lost luggage agent, a cheerful and pretty German girl who offered to buy us a few days worth of clothes; specifically;
“Ya. Vee vill reimburse 50% for da outervear duht you buy … und 100% for duh undervear”. The girls and I exchange something-for-nothing raised-eyebrow smirks. Personally, I was okay with the prospect of wearing the same underwear for three weeks. Why not, I do at home. But the girls, my wife Jacki and my sister Carolyn, not so much. We check empty-handed into our apartment in the Marais district of Paris and straightaway we are off to a department store on the Rue de Rivoli. It’s after dark by now and the sidewalks are crawling with supermodels with shopping bags. Actual supermodels. If one is going to step out onto a Parisian sidewalk for the very first time you might want to time your visit with something called Fashion Week, a city-wide event that makes it difficult to walk in a straight line with all the head-turning.
I digress. Back to the mission. I am following the girls who have been given a free pass to shop for replacement underwear in Paris France. Tres bien. We find an unimposing department store that could have been a Mervyns, until you get to the second floor: women’s underwear. Now I admit I used to occasionally stroll through the girl’s underwear dept in Mervyns on the way to … you know … Pep Boys. But this was Paris and in Paris underwear is Lingerie ! The second floor girl’s underwear department in this non-descript French grand magasin was a dazzling acre of lace and silk and strappy stuff decorating mannequins that you want to date. In Mervyn’s would you see a lifelike plastic madamoiselle wearing, for example, a lace garter supporting one red stocking, one black, and a red feathered mask ? Probablement pas !
The girls were studiously hunched over a bin of panties holding them up to the light for some reason. I know why guys hold underwear up to the light. I don’t what girls look for and I would have asked them but I was distracted weaving my way through silk and lace tableaux on weak knees like Scarecrow in the Emerald City.
My wife eventually bought $100 dollars worth of bras and panties which by the way I could have folded into my breast pocket and walked out with undetected. In the meantime the store began to flicker its lights indicating we would have no time to get to the men’s underwear department for the free thong I was conjuring up for myself. But that was ok, I was happy where I was and the girls were gracious about subjecting me to all this shopping.
“Thanks for being so patient Michael”
“Yeah sure. No problem. Can we come back tomorrow ?”