Arrival in Paris

Trip Start Jul 23, 2008
Trip End Aug 14, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Thursday, July 24, 2008

After breakfast, we arrived at Charles de Gaulle about 20 minutes late or so. We went through customs super fast--nothing more than a "bonjour" and "merci" were required. God love the French!

We came out to arrivals and didn't see a sign with our name on it (for the shuttle). We walked around looking for anyone who might be our driver. Little flutters of panic were grabbing at me, since I never did get confirmation. I saw the currency exchange nearby, but the line was so, sooo long. Just then, we saw our driver. BIG sigh of relief here.

He looked grumpy though. He didn't help us with our bags at all. He was a jerk. I had told him I needed to exchange money, so he said we would do that in Paris. He stopped at a bank and said, "You go, get money." I was like, "Huh"? Besides the fact that I was a bit tired after an overnight flight, I was not mentally prepared for dealing with a French bank. A currency exchange place, yes; French bank, no.

I went in (after I figured out how to get the stupid door have to push the button, wait for a green light, push the door open for each of two security doors). After standing in line for awhile, I finally got up there, and they wouldn't do currency exchange. Nooooooo! So I'm a little frustrated here.

As I was going out (again, pushing those weird buttons), the driver was coming to get me and said he thought I wanted an ATM. Uh, nooo, asshole. I tipped him in USD when he dropped us off at the apartment, not that he really deserved a tip. The kids said he had been very impatient while I was in the bank and kept looking back and sighing, etc.

Well, we at least got to the apartment. Too bad we didn't have the code to get in. The little fingers of panic were coming back. We were standing there with our luggage, looking somewhat idiotic, I'm sure, while I tried to figure out how to get in. Thankfully, the guy next door who sells produce let us in.

Ok, one step closer. But we didn't have the code to get into the building now. Sigh. I pulled out the rented phone and tried calling the owner; the stupid phone didn't work. Agggghhhhhhh! Someone came out the door so we went up to the second floor by squeezing ourselves and our luggage into this teensy elevator. We stepped out and looked around at the doors.

Which one? No apartment numbers, even if there were apartment numbers, I wasn't given one. Thankfully the owner heard us and opened the door. Big collective sigh at this point, let me tell you.

She went over everything and was very nice. She told us there were some plumbing issues and that her husband was coming to fix it a little later. We needed to go get money exchanged and have lunch. So we left.

We searched and searched for a Bureau de Change. I even went into a little hotel and asked the guy at the desk. He was so nice. He took us outside and told us where to go. He had also told me about the best place to go in Paris, but it was too far for right then and unfortunately, I forgot where he said it was!

The place we found was by the Pompidou Centre, and it was a total ripoff (the hotel guy said it would be). They had a terrible rate, and huge fees. It was pitiful. But at least I had some Euros now. Too bad I was so tired and stressed, I might have realized I could have just used my debit card!

Anyway, we walked back to the apartment and had sandwiches across the street. They were cheap, but tasty, and we were starving.

When we got back in the apartment the owners were gone. We quickly learned that there was no water in the water closet! That means there was no running water from the faucet, and more importantly, the toilet wouldn't flush. Oh, joy.

We tried to stay up as long as possible this day, but we only made it until 4:30 PM. We sacked out. In our clothes. What a day.
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starlagurl on

Oh my goodness...
I'm just going back through this, I realized that I started reading in the middle. Your first posts are pretty funny, even though you were so frustrated most of the time!


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