Typical Wrenches: I Should Be a Plumber?

Trip Start Jul 20, 2009
Trip End Jul 28, 2009

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I was in and out of sleep all night, what there was of it anyway. The lights came on to let us all know it was, indeed, time to wakey-wakey. Blurry-eyed and dragon-breath'd, I put my contacts in and waited for breakfast to be served.

It was quite the breakfast. I was still full from dinner, so I didn't eat all that much of it. But it consisted of a rubbery croissant (took one bite--eww), cheese, tomato and lunchmeat (I ate the swiss cheese, but I just don't do lunchmeat for breakfast--that's just wrong), a plum, packaged Monterey Jack cheese, yogurts and orange juice which I put in my bag, fruit cup fruit which I gave to the Girl, and I drank some tea.

Half of my tea spilled all over the tray from the turbulence. We were plagued by bouncy air the whole flight. We also had a rough landing. I think we all thought for a moment that the plane was going to tip over into the grass to the side of the strip. One guy yelled in exclamation, "Shit"! which was my thought exactly. Then everyone laughed, then clapped. I neither laughed nor clapped; I didn't think it was funny. I also didn't think the landing deserved applause, the fact that we were on the ground, still alive, well, ok.

I actually wondered why we got some newbie pilot who must have forgotten to push the AUTOPILOT button and decided to fly the darned airplane himself all night. It wasn't turbulence we were experiencing...it was our inexperienced pilot trying to actually fly the jumbo jet with his own two hands. This was proven by his rocky landing.

Anyway, we finally got off the plane...seemed like forever since we were almost at the very back. We made our way to baggage, which took an awfully long time. We had stopped at a bathroom just before the passport check. When we got to the passport area, there was no one in line. How odd. I asked the passport guy if it was the right baggage area for our flight. He said, "yeah baggage." Well, after walking down the LONG, empty line of carrousels, we quickly realized that nope, we were in the wrong baggage area. Crap.

How to get our luggage? I found a police looking guy and asked him where we should go. He was very nice and directed us out across the way to Terminal 2E. We went across and upstairs to the AirFrance info booth. She very nicely sent us back downstairs to the AirFrance booth down there. We waited in line behind a guy that took FORever. Then a guy came up and asked me, "Parlez-vouz anglais"? Being asked in French, I responded in French, lol, "Oui." This young Brit asked if he could go in front of me because he had a flight leaving soon and needed to get his boarding pass. I said sure. I figured my bag wasn't going anywhere. He thanked me effusively when he was done. Good deed for the day: Check.

My turn, finally. I explained my plight. The AirFrance lady at first was like, "...but why didn't you get your bag?" I had to just stop a minute and not go into sarcastic-ville. The French don't like that, you know. They like to help, so I went into helpless tourist mode, "I got lost." "Oh!" She said as if that wasn't already obvious...I do believe I had already explained that. So, of course she would take me to the baggage area so I could get my bag. The Girl had to wait outside the locked doors because she would only take one of us in.

She took me to the Lost Luggage Office. There were a few people there. While I was waiting for help, I spotted my bag on a cart. There was a guy who was determined to get in front of me. Not sure if he was there before me or not. One of the people behind the desks was finishing up, so I spoke up and told her, "My bag is right here, can I take it"? She came right over, ignoring the guy in front of me, checked the tag and said, "Of course." So off I went.

The Girl clapped as I came out in record speed. Now...to find a money exchange place. Just down the way. The exchange rate sucks. That's all I have to say about that. Next on the list...find the RER train.

I spotted a tourism place (mind you, this is still all inside the airport), so we went in. I asked about the train, double checking that I had it right. She said I could buy the tickets there. Fantastique! It cost 8.50 euros each to take the train into Paris. We worked out the route and off we went. The way to the RER station was two doors down.

So, picture this: I have a rolling suitcase in one hand, a rolling carryon in the other, plus my purse. The Girl is carrying a backpack, her purse, plus she is rolling a carryon suticase. So we came to the little "turnstile" thingys where you go through by putting your ticket into it. But it was open. So I thought, stupidly, "Oh, we must not need the tickets here." So I turned the carryon around and pushed it in front of me to go through, dragging the big one behind me. BIG mistake. The little doors closed as soon as I had put the carryon through. NOOOOOOOOoooooo! This wouldn't have been SO bad had my purse not been on it. Yeah, I know. Stop laughing. To make matters worse, the train tickets were in my purse...on the other side of the little doors. I said, stop laughing.

A very nice girl picked up the bag and handed me my purse over the doors (thank you!). Big sigh of relief here. I pulled out the tickets and we entered legitimately. Then we had to maneuver us and all our stuff down a huge flight of stairs. A very nice young woman carried one of the carryons down for us (thank you wherever you are!). We made it to the train and parked our butts on a couple pull-down seats.

The ride into town was pretty good. It was kinda hot and sticky though. We finally got out at Chatelet les Halles. From there we had an interesting time getting to the line we needed (11). Going up all the stairs with the bags was ridiculous. A very nice man carried the big bag up a flight for me, and he had been going the other way! (Another thank you going out here!) We got on the train that would take us to our Metro stop, Arts et Metiers.

We actually found the apartment from there which was a few blocks from the station. The code worked and we got into the building. Now, the next hurdle...getting up 5 flights of stairs with all our crap. We were already exhausted and sticky and stinky from our adventures so far. This proved to be no easier than the rest. We actually went up two extra flights of stairs because we had not recognized our apartment.

Then when we found it, it took me 10 minutes to get the door open. What is it with European doors??? (I had previously had a hard time with the stupid door in Barcelona.) I finally got in. We got settled in, the Girl took a shower, then I did. There was actually enough hot water for both of us...a major plus. Too bad the water leaks out all over the floor (the door doesn't close or seal off the water).

I was going to go out and check out the neighborhood, but I got tired. We went to bed at about 8 pm I think.

I told you there were a lot of wrenches...wouldn't be arrival in Paris without it! We laughed as we made our way through the day. Really, we did.
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starlagurl on

What a journey, all that just to get from the airport to your apartment! Craziness.


kitkatgo on

Re: Phew!
I know, right!?

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