Trains, trains, and shuttles
Trip Start Sep 23, 2009
12Trip End Oct 04, 2009
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Well, unfortunately Mike woke up sick. His friend Derek had mentioned how awesome the pharmacies were in London so Mike took advantage of this. They had actual pharmacists in there on Sunday that advised on what you should take. Also, the over the counter stuff there is much stronger than America. They have stuff with codeine in it and you don't need a prescription!
We realized we didn't have a picture of Harmony in front of a double decker London bus so we grabbed this shot outside of the pharmacy.
We went to King's Cross Station first since Mike needed to take his much needed geek shot of platform 9 3/4 (only Harry Potter fans will understand this).
Then we went to St Pancras Station to catch our Eurostar train to Paris. The train was great like it was on the way out. This time we sat in a section that had four seats (two pairs that faced each other with a table in the middle). We sat next to a couple from Ireland. They were so happy to hear that Patti had such a good time there and they really tried to convince us to travel there some time. Maybe we will?
It was the disembarking of this train that started the downfall of the day. Mike had read in advance about the crime and general nature of Paris so he was prepared and tried to prepare Harmony in advance. I guess it is no different than any other city though so we can't fault Paris. Although we saw none of this in London and felt very safe there.
As soon as we went downstairs to use the restroom (1 Euro each or almost $2 each!!), Mike was accosted by the dreaded gypsies while Harmony was in the restroom. Their tactic is to ask "Do you speak English" to unsuspecting tourists. When you answer yes, they start their sob story about their family taken from them and they start begging. Some of them will work in packs and try to go through your bags while the first one is talking to you. Luckily Mike knew what to do and just shook his head when she asked if he spoke English. Then she asked if he spoke French and he did the same thing. Now she was both pissed off and confused. Luckily a man in camoflauge with an automatic machine gun came by and whisked her and her partner away to kick them out of the station. Obviously they are regulars because they were flicking the armed men off during the process.
Then we get back upstairs to get in line to exchange our remaining pounds back for Euros. A young punk quickly joins the line behind us so we did as we were trained. We faced each other so he wasn't facing our backs and we could keep an eye on him and anyone in front of us. At this point, we already had everything valuable locked in our large bags with pad locks (they almost never snatch large bags because they are too cumbersome). We were in line for about 10 minutes and this kid calls his partner over and he switched places with him in line. At this point, we leave the line and agree to exchange our money at the hotel. These kids act in packs against tourists and as soon as we saw that switch, we knew what they were doing.
Now, we quickly head down to the RER line to get on our train. We are met with another group of young punks that tried to cut us in line but Mike played stupid and their ploy didn't work. We get on the first train and are met with such hostility and staring. We were both very uncomfortable at this point and actually missed our stop to get off. Luckily the next stop allowed us to get off and walk to our exchange to get on our other RER train which would ultimately take us to Disney.
This train did not make us feel any more comfortable until later but we can now bring up our other positive point for the day. Paris is a very unified city. Be it a man, woman, child, or dog, they all smell exactly the same. They have a unique scent to them that makes you want to launch projectile vomit all over them. Couple this with a packed train with no ventilation and you have a recipe for madness. Try doing all of this when you have a fever and are nervous to begin with. Not a good day.
However, let's skip to the final leg. As the rugrats, punks, and degenerates each got off, we kept getting closer to Disney. By the time we reached the Disney station, only decent people were left on the train since that was literally the last stop. We got off the station which is right at the entrance to Disney Village (Downtown Disney clone), Disneyland Paris, and Disney Studios. It was easy to find our shuttle to get us to our hotel which was just off site.
We got to our hotel and it was literally a palace compared to the tiny, but very hospitable hotel we just came from in London.
The last shuttle runs at 8pm from the parks and it was already 7:15 so we had to eat at the hotel instead of Disney Village like we planned. We had read warnings about not doing this because of the hotel prices. Man, they were not kidding! We got a small pizza for 19 Euros which is like ~$27!!! Most expensive pizza ever and it wasn't even that great. We were going to get a small coke too but they wanted $5 for one which is like $7.50!! Screw that!
It was just very nice to get to a great hotel after that crazy day. Mike needed to rest before Disney anyway. The good news is that Mike broke his fever around 4am that morning. He gets sick 1-2 times a year and it almost never lasts for much longer than 24 hours.
Sorry this day didn't have much excitement or jokes.......it's all part of traveling abroad.
-Mike and Harmony
Where I stayed
Radisson Golf Resort