Who can say no to Paris? Even if it is just a 14 hour stopover late at night and all you see is the airport and the hotel. Paris is always a good idea.
Because of flight times it was inevitable that I overnighted in Paris, and by Paris I mean the grand tour of Charles De Gaulle. First to recap. A final Vin Chaud (mulled wine) in Les Cabbanes before I left, not enough fluids during the day, a large (for me) quantity of champagne on the flight to Heathrow along with a vegan meal (read no absorbing animal fats), an emotional yet very contained flight followed by a remarkable recovery. The flight from Heathrow to Paris saw me feeling nauseas so I hydrated like the desert absorbing rain. Felt much better after that.
Now, just to be clear, when I travel I am super organised. I mean I can tell you which way I need to turn out of the airport to get to the next location, how long the trip should take and what you will see along the way. This time not so much. ‘Twould appear that Chateau life has gone to my head. Flew into Paris and ran the gauntlet of taxi drivers touting for business. Lost count after 23 asking me if I needed a taxi and trying to direct me to their cabs. The trick is to not stop, so power through I did. Went to the hotel bus stop where I met a British couple from Perth returning home after a European tour. Got to chatting. Took the bus to the next location to catch the next bus. Asked the drivers on both busses if we were on the right bus. The replied yes. The ride on the busses took forever, or maybe it just seemed like it after a long day of travelling. No, no, it was an hour all up.
Second bus driver finishes and another driver gets on, we were now heading well out of the airport precinct which was a little concerning. At the next stop I checked with the new driver who informed me I should of gotten off at the first stop. OK, so I just stay on this bus to get to back there. No, the bus was going back to the depot. I would have to get off and wait for the next one. No problem I can do that. Everyone gets off at the last stop including the couple from Perth who spoke no French but were happy to be at there hotel and I was about to alight when the driver calls to me and tells me he would drive me back to the hotel. Considering it was 10.30pm and I’m sure he wanted to get home, it was greatly appreciated. We drive back, me in my personal limo-bus, just a little happy at getting to bed.
After much profuse thanks in 2 languages (he spoke English too), I walked to my hotel. Proceeded to the check in desk only played the what’s your name game? Ascot? Asco? Taso? I handed the gentlemen my passport only to be told there was no reservation in that name. My good humour was slipping somewhat at this point. I showed him the email and he entered the reservation number, took 5 goes to get it right. I booked my hotel room on Sunday, amazed at the cheap price I booked it for. No, this isn’t going where you thought it is, turns out I had booked it for the 19th, for 2 people, foreshadowing another trip perhaps? The poor man behind the desk could feel the exhaustion oozing from me and advised he could change the booking to that night but that it would cost extra as the rate was higher. Not a problem, I just wanted to sleep. Turns out I still got a discount off the rack rate - thank you, turns out membership does have it’s privileges. Laughs all round and I was off to my room 11.30pmnot bad.
So, it turns out after living in low temperatures, where the hottest your room ever got was 11 degrees, but it usually sat at 8-9 doesn’t prepare you for hotel rooms. I set the thermostat to the lowest possible which was 16 degrees, it was pleasant enough when I walked in, but I could not sleep, not a wink. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, yet sleep still alluded me. Not even BBC world news could send me off. I had to turn the TV off as my eyes were hurting like all hell. So I spent a hot night in cold Paris tossing and turning. At 5am I gave up watched some news and started getting my bags organised.
Jumped into the shower and oh my lord! 35 minutes of hot water later (my apologies to the environment, but I am reliably told that water is not an issue in France) I was human again. Well I didn’t sleep so I had to get something out of this. Finish packing my bags and I head to the shuttle train conveniently located under the hotel, the arrive every 4 minutes and it takes 10 minutes to get to the terminal…
Have you ever stood at the entry to a shuttle train station and just given it a “you’re shitting me, right?” kind of look. Me and that station, we eyeballed each other a good long while before I entered to catch the train. Ah well, it was a quick and efficient trip. A good way to start the next leg of the journey. I did have a bit of a chuckle. Even without seeing Paris, this was still an adventure.
Note to self - don't make travel arrangements when you haven't slept properly due to 100km/hour winds blowing your windows open. It 's bad enough in a normal house but having to check a 94 room castle in case any others are open twice due to ongoing gusts each night for two nights leaves you a little less than functional. Ah well, it’s the kinks in our journeys that make them memorable.
In Singapore now after a 12 hour flight and sitting in the outdoor area absorbing sunlight - it’s amazing how little daylight you see when you are travelling, airports always strike me as closed in, no matter how big or glamorous they are. The lack of daylight gets to you when you are travelling across the world and you don't realise how much until you see sun again. Seeing as I ‘m landing back home late at night, it felt like a good idea to get a little sun now. On to the showers then a brief wait until I board again. See you all back in Melbourne!