- Chantez et vous trouverez votre chanson -

Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
     -George Bernard Shaw

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves- in finding themselves.
      -Andre Gide

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I have arrived!

Bonjour mes amis!

I made it to France(!), but not without a few bumps along the way of course.  Traveling is never as easy as you'd like it to be.

I left my apartment in Queens on September 2nd at 1pm, and finally arrived at the apartment in Paris at 12 noon on September 3rd.  Whew it was a long trek. 

First leg of the journey was getting to Newark airport from Queens while hungover, fun times. My friend was nice enough to drive me and thank godd we didn't hit traffic.  Once by myself at the airport, my nerves fully kicked in, so I paced around a lot before finally deciding to take the plunge and go through airport security (no turning back now!).  

My flight was with Lufthansa (a good airline, I recommend it) and I had a quick layover in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Of course, as I'm beginning to realize every flight out of New York is, we were delayed on the runway for like, forever (number 19 to take off, ughhhhh), so as soon as I got off the flight in Germany, I had to book it to the next gate for my Paris flight, which was already boarding.  So, obvi, since I was in a rush, the customs line took forever and they decided to inspect my bag.  But, I made it in time and even had a seat in the emergency exit aisle (extra leg room, woo!).

Once at CDG, the airport in Paris, I had arranged for Paris Shuttle to pick me up and drop me off at the apartment.  In theory, it's really simple.  You set everything up before you leave online (www.parishuttle.com), and once you get off your flight, you call their toll free number from a pay phone in the airport and they tell you the meeting place for your van.  They pick up up to 6 people at a time and drop everyone off at their hotel and/or apartment.  In reality, it didn't work out so easily for me.  First, I couldn't find a pay phone and I was afraid they would leave without me.  Ha!  Once I got outside at the meeting point, 3 different van drivers passed up myself and a few other travelers claiming they were full and we didn't have reservations.  I waited about an hour before a van was able to take me.  Then, of course, I was the next to last to be dropped off, so I got to circle around Paris 4 times through traffic before arriving.

Then, oh then, there are the lovely quirks of old apartment buildings.  The friend of a friend that I'm staying with was already at work when I got here, so I was left to my own devices to get into her place.  I had difficulties opening the old door, which was embarrassing since the Paris Shuttle van decided to hover until I got in.  Once in, I had six flights of stairs to master with my 48 lb. suitcase, haha!  Somehow I made it to her floor, although I realized around the 3rd level that the railing was very shaky and I should absolutely not lean on it with my weight as I pulled my luggage unless I wanted to end up splattered below.  And the last obstacle...her front door. It almost got the best of me.  Tired, frustrated and absolutely exhausted, I could not get the door to open to save my life.  I had the key...but the door wasn't budging.  I didn't know what to do.  Tears started welling...

I worked up the nerve to knock on a neighbor's door one floor down, only to be barked at in French by some crotchety old woman to leave her alone.  I retreated to the entree of the building (left the luggage upstairs, though...no wayyy I was doing that climb again) and hoped for someone to walk in that could help.  A different neighbor offered me her cell phone and I was able to call my friend and get some advice on the door, and voila, it opened instantly of course.

So needless to say, traveling can be a lot of fun, but it is not always roses.  But, what can I say? I'm now here in Paris enjoying my life :) 

The apartment I'm staying in is right near the Eiffel Tower, so I plan to go on a bit of a jog soon around the Champ de Mars, the park surrounding the Eiffel Tower.  I actually got dressed and tried to head out about a 1/2 hour ago, but the main apartment door gave me trouble again, and I gave up for now, hahaha.  I really need to get a handle on these French doors, they are proving to be quite the contender.

I'll write more soon, hopefully once I've conquered the doors.  Ciao!

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