Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Grand Adventure: Part 1

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On Thursday September 6, we arrived in France. After my 9h flight I had to wait 4 hours for Kristyn at Charles de Gaulle Airport. It was interesting to say the least. After getting off my plane, I was herded over to where everyone else going. It was a mess. Everyone was crowding around the carousel and I couldn’t even see the bags come out. I waited for about a half hour before it cleared up a bit and I could grab my bags, but other people kept jumping in my way. I quickly learned that it would be survival of the fittest and I was ready to evolve to the next level of my trip. After surviving the bags and loading them successfully on my chariot, I went to find terminal 1. Terminal 1 is not connected to Terminal 2 and so it took a while to get there. I had to walk a pretty long way (maybe a half hour) to find where I had to unload my chariot and take a interterminal train to Terminal 1. It was hilarious. I looked pretty pathetic as I struggled with all my bags, but I made it.

After arriving at Terminal 1, I found another chariot and loaded up. I found where I thought Kristyn was going to arrive and waited. I waited about a half hour until she came out. It felt so good that our plan worked out. We had planned to meet at her baggage claim, but since the baggage claim in CDG is inside of the airport, I had to wait outside of that for her. I was nervous that she wouldn’t be able to find me. After talking to a few people I had figured out that I was standing where everyone came out so I figured she would figure it out and thankfully she did. We had arrived in France.

Kristyn’s work friends had told her they would meet us at CDG and so we waited about ten minutes until they came gallantly up to where we were standing. They were slightly astonished at all the bags that we had (I had told Kristyn to warn them about all of the bags that we had). We squeezed into the little beemer that had come to get us and after throwing a few bags on our laps . . . we were off. Finally let of out the airport bubble; breathing French air.

Kristyn’s work friends took us out for a sandwich a la baguette and then dropped us off at the RER train stop (the French commuter rail). They carried out bags out to the quai and then Helped us load them onto the train. We each had 2 large bags (me: two rolling duffels and Kristyn: two large roller suitcases),then each a carry-on (me: a huge backpack and Kristyn: a roller bag), and then each a personal item (me: a messenger bag and Kristyn: a tote bag). We looked like hell. I hadn’t slept much on my flight and had been saddened to only get to watch Shrek 3 and then some other movie about women’s bball. This all translates into bad movies and not a lot of sleep. We rode the RER to the Gare de Nord. To get off there Kristyn jumped off the train and I would start throwing the bags off to her. After that I would go grab a chariot, we looked for elevators whenever we could.

Then we got to the metro. Oh the metro. You see, the Garde de L'Est just couldn't - just couldn't - be connected to the RER. Instead we had to venture into the dark mists of the Paris Metro. Where grafitti is prevelent and the hustle and bustle of daily life takes place. Obviously not somewhere two girls with a bagillion pounds of luggage should be. Obviously. We got to the stairs and realized that there was no way we could get all the bags down in one trip. I had vertigo just thinking of trying to take my bags down the steep steps. Luckily, we had some people to help us out. Random folks would just grab our bags and help us out. It was slightly terrifying but ever so helpful. I almost died everytime someone would grab my laptop bag to take it down the stairs. I was like "Noo. . . but thank you?"

The last stairs that we had to take had an escalator and so we loaded up on it and got up. I almost fell off as my bag tipped over on me and then I had to kick it off the escalator. There was a bit of clogging. As we came up to the city level we saw that the Gare de L'Est was across the street. Our hearts lifted and dropped at the same time.

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