Paris, Île-de-France, France
Our flight left Brisbane Airport about half an hour late last night. That was no biggie for us, we were just keen to get the adventure started!
The first 8 hours or so of our 15-hour first plane flight between Brisbane and Dubai were pretty uneventful, spent eating yummy plane food, drinking vodka and orange, and catching up on movies we hadn’t yet seen. (‘All is Lost’ was good, rather like Castaway but at sea). Might have squeezed in an hours sleep.
Then Alex started getting travel sick. The poor kid vomited and cried for about 5 hours. We were trying to get her to sip plenty of water so she didn’t get dehydrated, but she couldn’t even keep that down. Eventually we managed to get her to try a little ginger ale for the calming effect it has on upset tummies and also a bit of sugar. That worked a treat, she now loves ginger ale and drank two little cans of it on the second (7 hour) flight between Dubai and Paris., and ate almost every piece of food placed in front of her. She wasn’t sick at all this time! Also I think distracting her with awful mind numbing “tweenage”sitcoms helped too.
While waiting at Dubai airport I fitted a global SIM card to my iPhone, but it couldn’t find a network. Never mind, I thought, it’ll work in Paris.
Once we we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport, Adam went to find our driver while Alex and I retrieved the luggage. Adam tried to call Natasza, who was bringing us the key to our apartment, but the phone still couldn’t find a network. Hmmm. Thankfully our driver, who spoke barely a word of English) lent Adam his phone to call Natasza to say we were on our way. She said to call back when we were 15 minutes away and she’d meet us in the apartment. So we did. But we didn’t know that just about every street we needed to drive down to get to our Arrondissement was barricaded by police. We drove around for over an hour trying to get into the Marais district, eventually leaving the city and going in from the other side of town. By this time Adam was getting shirty, and said that we should get out and walk, to which i said no way (of course) seeing I had no idea where we were and were totally knackered from the flights.
Once we fiiiiinallllly got to the apartment, we climbed the three flights of spiral stairs and knocked on the door. No answer. I left Adam and Alex with the luggage outside the apartment door while I went in search of a pay phone. The only one I could find didn’t take coins but had a swiper so I tried so use my Visa card. Didn’t work. So back up the stairs I went to get my iPad because I saw that Starbucks had free wifi. Down I went again and into Starbucks. The iPad could not detect any wifi whatsoever! I went to the nearest Presse (newspaper shop) to ask how to use the public phone, but of course the man behind the counter didn’t speak any English.
Then my luck changed for the better. A girl at the Presse stand spoke English and fluent French. She asked what I needed help with and translated between the Presse man and I. Apparently I needed to buy a phone card from the Tabac (tobacconist) across the road. I headed over to buy one, and while I was standing in the queue, the girl tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was needing to call a local or overseas number. It was just a local call, so she offered for me to use her phone. This tiny kind gesture was my undoing. I burst into tears in the tabac and hugged her. I called Natasza, who said she’d left the apartment because we didn’t turn up, and she was worried we’d been in a crash. She was already back at the apartment by the time I got there. And I bawled again. She showed us all around the apartment and told us about our neighbourhood. Both of which are lovely. More about them later.
Once she left we headed down to the G20 supermarket to get some essentials like badly needed wine! (And shampoo etc). We dropped our groceries home and went out again to get some dinner.
Keeping in mind we’ve just flown halfway around the world to France, what does Alex want for dinner??
Tasted good though.
Well, its off to sleep now for me, Adam and Alex are already out like lights.
May the rest of the holiday be smooth sailing!!
Meredith, Adam & Alex
PS. I published this on Sunday morning Paris time because I was too tired to proofread it last night.