I wrote this at the airport right before our plane took off from Paris but never published it here. But it explains so much, and the actual logistics are so much a part of traveling, I thought it would add it now. Enjoy!
I woke up this morning at 6:23, seven minutes before my alarm went off, to Sydney saying that her alarm had failed to go off at 6. When I looked over at my iPod and caught the time, I tried to manage ten more minutes of rest. I had totally packed the night before, but I got together my computer and charger, put away my pajamas, brushed my teeth, and ate some raisins I’d been saving with the lactose-free milk Darian left in the small refrigerator. There really wasn’t anything else to eat. We hadn’t wanted to leave any leftovers in the fridge when we left. I started the overfull dishwasher and washed my milk cup (which was actually a mug, since all the cups were in the dishwasher) by hand in the sink, dried it, and put it away in the cupboard. And I sat around, dreading the journey between the apartment and the airport.
I enjoy traveling. I like visiting other places, cultures, homes. I both hate and love getting there. Airplanes especially give you the time to meditate on your experiences; that you’ve had or that are to come. Your body is stuck in your seat, usually between two objects, so you can let your mind wander. But airports are Hell. Getting to the airport on Paris public transportation: also Hell. Add baggage, lack of sleep, and small hallways. Hell.
We left the apartment and made it down the block and down the stairs into the metro station. We bought special tickets for the trip to Charles de Gaulle and barely managed to slide my purse, laptop bag, Rick Steves tote, and rolly suitcase through the turnstile and doors. We ran down the stairs to the catch the train that had just arrived. We transferred to another train, going through the Strasbourg/St. Denis stop, which has the most ridiculous roller-coaster of stairs: you go up flights of stairs, then down stairs, then up stairs, for no plausible reason whatsoever. But, a kind Parisian man carried my bag up two of those haphazard flights of stairs. I thanked him profusely, but he just smiled politely and walked on his way. Don’t let people tell you Parisians aren’t nice. They’re not friendly, but they really can be very nice.
After we got onto our second metro, we transferred to the RER B (one of the commuter trains that goes out to the suburbs of Paris–Île de France) to Charles de Gaulle. At that time in the morning, there really weren’t any open seats, so I wriggled my way with my two bags, my oversized tote, and my suitcase into a foldable seat next to the door. The poor woman sitting in-between the wall and I made the effort to shrink herself considerably. Let’s keep in mind, this is still the Paris metro system. After I had juggled my luggage into this metal trap car, I continued to sweat from the repressive heat and claustrophobia that characterize the metro. And, of course to add to my discomfort, I get terrible motion sickness.
People started to get off as they went to work, and the metro became less crazy. One we got to Charles de Gaulle, the metro dropped us off right in the middle. So, we didn’t have too much trouble following the signs to the Delta counter. For those who haven’t been there, GDG airport was designed in an X pattern with circular terminals at the end of each X. This makes it one of the most confusing airports in the world! You can wander around in circles within a terminal and between terminals and not find where you’re supposed to go for hours.
We got on our delayed plane and took the half-day plane ride home. After the metro, I was happy to sit on a plane!