Oh, Yeah – and Then There Was Paris

I really don’t have much to say about Paris. After the problems I had with my train ticket from Belgium to France (my friend, Mark, purchased the ticket in France and the Belgian train lines refused to let me pick up the ticket at the station of departure…they wanted me to go to France to pick it up), I arrived in Paris on Tuesday afternoon. We mostly rested and chatted before some friends came over for dinner and a game of Hands and Feet.

The next day, Mark wanted me to test-run a scavenger hunt he had devised for some charity. The real event was going to take place on Wednesday so my doing it on Wednesday as a complete outsider would help him determine if the clues work.

Everything took place atop Montmarte, essentially starting at the Anvers metro station below Sacre Coeur. Unfortunately, the sun was beating down and the first half of this scavenger hunt was all going vertically. By the time we reached the first clue at the top of the hill, in front of the church, I was soaked. Now, I’m not talking moderately damp, I’m talking saturated shirts. I think it took me a longer time to find the 2nd clue than it should have, but I was mostly catching my breath, drinking water I brought, and seeking shade.

In the end, a few clues had to be tweaked. Mark refused to guide me in any way so I often started off in the wrong direction before figuring out what I’d missed. Fortunately, I manged to find the shady side of the streets on the way down.

That night, we got together for dinner with a friend of his near the Bastille, then came back and watched DVD’s.

I was supposed to fly home the next day but the unions and communists (seriously) had a different plan for me and my flight was ultimately canceled due to striking air-traffic controllers (and subway drives and railroad conductors).

So, Mark decided he needed some spices for a meal he was going to have the following night and seriously made me walk from France to Hungary just to be an ounce of something. Fortunately, it wasn’t hot. But it was quite a long walk for such a small purchase. Unfortunately, the subways were not running fully because of the strikes so riding to this location would probably have been unpleasant.

That night, we had dinner with a friend of his, then finished he night with a DVD.

The next morning he had plans with a friend so I was to wait downstairs for the shuttle to the airport. It was scheduled to arrive at 10:45AM and drop me off at the airport around 11:45AM – exactly 2 hours before my flight. Unfortunately, they never showed. I waited an hour for them to arrive (occasionally running upstairs to ask Mark to call them). After repeated promises that they’ll be there in 30 minutes, then another 10 minutes, then just 2 minutes), it ended up being just 2 hours before my flight (which, for an international flight, I should already have been at the airport.

With a nearly hour ride to the airport I was screwed, so I tried hailing a cab (most were full). I finally got one but he didn’t take credit cards (nor did he speak English). He drove me to an ATM where I had to withdraw cash, then drove on to the airport. I made it to the airport 70 minutes by international flight. I waited in line for my boarding pass, waited in longer line to go through customs, then another line for security. I managed to get to the gate just minutes before boarding was announced (phew). If I’d have waited any longer for the shuttle, I probably wouldn’t have made it.

Anyway, that concludes my trip to Europe. I arrived in Boston 10 minutes before Randy did (he was flying from Brussels, via NYC, then to Boston). We met up and took a cab home.

Now my jetlag is finally ending, but poor Randy has been a traveling fool ever since. A few days later he went to New York City on business for 3 days, then a few days later flew to Asia. He’s still there, but in a few hours he will be on a plane back home again. YAY!

Note” for those of you who read this earlier..I’m not sure what happened, but the post got truncated. So, I’ve paraphrased the last few paragraphs, but they’re likely nowhere near as witty as my original writings.

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Golden on October 12, 2010 12:53 pm

    did you have more to say here? You stopped mid sentence.

  2. Comment by snarl on October 12, 2010 1:04 pm

    Fixed! I don’t know what happened.

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