Monday, April 6, 2015

France: From Glasgow to Paris

To get from Glasgow to Paris, I flew through Heathrow and had a 4 hour layover. That was fine by me as I got to nap on the fight and at Heathrow. 

My friend Christelle and her cousin's husband picked me up from the ORLY airport in Paris. I was immediately thrilled that I did not rent a car in Paris. Traffic is nothing like Scotland. The closest thing I can compare it to is Saigon/Ho Chi Min city, except with cars instead of scooters. People weave in and out of the lanes quickly and immediately behind another car. Tailgating is an understatement. I was happy to be a passenger and happier still to be in the back seat where I couldn't really see all the action.

After settling into Christelle's Auntie's house and having a homemade meal (Togo cuisine) of rice and spinach sauce (with beef and shrimp - it was AMAZING), we took the subway to the Champs-Élysées. We met up with Christelle's sister, Clairé, for a short walk around the shops and had Hāagen-Dazs (I had afogatto). 

Now, we're settling in for the evening - where I'm listening to Christelle and her Auntie speak French, while French TV is on in the background. I am surprised at how comfortable I am with being surrounded by a language I do not speak or understand at all. The hiccup comes when I need to speak. So far, I've managed to say Merci (thank you), Ça va (literal translation is "it goes", like How's it going? It goes - but I think the gist is 'I'm fine'), sil vous plait (please) and afoggato (ice cream with espresso poured over it). I also said désolé (sorry), which I might lean on if I find myself without my own personal translator at any point. It is frustrating not to be able to say what's on my mind, but also how quickly I become mute. Christelle's sister can speak English, but I find myself unable to start a conversation. Hopefully, I'll settle into it. Day 1 and all.

Tomorrow, we're going to the Happiest (French) Place on Earth - Disneyland Paris. We had to go to a local internet cafe to print out the tickets, which is where I learned that the French keyboards are not QWERTY - this I do not approve of. It's one thing to drive on one side of the road or another, but to not have a QWERTY could I survive? Anyway, I am very excited to see how Disneyland Paris compares to D-land in California. I am giving myself permission to buy ridiculous souveniers. It will give me an excuse to go to the post office and mail some stuff home. The only problem I find with packing light/small is that the 22" suitcase I packed is room for souveniers. That's ok, I'll ship some stuff to my folks and get rid of some other stuff, like a MASSIVE travel book I purchased that I don't think I'll ever look at. The internet is easily accessible, making the 3lb travel guide redundant.

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