Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oct 14 (Day 1), Part 1 - Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris

It's still dark outside and weirdly surreal; at home it would be light by this hour. As we trekked down passage after passage, the sky began to lighten into that special gray that is Paris in the morning. I remembered parts of the airport from previous trips. It's taken on a kinder feeling as it's become more user-friendly. It was also, for the most part, shiny, clean, and looking new. I began to feel safe and familiar here.

For some reason the word "stop" on the pavement is in English.

Like gliding through a dream, there wasn't even a halt for customs.

The passage through CDG and onto the train platform was easy and efficient for the first time. On every other trip, I'd hit a point of near panic trying to find the right bus to the end of the metro line and then not being sure I was actually in the right place with the right change and going the right direction. On our last visit, the train line had been extended to the airport, but it wasn't working. We took a bus that, apparently, needed to circumnavigate every traffic circle in every industrial park between CDG and the designated metro stop. The ride was kind of interesting, but oh, so slow. The stop itself was not that encouraging. It seemed isolated and it was unclear how you were supposed to get ticketed and onto (which) platform. Or maybe I was just tired. This time, from plane to train to central city was a piece of cake. The sign says, "All trains are going to Paris." And . . . we never found where we were supposed to pay, so at least for this one time, the ride was free. When we arrived at the other end, like magic, a guy in working clothes appeared at our side, opened the gate and beckoned us through. Welcome to Paris.

Go to Part 2

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