Planes, Trains, and A Quick Pass Through Paris

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September 18th 2018
Published: September 18th 2018
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The Saddest Day Of The TripThe Saddest Day Of The TripThe Saddest Day Of The Trip

Leaving behind Sue who is, well, Sue and Ezra who is the best thing to happen in our lives for 3years was very tough.
I’m sitting next to Prince Harry. Oh, hang on, I’m in economy. I’m sitting next to a guy who resembles Harry. And he drinks gin and tonic. Pretty close. We are 12 hours from Abu Dhabi and 11,538 kilometres from Mecca. I just finished my first meal of chicken with mashed potatoes, halal style. Harry liked it, except for the halal part.

Hey Harry, we’re on Etihad.

Josh, seated across from me, says everything is ‘wicked’. With 12 hours to go after 2 hours already in the air, the intercontinental wicked record could well be broken.

I’ve finally become moderately excited about this trip and know I’m the luckiest person in this plane. I have no one seated next to me and Harry and I have a spoken arrangement to share this good fortune. My food tray is next to me instead of blocking my very limited personal space.

My other reason for joy is that I have an opportunity to spend 40 days wandering in the metaphorical desert ( first biblical reference) and can spend time alone working out what to do with the next 40 years of my life. Maybe that’s a bit optimistic. A good mate came up with a last minute idea for us, but I can’t divulge any more details, except to say I’m guaranteed to remain a pauper. We probably should do it.

I’ve already exhausted the film and TV options onboard, and considering most of the movies I think are interesting were R rated for a range of reasons, and not wanting prying eyes to think I’m creepy, I’ll read or sleep.

Josh reckons the vegetarian meal was wicked so maybe Harry should have picked that; I’m sure vegetables aren’t halal. I’ll catch you in Abu Dhabi.

Whoops, I just copped my media screen in the forehead from the guy in front of me. A more solid and rapid seat recline you will never see. Is there a doctor on board? That bloody well hurt and he didn’t even notice. Ahh Economy.

Mr Inconsiderate’s other trick is to jerk sharply in his seat causing my media screen to light up. As the screen sits about 150mm from my face, I am collateral damage in his affliction. It is so bright, that in an instant I morph into a prisoner escaping through no man’s land as the
Mr Inconsiderate’s HeadMr Inconsiderate’s HeadMr Inconsiderate’s Head

It was so close I could smell his attitude. And it wasn’t good.
guard tower spotlights turn me into a target. It’s a bit of a first world problem, ( a favourite saying of mine).

Thankfully the second flight is shorter, in a larger aircraft, and I’ve been able to sleep. The food was better. Still halal but Harry’s heading home to Manchester so it’s not an issue.

Baggage collection was very slow and I’m sure I heard ‘backpack’, Sherry, and, report to Desk16, all used in the same sentence, as I searched for my luggage. I was starting to wonder if the baggage handlers at Tullamarine had fitted me up the same way poor Schapelle was in Brisbane. I had visions of being sent off to Devils Island by the French equivalent of our Homeland Security. Maybe Dutts could get me off in exchange for a few Au pair visas - on humanitarian grounds of course.

I’m alone in Paris. How sad. Still, I suppose it’s better than being alone in Rockbank. It is certainly sunny and all roads lead to the architecture, history and cultural delights that we all studied at school but could never quite comprehend. Instead of buying that new car, or having another child, be
The Patchwork That Is FranceThe Patchwork That Is FranceThe Patchwork That Is France

Ploughed fields, green crops and drying stubble surround the never ending close knit chain of white villages capped with brown terracotta roofs.
selfish, buy a plane ticket. After 25 hours in transit you feel like you just gave birth anyway. Maybe forget the bit about the child; forget I ever said it.

The train ride to Paris was trouble free but it is a very busy time to be in Paris. Maybe Paris is always congested, with people dodging traffic, eateries overflowing onto the footpaths, with workers drinking large glasses of beer, more beggars than I’ve seen elsewhere, and the excitement of schoolchildren spilling into the street from schools hidden behind old brick walls. Thin young men in suits rush along carrying briefcases in one hand and a coffee or a smoke in the other, women strut their stuff in high fashion and seem to coordinate clothing in a way that looks better than in Australia ( sorry ladies, maybe I need to get out of Bacchus Marsh more often. The Village Shopping Centre is probably not very representative of fashion in Australia. You gotta go to Woodgrove for that. Keep digging Steve!)

I’ve said it before, but I like the French. They do ordinary things stylishly, and foods and activities that we consider to be gourmet or novel are just run of the mill here. I’ve never encountered rudeness , but maybe that’s because I can’t speak French and have no idea what’s being sent my way. If they are rude it’s always done with a smile.

My job list today was to A) get to Paris, tick, B) buy a train ticket to St Jean Pied de Port, tick, and C) get a phone card, no tick. I inquired and it’s cheaper to wait until I’m in Pamplona on Saturday.

I’ve bought plenty of food for the trip down South , and enough for the first day over the Pyrenees, so I will snooze for a few hours, have a shower and head down to the Boulevard Montparnasse for dinner.

Here’s a tip. Before you book accomodation on AirB&B, or anywhere for that matter, find out what floor it’s on, and whether there is a lift. Also factor in high ceilings that can make a steep climb up a spiral staircase even harder. Just a tip.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


The Staircase In Question. The Staircase In Question.
The Staircase In Question.

It seemed to go forever. I shouldn’t winge. I’ve got 25 kilometre of something similar coming up on Thursday.

18th September 2018

well Steve thats you on the way to a long walk, hopefully some where i will have a catch up with you, maybe in the same bar Beun Camino lad...
18th September 2018

Hi Steve. Have a great trip and stay safe. I look forward to reading all about your adventures.
19th September 2018

Thanks Tracy
I hope to meet plenty of people, and after tomorrow’s climb I’ll be a lot happier. It’s 4.50 and I’ve been just dozing for hours.
19th September 2018

Car Rental Travel
Wow! great trip. I really loved reading your post about your adventures. It is very impressive and interesting .
19th September 2018

Have a ‘wicked’ time as Josh would say. Look forward to the next installment.
19th September 2018

Have a great time
Have a great time Steve. Will look forward to reading your blog. Loved your version of your plane trip - lol
19th September 2018

Love your blog great reading enjoy

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