Monday, February 9

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We woke up around 8:30. It was awesome not having to wake up quite so early, especially since one of us (and it wasn’t me) was a little hung over. We decided to share a cab to the airport with Mark and Natalie, even though their flight was an hour earlier than ours. Better to get there with time to spare than to be running late. So we left the hotel at 10:45, and our flight to Paris was supposed to depart at 2:15.

Our taxi driver was fast. Very fast. He hit 170 kilometers an hour. I don’t really know how fast that is, but Mark said that their fastest speed limits were only 110 km/hr. We were zooming in and out of traffic and made it to the airport in record time.

We said our good-byes with Mark and Natalie and promised to keep in touch. I definitely plan to. Nat’s on Facebook, so we’ve got that for sure, and I hope we visit them someday. Hugs all around, then we were off to find our airline. We were at the wrong terminal because we didn’t know where Iberia was, so we had to take a shuttle to the right terminal, which was far from the others. Then, figuring out how to check in was tricky. We couldn’t just go to the counter, we had to use this kiosk, then wait in line to check in our bags. We messed up at the kiosk, too, because I assumed the number of bags to check was per person like it is at home, but it was total for both of us, so we had to wait in line anyway to fix it. It turned out to not be a big deal, but I was glad we had gotten there so early. I don’t like stressful flying.

We had to take another shuttle to our gate, which was also really far away. This airport is huge. When we got to the right area, we still had a ton of time to kill. We found a Starbucks and sat for awhile. Our drinks came in mugs, which was a nice change from American disposable everything.

We boarded our flight on time. It’s different here, how they don’t announce your flight or boarding or anything. And boarding is just a free-for all, with no specific rows called or whatnot. Everyone just lines up and gets on in no particular order. The flight was fine, but no drinks or pretzels or anything was served. You had to pay for every little thing.

When we got to Paris (!!!) our bags came out quickly, which was a relief. I was worried that we’d have some trouble with our luggage, but it seems everything is going to be fine. We looked for a payphone to call our apartment rental company, and we couldn’t figure out how to use the damn phones. They kept saying we had an invalid number. Eventually we went to the information desk to ask for help, and apparently the number I had written down was missing the first digit, a zero. After that, the phone worked and I managed to talk to the rental company and make arrangements for Joel to meet us there. So irritated that T-Mobile lied to us.

We planned to take the train into the city, so we looked for the RER C train, but we couldn’t figure this out, either. I think it was going to cost about 20 euro and maybe we could only take the RER B train? Not sure. After about 45 minutes in the airport, we decided to just suck it up and take a taxi, since we figured it would cost about 30 euro for the taxi—not that much more than the train. We got our taxi and headed toward our apartment. I was able to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, which was very exciting. I’m thrilled to be in this city. Can’t wait to see it all.

The taxi ended up costing 36 euro, so not too bad, and we had to wait a couple minutes on the sidewalk for Joel to show up and let us in. But he was very apologetic about it and super nice. The apartment is awesome. It’s very small, a studio apartment, but it has so much more charm than a hotel would. Joel showed us how to use the washer/dryer, the microwave/oven, the cable, and where everything was. After Joel left, we started a load of laundry, then left to find dinner.
We went to the place right across the street, Café Temple. And it was awesome. They had leopard-print banquettes, old Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe posters and prints everywhere, costumer jewelry and fake cobwebs for décor, this giant witch, and lots of glam. It was so over the top, but warm and inviting. We had red wine and delicious food. I had spinach cannelloni and Andrew had tripe. Tasty bread, café au lait (that was served with a tiny shot of liqueur—maybe cognac). The waitress was super nice and very understanding of our mediocre language skills. I do think we’re doing a great job with language, though. I’m remembering more than I thought I would from my high school and college French classes, and Andrew is trying to learn, too.
After dinner, we walked a couple blocks around the neighborhood and saw Republic Square. The area seems cool, with lots of restaurants. It was very cold out, so we headed back to the apartment, finished the laundry, unfolded our Murphy bed, and went to sleep.


Courtney said...

Is Republic Square the same as Place de la Republique? Because that is really close to where we stayed in Paris.

Megan Langford said...

Courtney - yes, it was actually Place de la Republique. I didn't know what it was called when we were there the first night. We stayed on rue du temple. Good neighborhood, we thought!