Here we are in Gay Pahree!

Well, Buckaroos and Buckarettes! Look who’s back! Long time no see! Here I am, once again blogging about another adventure. And this time it is a month in Paris. Fall 2013. About time!

Let me say a few words about how we got here:

Monday morning, September 16, we closed the blinds on our windows, took our packed bags to the front door, and waited for Tim to come pick us up and take us to the airport. Our flight (to Montreal) was supposed to leave at 11:30am. Tim came at 9:30 and off we went. Now Sue has a motto that guides her attitude when it comes to travel — “Expect the worst, and hope for the best!” That way, when things don’t quite work out as planned you are already prepared, because you ‘expect the worst’. And if things turn out “very perfect” (another one of her sayings) it’s all good too, because you were hoping for that. A winning philosophy. So after all the worrying Sue did about whether she had packed the right shoes and jackets, and whether we’d get to the airport on time, and what we would do with 5 hours to kill in Montreal, and what would our apartment in Paris really be like, and — well, you get the idea — but the thing is, everything about our trip here turned out “very perfect”. Tim got us to the airport at just the right time, our flights were great, we enjoyed a few hours in the Montreal airport, and the shirts, sweaters, vests, and jackets that Sue wore on our way here were the EXACT right clothes for the trip. About the only not very perfect thing was the baggage ‘carousel’ at the Charles de Gaulle Airport. We arrived there to see a mass of passengers, 8 deep, all along the short wall where presumably our bags would appear. With everyone queued up against the carousel there is no way to see if yours (or anyone else’s) luggage is ready to be picked up. The saving grace is that the luggage is dispensed SO SLOWLY and sporadically that eventually, one by one, people at the front of the line manage to yank their suitcases off the carousel and push their way back through the crush of passengers, and finally, after an hour, the baggage area has cleared out and there are only a few passengers and a few less suitcases left in the hall. And then you can take your bags and ‘wheel’ them up the stairs and down the hall for about a half mile south to the Paris train station. After that, everything once again went “very perfect”. We took the train to the Gare du Nord train station from where we dragged our bags to our apartment. Got there at just about 12 noon.

The lock combination to get into the building worked. We found the keys where they were supposed to be. Once inside our first story flat, we found a bottle of wine, a few packages of Nespresso coffee capsules, and a nice welcome note from Peter, from whom we are renting the apartment. Everything was as expected (well, NOT if you’re expecting the WORST, but you know what I mean!). After looking around a bit, we went out for a walk around the block. The weather was ‘fall-ish’, cloudy, but not raining. We looked in at a few fruit markets, a few bakeries, and even found a big supermarket not far from our place. We bought sandwiches — well, there are special French names for all these things here, but we’re not so quick with that. In fact, more than once, after buying something at a store here I’ve said ‘Gracias!’ instead of ‘Merci’. Anyway, we bought some cheese and a few beers and went back to the apartment. We heard the phone ringing, and soon after it stopped ringing we managed to find it in a cupboard in the living room. It rang again a few minutes later — Peter, calling us from New York, just checking up on us.

Sue had a bit of a ‘lie-down’ — we were determined to beat the jet lag and NOT go to bed in the afternoon. I hooked up my ipod to the sound system and spent a bit of time at my computer. We had a glass of wine and at around 7pm we headed out again. We took our umbrellas with us because it was raining lightly. We went to a nearby restaurant to get out of the rain. Had a nice pasta meal with drinks. Then back out and a bit of a walk. We didn’t want to wander too far at night since we really didn’t have a map and we didn’t want to get lost on the first night. Eventually we found our way back at the Carrefour (big grocery store) and Sue did some grocery shopping.

Back at our apartment, we put away the groceries and sat at watched a bit of BBC tv until a little after 10pm. A respectable hour to go to bed. Finally! The bed is good. So is the bedding. Pretty much everything today has gone “very perfect”. We’ll be fine here. End of Day One.