Monday, April 20, 2009

paris put to bed by k

okay, so i need to finish paris and move on! this one's going to be quick.

last morning, i couldn't eat any more pastry, so i bought a crusty loaf of whole wheat bread...yum! we did more walking and then had lunch at a great old french a big hall. arel finally got the escargot he'd been wanting to try and liked it. after that, the wax museum, justified by the fact that it covers french history. i had never been to a wax museum (check that off my list) and found it kind of creepy. all these "people" starting off into nothingness. very strange. i was most struck by how big they all seemed...their hands, their arms, and i think it's all done to scale. arel and mimi raced through the french history part, which was quite interesting. another reminder of how brutal life was in the past, what with inquisitions, plagues and war after war after war.

after that, we went back to the apartment, gathered our belongings, bought some goat cheese for dorian from the woman in the red beret, and walked to the train that would take us to the airport. unfortunately we were met by chaos deep down in what is apparently the biggest metro station in europe.

the train was bursting at the seams and it was unclear if it was going to the airport. every once in a while, big groups of people would start getting off and running in other directions. the limits of my french quickly became apparent. there were delays, but were they temporary? what should we do? i kept trying french, then english, but never really got a clear answer. at one point, someone said (or at least i thought they said) to go to another platform to catch a train to the airport. so we ran and jumped on...the wrong train! at this point, arel wanted to take a taxi, but i know enough about paris to know that taking a taxi at rush hour was not going to get us there on time. so we went back to the chatelet station and finally got on a train to the airport. we arrived 15 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart. after running to the departure hall, we were told it was too late! i have never missed a flight...not a good feeling.

we went to the air france ticket counter and i told my story of delays and woes. "but your ticket allows no changes or refunds." i didn't crumble though! and arel's tears might have helped. after waiting and waiting and waiting for them to take pity on me and get the supervisor's approval, the agent finally said (with a look of stern disapproval), okay, and gave us a new reservation number for the next flight that was leaving in 45 minutes! hurrah! i had to go check in at one of the machines. i was so scared the number wouldn't work and that she had only given it to me to get rid of us. but it worked! i was still nervous when we handed over our boarding passes to get on the plane...oh no, this time they're going to turn us away. but no! we made it. i still thank my lucky stars.

arel and i were in the same row, but both at opposite windows, so we just waved at each other every once in a while. i think the two french guys between the aisle and me thought i was checking them out, but i finally said, in beautiful french, that my son was across the way and they understood. then one of them started asking me questions in french, but it quickly became clear that i couldnt' hold a conversation, so we switched to english.

the final part of the flight was so was pouring in barcelona. my body was already so full of adrenaline from our earlier adventures that i was about to explode. i also couldn't keep from thinking that i hadn't let barak know we were on a different flight and if something happened....

but we made it safe and sound and i will now give myself an additional half hour to get to the airport!

i don't think i'm going to get arel to blog about paris...or much else, for that matter. but mimi created a blog for her trip, so if you're interested in seeing paris from an amazing 11-year-old girl's perspective, with some fotos to boot, check out her blog.

au revoir paris.