Last August one of my spam emails contained an Emirates flight offer that was almost too good to be true and in an uncharacteristic show of spontaneous decision making, I decided to book 3 return tickets to Paris!
And now suddenly, this week it was time to pack our bags and head off to Europe for a month!
Even in the 21st century, travelling to the other side of the world is still a long way. Even with direct flights, there are 22 hrs of actual flying to be endured, along with the associated stop over, change planes, check in times and to and fro airport transits.
We left home at the end of our work day in Australia on Wednesday at 3pm and arrived here at our hotel in Paris 38 hours later, having had pretty much no sleep, 4 aeroplane lunches and no dinner. It's a feat of endurance that doesn't bear thinking about too much because you know that in order to get home you'll have to do the whole thing in reverse (without the promise of an exciting adventure at the other end!)
We usually fly with Emirates to NZ and that is always a pleasant experience. Their long haul cabin staff are every bit as friendly and helpful and that certainly made this trip more bearable. A short stopover in Dubai was a welcome chance to stretch our legs and get our travel eyes on as people dressed in the whole spectrum of arabian costumes passed by us. The airport itself is an architectural destination and looks like it may have been the creative inspiration for the The Capital in the Hunger Games trilogy. With it's huge glass and stainless steel structures, shuttles, walkways and indoor waterfalls you feel like you are time traveling into the future. Kitch, stereotypical tourists that we are, we got some AE dollars to add to our foreign currency collection and bought some coffee from an Irish bar (where, to my grammarly joy, they were advertising EXpresso coffee)
When the man in front of me reclined his seat to it's full extension just as they were serving my lunch on the flight out of Dubai, knocking over my glass of french shiraz and putting my tv screen into an impossibly close focus for my eyes, I almost stabbed him in the back of the head with my plastic fork and every time the man behind me coughed up one of his lungs without covering his mouth I nearly suffocated from holding my breath while the germs recirculated, but apart from that the trip was manageable.
We'd intended taking the RER train into Paris from the airport but we were too shattered to think about how to do that. The nice man at the info booth told us we could expect a taxi to cost 50 - 60 Euro so we decided to do that. When the meter ticked over 98Euro as we pulled up at the Novotel Gare de Nord we were feeling exhaustedly ripped off and unfortunately that feeling compounded when we realised Taine had left my dslr camera in the back of the cab. Two hours in Paris and we were already over $1000 poorer.
C'est la vie. Luckily the iPhone takes pretty good photos and tomorrow we get to explore Paris!