4:30, the taxi came to pick me up for the $50-trip to the airport (no share-a-cab, though that’s who I called, but not early enough to get the cheap rate).
7:30 pm boarded onto the French Corsair plane and at 8:30 we left. It was a “Jumbo” plane with nine seats across. Had a great seat mate, Deborah, who I sort of recognized, though she looked like she was in some pain and trying to sleep. But, when she woke up, I found out she was a fellow writer and we’d met at a the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) Christmas party and that she had read some of my last blog on going out west!
We had a great time talking. After a while, over the mid-Atlantic, she moved to a better seat, so she could lie down (the middle section of seats was pretty empty) and I tried to get some sleep with no success, though I did get to chat with Rene, a 13-year-old flying with her parents and two sisters to France for vacation. Very worldly wise, but fun to talk with.
I got into Orly at 6:45 am Paris time (5 hours later), then, because it’s what I arranged, I had to find my way to Vincenne by bus and Metro with my very heavy suitcase, backpack, and purse. Oiy. It was very difficult. I don’t know enough French to really communicate very well, plus I had to figure out how to get where I was going. The bus took me to Montparnasse, which somehow I thought was somewhere else (like the Sinai), but took the bus driver’s word for it. It was a huge station with everyone bustling off to work. I wasn’t succeeding in getting a ticket out of a machine (no change for one) and a French fellow asked if I needed help. Yup. I finally figured out that I wanted a Metro pass and waited in line so I could talk to a human being (not a machine). I lucked out in some ways by being able to get a Bus pass for the whole month of July and wouldn’t have to figure anything out every time I wanted to go down in the Tube, which was not what I expected either. To get to my boarding place I went through what felt like all the tunnels in Paris, up and down lots of stairs and escalators to get to Line 1. It took me three hours to get to Vincenne where I called my new roommate to be — who, for some reason I thought had a car, but didn’t, who nonetheless, met me on a bicycle to escort me back to where I’d be staying (a walk of about a kilometre) where I met Valerie, a fellow Buddhist and teacher, who was renting her room to me for 600 Euro for the month of July, while she vacationed in Marseille, a beautiful city on the Mediterranean Sea.
To sum up, I was truly exhausted, more than I’m used to. Kept falling asleep and having my vision tunnel. Then I needed to find my way to a grocery store — or let’s say a vegetable store, a patisserie, and a “super market.” Then I needed to find a store that sold an adapter for my computer (“Monsieur Bricolage” if you want to know). Now I’ve been to “Mono prix” (or Monop for short) about four times — it’s about two km one way — maybe only 1.5, but only if you don’t lose your way. Agg. Figured out I also needed a “parapluie,” aka rain umbrella, not an “umbrell,” which is a parapluie for le soleil, i.e., a parasol.
So, that should bring us somewhat up to date. I can now move along.