I won’t slog through the details of my arrival, but there were some important ones. Highlights, if you will.
I was asked to put my carry-on suitcase in the little “prove your bag is miniscule” contraption right outside of security. It didn’t fit (which, I still protest, it would have on the plane). So I had to open up my bag and start putting on layers of my clothes to make it work. And that is how I, Nanuk of the North, departed San Francisco. The same thing happened outside the gate as I was getting on.
My flights were both on time. Miraculous.
The man sitting next to me on the flight from San Francisco to Dallas kind of smelled weird, coughed and took up more than his fair share of personal body space.
I had no one sitting next to me on the flight from Dallas to Paris – my own row to myself! Huzzah!
There was no on-demand on the long flight. Depressing. Made up for by having my own row and actually sleeping for a couple of hours. Miracle.
Arrival successful. Bag arrives. Fiasco trying to buy a ticket onto the RER train into Paris. Takes at least half an hour and includes one nice man who used his card (which has chip and pin technology) to finally help me buy a ticket, one mean man who refused to help me (because I clearly am very sketchy), one check stand woman who doesn’t give change, one broken change machine and lots and lots of sweat. I actually get on the train.
Discovered recently that Paris actually has a tram. More drama at said tram. Realize I have the appropriate change exactly, but machine won’t take 50 centime piece. Tragedy. Then realize recent RER train fiasco has left me with a correct ticket. Crisis averted.
Arrive at Emiglia’s and am happy.
I’ve been in enough traumatic travel scenarios to know that this all went very very smoothly. The first night, I was jet-lagged, had a small nap and managed to sleep the whole night through. More success.
Paris is well, Paris. And French people are so French. Still. I kind of forgot. We went to Emiglia’s local farmer’s market yesterday and bought some exceedingly beautiful produce from some rather charming and interesting French people. Em happens to live in the outer sections of the city in a great little pocket of the 15th. It’s away from the tourist sections, so the market is frequented by locals, the people working at the market don’t switch to English and there’s a much more relaxed vibe to it all. The man working at the stand also, in very typical French fashion, told us how to prepare our food. These tomatoes must be eaten in salad. You must eat these mushrooms today. How are you preparing this? This is very common as food, like any profession, is seen as a job requiring expertise. Farmers know the produce and want you to experience them in the best way possible. It’s not as pushy as it sounds, at least not from this man on this day.
More highlights of yesterday:
Eating beautiful, amazing, over-the-top macarons at Pierre Hermé.
Walking, walking, walking.
Buying pre-roasted beets at the farmer’s market (fast food!).
Meeting Emiglia’s American tour group in the Louvre. Many who were seeing it for the first time. Note: Em coordinates the tour, but doesn’t give it, so it didn’t take too long for us!
Going to the wine bar that Em used to work at. Drinking great wine. Getting freebies because Em’s a rock start.
Eating tart au citron in public while walking. Delicious faux pas.
Meeting the first person in my region in my program, R, and having a great time chatting with him!
Drinking wine and chatting with Emiglia who is still, despite having not seen each other for four years (four years!), a great friend.
I have my ticket and am off to Metz tomorrow. My responsable - my contact at the school where I’ll be living - is picking me up and taking me to my school. But in the meantime, today is more Paris.