I made it to France! Unfortunately, like most of my international travel, it wasn’t easy. My flight to Dallas was on time, early even. However, the flight from Dallas to London Heathrow had a hydraulics issue that caused it to be delayed 2 1/2 hours. This meant that I missed my flight from London to Paris and had to wait for the next one. I don’t know why, but it seemed like every single food establishment in the Dallas airport that had vegetarian food was closed and I ended up with an over-baked pretzel. The food on the British Airways flight was actually okay, but as usual with airplane food I felt kind of ill when I got to my destination. So the food voucher I got from British Airways to use while I waited for my flight was not well used. Also, Heathrow’s Terminal Five is not a fun place to stay. It’s an overload of music and shops and tons of people. And I was so very tired, but couldn’t fall asleep and risk waking up to missing luggage. My fatigue was also probably not helped due to the fact that I did not sleep at all the night before my flight. I went to an art show and had drinks as a last hurrah in Oklahoma City, then of course frantically packed until it was time to leave for my flight. I’m still rather tired.
Getting back to the trip. When I finally made it to Paris, I took the bus to Gare de Lyon to store my giant suitcase in a luggage locker. Then I took the metro to the hostel where I had reserved a room. Of course, when I get to the hostel after walking quite a ways from the metro stop, they had given away my place because I hadn’t called and said that I was going to be late. Because I didn’t have any pounds to make a call in London and there were no phones on the plane. The person working at that hostel booked me a room at the Blue Planet Hostel, all the way back by Garde de Lyon. So I buy another metro ticket and drag my tired body over there again. This hostel is significantly seedier and a little more expensive than my original hostel, but I am so tired that I am not willing to look for another. Besides, it was only for one night. I shared the room of creaking, somewhat clean bunk-beds with three other girls, one from Israel, one from Switzerland, and one from Italy. The sheets were not very clean and the hostel charged for every little thing. I had originally planned to meet some other language assistants at 5 pm, but I was very late by the time I got there so of course there was no one there. I did make myself walk around a bit, because I’m not often in Paris. I also ended up meeting some nice people at the hostel while waiting to get into my room afterwards (there was only one key, and one of the roommates walked away with it). Today, I didn’t feel very well, but did make myself walk around some of Paris near the Louvre. By some miracle nothing went wrong with the train to Grenoble and I met two other assistants right away at the hostel (one of whom actually has rented a car). I’ve since met several others and we have orientation tomorrow. No pictures yet as I was forgetful and didn’t charge my camera. I can’t wait to leave my 50 pounds of luggage somewhere, but for now I am dragging it on buses and trains. Despite all that, I am in France! And I’ve already had a delicious sandwich, several Oranginas, and a slice of quiche. So that really makes all the travel pains worth it. More soon!