25 July 2009

Charles de Gaulle Layover, Part 1

(what I assume is about 6am France time)

The plane landed early (joy! An even longer layover!), around 5am France time. Paris was so pretty because it was all lit up in the dark. Breakfast on the plane was an egg and cheese biscuit with raisins (yuck) and OJ in one of those little containers the water came in. The man next to me was polite, but not nice, and he smelled a little bit when he put his arms up (which thankfully he didn't do much once we were settled). The guy in front of me had the highest voice I think I've ever heard coming out of a man's mouth. The old guy next to me was apparently going to Marseilles with a bunch of his old guy buddies, and the guy in front was going to Barcelona to study opera for 5 weeks. Seems like I just attract voice majors wherever I go! He is a sophomore and loved laughing at his own statements every 5 seconds. Not his own jokes, just statements. My opinions on the Paris airport are going to be written in the form of a letter to a friend, who asked for my opinion on de Gaulle.

Friend --

The Paris airport (well, Charles de Gaulle anyways, but no one really counts Orly) is beautiful architecturally from what I saw of this terminal in the dark. The walkways from the plane are metal and glass, which is way better than those beige boxes they have in America. But that's where the niceness ends. The carpet inside when we got off was a garish red (not what you want to see at 5am), and the people movers are so slow I was walking faster than the people on them.

I had to go through security again and they made me throw away the wine and Coke I saved from the plane. Their bins are more like cafeteria trays than bins, and every electronic item has to be in them. This was not good for me, because I had to hold up the line getting various devices from both my purse and my backpack.

There's no gate on my ticket or on the screen when I get in, and the dude I ask about it is of course a complete a-hole. When I finally find the one screen in the whole airport that has my gate number on it, I find myself in the most ghetto terminal in the whole place. The chairs are mismatched orange and burgundy (vomit!), and I was the only soul here at 5am.

I decide to go to the bathroom (which of course is all the way at the other end of the terminal from my gate -- there's only one) and discover it only has two stalls. Two! The doors make this creepy Haunted Mansion sound when you move them, and the toilet seats are round and impossible to cover. The flush buttons say Presto, and I'm pretty sure that's Italian. And they get mad at me for not speaking French! I brushed my teeth and washed my face so I'd feel human again and they have this contraption that looks like a paper towel dispenser only with some kind of cheap cloth hanging out. I think: cool! Cloth paper towels! (even though that doesn't make sense, you know what I mean) and I go to grab one to wipe my face on. Only it doesn't come off. It comes out where paper towels normally come out, hangs in a loop, and goes back in the other side. I don't have anything to wipe my face on, so I just use the front of it and leave it hanging there. Another girl comes in shortly after and pushes some magic button to make it advance forward so she can wipe her hands on some new cloth, but I think she got some of where my face was. How unsanitary is that? You're using the top of an already used paper (cloth) towel! Oh, and on further inspection, I still couldn't find the magic button.

You know how else I know my terminal's ghetto? It's on the ground! I think I'm going to have to take a bus to the bitty airplane when it gets here. It's also ghetto because the pretty raised terminal apparently has its bathroom right above my head. Every time someone flushes, I hear it. Joy. So my opinion, if you haven't figured it out already, is that Paris blows. Well, the airport anyways. My 5 hour layover wasn't long enough to do anything good.

And another reason to avoid this airport: a can of Coke is 2. That's like $3... For a can!

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