Getting There – L.A. to Paris

Aug. 19th: The Beginning of a 29 Hour Day

The 3-4 hours of sleep I squeezed in after a night of packing was interrupted by my alarm clock at 6:56am; after which time I ate, packed last minute things, was briefly stopped by my mom calling to make sure I was getting ready, and left on the shuttle to LAX and about 8:50am.

I was dropped infront of the international flights area at about ten-past-nine. The driver put my bags directly behind the van instead of on the curb like he was supposed to. I thought the shuttle driver behind me was relatively aware of this, but as I moved the first couple of bags to the sidewalk, she began to roll forward (over my remaining luggage) and I was forced to run out infront of her vehicle waving and shouting to make her stop. The smaller medical bag had started to jolt out from under the front wheel by the time I got there, I think, but the big clothing/camera/instrument bag would have been utterly demolished had she continued. They came out a bit scuffed, but otherwise fine.

The check-in and security process went smoothly. Air Tahiti Nui charges $75 for a second check bag, but I really do need that second bag so I paid it. Security was fairly quick too, mostly because there were very few people in line. They have an x-ray machine for people there, and there’s no way I’d be silly enough to irradiate my entire body unless it was medically necessary, so I opted for the pat-down instead. I think the TSA lady seemed more embarrassed about it than I was though. When I was repacking my electronics, someone yelled something like “code blue” and the security crew ran out of the room. I knew it was a drill though, since they were all smiling and laughing. When they returned, I was permitted to finish re-packing and proceeded to the gates. The whole process only took an hour.

The gates for Air Tahiti Nui at LAX stay empty until about 11am. It’s pretty packed by noon, especially the area around the gates for flights to Japan.

The gate area was like a ghost town. Even the concession stands were deserted. About 3 hours later, though, it was standing room only. Although I had done everything quite early in case of unforeseen problems, I was rewarded with the irony of waiting at the gate for 4 1/2 hours while my 1:10pm flight was delayed twice, actually taking off at 2:30pm. Better to be bored than frantic though. I spent most of the time talking to my mom and brother over the phone, chatting with a French lady that sat down next to me, and listening to language tapes.

It was a pretty takeoff; a nice, clear day.

A couple hours into the flight, at about 4:40pm, they served dinner (coq au vin with broccoli and a couple baby carrots, salad, a roll/butter, and a vaguely cheesecake-like dessert). Pretty good, actually. A few hours in, I decided to stroll up and down the jet to look around. A kind of mini-party had developed in the back, where some passengers and flight attendants were sipping juice, water, and spirits while chatting and giggling away. I stood around trying the various juices for a while, then wandered up to the front to get a tiny ham/cheese sandwich. I spent the rest of the flight watching in-flight movies/in flight video-game playing and, again, listening to my language tapes.

The flight probably would have seemed shorter if I had slept part of the time, but I’ve never been able to sleep on flights. The sun set somewhere over Chicago and rose again just about over Dublin, bringing me to. . .

August 20th – The Process of Developing Spaghetti Legs and Pancake Feet

An hour or so before landing, they served breakfast (cheese/applesauce crepes, croissant with butter/jam, fruit salad, raspberry yogurt, and hot cocoa). After we landed, the walking portion of the day began.

I walked around to the bagages sortie (checked bag claim), then I walked around the airport for a couple of hours looking for the shuttle service. I got to sit in the shuttle for a little bit. Then I hauled my luggage into the ACCENT center, got lost for a couple hours attempting to follow the oddly written directions to the Daumesnil before finally following the map and asking directions, got back just in time to take the last mandatory walking tour of the neighborhood of the day (at 3:30pm) and nibble on provided snacks with some other students, hauled my two big bags back to my apartment, went grocery shopping, and took a shower.

The view from the window of my Paris apartment at night

The shopping turned out to be unnecessary, however, as what was left of my legs and feet refused to hold me up any longer and, upon what appeared to me to be laying down on my bed and a doing single blink of my eyes, it suddenly changed from a hot and sunny 6:30pm to a cool and dark 2:45am. I rolled over and slept another four hours. Twelve hours of sleep wasn’t really that excessive, considering that I was awake through the compressed version of two days in a row.

 

Altogether, I’d say my journey went pretty well. The delays or other possible occurrences I planned in advance for worked out and I got there intact and on-time.

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