08 June 2010

A visit, a vacation, and vivacious vespertine vizards (part 4 of ?)

Discovery number 1: despite being on almost the same longitude as
where I live, Paris is TWO hours ahead. Good to know - never mind the
nap I had planned! This means I need to get used to sunset after 9pm.
Since I have this day to myself, plus since I'm staying near the
airport rather than in town, it seems to make sense to do all of those
things that a Peace Corps volunteer would do after 2 years in Africa,
rather than the things a typical American tourist would do in Paris -
I'll rate those to do with Pat. I walk around the Roissy area, which
is basically in industrial park, but a much nicer one than you'd find
in, say, Atlanta. Certainly nicer than Ouaga. I walk. I enjoy the
cold. I buy a jacket, and wish I had more money for clothes - even the
discount stuff is really nice. I stroll through an Ikea, then a
shopping mall, stopping for lunch at McDonald's. I have dinner at what
I take to be the French version of Appleby's (the name translates to
Shortstraw). None of it stuff Pat would have been interested in, but
every PCV reading this is jealous. On a side note, in what will prove
to gold true throughout the trip, I notice that people do NOT switch
to English with me, despite the Parisians' reputation. Not that they
can't tell my French is not theirs...but I suspect that my African
accent is so strong that it masks any American accent, and they're
just not sure where the hell I'm from.

It's weird to see a sunrise with no dust. Equally weird to see birds I
recognize from Africa in trees I recognize from the US.
Poor Pat will never agree to meet me at an airport again. I'm a bit
late getting there; while the 20 minutes I was told it would take to
get to the airport was not wrong, it was misleading - CDG is BIG. To
actually get to the terminal I want takes another 15 minutes, and when
I get there I find that his arrival gate has changed. The lady at the
info desk is very apologetic when telling me that the only way to get
to the new gate is to walk, but (to be continued)

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