Flight Control 01Aug09 | [stylianou] 1
Absolutely sick of the sight of each other, we woke each other up at about eleven o’clock through trading expletive-laden insults.
Thank God this trip is over.
With each of us taking an absurdly long time to shower, we left the flat in search of some breakfast. Sadly, as it was the beginning of the month, nowhere was open, so naturally we thought we’d do a bit of sightseeing before eating. On the way, we saw an apartment block, just around the corner from ours, surrounded by sapeurs-pompiers and the remnants of smoke.
Nothing to worry about. Ticking off Hôtel des Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, it was time to find an adequate eatery.
Off we went to that lovely (albeit pricey) café near Tuileries, again.
Surrounded by only Francophones, we spent a nice mid-morning (which turned into early afternoon) having brunch.
Eking out our final hours in continental Europe, we wandered back to the flat where we packed our bags. It suddenly dawned on us that this was the end of 2009′s trip. Apocalyptic weeping ensued.
NM dropped off our key to his covert operative while I waited in the downstairs entrance to the apartment building. I fretted that the Russians had enacted their revenge on the metro and I’d be having an awkward conversation with Mr & Mrs Manners as to why their son was the victim of a Soviet skinning…
But it was alright; NM returned, just in time for a final photo-call before our taxis arrived. NM was due to be jetting off from Paris-Orly for a familial rendez-vous in the South of France, whereas I was due to be getting a flight from Paris-Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (CdG) back to the UK. We parted, saving any public displays of emotion. We’re men, remember?
I arrived at CdG twenty minutes after my comrade had initiated contact to notify me of his arrival at Orly, and I began my wait for 1730hrs, before I could check in for my 2015 flight. It’s really not a great airport. I picked my seat and checked myself in on that funky British Airways machine and was licking my lips in anticipation of the paid-for meal I might receive later. It would be a far cry from easyJet. Through the degrading ritual known as the security check and I was airside. A chocolate bar here, a chocolate bar there and parental presents were sorted. Now for the inevitable wait at the gate. It’s really not a great airport.
Sooner or later (well, it was quite a bit later, actually, as I watched the ground baggage handling staff make an absolute mess of putting the cargo containers onto the plane…), I boarded my flight. Behind a French lady, her husband and two daughters, who appeared to be gripped with something worse than Swine Flu: Swine Flu Paranoid Hysteria. Yep, that’s right, this French famille were kitted out in face masks. Needless to say, I started sniffing and coughing and spluttering as much as I could behind them.
Picking up all of the free newspapers on my way to the plane, except the Mail, I was left with Le Figaro, Liberation and The Times. The cabin crew, believing my journalistic choices were indicative of citizenship, directed me to my seat in French and that was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened to me on that little hour-long journey. I sat next to two miserable Australian adolescents; I was given a coffee and a chicken wrap; I landed at the bleak, overcast London Heathrow Terminal 5.
My bags, miraculously, weren’t lost, and neither were my parents, who were waiting for me at Costa. One more stop on my journey – Burger King – and I was back in the confines of South West Surrey. At the end of my travels, I blithered about continental Europe while uploading more photos.
interthink 2009 was definitely a brilliant one. And now, what next? We’ve been to practically everywhere in Europe, save for Scandinavia and a select Eastern bloc. There’s plenty more miles to be had, I can guarantee, and plenty more border-transcending travelling to be done. After all, there’s only so many things I can take photos of in Guildford, and our ‘cabaret double-act’ show (thanks Tamara!) simply must go on…
Oh, no. This trip is over.