A Week In Paris (Part One)

Last December, I had my very own once-in-a-lifetime experience, when I set off for Paris with my family.

I had never been overseas, and I was waiting until I had an amazing job that paid me a jetsetter’s salary before I even looked at flight prices, so I was incredibly excited when my dad gave me the ticket as a gift for my 21st birthday.

Four weeks later, we were at OR Tambo International boarding Emirates flight EK 764 to Dubai. I had no idea what to expect from an international flight, but I was looking forward to finding out. I was also relieved that I wasn’t going on my own after all: my dad, aunt and sister were there with me.

All the “coming-of-age” movies always show a young girl/boy going off to some overseas country alone, to get lost in translation but “find” themselves after overcoming some type of tailor-made obstacle (with the help of a cute local), and make it look like fun, but I don’t think I would’ve wanted it that way.

In Dubai, we struggled to find the correct queue to stand in for the connecting flight to Paris. That is what happens when there are 4 people who know nothing about international travel following the crowd and hoping to end up in the right place.

When we eventually got out of the wrong queue (the first sign that the rest of this trip wasn’t going to be all smooth-running, all the time), and found the correct terminal and boarding gate for the connecting flight, I was feeling tired and frustrated. We had been “in transit” since the night before, we still had a long way to go, and I still had no real idea what was waiting for us when we eventually arrived in Paris.

While all this was happening, my sister was being snap-happy, and taking pictures of any and every thing in the airport and on the plane. I understand the concept of making memories, but when I am the one who is always being bothered for the camera so that someone can take pictures of a flight attendant or the terminal signs or something like that, I will get annoyed. And all of this was before we had even arrived at our destination, where there actually would be things to take pictures of.

On the flight to Paris, I don’t think I slept. It could be that I was too excited, but I think I was just getting more and more anxious as the flight monitor counted down the hours and it became more real that in a short while I would be in France. Another continent, another country, a completely different culture. Anything could happen.

We arrived at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on the 11th of December, and we waited for transport to the hotel.
At this point, we girls are assuming that there is a hotel. We knew nothing, and my dad wasn't trying to let us know, either.

Well, that just set the tone for the whole trip. For the next few days, there was a lot of guesswork involved in our daily activities. Where will we go today? How will we get there? What will we see? Is there a set itinerary?

It was beginning to look like this "family adventure" was going to take a lot more out of me than I had anticipated.

*The adventure continues- with pictures- in part two, later this week. Check back soon.

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