I was last seen on Word Press in a blog on how long I could take to clean my apartment. I excel at this.
Cleaning was in preparation of the Guest arriving from California on Tuesday. Monday saw the second delivery from Monoprix- I stocked up on staples in advance of her visit. But I find I almost (almost) miss my daily trips to Monoprix.
Then another trip to BHV (the wonderful department store with a hardware store in its basement) for what I once again think will be my last trip for making the apartment mine. Somehow I seem to continue to discover new amenities I want. <shrug> So this trip was for second towel, caulking, mold cleaner, and, of course, two new scarves. Well, I am in Paris after all!
The bathroom suffers from some mold as I said. The hydrogen peroxide worked well, but the caulking was breaking up, so I bought some silicone and applied that on Monday afternoon. My, what a difference it makes. Happy.
And then plans for a good sleep as I was going to get up on Tuesday to go out to Charles De Gaulle to meet my Guest. (G). I didn’t need to meet her, but I wanted to experience the RER (suburban trains) and the airport when I was not traveling myself. Then I am too focused on my own trip!
Up at 6 (yes, six in the morning!). Dressed. Bite to eat. Grabbed three small bags of trash. Locked the door, bags and keys in left hand and right hand on the railing – do NOT want to trip and fall in Paris. Dump trash and head for the trains.
The RER is interesting… these trains run from suburbs into and across Paris. So you can take an RER from Porte Maillot (my station) to Chatelet. There’s also a metro – typical subway cars. The RER is a real train. It just feels strange to get on a real train that runs underground. It’s France. Anyway, I took the metro to the RER station where I had to go out and buy an RER ticket to CDG (ten euros) and then find the train.
After waiting on the wrong track for 5 minutes, – the sign did say these trains went to CDG! – I realized the train I wanted was on the track on the right. And of course I had just missed it. No worries. I was early enough.
Seated on the train. About a 40 minute trip. Just watching the scenery (it does not go through the nicest neighborhood in Paris). I have set up an instinctive and automatic self check… happens about every hour – wallet, right pocket, yup. Change, right pocket, yup. Navigo card for metro, right pocket, yup. Ok, now left pocket: keys. Wait what? Try that again: Keys? Really? No keys?
Immediate scan – where are the keys, where could the keys be, when did I last have the keys?
Pretty immediate response. You put the keys on your index finger on your left hand with the trash with the intention to remember they were there before you dumped the trash.
Yes. My keys fell into the trash with the three trash bags. There are two trash containers for my apartment. One was full. The one I used only had one bag in it. And then my three. And, of course, my keys.
Vital question. When is the trash picked up? Because I will not be back for 3-4 hours. And what if they do dump the trash? I will have to find my landlady – who works. Across town. (That photo is of the “backyard” with the little trash shack.)
Trash schedule… I have been trying to figure this out in general as my goal has been to take my trash down 2 days before so there is room for it. But sometimes les homes de poubelles (trashmen) seem to pick up some Tuesdays, other Wednesday and even Thursday. So I don’t know.
I give it up to the Universe. I can do nothing until I return. Except mentally kick myself.
The Air Canada meeting place is easy to find. There are some chairs so I sit and wait. A TV monitor is on the wall next to the doors announcing the arrivals and giving details about when the bags will be delivered. That gives you an idea when to expect your arrival.
Coming into CDG, you leave the plane and walk a long way to the Passport Control where you are sorted by Schengen passports (EU countries who signed a treaty to allow for open borders) and everyone else who must present their passport to the French police in the booth. Then you go on to baggage claim if you have checked a bag. And then to Customs. Douane. Which always confused me. You just walk past three or more uniformed Douane guards who are chatting and you continue out the door. No forms. No questions. I guess sometimes they decide to stop you but I have never seen it. (This is a photo off the web – as I said, I have never seen them talk to a traveler.)
Then you are truly “arrive” en France.
I sit. Watching the TV screen keeping me up to date. And. Only in France. Two workers come by with a ladder and carefully take the TV screen down and away. Without replacing it. Suddenly all of us waiting for a variety of planes have no information. Only in France.
But it doesn’t really matter. The length of time to wait is the same with or without a TV screen.
My Guest arrives! With her bag and my famous purple bag – my second wave of things I need in France. If you are going to move to a different country, I strongly recommend this. I was able to send some lighter weight summer clothes in the purple bag. And my fabulous renter was kind enough to pick up some extra vitamins and TJ tea and salad dressing mix and more miscellany. And my G was kind enough to check it on her flight. So it was like opening a surprise box!
But before I could open the surprise package, I needed to get into the apartment. Fortunately, the apartment building access is two security codes – no keys. After walking over from the Air France Le Cars bus stop by Port Maillot, we got into the building, G waited in the lobby with the bags and I went out to the trash.
If the keys weren’t there, we would have to wait several hours for the landlady and I would have to pay for a new key and there would always be that nagging thought – did someone take them and could get into my apartment anytime?
I opened the lid. No grey trash bag that had been there. None of my three small white trash bags. Empty.
Except there was some indeterminate trash (like empty plastic sacks) sitting in a tiny bit of water and next to them: MY KEYS.
I will take the success. But I still don’t know where the other trash went and why no one saw the keys and took them. Just don’t think about it – just thank the Universe, open the door, and wash the keys with soap and very very hot water.
After that excitement, moving G in and opening the surprise purple bag was a bit anticlimactic.
But, horrors! G was getting sick. She had stayed with friends for three days on the east coast before hopping the pond and those people had deadly colds. In spite of zinc, she caught it too. Yet she was a trooper. She wanted to stay awake to make the time change transition and wasn’t feeling too badly.
A lovely late lunch at an outside café. And later while I had a conversation exchange (CE), she walked along the Seine to Notre Dame and back to my CE restaurant. Her energy had peaks and valleys as is normal for a first day jet lag experience. We came back on Metro 6 and bus 82 – my favorite routes for a view of the Eiffel Tower.
Wednesday, G was totally into bad cold mode and stayed in all day. As she is wisely doing today. We hope by tomorrow she will be well as we have plans for Chartres.
On Wednesday I had another CE and the over 50 Meetup Group – that has such interesting people –And I bought a cute hat – it has been sunny and HOT (79 degrees) here so the hat was a necessity. Tomorrow there is a significant decrease in temp to a high of only 65.
Moi? I am taking Xicam religiously and planning to avoid any illness. Being sick is NOT on my Paris agenda.