Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Joie D'Vivre

Ah, the joys of travel.

It seems that this trip is filled with problems with cab drivers on my exit from the capitals. In London, I had that altercation with the cabbie who was just plain rude. This time, the taxi driver was 20 minutes late and already had 18,60 Euros on the meter.

From my little hotel in the 7th to Rue de Carnot by the Arc de Triomphe, it should be about ten euros. Eighteen sixty - where did this guy start the meter? Banlieue 13???

After some heated debate where the taxi driver offered to take me back to the hotel, I told him to either take me to my destination or to the police station where we would sort all of this out. He decided to go for the destination.

Arriving at Carnot and the Air France Les Cars stop, the meter read 27,20. I gave the guy ten euros and told him that was all he was getting. I also had him drop me off in front of a team of police officers hanging out on the side of the road for good measure.

With bags in hand, I truck over to the Les Cars stop where the bus to Orly is leaving. I tell the attendant "Charles du Gaulle" and he waves me off to wait for the bus to CDG. The Air France bus runs every 20-30 minutes and costs 15 Euros one way. I wait about 30 minutes as other people come and go when the attendant comes back to tell me that the CDG bus drivers are on strike and that I should take a taxi or the RER train.

I've made the journey from the 7th to CDG before and it takes about an hour. I started the journey at 9am and now it's 10:30am. Luckily, there's an RER stop across the street but it's the A train and I need to transfer at Chatelet for the B line to CDG.

Since CDG is outside the city, the usual Metro/RER tickets will not work and I have to fall in the long line to purchase a ticket to CDG. Another ten minutes burned.

From Chatelet, it's about a 40 minute train ride to the CDG Terminal 3 station. Then a transfer to the CDGVAL train to Terminal 1 and I've missed the check-in time for my flight back to Dulles. In typical Gallic fashion, no one is really interested in helping me straightaway. Bonne Chance, they'll get to me eventually.

The key in France is to be politely persistent. Stay the course and they'll get to you. Feign ignorance. Defer to their greatness (especially with government bureaucrats, public workers or SNCF personnel), but let them know you're going to be pleasantly persistent and they'll take care of your needs just to make you go away.

So it's another day and night in the outskirts of Paris. I've opted for an airport area hotel in Roissy to avoid any more travel problems in the morning. The question now is: do I stay at the hotel and chill or head to Le Severo in Paris?