Monday, December 20, 2010

I am in Travel-Hell, aka Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris

So what constitutes travel-hell, you may be wondering. Well, friend, let me tell you:
  •  One suitcase so stuffed full of Christmas presents (bottles of French wine) and books that it is heavier than you, but you try navigating its incredible girth through packed crowds, shoving it on and off buses, trains, escalators, and even worse, up and down stair cases, with your weak, trembling girl-arms, making embarrassingly vocal grunting noises, so pathetic that it might be cute—if only you weren’t so sweaty? Check. 
  • One train that arrives late, and then decides to just chill out three times on the tracks for no discernable reason, for the collected time of two and a half hours, even though you’re starving? Check.
  • Waiting outside, IN THE SNOW, FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF, waiting for a shuttle because the hotel told you it was running, until you called again irately with frozen fingers, and then they tell you it’s not running anymore? Oh yes, check.
  •   Taxi drivers discovering that the shuttles aren’t running anymore because of the snow, and realizing that they can charge you whatever they want because you have no choice? Check
  • Being charged SIXTY, YES, 60 EUROS TO BE DRIVEN 2.1 MILES, CHECK. Out of all the things that happened to me today, being wrongfully manipulated on top of being starving, freezing, and three hours late is the icing on the cake, the proverbial cake here being a mound of bullshit.

          These are things that I wrote on my first day of travel-hell. Little did I know that that would only be the light-hearted introduction to snow storms, several more days of cancelled flights, awkwardly sleeping in arm chairs, and brushing my teeth in the public restroom like a homeless person because I was stranded at the airport. The taxis refused to bring anyone to the hotels, because it was too small of a distance to make a decent profit, and the hotel shuttles never arrived “because of the snow,” but I am convinced that they actually DO NOT EXIST. 
The ever-elusive Airport shuttle, a mythical beast of legend much like the dragon or unicorn, which can only be coaxed into the open after months of patient tracking through the magical lands of Camelot or Narnia.

                One of the biggest problems about being stuck at the airport was my luggage. My suitcase is an epically huge monster of a bag. And it’s totally fine to have a heavy suitcase if your flight goes as scheduled: you check it in, you forget about it, and then you pick it up. No big deal. But when it weighs as much as you, and you have to carry it around with you everywhere you go, to eat, to the bathroom, to sleep, to try to find a hotel, across three different terminals, it becomes your Mortal Enemy. I quickly became convinced that my suitcase was intentionally malicious every time it got stuck in a crack or on a moving sidewalk, and that it was trying to kill me. 

How my suitcase is:

How my suitcase feels:

          I had to lug this bag that wanted my blood through four or five inches of snow, slipping, freezing, cursing, and shivering all the while, and making a huge display of my incompetence and general lack of upper body strength, trying to get to a hotel. First I tugged and shoved and swore it down one path, only to find after twenty minutes of extreme exertion that it was the WRONG PATH. FML. There was nothing to do but pull the abomination all the way back, and then again along the right path, which of course happened to be uphill, towards a hotel which I didn’t know was already fully booked.

          So, in case you’ve been wondering, this is why I haven’t posted. I am still, in fact, at the airport from hell, and will attempt my third flight tomorrow. For the love of God, wish me luck. 


  1. if it makes you feel any better (it probably won't), it's just as awful to have to go back and forth to CDG when it's 90 degrees out and humid!

    was the RER not running? i'm sorry you're going through all of this. and poor jerry just wants you to be home awlready.

    on the plus side, A+ on your little stick figure drawings

  2. I'm really sorry this has happened, Mel. I'm hoping that the flight you're in line for right now manages to break through the weather and that you come back today!