jeudi 16 décembre 2010

The Journey Part IV

The Journey Part I

The Journey Part II

The Journey Part III

I'm so behind in my 'story' now that I can barely even remember anything in detail from way back then...

So with my illness and the terrible weather (lots of rain) and it nearing peak hour, I caught a taxi and high-tailed it to the airport - FIVE hours before my flight was due to depart. It wasn't even on the board yet! Yes, five hours is a record for me but surprisingly I didn't once get bored or run out of things to do.

I sent off some postcards to my family and even looked up on the internet in advance that I'd have to got to a particular terminal and then change to another to catch my flight. I took my sweet time with everything like I was a sloth...

At first they wouldn't even let me into the customs area saying my flight was too far away (timewise)! grrrr...

Well as everybody knows, Singapore Changi is one of the best airports in the world so I had more than enough to keep me occupied. They had lots of games and promotions on and if you spend $x you get a ticket which may win you a prize. All I won was $5 off the next purchase which was crap. They said you could swap this for a prize if you punched a punching bag or something strenuous and sporty and won which, given my delicate state of health, would have been impossible so I just put on my best puppy dog face/eyes and asked if I could have the prize instead of the $5 voucher (without playing the game) and they said yes! I could choose between a toiletry bag or a shoe bag. Since I already have the former I chose the shoe bag. Good for separating your dirty shoes from the rest of your clothing!

I had lots of fun walking around REALLY slowly and... I had to go to the chemist as I started feeling worse at one point and I also needed to (still) go to the toilet very very often so it was a pain but I just tried to make the best of the situation.

I will say this though, being sick AND alone AND in a foreign country miles away from anyone you know is one of the WORST feelings in the whole world. I think I actually cried at one point because I felt so terrible both physically and emotionally.

Thank God those antibiotics kicked in and I got rid of that stupid gastro bug.

I'll leave out the boring details about part where I then arrived in KL and tried to do a little bit of sightseeing and shopping and nearly killed myself doing so... I gave myself asthma-type symptoms because the air was so polluted and I ended up in a shopping mall full of smokers. Then I was back at the airport AGAIN.

At Kuala Lumpur airport I met the nicest young Parisian couple. It all started because I started panicking that I had too much hand luggage. The sign said you could only have one and I asked the couple behind me in the queue if they could say one of my bags was theirs, just for the check-in part, but they told me they already each had a bag. They said not to worry so I tried not to stress (and luckily noone said anything when I checked in!) but anyway we got talking...

I told them what I was doing... and that is, I am going to France to teach English. I am flying to Paris (like they are) and then catching a train to my little town in the middle of nowhere.

On the plane I had my first taste of French politeness. The majority of people on the plane were French and they were just sooooooo polite. At one point I needed to get out to go to the toilet but the man next to me was asleep. I could climb over him (via the armrests - it's a move I have perfected from many many years of airplane travel and always taking the window seat, and quite often flying alone) but I had nowhere to put my tray full of food!

The girl sitting in the seat on the other side of the aisle saw me and offered (using just body language) that she could take my tray for me so that I could get out. Not only did she take my tray off me (I thought temporarily), she actually brought it to the kitchen for me!

It was only until the end of the flight that I started talking to the guy next to me. He was Chinese and since I speak Chinese I spoke to him in Chinese (prior to that I spoke to him in English) and then he started opening up to me (as opposed to reading or sleeping) and we talked a lot about our lives. He said he's staying with a friend who lives in Paris and even gave me his number in case I wanted to visit his friend!

The flight was 13 hours long but seemed to pass rather quickly. I actually fell asleep for the entire first half which was a miracle. Of course I woke up frequently (or they woke me up for meals) but still, that's pretty good. I really needed the rest.

There was a big high school group (from Australia in a town not far from Sydney) on a tour (for sport) and they were rather loud but apart from that the flight was pretty good. Usually I have to put up with a bratty kid kicking the back of my chair or getting no sleep whatsoever because people can't shut up (when everyone else is asleep too) but nup, nothing super bad that I can even remember...

All sorts of wonderful and amazing things happened on that flight.

After I got off the plane I had the guy who sat next to me offering to get my huge suitcase off the carousel for me and even push it out into the arrivals area. I had the young French couple ask if I was alright getting to the city.

Everyone was just wonderful to me but then, after I caught my Air France bus to Gare de Lyon I was dumped on the footpath and I was alone. I felt kind of exhilarated yet scared at the same time.

I was, finally, IN FRANCE!

... to be continued ...

The Journey Part V


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