I’m sitting in one of the chairs in the waiting area at CDG Gare SNCF Grandes lignes– the train station attached to the Charles de Gaule airport, which welcomes trains from all over France and Europe.
The twenty-two and a half hours’ worth of plane flights went smoothly, but have left me feeling dissociated from time and space. It’s nice to sit in a room with marble tiles and a high ceiling, it feels solid underfoot after the slight up-down rhythm of the A380s.
It’s evident that I’ve arrived in France, even within the international airport. Firstly, coming off the plane and into the customs area, I passed the exact same advertisements on the boarding balcony as I passed on my way onto my first flight from Melbourne, only this time the words were in French. I no longer have to keep my ears pricked in the hope of overhearing French conversation- although quite a few of the people around me are speaking English, French is the default.
I’ve also managed to fit in my first adventurous mishap in this short time! Dubai airport was busier than usual this morning, which resulted in a delay of about 40 minutes. This was not good, as I realised the 2 hours I’d thought was ample time had been cut in half. Our plane was equipped with WiFi and using my internet sleuthing skills I was able provide myself with the comfort that there was a second train later that evening- and with seats available. However, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to exchange my ticket and then match the excess, but would have to pay the higher ‘last minute price’ in addition to my prebooked ticket. I struck up a conversation (in French) with the guy behind me, and sadly his opinion matched mine. Thankfully the person at the ticket desk was very helpful and forgiving when I misunderstood the French EFTPOS system and I’m now equipped with a replica of my earlier ticket, for a train I’ll be able to catch… so long as I don’t get distracted by eavesdropping on a conversation.
Actually, I’ve just spied a cycle recharge station for powering your devices and phones…. this may be a better distraction, and a good way to make sure I keep warm!