19 May, 2011

Big Bird to Paris

The time had come to take the big bird to Paris for the start of summer.  I fly Emirates usually direct to Dubia but this time it was via Bangkok which had just one more ineffective security check.  I don’t understand why they do it because they miss all the things that could be used to hijack a plane.  Well anyway the food was Ok, the seats great and I slept most of the way.  Caught up on the film I missed in OZ.
After a short stop in Dubai we were off again for another six hour to France.  A walk through the passport control, no stamps or even a check on the computer.  How they follow where people are I don’t know.  Then collect the tickets for the TGV and the local metro and off to the hotel.  The antenna at two meters long posed a challenge entering and exiting the Metro doors and also the walkway to the exits but after a few tries I was able to do it with out poking someone in the eye or knocking a light bulb out of a socket.
Hotel was Ok and centrally located near the Square of the Republic.
A short walk to find a Café with Wifi and I was back in business in Paris France.  Google earth told me where I was and Google translation help communicate with the locals.  I purchased a French SIM card but it takes two days before it works.  Great help if you are in Paris for a weekend!
The following day I walked towards the Seine to find the local marina at the Arsenal.  Very helpful people, said there would be lots of room in August but should book for July.  Just imagine on your own boat in the heart of Paris, almost as good at the old days when we camped in the Bois de Boulogne when we where in Paris in 1974.  Times have not changed, we have just moved a bit upmarket.
After a days walking around le Marais and visiting the Pompidou Centre I stoped in at a local Café and had a great steak before turning in for the night… still jet lagged and waking at four in the morning.
Next morning up for breakfast, a short walk to the metro, a change in metro and a walk to the trains a Garde de Lyon.  On this occasion I was travelling in style, yes First Class.  Not that I noticed the difference except there are defiantly a better class of passenger – old ladies who insisted in talking to me even if I didn’t understand them.  Two and a half hour later I had travelled the full length of France as I was drawing into the station at Arles.  Now on this occasion I did not have to change trains, just enjoy the ride.  For those who don’t remember (will I ever forget) on my last trip south on the TGV I had to change trains at Avignon to get the connection to Arles but my train arrived late and in my hast I boarded the train to Arle, A small error of just one “s” but a great distance from Arles.  When I realised I had made a mistake the conductor informed me I would have to go to the end of the line then  return to Avignon and take a later train to Arles.  I now know the French train notice boards don’t have a difficulty spelling, it is only me who don’t know the difference between Arles and Arle.  Well on this occasion the train arrived in Arles and I was able to catch the bus to Port St Louis de Rhone after only waiting an hour.  On arrive at Port St Louis I decided to take a taxi rather than wheel my two bags 45kg down the road to the marina.
It was great to back in the swing of sailing again, to walk into the marina and see Malua just as we had left her last years.  All that was required was a few days work getting her ready to put in the water but that is another story and always expect the unexpected regarding boats.

No comments: