Finally in Europe!
Paris Travel Blog› entry 3 of 59 › view all entries
May 24th, 2007 – by: rawepower
I left Atlanta about 6:00 on Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday was a very stressful day trying to get everything ready! But though I was running a little late, I got to the airport in plenty of time and everything was fine. It was sad to leave, but nonetheless, I was excited to go. These past few months have not really allowed me much time to think about the fact that I was going to Europe because I've been so caught up in school and my recent triathlon with Team in Training. But it wasn't sinking in as I boarded the plane and flew to Paris.
On a side note, the "new Delta" is great! I was really satisfied.
After arriving at the hotel, we explored the neighborhood it is in (as it is several miles from the city center) and got some lunch. A few of us immediately went to a genuine French cafe. It is funny though because to finally get there, we passed several Japanese and Chinese places, as well as McDonald's! I have realized since getting here, there are several brands and American things you just can't escape from (Office Depot, Starbuck's, etc.
What has made me really happy and excited since I got here is how much French I remember from my 5 semesters in high school and 1 at Tech. I have been able to speak to the natives, especially when ordering or asking where things are. It is really exciting and fun! Several people have been asking for help in ordering food and reading signs! I'm embellishing while I can because the rest of the trip I will have no idea what's going on when we're in different countries. The French also seem to really appreciate when you make the effort to speak their language. However, to my disappointment and sadness, they can easily tell I'm an American and will answer in English even when I speak in French. Oh well!
So after a nice lunch in a cafe, we met back up with everyone else to go on a bus tour of the city.
However, we were ALL extremely jet-lagged on the bus tour, so many of us fell asleep. There was nothing I could do to stay awake- even with loud announcements and frequent stopping for traffic. Therefore, I remember seeing the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, but have absolutely no recollection of Notre Dame or Museum d'Orsay.
After the bus tour, we had some free time before our 'welcome' dinner so everyone pretty much made run for the rooms to take a nap. I needed a phone card, so I went through our neighborhood and asked for one and bought it completely in French! I have to admit though, there is a quick limit on my language knowledge as I could not read the procedure on the back of the card. This resulted in me accidently calling the police at one point. Eventually though I was able figure it out and it was very comforting and refreshing to hear the American voice of my mom back home. I did go to take a nap though and fell asleep hard for 2 hours.
We then went to a restaurant not even 100 feet from the hotel for our 'welcome dinner' (we have one in each city). This time it was actually at an Italian place and I admit that the food was not that good and it was disappointing to be in an Italian restaurant.
After dinner, we had a quick meeting were we got our schedules for Paris and we got some basic procedural things told to us. By then, it was fairly late so we couldn't really take the Metro (subway) anywhere as it closes at 12. So a group of us walked into a nearby neighborhood and went to a bar. Since I have not really ever aquired a taste for beer, I had a glass of white wine and it was great. Being exhausted, I immediately went back to the hotel and got plenty of sleep.
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