Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 179: Bonjour Paris!

It was 11:30 pm when we lifted off from Asia, another continent behind us, a new one ahead, 13 hours on a plane in between.

We rested lots, watched hours and hours of movies, and enjoyed a dinner only Air France can prepare: braised chicken with haricots verts, a baguette, a slice of Camembert, and chocolate torte, all accompanied by a splash of champagne as an aperitif, and a bottle of Vielle Ferme rouge with the meal.

We touched down in Paris at 6:30 am local time. We leisurely collected our bags and easily navigated our way through the public transit system. The cold was one thing we'd prepared for, our jackets were perched at the tops of our bags in waiting. The darkness at the early hour was something different. We've been used to long days of sunshine.

Erin had been able to secure us a home for the next five days with a fellow couch surfer, Alexis. He turned out to be incredibly thoughtful and kind, and lived in a spacious apartment in a suburb of Paris. We settled in to his living room with a large pull-out couch, then hit the road to see the sites. As it was Alexis' only day off work, we were overwhelmed by his generosity to spend it with us, showing us around. We treated him to an elegant lunch in the Bercy village at a cute wine tasting bar, then walked our way along the Seine.

An impromptu performance outside La Comedie Francaise

Slowly, the sites of Paris unfolded in front of us: the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, then finally a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. For Craig, it was a reminder of his two previous trips to the City of Lights, for Erin, it was her first look in person. Finally, with aching bodies and tired eyes we conceded, and Alexis took us home. Thinking that it must be close to 6 pm, we were surprised to see that it was only 3:15. We had now been up for 40 hours, enduring a 13 hour flight, plus the four hours of travel that preceded it. We somehow managed to stay awake til 9, when exhaustion took over and we slept like logs.

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