Three capitals in one day

Travelling again. I’m now in Paris CDG waiting for the flug to Berlin making a hat-trick of European capital cities for me today.

This morning, Warsaw was enjoying -25C and I fully expected that “frozen tin can” experience including a trip to the de-icer station. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to reach a warm and ice free Embraer after we exited the obligatory bus transfer. Why have all those gates, I wonder, when I always have to get a bus to the plane? Has anyone actually used a ramp at Warsaw airport or have san-epid condemned them because they have no toilets?

Arriving CDG I stepped back in time when confronted by the familiar curves and darkness of the fractal-shaped terminal in all its white mosaic and steep rubber escalated glory. I used to pass through here a lot back in my travelling days.

Saw an Airbus A380, the one that looks like a Beluga whale, for the first time. This one was Singapore Airlines. Quite impressively huge but too far away for a decent Blackberry photo, not that that stopped me taking one!

€40 satisfied the taxi driver who got me hassle-free to Neuilly sur Seine (sp?) where I embarked on a string of business meetings and a chicken lunch. All fairly uneventful but nice to finally meet the French team and get a feeling for what they are up to.

€65 satisfied the second taxi driver who bought me back here. Note to self, don’t keep Parisian taxi drivers waiting because the clock is ticking!! Both taxi drivers were trying hard to fulfill the tourists dream of French guys being jazz loving free spirited intellectuals. The first one even had wild hair and a beard. They didn’t fool me though. Traffic jams were very French.

Someone built a huge stadium on the way into town since I was last here (2000 I think). Would that be the Stade de France??

(Sod it – 30 minute delay now!)

Amusing experience waiting outside the terminal when a lady failed to communicate with me in stereo! Firstly she couldn’t speak (mute) and secondly the paper she was showing me was written in French. I suspect it was a petition to the EU to ask for better conditions for mutes in CDG airport but all I could offer was an apologetic shrug.

Guy in front of me took 3 hours and used 54 plastic trays to get through security X-Ray, asshole!

I’ll be sick of course. Everyone around me is sick. Woman on the plane coughed the entire journey. Japanese lady sitting opposite now looks very dodgy and they have all kinds of nasty bacteria over there don’t they!

The company don’t compensate you for these things on business expenses do they. The early mornings, the extra work for my beloved wife while I’m away, the fact I only got 36 Euro for my 40 GBP cash at the change booth, the 22:30 arrival shagged out at a chilly Berlin hotel, the stuff you leave in planes and taxis by accident, the security bullshit……

Anyway, travel does broaden the mind like nothing else and for observant types like me it is better than going to the theatre so there is an upside.

Better go now, there’s a danger this plane might be ready to leave soon.

UPDATE – arrived in Berlin safe. Ended up with a 50 minute delay leaving and 30 minute arriving. Cruddy Air France plane. Temperature here is -10C so today I’ve gone from -25C to +10C and then back to -10C. The bacteria must be loving this! Mind you, I have a nice bottle of hand-gel in the room here which “helps maintain optimum hygiene levels wherever you are” so that’ll help kill a few. Even more sick people on the last flight. There was a couple who were training for the sickness Olympics a couple of rows back.

This taxi driver was happy with only 35 Euro and for that I got his entire life story from kid in Iran to his two wives, his girlfriends in the Philippines and Cuba who all want to have babies in their ‘abdomens’……. How it’s 18C in Iran now and that’s way better than -10. How the Shah of Iran was a bit of a wally and people are much freer now…..etc.

Like I told you, better than the theatre this travelling lark!


8 thoughts on “Three capitals in one day

  1. Nice photo of one of those new big Beluga planes – not bad for a BB shot. I hear Singapore’s nice at this time of year…

  2. That big plane looks like B747 aka Jumbo Jet. Anyway, it’s only big outside – inside it’s pack like any other plane and unless you travel in first class (or you are a dwarf) you fell like sardine in big flying tin.

  3. I’ve remembered what the big beluga thing is called now, it’s the Airbus A380 and I have edited the post. Actually, the beluga thing is the cargo version although the passenger one has similar looks.

    Pretty huge beast and the wings really droop down when it’s standing still.

  4. Flying, at one time, was rather nice. It wasn’t very nice before September, 2001 but ever since it has gotten steadily more hideous. I’d rather drive than fly whenever possible though sometimes it is unavoidable.

    I’ve only gone through CDG once, during my first visit to Poland. I found it somewhat intimidating since it was my first non-US airport. Since then I’ve ended up in airports in the UK, Norway, Germany and Poland of course. Germany has the best airports, Norway is second and it’s a toss-up between the UK and Poland after that. UK’s are better in every way but possibly more crowded and everything is infinitely more expensive. All are better than dealing with the indifferent (if you are lucky) or rude (if you aren’t) security staff at any US airport. It’s so damn bad now I wish I could take a boat there.

  5. Be honest Ian…it’s been two days, don’t you miss me a little??

    I could have told you it was the A380, but I thought you were being clever by incinuating that it was obvious. I overestimated your knowledge of big Beluga things.

    Good to see one anyway – I remember seeing the Concorde flying out of Heathrow for the first time. Growing up around an RAF base, you get excited about things in the sky…

  6. Obvious to you and all planeiacs maybe but to me one Beluga is much like another except this one was bigger.

    Okay, I miss you too!

    Brad, I’m with you on this. Flying is a real pain in the arse nowadays but it is hard to avoid. I did drive to Vilnius rather than fly but that’s only 7-8 hours or so drive. To drive 20 hours each way to avoid flights is silly, but it’s getting to be a close call.

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