First impressions are so important, are they not? They often provide a clear insight into new situations and people. This time, our initial impressions of Tahiti, LA and Paris were rendered in a hazy blur due to extreme exhaustion. We had arrived in Paris at 9am local time approximately 34 hours after leaving home. Full marks to the kids who coped extremely well with the flights, snatching a few hours of sleep in between sustaining themselves on a diet of regular airline meals, movies and video games.
Number of flights: 3 (AKL – PAPEETE – LA – PARIS)
Travel time: 5 + 8 + 11 (not including transit times)
Number of meals: 5
First impressions that are distinct: Papeete was hot, humid and relaxed as only things can be in the Pacific. The local ukulele troupe welcomed us into the transit lounge after a stringent search-everything-you-are-carrying-and-even-remove-your-belt-and-be-frisked security check. Lots of bronzed holiday go-ers returning back home filled the airport. Los Angeles was another first for the children – vast, dry and flat. Security equally tight but remained friendly even when Fadabear was not able to recall any of the birthdates of the younger children under questioning (hey, if the customs agent had asked me about the older children’s birthdates I could have got full marks!). Thankfully the agents believed all the kids were ours and allowed us to pass. Then being stuck in a small transit lounge with a decidedly dilapidated rest rooms does not lead to glowing first impressions! Smells reminiscent of Cambodia! Sitting in a queue of ten-plus planes waiting for takeoff reminds you just how busy this place is.
Flying in to Paris – glimpses of fields and towns that brought back fond memories of our time in the motorhomes. Charles de Gaulle airport – a rambling and tired terminal that stretched for acres, an arrivals board that was bigger than the large screens at Eden Park and listed dozens of flights due in just a couple of hours. Walking to our hotel/hostel through parts of Paris that don’t make the tourist brochures – graffiti,, rubbish and narrow streets.
Despite extreme tiredness we decided to head into the Basilique du Sacre Coeur to catch a glimpse of the city from the lookout point. The charm of Paris is evident as we walk through Montmartre and Place du Tertre.
However, it soon becomes clear that jetlag has a firm grip on littleBears and enthusiasm quickly wanes for the sights of Paris. Not even the distant view of the Eiffel Tower can raise a smile. No surprise, and given it has been over 48 hours since anyone slept properly we decide to hit the metro back to the hostel. Find Wally in the picture below – he is the one with a smile (ps – he ISN’T there! These are just the six faces of exhaustion. The Eiffel Tower is behind them and they can’t muster energy enough to care).
Bonne nuit Paris et merci bien.
Tags: 1, 2012