From Toronto to Paris sans électricité

From our home in downtown Toronto, we have a number of ways to get to the airport. Drive and leave the car in long-term parking, take public transit which takes ages because Toronto is one of the few major cities with no direct train from the airport to downtown, take a taxi or, the choice we ended up making which was taking the car to Marlene’s mother’s house which is much closer to the airport than ours and taking a taxi from there. It would save us over $60 and was very convenient.

This part of the trip set the tone for the rest of it. We had left ourselves the minimum time so we didn’t spend endless hours waiting in the airport. We drove out to the west end, called a cab which came quickly, got dropped off at the airport and within 30 minutes, had our bags checked and were through security. Enough time for a coffee and a bit of magazine reading.

Soon, they were calling our flight, and it’s Paris, here we come.

One minor glitch on the plane. Entertainment systems are not working. No movies, no music. Oh well, time to read. Guess what? No reading lights either. Never mind, read until the sun goes down, and it’s nap time. Of course, since we’re flying into the next day, we only have a few hours of darkness, and soon the dawn brightens the plane. Between meals, bathroom breaks, naps and a bit of reading the flight seemed to go fast.

Before we knew it, we were at Charles de Gaulle (CDG to you frequent flyers). I was surprised to see how grungy the airport seemed. Dirty, the ceiling covered in plastic sheets and mesh, young French soldiers carrying serious rifles and machine guns (par for the course for European airports I guess). After a bit of confusion as to how we clear customs we found the right lines and start shuffling through.

Paris - deux pastis, merci

First we had to get through customs, then the pastis!

Oh, oh, now for the first test of my French. But no worries. I handed the customs officer my passport, he mumbled a few words which I didn’t understand, flipped through the pages, and with a flourish, gave me the French stamp of approval.

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