After our ten hour flight to Singapore we waited in the huge transit lounge with lots of the typical airport shops. We didn’t buy anything and just waited out the six hours wandering the mall area while also taking in a free movie. We could only handle half of the feature as it was the new Tom Cruise Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Very bad and cheesy. The next leg was a twelve hour endurance to Paris. We departed at midnight Singapore time (4am NZ time) feeling a tad tired but excited that Paris awaited. Donna slept well but I was awoken a couple of hours into the flight by a passenger one seat back and one row across having a heart attack. Over the intercom, the hostesses asked if there was a doctor on board to help this man. I was going to wake Doctor Donna but realised working at Southern Cross might not actually help. He was taken away to the first class sleeping area to recuperate. I never saw him again. Donna said in the morning it was probably just a lark to get upgraded and that I should do this on the return. Not a bad idea.
Finally we landed in Paris. It was the easiest customs transition ever. A man stamped our passports without even looking at us and then we picked up our bags and wandered out into the terminal. No customs, security or anything. Great stuff. We thought about catching the Metro train to Montmatre in the centre if Paris but discovered a taxi first and headed on our way.
Claude, a very stylish, black Frenchman met us at our apartment to greet us and give us our key. Donna was smitten. He pulled up on a speedy scooter in white trousers and t shirt looking very metropolitan Parisian. I love the apartment, I love the area, I love the weather and I love the icy Heineken I am currently drinking. The apartment overlooks the centre of Montmatre which is an arty tourist area next to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. It’s like a large Chch Art Centre stretching for many blocks.
The apartment has a very old spiral staircase heading up four floors to our suite on the top. It oozes culture and artisan lifestyle. The building must be from around the 1900’s, around the time Picasso lived in Montmatre, painting, boozing and living up the young artists social scene that prevailed at the time.
Alison is a nurse Donna worked with at Christchurch Cardiology and she is over here for a friends wedding in Ireland. We met up with her to sample some fine french wine (Euro$1.99 per bottle) and see the sights.
The view from the back window is of the Sacre Couer Bastilica and a small courtyard. There is a buzz of people continuously out the window and there are cafes and restaurants everywhere. It is what I thought Paris would be like but even older and craftier. It is only day one and we have only seen Montmatre so far. I’ll sign off now as I need another beer. It’s well into the 30’s (degrees) outside and the fat will be melting off me at a rapid rate. I have spoken much French to the locals and I’m getting the hang of it. They have all understood me and I have understood them. I am prefering to speak French where I can. Au revoir for now.