Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paris to Mumbai 3rd time!

Two days ago news headlines was showing bad weather reports for the day. Air France and most of airlines were running in late or functioning badly. Chales De Goule airport was down. Winter came suddently to make French lifes difficult. Metro & RER local trains were running late or were not functioning well. Many people had to sleep in cars as roads were filled up with snow. People were not ready for the change so suddenly. Car tire changing is always necessary before winter. In fact, some people had to stay in subways and cars to survive the cold.
It was 11th December'2011, i was suppose to reach on flight in morning 10 am. On day before, I tried hard to get taxi booking. All of the taxi services rejected request to take morning reservation. Finally, I decided to get any taxi while on the way. I got up early and stated moving! Couldn't found a single taxi on the way, most of taxies were parked or busy to attend me. I walked to nearest railway station Duplex with my friend. I had metro pass for zone 1 and 2 so I took metro Denfer Rouchor to get direct RER train to CDG International Airport. I reached Denfer Rouchour by 8.15 am, was running short of time to reach Airport. My metro pass was not valid to go Airport, so I joined the queue to get the ticket. It was figure of 8.70 Euro. I had couple to big notes of 20, 50, 100 Euro so had no worry about money. But to my surprise, ticketing machine had "no input" take notes. Hell!! I checkout few coins I had. I started putting them together to get 8.70 Euro. It was just 7.90 Euro! I had no idea what to do now?? Even if you have money, it hardly helps in such situation!!! You are damm stuck!
I remembered the similar incidence in my last visit to Paris in Feb'2010 with French guys. I was taking RER ticket to reach Champs-de-Mars from Porte-Nuilly-Malliot with my collegues. I was barely able to speak French at that time. French man started asking me if I have spare coin of 10 cents. There was no way they could tell same thing in English. I just spread hands before them showing all coins I was having. They picked up few small coins and said, "Ok?". It was understandable, i said "its ok and left for my journey". One of the guy who could speak a bit of English said, "next time, i pay"! I just said,"merci!". That was only word I could speak properly.
In same way, i found someone who could help me. Young couple behind me where French but fluently speak English. They understood, i 'm facing problem with getting ticket. I asked them, if its possible to insert these notes in machine. Girl was speaking fluent English. She said,"Machine don't take notes, you have insert coins. Let me help you in getting ticket." . She took the charge. She choose French language, asked couple of details about the travel. I told her, I want to go CDG airport. Again, we started putting coins and it stuck at 7.80. I had no more coins. I had few Franks (Currency used in nearby countries. I had saved few while coming for Switzerland in last visit). I showed all available coins to her. She had an Euro coin whic she inserted. Finally, I got the ticket!! hurray! But I had to give exchange of 1 Euro to her. I had no option other than 50 Euro note and few coins of Frank. I tried to give her 5 Franks as exchange. She kept on refusing to take it. She kept on saying."Its ok. Its ok my friend". She finally refused to take any coins. I could only say,"Merci beacoup"!

Somehow I got the right train to airport and catched my flight. Flight and company for journey was good. I spend time chit chatting with Australian uncle and aunty who were also stuck in Paris in snow fall evening. I said, it was bad duing snow night, many of friends had to stay in cars or subways on that night, it was really bad. Aunty couldn't resist herself, she said, "It wasn't bad! We had to walk 2 km on open road to get safe place to stay for night!! That was really bad!" They had to walk 2 kilometer to get to safe place. Vacations were bad experience for them. Girl sitting next to me was French. She could hardly speak any English and was travelling to Sydney. We played "Reversee" game in LAN. Talked few things in French to make her know English place. I found a nice facecut which was good to make a sketch. I made a sketch of her on back side of Passport xerox. It was good timepass as I had seen most of the movies they had in collection. One of the air hostess got the sight on it and she complimentes it well! It was wonderful flight to Abu Dhabi. Journey was good and reached on time for next connecting flight at Abu Dhabi.
I checked for mobile network, got some sms from friends. I came on airport and checking status for my next flight to Mumbai. Oh boy!! it was "delayed"! I asked the Etihad guy, he conveyed message that, its been delayed by 2 hours. Matter of fact, it was delay of 4 hours! I woundered around airport. I did my chocolate shopping. People were really arrogant while taking food. No queue, no manners. Most of them were middle-east uncles. Somehow I checked for compatible food for me and joined the Indian people staying at departing gate. I met some Mumbai guys who were waiting to catch the same flight. Most of them were flying from US via connecting and connecting flights. While waiting for delayed flight, I got couple of calls from friends from India. My roomies were waiting for party and car driver waiting at Mumbai international airport to receive me. I texted him to come on airport after 7am! So, somehow I reached at my place at 8 am instead of 2.30 am !! It was bad but wasn't too bad! I had nice sleepy in morning at my home. It took couple of days to adjust the 

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