Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Day 1 – Chennai to Paris

I am writing this as I am sitting in Paris airport. It was a long flight from Chennai to Paris and I slept through most of it. I thought I’d have an interesting neighbour, but ended up with an Indian national settled in Paris and he was old hat! And a touch serious! So, I thought I may as well catch up on my lost sleep, considering that I was beating a deadline through the week, having sleepless nights getting approvals, travel documents, print outs of every discernible document that I needed (two copies each, lest one of my baggages doesn’t turn up when I land in the US). So, I slept through the flight.

We reached Paris an hour ago and as soon as we got into the bus, the modernity, technology, systematic approach to life in the wild west hit me rightaway. There was this bus that we had to board and reach the transit terminal to catch the connecting flight to New York. The manner in which the documents were checked, the way the bus was structured, the procedures followed to help the old people into the bus with specialized systems was just a glimpse of the attention to detail that westerner adhere to.

I got to the terminal, and after the security check and then baggage check (for a second time) by a hot French blonde, I entered the waiting area in the terminal. Clear-cut messages of the schedules of various airlines to various destinations in the world were the first thing that hit me inside the terminal. For the first time in my life, I noticed a public phone where I could use my own credit card and call anywhere in the world (I had heard of call collect and the usual ISD or IP phone, but this was different. telephonic model!)

I then scouted around the airport terminal across various duty free shop which were replete with the best booze possible (even a teetotaler like me could appreciate the variety on display!), scores of porn magazines, foreign exchange counters, a café that had the typical French toast, croissant and butter! Not to miss, the terminal was of course full of very good-looking women(charms of travelling!).

Well, as I am typing this sitting in this Paris airport, two Indian girls sitting next to me are speaking aloud about life in the US, life back in India, the learning experience, college education etc. While I am never one to eavesdrop, the volume of the voices of these two girls is so high that even if one doesn’t want to hear them, it comes and hits the ear straight!

Well, its another two hours for my flight. Let me scout this terminal a bit more and add to my international exposure?!!:)