The day when I set foot in Paris

Up to now, I still couldn’t believe that I flew with a business class ticket in an AirFrance flight to Paris. It felt so good in the first few hours until the turbulence started. One time I slept soundly, then later on be awakened by the plane shaking, and sometimes by someone snoring nearby. It was still 6AM when the plane landed in Paris. I was so glad that the almost 14 hours flight was over. I definitely hate using the plane lavatory so the first thing that I looked for is the toilet. Stepping into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport felt like getting into the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 2, but the toilets were much, much better, the area larger.

Before I left Singapore, I searched for a way to get to the hotel. I tried to book a bus ticket online but the transaction failed. I was worried about ending up paying for 50 euros for taxi because since this is a personal detour, I was on my own. Train was not an option for me either because of the warnings I got from my French colleagues. It took me about an hour to finally locate bus station, after of course getting directions from the information counter.

One lesson learned: don’t panic when you have not booked for a transfer from the airport to downtown Paris. One can buy it from the ticket outlet at the airport or from the bus driver. I took the Air France Bus and return ticket (Paris CDG -> Montparnasse -> Paris CDG) costs 27 euros. The Air France bus ticket outlet and station is located at Paris CDG Terminal 2F exit. I can’t remember it clearly but I think the bus stopped at another terminal. The trip from the airport to Montparnasse (the closest one to my hotel) took at least 30 minutes.

Breathing in the chilly air at 5 degrees Celsius felt so great. But I hated it after I walked through the streets of Paris for more than an hour looking for my hotel. It was so windy, my luggage so heavy, and the streets were almost deserted, which I later found out was because it was a Sunday and it was still too early. I asked a guy, who was the only one walking in the street I was on, he tried to help me but he didn’t speak English. I approached a lady who spoke fluent English but she was not from Paris either. Finally, I asked a security guard who gave me the information I needed. I was totally exhausted when I finally found the hotel. Check-in was supposed to be at 2PM but the receptionist was kind enough to allow me to arrange an early check-in for me.

I stayed at the Hotel Innova for two nights. I like it because it is close to one of the stops of the hop-on hop-off tour bus. The room was tiny but with the budget I had, it was good. Here’s the bed…

Here’s the really tiny bathroom that I bump into the walls everytime I take a shower…

And the hairdryer… classic!


The day I travelled in business class

The two things that made me really excited about my trip were: it would be my first time in Europe and I’ll be travelling in business class! Thanks to our company’s generosity, I get to travel luxuriously even if I’m just an ordinary employee.

So there I was, finally being able to join the premiere class queue. Then I got hold of this pass (I’ve just noticed that the lady at the check-in counter encircled “Mr”, tsk tsk…):

However, I arrived just a few minutes before boarding and I had to run to Terminal 2 to buy some kind of Singaporean pastries from Bengawan Solo. My boss particularly mentioned giving something from Bengawan Solo to the boss in Portugal, so I had to do it even if it meant sacrificing my chance to enjoy the sky lounge. I did not regret it though, because the people I work with here enjoyed the food. It was about 5 minutes before boarding when I got back to Terminal 1 so I was able to spend a couple of minutes in the sky lounge.

I was almost transferred to a middle seat because the video console was defective. But later on, they informed me it was fixed. I was not entirely happy keeping my original seat because the video console became defective again a few hours after take off. There must be a lot of people who are rich because I didn’t notice an empty business class seat. To make my story short, I would have to say it was so good travelling while being pampered. The food was great and being on the plane for 13 hours was not that hard because I slept most of it. I wanted to try out champagne but I was afraid I would get allergic reactions and I don’t want to cause any problem with a huge adventure ahead of me. I only managed to take this photo while on the plane:

I hope I won’t forget taking photos of the food on my way back to Singapore. But I don’t want to think about that yet. How I wish I could stay here longer… 😛

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