Alas, it is with great sadness that the following announcement be made: the Ninja Turtle and GodzillaPin parted ways this morning at an ungodly hour of 6.28am. A toothbrush was placed solemnly in a toiletry bag. One last longing look at the kitchen before turning out the lights. Before you start cracking out the handkerchiefs and ice cream though – and sorry for the anticlimax – they aren’t splitting up. The Ninja Turtle is simply going away for a while to visit her friends and family, while GodzillaPin, having used up his entire year’s quota of annual leave, has to stay behind.
No one to share an ice cream cone with, no one to hold the camera while the other ties up shoelaces, no one to bicker with.
It’s going to be a tough two months… or is it?
Already the Ninja Turtle is revelling in the fact that by travelling alone, she calls the shots 100% of the time, and makes all decisions. In case it isn’t entirely clear what this means, it means:
1. Not cutting it so fine with the interstate travelling by booking the last available train out of Metz to Paris.
2. Not having to undergo multiple heart attacks while the train stops due to an accident, and then another time between two terminals, as precious seconds slip away.
3. Not having to run through the airport to check-in their bags.
4. Not having to run through the airport after checking-in their bags, trying to make it to the gate.
5. Not having to plead with security to be let through.
6. Not having to find out, once on the airplane, that a wallet was left behind in an apartment in Paris.
Instead, she showed up an hour before check-in commenced, an hour in which admittedly, would have been better spent in bed BUT at least there was free internet. Being early to the check-in also meant not having to stand in a queue for half an hour, and the staff are still in a good mood. She got her bag tagged straight to Sydney, was given her ticket, and waved off by the friendly check-in lady.
So much time on one’s hands! She could plod as slowly as she wished, knowing there was time to spare, and God knows Roissy Charles de Gaulle isn’t the kind of place to leave things to chance. Airports in general are purgatories, but Paris’ CDG is a special kind of hell, where kids run around smelling like piss and little dogs cry and whine.
It is the only airport in the world that makes you want to hurry up and climb into that metal box, where you’ll be hurtled into the sky, defying gravity for the next consecutive hours, trying to distract yourself with movies so you don’t stop to think about how you’re participating in communal insanity. Charles de Gaulle airport’s atmosphere makes the stale cabin air smell sweet.
Of course, all that’s the impression one gets when one is frequently being harried through either early in the morning or late at night. Catching an afternoon flight, however…
Of course, it’s still a long way from perfect, as far as airports go. After all, you’re faced with nothing but one hallowed boulangerie after another, just in case you know, you want one last overpriced, underfilled baguette sandwich. Paris wants you to leave with no regrets except being ripped off for one last time, and they do it with Brioche Doree, Paul and some other easily forgettable bakery all selling sad and expensive breads, pastries and desserts. On the inside, it’s no better; once past the security, you’ve got two – wait, no, let’s stretch it to three – choices when it comes to dining.
The first is an insanely expensive champagne, oyster and caviar bar, the second, an impossible-to-find bistrot cafe place that surprise surprise, sells sandwiches, and a third…
A slightly more upsetting fact is that there are, in fact, 2 McDonald’s in Terminal 2C alone. This is the gateway between the country known for gastronomy and the rest of the world, and this is the best they can do.
Since the Ninja Turtle ate breakfast at 4.30am, she was getting hungry and settled for the least traumatising option of them all… a salad and sandwich from the newsagency Relay.
Goodbye, France. Goodbye to your lack of culinary diversity. No one cares if you think a cassoulet is completely different from a petit salé aux lentilles; to the rest of the world, they’re just variations of beans with meat. Every corner of France seems to claim moules frites as its own, and there really is no difference between a chocolate croissant and a pain au chocolat. And if your people are constantly turning up their noses at the pairing of peanut butter and jelly, wait until you show the world your dessert of tourte de blette. There’s a whole world of food to be consumed – from barbecued stingray to bryani to bak kut teh, and lots of other awesome stuff you’ve never heard about.
The only thing in France that the Ninja Turtle is really going to miss for the next two months is GodzillaPin.