Ever wonder what it's like to be more less trapped in a foreign city that doesn't recognize what you're saying?? Well, brace yourself.
Knowing that we had to be at Beauvais Airport, which is 60 kms outside of Paris, to fly back to Glasgow, we woke up at the break of day (or a few hours before that), skipped out on breakfast to get to the pick-up point on time. We arrived at the same location that we were dropped off at a few days prior but at this early hour there was no bus charter to be found. Hmm, curiously anxious and feeling more lost than normal, we circled the entire building area and got multiple sets of directions pointing us to where we were waiting, give or take a couple hundred metres. We started to worry about the serious lack of real signage and not many people knowing a thing about what we're after. Now all seasoned travelers will tell you that sometimes you simply have to keep the faith - in your own abilities (in understanding instructions, navigating through language pitfalls), your gut instincts (who to trust and when or when not to believe) and in your fellow humans to follow through on providing reliable and dependable services... So much for THAT theory and the prayers we sent up to the Gods of Smooth Travel to make it true. The damn shuttle simply never showed up!!
While waiting almost an hour and a half in the winter chill for some sign of life, we managed to commiserate with a straggler in a situation like ours. Jean-Marques was looking to catch the same plane to Galsgow and was expecting the same bus shuttle. He inadvertently helped us feel better about our position by being strangely relaxed about his own. We could only laugh as he introduced himself and almost immediately went off in search of a bank machine. What was he thinking?!? Did he expect the bus driver to give him a loan? And how could he just drop his stuff in front of complete strangers and wander off? Were we supposed to take his luggage on board if our ride suddenly appeared? The absolutely bizarre situation notched up even further when 2 more backapccker types, traveling from Italy assumingly, showed up over an hour late for the same bus, and planned to catch the same plane as us! If Ninna and I thought we had erred this fine morning in Paris, these guys made us look like scheduling geniuses! We took great solace in the fact that we were nowhere near as disorganized as the others that we were in the company of.
Regardless, here we have the five morons representing different parts of the world with only 45 minutes left to make an hour long bus ride. We relied heavily on Jean-Marques' flawless French to negotiate a taxi that could not only take 5 passengers and their luggage, but also get us to Beauvais in record time. Needless to say, we were now freezing to our bones, worrying about our flight, wondering whether we would still make it mathematically, hoping that it wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg each, and not contemplating what would happen if we didn't. Oh, and did we mention not having a meal yet?
To cut the excrutiating story short, our driver was brilliant. This station wagon housed all of our bags and bodies and ate up the road. And to think that he had never been out to Beauvais before then! Thanks to Jean-Marques' navigation and our extremely positive thoughts, we scraped into the airport and made it to the check"in desk (I had to jump from the moving car) with zero minutes to spare. The lady at the desk was literally shouting "go now!", pointing us to Customs clearance. We were very fortunate because the would-be passenger in front of us was holding up the plane because the staff refused to let her board with oversized luggage. Because of her, our driver, Jean-Marques' assistance and pure luck, we made it - we be going home!!
(Once we land...well, that's another story that I'll have to let the two bags on the carousel tell.)