Travel to France included a 7 hour overnight flight to Paris. Though it was only 12:30 am my local time in St. Louis, MO, I arrived in Paris, France at 7:30 am. The sun was bright and it was warm outside – quite unlike the temperature on the 777 plane jet. I departed the plan and followed the lines of people to the international exit – Customs. I was mightily surprised that the flight attendants hadn’t passed out slips of declaration papers which I had experienced in my other international travels (to Canada, Guyana, and Brazil). I kept waiting for the papers and nothing ever happened. I showed my passport to the friendly EU Customs guard and passed without a single inquiry of why I was visiting Europe – for business or holiday, where I was staying, and who did I know.
I next caught the train – the TGV or the European Super Train. First, I had to figure out how to convert my electronic ticket to a real ticket to use on the train. I stood in one wrong line after next and eventually found the correct one – the longest, slowest one. I got my tickets, then I exchanged my money. (I should have traded money in the States, either with my bank or the currency exchanges in the Airport. I gave the European Currency exchangers $120 US dollars and she gave me 65.38 Euros. What?!! Glad I packed half a dozen granola bars and cheese crackers because I ain’t buying anything! Not even food.)
The correct train car
I had to transfer trains in Le Mans, France…The Pontiac car is named after this town. I walked outside briefly and snapped some shorts of the quaint European town, including its local Metro train.
By this time I was only working approximately 6 hrs of sleep in the last 24 hours and I was dog tired and confused. When I checked into the dorm room, they couldn’t find me because they were expecting me the following day. This time change just got the better of me. But after a little nap and a badly needed shower, I went to the opening ceremony to get my registration packet and enjoyed some light French cuisine, which included…stinky cheese.