A day before leaving to hop on the hour long plane ride to Toulouse, we were watching the news in Paris and learned that the air traffic controllers were on strike causing serious delays and cancellations. Go figure. One thing that I have come to get used to in France is that from time to time certain organizations and groups will go on strike to make their needs and voices heard. When I was living here before, high school started a strike that was eventually joined by university students to protest the changing of the BAC (end of high school test). That strike lasted for FIVE WEEKS, meaning that for FIVE WEEKS I had no classes (and so I went to Italy for a little adventure :D). But this air traffic control problem had the potential to seriously disrupt my travel plans.
But on the evening before my flight, the strike ended and I was able to carry on with my original plan of heading southward to Toulouse! Well, almost. I woke up at 5:30 am to make sure I made it on time to my 8:30am flight and took the airport shuttle from the center of Paris (Charles de Gaulle Etoile- right at the base of the Arc de Triomphe) and took this little video saying hello:
Unfortunately that shuttle took significantly longer than expected, I was held up in security, and after sprinting to my gate I totally missed my flight. I was told by the gate agents that I wouldn’t be able to leave until the next day and for a trip that was only three days, that wouldn’t have given me much time to enjoy Toulouse! So I posted up at the free wifi at McDonalds, wondering if I should cancel the trip all together, until a dear friend of mine (shout out to Rasheed) was chatting with me on Facebook and reminded me that HELLO! I’M IN FRANCE AND I HAVEN’T SEEN MY TOULOUSE FAMILY IN SEVEN YEARS so I bucked up and wound up finding a seat on a later flight.
There was a seven hour delay still and I spent the day drinking rose and watching MadMen in the airport rather than sight seeing, but I was able to make a plane to Toulouse. Upon arrival, I was planning on taking the airport shuttle from the airport to the Centre Ville (downtown) to meet my host brother Damien. I was instead greeted by news of a strike of all the buses in the city! I somehow got a group of people to split the 40Euro taxi to Centre Ville and all was well in the world. I met up with Damien and we proceeded to drink wine, meet friends, enjoy foie gras and catch up on our lives until 4am! It was fantastic to see him. I was 19 and he was 18 when I lived here and so we ended up becoming good friends as a result. A few pictures of us having fun (he’s a big fan of West Coast rap–and yes, it’s well known here in France!)
I’m off for some adventures in La Ville Rose today so stay tuned for more news from Toulouse! Strikes and delays and hassles aside, I’m really happy I made it here totally been worth all the trouble already.
A bientot mes cheres!