Sunday, June 07, 2009

not your usual travel journal - PART 1

June 4, 2009

This is a travel journal written semi backwards. Blame me for not keeping track of the most important trip of my life so far. I only got this 3-euro Miquelrius notebook yesterday at one of the many El Corte Ingles stores in the chic Serrano area, Madrid. Now I sit in the Van Gogh cafe in Moncloa, recapturing two weeks, nine cities. How do I start? I can't even understand my own handwriting.

May 20, 2009

“Getting There – MLA to BKK to CDG”

11:30 pm

The Bangkok airport is just like Manila's. Security is strict, and the transfer gates are easy to find. In the waiting area, we start to look like “minorities.” Everyone on this flight is white, except for a Thai lady wearing too much makeup. The room is filled with Europeans on their way home and some Australians on a connecting flight to Paris, like us.

Flying economy is no joy ride. I am not getting any sleep. Meanwhile, MSP is sleeping like a dog (he's talented that way). The French man behind me has his light on. He's reading a big book and encircling words with a pencil. The French woman in front wipes her armpit with baby wipes. The Thai airplane smells French. It's going to be a long flight.

May 21, 2009

“We Are in Paris”


The CDG is an old airport. If it were in Manila, it would be called UGLY and SO-THIRD-WORLD, but this is Paris, where everything is “charming.”

Immigration is surprisingly lenient. There are no swine flu checks. We are never asked why our Schengen visas are Spanish.

Language instantly becomes a problem. We don't speak a word of French, and locals (even airport officials) don't speak a word of English. It takes us a while to find the train that links to the city. When we finally board one of the coaches, it becomes apparent why tourists are never made to take this train. It passes by the “real Paris” - those areas they never tell you about in glitzy brochures.

CLICK PICTURE TO ENLARGE - The "real" France, as seen from the train


This train ride should take 40 minutes. We are with locals on their way to work. Some are immigrants reluctantly heading to the grind of the city center. A few of them look at us curiously (what are these Asian tourists doing on this train? Don't they take the tour bus?), but most are apathetic. Today is their everyday; this is our once-in-a-lifetime.

To be continued



Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like how you write it semi-backwards. can't wait to read your other entries. this is my pathetic,third-world way to experience europe. :)

11:22 AM  
Blogger ennui said...

i can't get over la femme francais wiping her armpits with wet ones, and how an entire plane could smell "french".

6:05 PM  
Anonymous acey said...

lol @ the french lady with the wet ones! :D :D :D

7:46 PM  
Blogger mussolini said...

barry> i already told you the "essentials" over the two dinners we've had this week. but i have more. boy, do i have stories :)

ennui> trust me - they can be "overwhelming."

acey> that's not even half of the story :)

10:14 PM  
Blogger The Nomadic Pinoy said...

"The French woman in front wipes her armpit with baby wipes. The Thai airplane smells French" - ha ha, I love how you say it. Despite writing your story from memory, you do have a very detailed one.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


can anyone tell me which is the best counter strike guide ? :)...i found this one :

What do you remember pitilessly it ?

Thanx in advance

Sorry for my bad english :s

11:11 AM  
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