quinta-feira, 29 de dezembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 29

Day 29

This day was fragmented so it will be more or less a list of random things I did.
In the early morning I was woken up by the noise the children were doing. Chit-chat, no one was even bothering to whisper or to respect what time it was. They were just laughing and shouting at each other. I tried going back to sleep as soon as all that fuss was over, but I reconsidered and went to the toilet to get ready for my last day in Paris.
No big plans, I had breakfast in the hostel by myself and left. I had a mission, which was to buy all the presents I hadn’t till then.
This would include family and some friends. So I headed to a place where I could find some clothes. As I hadn’t found the game to my mother, I would have to buy her something else. The positive thing was that, as it was the beginning of the year, the stores were on sale everywhere. Everything had to be sold and it was not very difficult to find beautiful and cheaper things. My nephew had asked me to take a ball to him and I went to a sport store and people were very friendly there. The attendant helped me choose the ball and emptied it. As I was leaving one of the stores, the clothes one, the alarms went off. I had been tired of being wrongly mistaken by a shoplifter, and this time was not the jacket. The cashier had been stupid enough to forget one of the security device (and the worst is that I had been paying attention to see she had gone through them).
With almost all presents bought, I headed to the Seine and walked along it. I was thinking about life and soon this nightmarish dream trip would be over. I visited some bridges I had never been to and one called my attention because it was all decorated with locks. I remembered the confusion we had when my friend Louis and I were texting each other and I told him he should have a lock for the locker if the gym and he asked me what a lock was, as I used the word in Portuguese. I answered him in French because I guessed I knew the word: cadeau. However, cadeau in French means present, not lock. He got even more confused and explained me afterwards lock in French was cadenas. I had seen a similar word before, I believe in Portugal Portuguese meaning chains.
Anyway, I sat there and observed people passing by, read some of the inscriptions in the locks and carried on.


My next point of interest was the Champs-Elysées avenue. I didn’t go near the arch again, the avenue was so crowded, I just walked a bit along the avenue, looking for a subway station where I could take the subway. I hadn’t visited the Bastille square this time and I considered doing it, but I saw the time and I was worried I might lose the train. So I headed back to the hostel.

Back to the hostel, I checked out, thanked the people for the nice stay and asked if I could leave my bag there during lunch. I would get it afterward and go to the airport.
I went to the supermarket because I wanted to buy a present to myself. What would I take from Paris? I went to the dairy section and bought seven different types of cheese. It was almost 2 kilos by less then 20 euros. It was quite a present since I do love cheese. I should have taken a picture of the way I put them in a lot of bags and placed them in my suitcase. If the authorities decided to open it to check, I would be in trouble since they have strict laws about carrying food.
So in possession of my dear dear cheeses and all my stuff, it was time to go to the airport. I don’t know how, but I got the wrong ticket, and I had some trouble at the turnstile. I had to go to the machine and buy the correct one. There was a nice lady nearby who helped me then.
Something different happened in the security check in Charles de Gaulle. I had never seen anything like that before, and haven’t ever since: everyone had to take their shoes off before going through the metal detector. No problem then, but they gave people some disposable nonwoven fabric bags the person would put on. It was so weird, but thoughtful of them to do that. In the States, they had everyone taking off the shoes, but, for them, who cares about dirty socks?
So, airports are not the best places to have adventures. Normally, it is more like running to arrive at the gate or something like that. Well, I have a friend who met a guy in one airport once and... never mind. Anyway, I was there, sitting and waiting before boarding and there was a guy who came and sat near me. I normally try to sit next to people who I would feel some sort of connection, but in this case, he was the one who sat near me. I was reading and kept reading, looking up from time to time. He then asked me the time. His accent was perfect, his English was very good. It turned out that he was a Turkish guy going back home. His name was Omer. His English was so nice because he was living in the States, studying. We talked about our lives and he told me he had learned English because he fell in love with a Russian girl who had visited his village when he was 15. So romantic. 

We boarded the plane and kept talking. He was such a nice guy. I changed seats to sit near him. On the seats just in front of ours was a family, they were Asian but I cold not make out where exactly they were from. Omer was tired and ended up falling asleep but before he had done so, there was a girl, about 2 or 3 years old and she was standing on the seat and Omer played with her. I have to admit I don’t have the knack of dealing with kids. I never know what to do. After he had started sleeping, she still wanted to play, but I started asking her to be quiet and I played with her.
The funny thing happened because she liked playing with me, and I tried to establish some communication. I tried Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. To all those languages she would respond with a face like I don’t understand you. So I started trying to imitate the sounds she was producing, and started inventing some other sounds. It was a completely made up and meaningless language I was using, but to my amazement, she started responding and for about 10 minutes, we talked in a completely meaningless language. She was cute and I tried taking pictures and she even posed for me. It was such a cute experience. I even considered being a father, but that went quick.


As we arrived in Istambul, Omer waited for me to go through Immigration and said he would not stay there but would go straight to his village. Anyway, he gave me a friend’s cellphone number and asked me to call him in case I was in trouble. I felt a bit afraid because I would have to spend the night at the airport. It started funny when a blond guy, without any uniform showed me his police badge and asked me to put my bags through an X-ray machine in the middle of the terminal. He found nothing and told me I could go. I really thought it was a scam to deceive inattentive tourists. I went upstairs and found a place where some people were reading newspapers, some were even already asleep. There were some families too. I felt no one would come near and say that part of the airport was closing. I lay down and tried to get some sleep, not even trying to read to relax before

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