Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Our recent trip to Paris (in Sept) was definitely full of surprises. But then I guess after spending almost 2 years in Riyadh, anything might seem like a surprise.
For starters, we were very ‘pleased’ with the cold weather that first greeted us at the Frankfurt airport and then at the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. Then as soon as we got on the train to get out the airport, we were ‘greeted’ by a smooching couple on the train. No matter what they say, witnessing a couple kissing in public is definitely different from watching actors and actresses in movies or documentaries ;) For the 1st 5 seconds I couldn’t stop but stare. Shucks! How uncivilised I must have looked ;) But honestly it wasn’t the smooching that caught my attention, but the disgusting graffiti-filled neighbourhoods in North of Paris that we saw as soon the train started. Surprisingly the 1st train out of the airport was stinky, and had Parisian youth dressed like hooligans prowling for their next prey. Both me and my husband tightly held onto one another in the fear of being mobbed.
What truly left me speechless and dumbfounded was that as we continued to emerge from the North wing of Paris, after several miles, the scene had completely reversed. The towns started looking like more of what we see in the movies, with beautiful landscapes, people looking more civilised and decent-looking, neighbourhoods that were filled with nice townhouses and buildings etc. The stark contrast hit me real hard when we got to our stop at the Arc De Triomphe on Champs-Élysées. What a 180 degree difference! In short, one can say the ride from the airport gives a visitor a real insight into the major social class difference that exists in Paris. Simply unimaginable! But like they say nothing is perfect...well neither was Paris!
Stay tuned for Part II.