The Paris Diaries, Chapter 3: Arrival

The flight. Nothing spectacular happens above ground except rising above the smog, seeing the sunshine, and having that incredible moment of clarity knowing that you’re on you way. Let’s not dwell too much at this point on the extortionate prices on board – £3.50 for a cuppa soup? £3 for a bottle of Evian? Anything from the trolley? No, thank you. I’ll dehydrate and starve.

You step off the plane to your new home for the next 7 days. A Holiday. This is what you needed and what you coveted for so long. You are here and, as if to remind you that this is your reality now, the heat unapologetically slaps you in the face. The English is limited and, with that, you feel a sweet relief at being entirely ignorant of any language and living off the bare essentials of your suitcase for the next seven days…

Speaking of suitcase…You make your way to the luggage collection which remains the final test before you can truly relax. You see, we have all heard horror stories about people not receiving their luggage. Tales of when the suitcases rebelled, having absconded and taken a detour to Dubai whilst you’re on French soil patiently waiting like a forlorn lover. As the belt jerks to life you begin a silent prayer to the Travel Gods “let my fucking suitcase be here let my fucking suitcase be here let my fucking suitcase be here…”

Then…you see it. The incomparable relief of seeing your suitcase come around the carousel like a Queen heralding a new future. “Yes!” it silently announces. “I have arrived and with me comes a promise that life will be better from this moment.” All thoughts of going commando evaporate and you feel like laughing with glee – except you’re British and that poker face isn’t going anywhere. You catch your suitcase; another victory you’ve notched up in the last five hours to add to your magnificent list of achievements which boasts finding the check-in desk, not giving eyeball daggers to the screaming child behind you in the queue at Starbucks, getting through passport control, hydrating yourself before the flight and remembering to packing your underpants.

Yes, my friend, you’ve made it. Everything from here will be just fucking dandy…

What’s that? Of course you can get horrendously drunk when you get to the hotel. You are on A Holiday.

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