Jacky and I are having a family vacation around Europe with Jacky’s parents, his sister Mona and her boyfriend Franky. Our flight journey starts from 17th January from our beloved hometown, Solo. From Solo we fly to Jakarta to Singapore then to Paris. The whole flight combined takes about 15 hours. During our flight to Paris, we start to actually feel the jet lag sensation where we already have a 8 hour night sleep but the “night” is actually still long.
We reach Paris CDG airport at around 6.30 in the morning and we go to immigration and take our baggages. From there, we need to find the place to collect our rental portable wifi that we already booked from days before via online. The portable wifi is called MyWebSpot and it is located in Terminal 2 CDG at a baggage concierge and shop, right across Sheraton hotel. Mind you that this place is just a collection point so there is no MyWebSpot staff around. We rent the portable wifi for 12 days for EUR128 which does not have quota limit and can be shared to up to 6 devices.
We turn it on and wait for it to get the signal for internet but it keeps saying no service. It can only connect for like 1 second at a time then it disconnect immediately. We are trying to get Uber using that internet connection, but to no avail. Giving up, we use the airport wifi to get us an Uber driver and wait at Terminal 2D door 6 (this is the place where Uber drivers usually pick up/drop off).
The route from the airport to our AirBnB is quite far, GoogleMaps says it’s around 42 minutes but it takes us about more than 1 hour to finally reach the place. The trip costs EUR80 by Uber Van. It’s our first time on our holiday to be really smacked by the winter breeze and we are all shivering. Frozen that we are, we are waiting for the apartment gate door to open because it needs a security code that our host fails to mention. We try so many things and are desperate because we still don’t have internet connection from our portable wifi.
After what it feels like 3 hours in the cold, somehow the gate door opens by itself and we all rush in just to find out that there is another door with a security code waiting for us. I try calling the listed apartment numbers on the wall and one of them actually picks up. However, she seems to not understand what I am saying where I ask her about Paul (the host in AirBnB). Jacky and Franky decides to go out and try to find some local sim card or a wifi hotspot so we can have internet access to contact our host.
While they are gone, I am still trying hard to figure out our non-working portable wifi. I try looking into every setting menu available and see if there’s something unusual. After some time, I try changing one of the network profile into another selection. And it works! This victory is gained with the cost of my fingers all hurting because of the cold. So I text Jacky and ask him to come back because I already get the internet working. While waiting, there’s some guy just casually walking into the building after inputting the security code. Of course we follow him inside where we can rest in warmth.
Jacky comes back and we immediately search for Paul’s contact number only to find out that his number is an Israeli number. We track back again Jacky’s AirBnB conversation with him and find that he gives us 2 numbers to an “agent”. So we call them but no one answers. We feel so anxious and kinda desperate, also because Jacky’s parents keep talking about how come we let things like this happen, how come there is no one to cater to us and how we should have been more cautious about this kind of things. Like we don’t feel bad enough, because this is the first time we encounter host not showing up and we have used AirBnB numerous times without any problem at all.
While keep tracking back Jacky’s messages, I find one new email from Paul with a signature from different person, Mathilde something. There is a phone number at the bottom and call it right away, using Jacky’s Skype credit. She picks up the phone and we tell her our name and that we are already in the building but we don’t know which room number we are assigned in. She tells me that someone is actually at the airport waiting to pick us up. Even more confused than ever, I tell her that we have never been offered an airport pickup and we don’t even give any information about our arrival airport and time. We only tell Paul that we will be arriving at the apartment at around 7 or 8 in the morning.
So there has been a miscommunication. I don’t care about the supposed airport pickup and ask her to just come here and let us know which room we’re supposed to be staying at. She says that she will be here in about 30 minutes and so we wait. Luckily we have brought some snacks from home in one of our baggages.
She finally comes and tells us that we’re in room number 7. Regarding the mix up information, it turns out that Paul is the owner of the place and he is using an agent to take care of his property and his hosting business. This agent shows us around the apartment and give us her phone number. We finally get everything settled, take a shower and get ready to have our first tour of the city.
Number one destination is of course the Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre). I have always liked Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings since I was small and I have imagined seeing Monalisa painting with my own eyes. We get to Louvre by Uber which costs EUR25 and we are dropped in front of the entrance pyramid where it’s freezing cold but we want to take pictures first while it’s still bright outside.
Once inside, we get the tickets for EUR90 for 6 person (EUR15 each) and head straight to the wing that has Monalisa in it. It’s still quite a walk before we get to see the famous painting. So many other beautiful paintings and sculptures inside but unfortunately the caption of the artworks are only available in French so I can’t learn much.
Monalisa painting is so much more smaller than what I thought it would be. With so many people crowding over her, it’s so hard to take a good picture with her. Jacky and I succeed to take a quick selfie with the painting before we get out of the crowd and be able to breathe again. After Monalisa, the parents and the sister are already bored and they want to go outside to take pictures so we set a place for a meet up later on at 6pm while Jacky and I continue our own museum tour.
I have to admit I am disappointed because there is no English caption, how I wish that I could be able to learn some more art while looking at the real paintings here. I know all of these artworks are available on the internet too but it’s just not the same when you’re facing the real masterpiece in front of you. When the time’s up, I go to the gift shop and get myself a fridge magnet with a piece of Monalisa painting on it and a book of Louvre’s 300 masterpieces.
We are hungry now and we head to the restaurant that Jacky already searched for from Tripadvisor. It’s supposed to have great steaks as the father wishes to have steak for tonight. Got into Uber car, we sleep on the way there and when we reach the restaurant, it’s surprising to find that the restaurant is open but there is no other guests than us. Apparently the restaurant is not open for another 30 minutes and the staff tells us that all the tables are booked except 2 tall and small tables by the window.
Because the mother is super hungry already, we cannot wait any longer so we give up on that restaurant and walk around to find others. We set our choice to a restaurant on the corner named Le Blanc Cassis. Only after we are inside that we realize that this place doesn’t offer much food choices, they do have a whole range of drinks though.
All the menu is in French too so I have to Google some of it to understand the meaning of the food. Our choices go to a fish and chips, a mix platter of cheese and a mix platter of ham. The sister wants cheesecake too and we also order 3 orange juices and water.
This is my first time eating cheese and ham for dinner meal and it feels weird. It’s not that the cheese and ham is not good, it’s just that they don’t get the stomach full the way normal meal does. But Jacky and I don’t complain, it’s interesting, even, to try this something new.
Because we have been awake since the “dawn” of today (since we were on the plane), we feel like we are very much past our bedtime now. We all fall asleep on our Uber drive way home and the driver has to wake us up even after the car has stopped. We laugh it off and go back to our room to prepare ourselves for a good night rest.