lundi, septembre 01, 2008

Goodbye, Berlin; Hello, Paris

I woke up in Berlin around 10h and started saying goodbye to the city. My plane wasn’t until 20h or so, so I still had time to do something in Berlin or wander around a bit. After taking my time to pack my bags and get a start at blogging the events of the weekend, I finally gave my French buddy a call and we planned to meet at Hermannplatz for lunch.

I took him to my favorite little Vietnamese place near Hermannplatz, called HaMy, on Hasenheide. Over a bowl of noodles, we told each other all about our various adventures that weekend. The last time we had actually seen each other was at Rechenzentrum; after that, he missed me at Berghain, then I was sleeping when he was at Bar25, then he left Bar25 before I got there Sunday afternoon, and then he returned to Bar25 just after I called it a night and headed home.

After lunch, we headed our separate ways and I wandered around my neighborhood a bit before finally heading to the apartment. I gave some thought to buying some souvenirs or items for people in Paris, but my luggage was already likely to overshoot the baggage weight allowance, so I let that drop. I spent maybe a couple of hours doing some more blogging and cleaning up my room, and then I headed out around 16h00 to the airport. This was ridiculously early, I know, but I was going to take the U-Bahn and S-Bahn to Flughafen Schönefeld, which is a 40-minute ride on a good day, when not encumbered by piles of luggage.

Thanks to the cancellation of one of the train lines that day, I had to take a few extra connections and I ended up arriving at the airport around 18h00. As the train pulled into the station, I noticed that the sky had gotten very quickly grey and raindrops were hitting the train’s windows. This gave me a moment of schadenfreude/satisfaction; you see, I had been a bit pissed that, after a whole summer of rain, clouds and cold, the weather in Berlin finally started getting sunny and warm this past weekend. As the drizzle turned into a downpour, I indulged in a sadistic smirk and hauled my luggage to the airport. Thank goodness that the footpath to the airport was mostly covered.

After waiting near the check-in desk for my flight to open (meanwhile eating a really horrible sandwich and drinking a really lovely beer), I finally made my way to the EasyJet check-in and got in line. When it came time for me to check in, I put my first piece of luggage on the scale, ready to pay the 15€ surcharge for the extra baggage. The woman said that I was 8 kg over the limit, and that each kg was a bit more than 10€ in charges. I said, “It’s OK, I have another piece of luggage which is much smaller, so the difference between the two average out to the right allowance.” “No,” she said, “the allowance is 20kg, regardless of how many bags you bring.” This hadn’t been the case when I had flown from Paris to Berlin, but I quickly realized that the woman who had checked me in in Paris must’ve made an exception for me without pointing it out.

Well, I’m moving and moving costs money, and I certainly can’t leave anything behind, so I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m moving, so I’ll just have to pay.” This seemed to elicit some sympathy from the woman at the check-in, and she said, “In total, you’re almost 15kg over the allowance, but I’ll write you a receipt for 10kg and you can just pay that.” Not quite the same deal I got when flying from Paris, but nonetheless she was saving me a good $70 USD, so I thanked her and ran off to the ticket desk to pay the bill.

The flight itself was uneventful if tiring, and we landed in Paris around 20h30. My night wasn’t over quite yet, though. You see, I still haven’t found an apartment, so one of my friends, Mélanie (bless her soul!) agreed to let me crash at her place while she stayed at her boyfriend’s until the end of the week. If I didn’t find a place by then, I would move over to another friend who would take me in for a week, and so on.

But there was a complication. Mélanie had to travel early Tuesday morning for work, so she couldn’t realistically wait until 23h00 or 0h00 at her apartment to let me in, and I wasn’t going to wake her up at her BF’s just to get the keys. So, I called in a favour from Fantômette, who collected the keys from Mélanie during the day today and would wait at home to pass me the keys.

Thus began the relay. I got into a taxi at Orly airport and gave the man directions to Fantômette’s house near Châtelet. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic tonight, so the fare was hopefully going to remain reasonable. I got to Fantô’s house and asked the taxi driver to wait while I collected the keys. After catching up briefly with Fantômette and thanking her profusely for saving my ass (if she hadn’t been able to do this, I would’ve had to stay in a hotel tonight), I ran back to the taxi and off we went to Mélanie’s place near Pont Cardinet in the 17th arrondissement.

After arriving, paying the taxi driver a good 45€, stepping gingerly around the familiar Parisian dog-poop and pulling out my ridiculously heavy luggage, I made my way into the apartment. However, I had mis-remembered which floor was Mélanie’s apartment, so I spent a good five minutes at around midnight, tired and disheveled-looking, scraping away at the lock of some stranger’s apartment with keys that just wouldn’t fit. I’m so glad that nobody woke up and answered the door, because I was just too tired to explain myself at that point.

I eventually figured it out and lugged my stuff up one more floor and successfully got myself in. I was overwhelmed with hunger, having eaten a small sandwich about 6 hours earlier, and so I ended up raiding the fridge and eating two slices of ham and half a jar of pickles. You would’ve thought I was pregnant or something.

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