Chronicle of a stranded traveller: Paris to Rome

waiting in Trocadero
dublin 251
Recently I saw in the news that the Icelandic volcano was spewing and belching smoke again and Dublin airport was closed for a while. The news certainly brought back memories of us stranded in Dublin a forthnight ago. It was not so much of the atmosphere being poluted or something like that. It was the uncertainty that was slowly eating away our spirit.

Anyway, back to our adventurous journey back from Dublin, the 5.25am Eurostar arrived at Paris Nord around 8.00am local time. We had to hire an MPV taxi to take us to Trocadero, the meeting place. Despite being often reminded that French people normally refuse to speak other languages especially english, the taxi driver spoke quite fluent English. He told us that Trocadero is a big area and asked where exactly were we supposed to wait. We told him it was supposed to be a parking area where tour buses normally parked. On the way to Trocadero, the taxi driver showed us where is Champ Elysse’ and we managed to catch a glimpse of the world famous Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately we cannot stop by as our priority was not to sightsee but to catch a bus to Rome and we did not even know where exactly was the rendezvous place. On reaching Trocadero, the taxi driver took us to the Maritime museum and a Theatre. According to him that was the place where normally tour buses would stop. The trouble was, there was nobody there. According to the plan, people from other parts of France would also be there. Another frantic phone call and another round circling the area. Finally the driver got a bit annoyed. He stopped by the museum and quickly unloaded our bags. We had no choice but to wait by the roadside, silently praying that the place was correct. The boss spotted an MPV parked nearby, with two occupants inside. They looked Asian/malaysian. She whispered me to check them out. I knocked on their windscreen and their big grin told me quickly that our prayers were answered. Infact they were also waiting for the coach. Within fifteen minutes more Malaysians started to come and by ten am, around 40 people were already there. The good people from the embassy also came along together with a MAS officer in Paris. They even brought us drinks, kuih and packed nasi lemak for our long journey to Rome. by 10:15, the coach arrived and we loaded our luggage into its belly. The MAS officer had a rather intriguing proposition. Apparently, MAS had scheduled a flight out of Paris that night pending Paris airport being declared open. Those who were willing to take the risk can stay back and the Malaysian embassy is willing to help them to find accommodation while they were waiting. Those who were not willing to take the risk can continue with their 20-hour journey to Rome and the flight from Rome is confirmed. After 10 minutes or so, two families decided to stay back and risk the chance of taking an earlier flight from Paris.

We left Trocadero by 11am inching slowly towards south of France. As soon as we left the Paris viccinity, the journey was smooth as the motorway was really good. As good as our PLUS highway. After four hours we made our first of the five toilet stops.

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