Brown paper notebook
In 2003 I went back to Australia. Like in 1998, before leaving, I crafted a brown-paper and cardboard notebook, to take notes about the trip. Here they are.
We left Rennes on a misty morning.
1 - Flying
March 22, 2003
We wait for the plane in the Charles de Gaulle airport, the concrete of the roof is all velvety. The sky is very blue. The passengers will certainly be selected by making them walk in sinuous glass corridors. We’ll see if the albinos with red eyes and a long mustache get to be first…
We get seats in the “hump” of the 747. A Japanese dinner, then it’s night, alternating between sleeping, dozing and watching movies. Above Finland, a lit city like a shining spider web, seen in the video screens fitted in the seats. Later, I sense a slight commotion, and see a steward and a passenger glimpsing out of the plane. Something wrong? No, just the faint trace of northern lights.
In Paris, we had asked what we could do during the 12 hours transit, and had been told that Tokyo was too far away and there was nothing to do. Thanks to the good advice of the stewardess, we decide to go for a big adventure: we get out of the Tokyo-Narita airport, we ask how to get to the Narita temple. The stewardess had told us “taxi”, the tourism office of the airport says “train + walk”. So we must:
- Find the only Visa-compatible ATM in the airport (well hidden, behind a staircase, while Visa and Mastercard adverts are everywhere in the airport)
- Understand how it works
- Find the station
- Guess how to buy a train ticket (thanks to the Japanese lady who explained us how, there are dozens of buttons, each one marked with a price, you just have to discover how much you have to pay and press the corresponding button)
- Find which train we have to board. On the same platform, two different types of trains (two different companies) depart in both directions! After lots of questions and a cold sweat, we took the right one… (the control gates are well designed: their default position is opened, and they only close if you don’t have a ticket)
- Find the street leading to the temple from the station. In fact, as soon as you feel like you are in the mont Saint-Michel, you are on the right track.