Travel Note

1st September 2012

My weekend in France began with a reminder of just how unpleasant Charles de Gaulle Airport can be. It took thirty minutes to clear passport control, primarily because there was only one staff member on duty who had decided to spend thirty seconds on every passport. When I got to the front of the line, he glared at me, then ordered me gruffly to take my headphones out of my ears. Having complied, he looked back at my passport, then handed it back to me without a further word. Bienvenue en France!

The next trick was to find car rental pick-up, which I knew to be at a different terminal to the one I'd landed at. The shuttle train across the airport dropped me in the right general area, but a sign to the rental car desks was nowhere to be found. Eventually I gave up and walked across the short term car park, where my pre-booked vehicle should have been waiting. Unfortunately, Avis hadn't done the paperwork, so I ended up waiting another twenty minutes for that to be sorted.

I'd been anticipating a ninety minute drive to my overnight hotel in Chartres, but heavy traffic meant that the ETA began to slip even before I'd made it to the Paris Peripherique. I was in pretty bad form when I suddenly noticed the lights of a high-speed rotating arm that could only be a Booster-style fairground ride. Pulling off the road at the next exit, I found a parking space and went to investigate.

 

Fete a Neu-Neu

1st September 2012

It turned out that I'd found the Fete a Neu-Neu, one of several fairs that takes place in Paris each year and one that I'd attended intentionally some eight years earlier. While I'd already ridden La Pomme (Pouget Groupe), it was a delight to discover Taxi Driver (#1801), a themed Galaxi-style coaster operating with no restraints whatsoever. The quality of the track work was surprisingly good, and I rode twice, allowing me to fully savour the experience of an unexpected bonus credit.

Taxi Driver