Categories
Humour Incidents

Yo Partner!

‘And they lived happily ever after…’ – I’ve spent many a summer afternoon buried in fairy tales and adventures woven in a red-coloured hardbound, rather worn-out copy of Grimms. Three decades later, I had the privilege of visiting Disneyland Paris. Who said Disneyland was for kids?? I loved every bit of it, especially the parades where Princess Jasmine, Snow White, Cinderella and the likes were dressed in all their finery. With a deluge of thrilling rides (rain too!), good food, shows and parades, the trip was a dream come true.

However whenever I think of my trip to Disneyland Paris, one particular incident, a person actually, stands out in my mind. We had exhausted two days at the Disney resort, and were at the Marne-la Vallee-Chessy station, waiting for our train to arrive, so we could make our way back to London. The savvy travellers that we were, we decided to reach early (though the station was hardly a few minutes away from the resort!) and waited. And waited. And waited some more! But our train was nowhere in sight! In the meanwhile my little son, all of 4 years, managed to trip, fall flat on his face, and cut his lips! Murphy was right, you know? We needed the first-aid kit, and guess where it was? Right at the bottom of our bags! So, while we haphazardly unpacked, dug into and re-packed bags that overflowed unimpressively with  dirty linen, we heard an announcement that the train had arrived at the platform. There began our race!

We gathered everything we could find and stuffed it back into the boxes, grabbed the wailing child and ran like hell all the way to the platform, that was (in)conveniently a long flight of stairs down! However, the gates were closed! Panicking, we looked around and found another gate at the opposite end of the crowded station. Five minutes to departure. An entire length of station to cross! So, for the second time, we ran. Ran. And ran. Voila! The second gate was closed too!

Now with less than a minute to go for the train could depart, realisation dawned upon us! We were supposed to have checked-in through the security gates way before, when the announcements were being made cleverly in French. All we knew of French was the ‘kiss’ and that a guy called Sarkozy had a really hot wife! Just kidding!! We did not know ‘any’ French (well, we knew about Sarkozy.. bah!)! By then it was too late. We watched helplessly, as the picture-perfect train chuffed out of the picture-perfect station.

Our marathon wasn’t over though. We ran back all the way to the customer service desk. Imagine, to our surprise, a Mexican guy, aged about 30, was also carrying a bag and hurrying towards to desk. He too, had missed the train, exactly like us. Yo Partner! We sighed and cribbed in unison! Then we jointly explained the situation to the customer service officer. We had missed the last train to London. We had no place to go, no other trains to catch that day! Luckily, the Mexican spoke French, and kept gesturing to our poor baby with the bleeding lip, and garnered sympathy from the officer. He was relentless, sincere and so genuine!

We were so touched by his evident concern. Here we were, fellow passengers in the face of adversity, connected simply, by an invisible thread of humanity! This is exactly where life teaches us valuable lessons. In faith, in partnership, etc. Truly, humanity knows no boundaries. Colour/race/country…nothing matters as much as brotherly concern for another person in trouble!

Pic courtesy huddle dot com

The officer was a really kind gentleman. He offered a solution! Catch the local train (that was leaving in 10 minutes from the local station that was at the other end of this international station) to Paris Nord station, and catch the last Eurostar train from there to London! Yippee!!! We all but clapped with glee!

But wait! He added something in fluent, rapid French. The Mexican listened carefully. By that time, he had stopped gesturing to the bleeding lips. He stared at the officer. And back at us. Then, back at him. He wasn’t even attempting to beg for help any more!

And without a word, he made a rapid dash towards the exit that led to the local train station!!!

Perplexed, we waited for the officer to explain. He said, slowly and clearly, ‘There are only two seats left on the last train from Paris’. And there were 3 of us adults, and one bleeding child. So THAT was why our Mexican Partner ran for his life!!!

Anyway, with no hard feelings, we dashed too. Racing pulse, swollen lips.. we were quite a sight by the time we boarded the local and reached Paris Nord station. The check-in queue was winding all the way down from the first floor! We were quite sure that by then, the kind Mexican had hitched a ride to the station and was comfortably grabbed one of the two remaining seats on the train to London! Like I said, no hard feelings! We managed to reach the staff in-charge, who were incredibly kind, and who also checked us onto the train.

In true Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge style, we RAN towards the train, tugging child and luggage, and boarded it just a second before the doors shut!!

To our utter surprise, guess who jumped in just after us? Our Mexican friend!!!!

Huffing and puffing, we made our way through the aisles, and found our seats, co-incidentally next to each other. We sank into our seats, heaving a huge sigh of relief.

Then, our friend turned towards us, flashed a huge toothy grin 🙂 and gallantly did a High-Five. ‘We did it!’, he added.

Yo Partner!! Ofcourse ‘we’ did! So much for teamwork. Remember those life-lessons I told you about.. the ones on faith, partnership..yada yada.. er, let’s just say, they were lessons best unlearnt!!

But hey, it made one hell of an interesting tale for the Indiblogger Expedia contest, didn’t it?

Categories
Incidents

DDLJ Live!!

Picture this awesome scene from the movie DDLJ – SRK and Kajol are running to catch the train, he hops aboard first, then heroically lends her a hand and she manages to get in too! 

This is pretty much what happened on our recent trip to Disneyland Paris!! 

Well not exactly, but something similar… 

On a sudden whim, we decided on Thursday, to make a quick trip to Disneyland Paris 🙂 

 

Our onward trip was rather uneventful, except for the fact that I (un)wisely decided to take only my old dabba (not so good) camera and leave behind hubby’s new one!! 

Once we boarded the train, the tummy let out a rumble, so we opened out the aloo parathas that were meant for dinner (!!) and gobbled them up, quite oblivious to the glares from fellow-passengers 😉 In fact, I wanted to open even the Achaar and Yogurt (but I wasn’t carrying any of the former, and the latter was a HUGE tub, and even I felt embarassed to dip the paratha into it ;-)) 

As we reached, the weather Gods decided to make our trip rather memorable. We looked out of the train, to find, that everything to our left was Bright and Sunny and absolutely beautiful 🙂 ! While, everything to our right was CLoudy, Dark and morose 😦 🙄 Then, a light drizzle, followed by slightly heavy rain, and in a few minutes, LIGHTNING!! Luckily, the sky cleared up just before we reached our destination – Marne-la-Vallée. 

We had read mixed reviews of our hotel on the internet. So our expectations were not that high! Thankfully!! The room was clean, no doubts, but it was Teeeeeeeeeeeeny Tiiiiiiiny!! There was one little sofa-bed which, once pulled out, left no space to even walk around the room! The bathroom was huge, which was really nice. There was also a tiny kitchenette, which pretty as it sounds, was also rather useful. Typical South Indian that I am, I actually carried a little rice cooker, paruppu-podi (and yogurt ofcourse, which is my staple diet :razz:) 

Saturday morning was rather strange. As we ate our minimal breakfast (yummy croissants with jam) – and I say ‘minimal’ because the hotel didn’t provide fruits or cheese! – a thunder storm had broken out!! It was pouring…and we weren’t quite equipped for it!! All we had was one umbrella between the three of us (but the smart Mommy that I am, I had packed a raincoat for the Brat). 

Anyway, we brave soldiers marched onwards to the mini shuttle that took us to the Disney Park. The local store made some massive business that day via Raincoat sales!!! So we donned our disposable raincoats and went all around the Park. We took a ride in the little train. The MAP looked rather daunting! What with all those mountains, forests, little rivulets and all. But soon, we realised the actual Disney Park wasn’t all that difficult to manouvre around. 

It was amazing, how clean the park remained even with all the rains. There was no litter, no dirt… it was actually magical 😉 

In a couple of hours, the rains stopped, and then we had a ball!! 

We went on several rides. There was one Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, that spun us round and round. Then, there was this other Merry Go Round. Remember the ones we find on beaches in India? Same thing. Just a little more colourful and cleaner. For a change, instead of hubby and me taking turns, all three of us went on the ride together!! The brat sat on the horse in the middle, while we were on either side. I loved this part!! And to my luck, obviously, when the ride stopped, my horse was high up in the air, and I struggled to get off it!! I am so glad I didn’t fall and make a fool of myself, which I am normally bound to do!! 

Pic courtesy: Google

 

There was this Big Thunder Mountain Train-ride.. which was a breath-taking experience. The train was super speedy (as my brat calls it) and the carriages threatened to THROW us out horizontally!! The train went through tunnels that were PITCH DARK and steeped really high/low in turns!! We were all screaming our lungs out. At one point, I actually thought one of us would just fall into the ravine beside the little hill!! But this was the most memorable ride of all 🙂 Little R loved it 😉 

There were beautiful parades, of all the cartoon characters… Pooh bear, Piglet, Tigger, Mickey and gang, etc…. Infact, I got pretty emotional when I saw all the fantasy Princesses and their respective Princes. I’ve lived on fairy tales all my life, so to see them in ‘pseudo-reality’ was rather moving 🙂 Call me crazy, if you like, but I did get senti!! 

 

We also went in a Maze with a little castle at the top. From our prior experience, we have no luck with Mazes. At Hampton Court palace, we actually forgot to visit the maze!! At Leeds Castle, we did enter the maze, but 30 minutes down the line, we had just made three trips to the ‘EXIT’ and not reached anywhere near the centre! Now, this Disney Maze, for a change, was really quite easy. We found it in about 20-25 minutes and were rather thrilled as we reached the centre!! 

As we sat to refresh ourselves over coffee, there was this HUGE tea-pot from which a little Rabbit would pop out every few minutes. I put R on it to take a photo. After which, there was this other Indian family, with 3 boys all climbing the tea-pot. One of them was standing at the very tip of the spout and YELLING OUT LOUD to his parents to take a pic before he fell down!! The parents were busy drinking something and chatting away happily 🙂 I’m not sure if they even got a picture of the heroic stunt 😯 

By end of day, we were poooooooped!! We got back to the hotel, to eat our precious ‘curd-rice’ 😉 and crash into the lumpy sofa-bed!! 🙄 

Sunday was Hot Hot Hot. We were also tired from the previous day’s excitement, so we spent the first couple of hours, in the Disney Village (window-shopping) and went on a quick ride on a beautiful Hot Air Balloon. It was stationary though..meaning, it was tied down to the base by a thick rope. Made me wonder.. what if.. the rope snapped and we went far far away… gosh.. it was both scary and fascinating. 

We spent the second half of the day at Disney Studios. This had many shows – animation, live puppet shows, etc. etc. And yes, we had a good time at all these. Especially a Motor Stunts show, which I vehemently opposed, but ended up enjoying thoroughly. 

Yeah, so back to our DDLJ in Real Life scene! 

It was 6 pm, and our train was to leave at 7:34. We decided to be extra cautious, and reached the station by 6:30 itself! And waited. And waited. AND waited. There were no signs, and all the announcements were in French, which neither of us knew!! (The only thing we know now, thanks to R, is ‘Bonjour Come Es Stas’). 

At about 7:15, little R had a bad fall – right on his face – cut his lower lip really badly – and was bleeding and howling with pain and shock!! 

And in all that chaos, at around 7:25, the departure board announced that our train was to depart at platform 3. we were right at the gate. But… the gate was closed!!! 

So we ran – literally ran – with bag, baggage and a screaming child – to the other end of the station – and tried to get through the other gate. And guess what? Even that was closed!! 

Then we asked the Info guy, and he pointed out that we had to ‘check-in’. And as we discussed what we ‘should have ideally done’, we saw our train slowly chugging away!! 

The Helpdesk however, on seeing R’s lip wounds, suggested that we catch the local subway to Paris city, change to another train, and then take the Eurostar back to London. 

We were left with no choice!! We again ran ran ran all the way to the ticket counter, managed to get onto the subway and counted every minute as the train slowly slowly slowly pulled into Paris. 

After a heart-stopping and breath-taking one hour, we finally made it to Gare Du Nord station. And guess what? It was 9:05, and the LAST Train to London was to leave at 9:13!!! And, to top it all, there was a serpentine queue for immigration and security check!! 

I tried to get some sympathy from one of the female staff, thinking she would understand our situation with the missed train, baggage and wounded baby!! She was rather unsympathetic though. 

Then Hubby worked his magic on one of the staff, who finally helped us jump the queue. And by this time, it was already 9:20. We were sure that by the time we completed our check-in process, this train too, would have left!! 

Anyway, we continued to run, run and run. So there was my SRK running in front of me, carrying the brat, who was by now, screaming his life out, in pain, shock and sorrow!!!! And me, running right behind, panting, almost about to throw up (sorry for the graphic description) and carrying a trolley and two backpacks and some other junk that I could have easily just left behind!!! The staff watching on, had a taste of DDLJ 🙂 Just that, instead of a lovely Kajol, all they got was a panting fatso 😉 and screeching baby 😯 !! A couple of the staff actually said ‘Don’t worry, you have time!’ :mrgreen: 

And you know what I realised after this incident – Kajol was carrying an EMPTY suitcase!!!! 🙄 Cheats!! 

Like my friend commented on FB, ‘ordinary people huffing and puffing, with REAL luggage, is not romantic at all’!! 😦 

And just as we jumped into the train, the doors shut……..but YAYYYYYY!!! We actually made it!! We reached home by 12:00 am. Exhausted, but so relieved just to be back!! 🙂 

So there ended our Disneyland adventure 🙂 And guess what? No matter how awesome a holiday is, there is nothing better than Home!! 🙂 

Happy Weekending, folks!