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Post details: Bused Around

Bused Around

Common wisdom has it that airports are built to showcase air traffic. But even common wisdom gets addled at times. For a proof, call your travel agent and arrange for a flight through the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, serving the needs of Paris, its many suburbs and the Labor Union of French Busdrivers. Yep, that's right, within the limits of this lofty futuristic structure pilots play the second fiddle to the magnificent men behind the big steering wheels.

Here is a short play by play of your typical transfer at Paris: you land, you step out onto the tarmac and you board a bus for an enjoyable ride whose main purpose is to awe you with Louis XVI style rotating beacons and wind cones. After a healthy dose of concrete sightseeing and at least one round of unnecessary backtracking caused by the utter lack of the left turn opportunities, you get disgorged at your arrival terminal. If you have good decryption skills, you can look up your departure terminal and start plodding through a maze of passageways whose entertainment value is second only to playing advanced Sudoku. Finally, you descend to a basement, not unlike the one you came from, and join a livid crowd of nervous looking passengers, who are tapping their feet in assorted dance rhythms of the world and look about as comfortable as a bunch of helium balloons at a cactus auction. Unfazed, you board a bus again and are on your way around the terminal building. During the loopy ride you get to revisit some familiar landmarks and you may or may not pass by the gate where the bus to your plane is already boarding passengers with less strained itineraries. After arriving at the connecting terminal, you step through a metal detector looking contraption, which scans your brain for any signs of Anti-Bus propaganda, and then assume your place in the line for your final bus ride, the one which you saw boarding 25 minutes ago. You board the bus and see yet another batch of people arriving at the terminal from even later flights. If you get lucky, your bus will wait for them - with you in it, squeezed between two gentlemen from the Farthest East imaginable.

I am not sure who devised this grandiose, if slightly twisted, apotheosis of bus traffic. My guess would be that the airport blueprint was conceived by a Platoon of Dancing Dervishes after an all drinks paid night in La Guinguette Pirate. But if you get high from riding buses, Paris Airport should definitely be featured prominently on your list of fixes.

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