paris is and is not what one expects.
the drive from the airport was entirely expected, in that the taxi that I was in had, by my count, a minimum of six near misses with other taxis and the various other small cars.
one expects airports and indeed, the surrounding areas to be industrial looking, but what I wasn’t expecting was architecture reminiscent of eastern europe, compete with brutalist loading docks and associated areas. Paris, or the nominal outskirts between CDG and La Defense, is an odd mix of familiar (I’m almost positive that I saw a big box store of some kind) and the unfamiliar (nearly indescribable multi-level street shops, replete with graffiti and an old man staring at what appeared to be perfume ads plastered in the window of a pharmacy). gas stations are markedly odd as well; they strongly remind me of eastern-seaboard rest stops more than anything.
As for la Defense itself, our hyper-modern business district looks like it was built in the 1970s (it was) by the same people responsible for the various commercial buildings that Godzilla knocked down in his various films (it wasn’t – or so I think).
At the moment I am waiting out a somewhat frazzled and undoubtedly grumpy hotel clerk who lectured me regarding actual check-in times. While I understand the reasoning, one would think that, with corporate bookings, the poor bastard getting off the plane doesn’t have control of said plane or when said plane arrives, and furthermore just wants to pass out in a bed that’s available after the nine-and-a-half hour lorazepam-dulled flight.
A case could be made that I should be out exploring, but with the lack of sleep, residual ativan, lack of food beyond two pieces of toast, two plain bagels and a bottle of sprite, and complete unfamiliarity with the locale, there is a non-zero probability involving me hopping on a plane back to Houston and calling this entire thing off.
but hey, i’m here. i’m sure that counts for something