I left Lisbon on my way to Southern India via Paris, where I was supposed to meet the group I would be travelling with on the 10th. Because I had bought my ticket to Paris well in advance, still unaware of the time of the outgoing flight to Kochi (via Mumbai) I ended up spending a rather desired evening at CDG Comfort Hotel. I had unfortunately caught a cold two days before and didn't seem to get rid of a strong cough. Despite not having any fever I was nevertheless feeling feverish.
I met Annick (once her husband Claude had a course in the morning through to the early afternoon) at Chatelêt-les-Halles FNAC by mid morning. We had befriended one another a year earlier during a circuit through Armenia and have developed that friendship since then. Annick and I wandered around the area for a while but because it was freezing cold we ended up getting "refuge" in a rather cosy restaurant around the corner from the Forum, where we had a very delicious menu meal Annick kindly invited me for.
I had to be back at Roissy airport by four, so as to collect the luggage I had left at the "Baggages du monde" and meet the representative of the agency I had booked the circuit with, so we would soon part vowing to meet again some time. I feel we'll be friends for ever and might eventually try to do some circuit together again in the future. I must confess I was impressed and particularly proud to see her wearing (for the second time) a piece of handicraft I had sent her over Christmas, which because of being made of onion peeling (traditionally hand-made in the Azores) is very fragile.
(Photos kindly sent to me over the New Year by Annick and Claude where Annick can be seen wearing the same piece of handicraft).
I soon realised there would be eight people travelling with me and though I managed to identify a couple whose baggages were tagged with " Capitales Tours" it wouldn't be later that we would be able to further identify the other members of the group (to be precise upon our arrival at Kochi airport, the final destination before the official beginning of the circuit).