Friday, February 27, 2009

Paris : Day 2 : 16 Oct 2008

It was raining on our second day in Paris. Our plans for the day were to visit Notre Dame, Centre of Pompidou, Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. We had to wait before venturing because our jacket was not water-proof, and the umbrella was already cacat. We stayed long for breakfast, and met a Canadian girl whose parents are working in KL. It was rather rare to find someone knowing and having been to Malaysia.

Going to Notre Dame, we had to change metro twice. From LR metro, we changed at Bastille for line 1 (yellow) to Chatelet. Then, switched to line 4 (magenta) to Cite. All these only cost E1.14 per pax. We don't have such seamless convenience in KL. Notre Dame and Cite metro station are located on an island along Seine river. The Seine is almost twice the width of Sungai Kelang, but much cleaner.

We had trouble finding this place initially because there was no road sign to show the direction. We found that it was only 10 minutes journey from the station once we got the orientation correct. Map reading skill is very important because you have to align what you see on the map with the way you took after the exiting metro station.

We found Notre Dame to be very good looking and different. The front facade comes with 2 towers. Going in was free, but it was only a one directional 10 minutes tour. Going up its tower cost E7.50 but we didn't choose this option because the height was not enough for a good bird view of Paris city. We were keeping the cash to go up Arc de Triomphe and Tour Eiffel. One thing that we missed; the "0 Kilometre mark" outside Notre Dame. Didn't realize it existed until 2 months back. Claimed to be the marking point for distance of places from Paris.

We went to Bertillon, one of the recommended ice-cream place after that. It was located near a bridge, and a scoop cost E3. Few shops away on the same road, it only cost E2.50, and it was the same shop. Disappointed....

Next stop was Centre of Pompidou. Walking there took 30 minutes, but could be faster if not for the drizzle and cold weather (~13 deg C). It is a cultural centre, so we ended up going in to have a look. But getting in was as strict as getting through the immigration. The main highlight of this building is the outer side, both front and back. You will not find anything like this, anywhere.

> Pompidou, rear side

> Pompidou, front side

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Suck Chair

Just a short post on the morning traffic jam. Starting the journey from Puchong, it needed around 1 hr to make the 20km journey to PJ. During jam-free times, it takes only 20 minutes. Like someone described it, it is really stressful driving each morning along the "Lambat Dan Perlahan" (LDP) highway. It is really not funny to be stucked on a tolled road.

Hence, I wrote an email to the Star, hoping that it will appear either on page N44 or N45.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Paris: Day 1: 15 Oct 2008

Back to sharing my travel story in Paris, my first Europe destination on this trip. Travel date: 15-19 October 2009.

The first place we headed to was Musee Du Louvre. Since it was a Wednesday, we had the cost advantage by entering the museum after 6pm. Ticket was Euro 6, and we had only 3.5 hours since the closing time is 9.30pm. Going from Palais Royal Musee Du Louvre metro station (yellow line 1), you will end up on the entrance level of the museum which is one level underground. There is an inverted pyramid at this level, while the glass pyramid is located at the ground level.

Frankly, you have to like paintings in order to appreciate this place. Almost all of us come here for one thing, Mona Lisa. You don't need the guide map as there are signs leading you to it. Viewers were kept a distance from this glass-enclosed painting.

Some other interesting things to see:

Before the end of 1st day story, just a brief intro of our hostel; AIJ Paris (Auberge Internationale des Jeunes, The cheapest that I found online, E28 for first 2 nights and E56 for the next 2 nights. It was a double deck bed room, only for 2 pax with a basin in the room.

> AIJ 2 pax room

The bad things were the fit-for-1 person narrow spiral stairs, the need to walk up even to 4th floor and checking in & out due to separate booking dates. But the good thing was the free breakfast. Interesting observations; difficult to use shower and difficult to locate plug point. If you are a shy person, you will definitely end up showering in cold and staying late at the lobby to charge battery.

> Free breakfast: tasty baguette with butter & jam, and latte

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day 14 Feb 2009

This is the first time wishing ):-0 "Happy Valentine's Day" online.

Valentine's day is only once a year, but celebrating it is a whole year affair, though on a smaller but frequent scale.

The actual fact is; What you do the whole year is not comparable to what you did not do on that particular day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sarikei Hawker Food

Hawker food is plenty. You can find kopitiam along each road, average at 1 shop for every 5 shops you walk past. Prices range only from RM1.00 to RM2.50. Anything more pricey than that is not local food.

Some of the best kopitiam food in Sarikei:

> Sarawak Laksa

> Kampua (Dry mee - Sarikei style) & Teh Chi (Tea with evaporated milk & sugar)

> Kolok Mee Kosong (Meatless Dry mee - Kuching style)

> Thien Bien Wu (Rice flour flat noodle soup)

> Hoong Ngang (Thick noodle soup)

> Bien Nuit (Wantan skin wrapped meat soup)

> Cincau Susu

Friday, February 06, 2009

Chinese New Year of Ox 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Wish everyone is in good health because with health, wealth is possible. This is especially to a close friend who is nursing himself after an operation.

This year, CNY was spent in both my place and wife's place. My place is PJ, her place is Sarikei. Many may have not heard of this place. It is a town located 1.5 hrs road journey from Sibu, Sarawak.

A quick preview of the town.

> Symbolic Pineapple & Clock Tower

> Bus Station & Market

> Jetty

> Main Road

> "Da Jia Hao" Barber

> Clever Road sign "Turn left when exit is clear"

One way to introduce Sarikei is to show the different kinds of food not familiar to me and many in the Peninsular. Below are the typical CNY must-haves:

> Layer cake

> Chicken soup Mee sua (Vermicelli) with Red wine

> Pek Kueh (White Rice cake)

> Duck in Soy sauce