Scootering around

October 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

It has been raining non-stop for 4 days now. Apparently it doesn’t rain often in Nice but for some reason, it’s raining now. Boo.

Anyway I want a scooter. Because I’ve been riding on one. As a passenger of course. Boy it’s fun. Sau, my couchsurfing host for one night, was nice enough to pick me up from the train station. On his scooter. So with my rather large backpack strapped dangerously behind me, unsecured, we ride deep into the night. I got quite scared, but thought it would be a bad idea to scream. I keep my fear to myself.

No accidents. I think I got over my fear quickly and yesterday, in the rain, Sau took me on a ride along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Destination, Monaco, which I found out was only a short distance from Nice. With a roar of the engine, we zipped past all the slow cars. 100 kms p/h, through stone arches on the highway. Cool wind in my helmet hair, rain beating on my face. The coast is breathtaking.

We reach Monaco and everything looks glitzy and artificial. There is a casino, and very expensive shops. I look around and soon lost interest after 30 minutes. I didn’t even spot any celebrities, even though Sau tells me Bono and Brangelina have houses here. Bah. It was still pouring, and the two of us, cold and wet, decided to head back to Nice.

The ride back was just as fun. In 2 days I’ve decided to go to Corsica. I hope the rain stops.

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Firminy

October 27, 2008 § 1 Comment

I’ve just spent the entire afternoon in the rain. Today I made the long way to the tiny little town Firminy to look at Corbusier’s Maison de la Culture and Saint-Pierre church, and of all days, its pouring cats and dogs. Since I’m leaving for Nice tomorrow, today was really the only day to go.

So I get there. Without a map. Or an umbrella. But somehow walked, in the rain, no soul in sight to ask for directions (which is strange as it’s Monday) and found it.

Yay. I was cold and wet, but didn’t really care. I met a guide who worked there and managed to convince him to give me a student price for the ticket. Um. Anyways I quickly took it and went around snapping photos. As you can see, the pictures are a bit dull. But so what? Corbusier rules!

Yes I’m such a super nerd!

I love you Lyon

October 26, 2008 § Leave a comment


Dear Lyon

I’m in love with you. Seriously. I know it’s only been days since we’ve met, but why do you rule so much?

Is it because of your beautiful rivers Rhone and Saone, where I’ve spent hours alongside sitting in the sun? It’s true. Yesterday afternoon I almost fell asleep there.

Is it because of the amazing people who have welcomed me into their homes, shared with me their warmth and food and company? Lyon, you have the coolest couchsurfers. I mean, they have not only provided me a comfortable bed, but also great meals (last night Sam made an excellent pork roast), entertainment (a mini concert by Fanny and Claude late one night) and tourist advice. Without which I would be completely miserable and not to mention lost since I don’t have a map.

Is it because you’ve seduced me with all the Lyonnais delicacies and produce at your many markets? It’s so hard to resist.

Or maybe it’s because you led me into one of your cute little streets and introduced me to several cute little bars where I blew my daily budget getting Stellas and rocking out late Saturday night to excellent live music? With cool people?

It’s everything. I wish I had more time with you, but sadly I’m leaving for Nice soon. Nothing will ever compare to you (for now). We’ll meet again, one day.

I’m hungry

October 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

Yeah! Like ALL THE TIME. Everywhere I go, there’re all those damn boulangeries and patiseries at every corner and I can’t help but look and feel like buying everything I see and eating them.

My first day here I had the best brioche with loads of butter.

Then the next few days I kept buying these yummy giant ‘pain au chocolat’ from Franprix and ate them in like half an hour.

I then got these great chocolate cookies from the best supermarket Monoprix and have been eating them everyday.

Today I went to Marais to shop and what did I buy? A dozen cute little madeleine cakes and ate half the packet at the Louvre.

Also every morning I have been eating these delicious small buns with lots and lots of butter. OMG I am in love with French butter. Yum yum yum.

Oh, and yesterday I found the most awesomest shop ever. It has frozen ALL TYPES OF FOOD. If anyone wants frozen ratatouie, chicken tikka, basmati indienne, this place has them. The best thing about it were the desserts. They had all kinds. I really wanted to get one of each, but since I am poor, I only managed to get 8 ice-creams. And went back and ate 3 in a row, and just now, had another 3 in a row. <

Don't really care about souvenirs. Don't really care about the fashion. I'm all about the food.

Importance of Oscar

October 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

It was 2pm and the weather was bright and sunny. This suited me just fine for a visit to the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. I certainly did not want dark and gloomy weather as I was pretty sure I would be scared shitless walking through a cemetary. Also, it was Sunday, so there should be tons of people there, making the experience less gruesome I thought. I made my way there with one intention, which was to see what the big deal was at Oscar Wilde’s grave.

I got off at Pere Lachaise metro stop and quickly got duped into buying a map at the entrance. Two seconds after I parted with 2 euros then I realized I should’ve just taken a photo of the bloody large map in front! DOH! The cemetary is really big, and after a while I noticed it was more like a park than a cemetary. People were strolling leisurely with their families and kind of reminded me of the museum, where people would stop occasionally at each grave and study it seriously. Many of the graves are elaborate, with life-sized sculptures of their occupants in various philosophical poses. I don’t know any of these people so I pass them by and head straight to Division 89.

I got there and saw a number of people were taking photos of themselves at Oscar's grave. There was even one woman sitting on it which I thought was rather disrespectful. Anyway the grave is large and as you can see from my photo at the top, is covered with hundreds of kisses from strange women, or perhaps men, who knows. Ew. I'm not sure where those lips have been and don't really want to press mine against the same surface.

I walk around the tomb and the epitaph on the back of Oscar Wilde's tomb reads:

And alien tears will fill for him
Pity’s long broken urn
For his mourners will be outcast men
And outcasts always mourn

I wonder what Oscar would have thought of the creepy grave-kissing phenomenon?

L’apero gare

October 18, 2008 § Leave a comment

So I went to this strange train station party last night. At first I thought it was a theme, but it turned out that the party was held at an actual Paris train station, which was Montparnasse.

Apparently it was a very private party, and the venue was hush-hush until a few hours before. Anyway I was invited by this French couchsurfer Charles, and this party was his friend’s birthday bash. I met up with him, hopped on his motorbike, and on we went to this secret party. Oooh, riding on a motorbike zooming along the streets, was pretty fun.

Right. I got to this party with Charles, which was held at a small hall on the 3rd floor of the station. I poured myself a drink in front of a temporary bench set up in front of the train station’s timetable. Within 10 minutes I immediately got convinced by two very wily French dudes to eat some French cheese. I was very dubious about the cheese as I don’t like cheese. But, these French folks can be very persistent. So I tried the ‘Frenchiest’ cheese, blue cheese it seemed, and OMG it tasted like puke. It was completely vile. I don’t care what anyone says but I’m not eating any more French cheese. Somehow or rather the two Frenchies thought it was pretty funny. Ha ha. I had to get rid of that foul taste with some alcohol.

The party was not the kind of party I thought it was going to be. Damn the French are civilized. The first thing I noticed was there was hardly any beer anywhere. Lots of cheese (ugh), wine, and a tasty looking train-shaped chocolate cake. People were talking politely and there were no signs of yobo behaviour at all.

It was my first night out in Paris, met some cool people and had a great time practicing my horrible French. We stayed and talked till the entire station closed. Finally there were about 7 of us in a completely deserted Montparnasse station.

Hmm. This event was definitely going on my ‘weird’ list. Today I left Cecile’s place and am couchsurfing with an American fashion design student, Lian. Her apartment has a lift, yay! Also a little dog, Abu, to play with!

Villa Savoye

October 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

This morning I made the trip to the sleepy little village of Poissy, about an hour’s train ride out of Paris, to ogle at Villa Savoye. All you archi-nerds out there, I can feel your jealousy burning.

I thought the place would be deserted as it wasn’t exactly a tourist spot but was surprised to see a number of students lounging about the Corbusier chairs in the living room and a few other randoms who like me, made the special trip. What was even worse was they charge 6.50 euros to enter the building. Doh! I guess it’s going to be really hard to stick to my stupid budget.

But still it was pretty cool to walk up that famous ramp and staircase and snap away happily at every corner. I sat in the hanging garden. I touched the windows. I caressed the walls. I lounged on the lawn. I didn’t really care much about photographic composition and even took photos of the Corbusier toilets, sinks, taps and bath. I didn’t feel silly at all since everyone else was basically doing the same thing.

Well, after being super geeky today, I’ve just been informed there is an underground party in some Paris train station tonight called ‘apero gare’. Sounds dark and dingy and exciting.

Where Am I?

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