seriously, I have much to tell... :)

24 March 2007

Tales From My Tiny French Trip

Dear friends,

I'm back from France! I actually came back last week but have not found the time or, later on, the ability (reformat my laptop), to blog about my tiny trip. Anyways, I think I shall not make it such a big task for you to read about me (I could tell you about the whole trip if you want me to. I totally could:) or us (for my classmates), so I've decided to show you lotsa photos of me, me, me! (which is not a problem since we were all snap-happy throughout the whole trip)!

Day 1: To the City of Love!

So I did manage to finish packing my bags and did manage to get on the last-minute-change-of-plans plane. We were at the airport having fun and already taking lotsa pictures. This is what my lecturer describe as "happy faces who did not realize they would be on a 12-hour flight". Anyways, a conversation with a friendly Parisian seated next to me went like the following:

"Oh, so there are 160 of you on this plane. No wonder..." *looks around and see sporadically seated students fidgeting*
"ahem... yeah."
"So how long are you going to stay in Paris?"
"3 days. Erm, actually, we only have 2 days to roam Paris. On the 3rd day, we are leaving for Toulouse already..."
"2 days?! Well... (obligated to give some guide) I'm sure you are going to the Eiffel Tower and... erm...bla bla bla..."*burst out laughing* "2 days... that is SO cute!"

Arrival. Can you feel the loooove already? No, just fatigue and cold but nonetheless, still excited! We checked into our totally one-star hotel called Formule 1. Part of the Accor Group, this one star hotel is actually still very good by Malaysian standards. You can check-in with a computer thing, the toilets can clean up itself and yeah, everything is just pretty clean and acceptable.

Next, we proceeded to the Embassy of Malaysia in France to meet the Ambassador because we are here on a quest for Malaysia! Well, a good trip because the embassy is in a very pretty old building and just a 15 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. And we got to eat Roti Jala and Chicken Curry.

Eiffel Tower Visit No. 1:

Since the Eiffel is so near, we decided to take a walk there just to look see. Oh no, this is not the REAL visit. We'll come again tomorrow to do the REAL visiting. Anyways, the 15 minutes walk turned out to be 45 when we stopped at every 20 steps to take photos. Every time, the Eiffel Tower gets bigger.

Then, after being finally contented with all the pictures with one of the most photographed towers in the world, we proceeded to Champs Elysees. Shopping!!!

Champs Elysees 1:
Yeah, just a look see visit. We'll be here again tomorrow! Asta la vista!(?) oops, we is parlez francais here. Encore!(!)

Somehow I only took one picture with the Arc du Triomphe. The shops were more attractive I think. Not that I know what the Arc was for. I didn't do my research! Sue me! I later on found out that it was the place where the French bade farewell to Napoleon when he was going off to conquer places. Ooh.
The Arc of Triumph. Whoa.

Then there was Louis Vuitton. Then there were perfumes, Mercedes, Nike, Gap, Naf Naf, etc etc etc. and THEN, there was Deli's Cafe.
This is where I got my first taste of the common nutella crepe and this is my favourite shop after seeing so many creperies. Maybe it is because the friendly monsieur allowed me to record his expertise. Hehe. Some shops have "Interdit" which means Dilarang! to photo-snapping. But I thought this was free advert... hmm...

Day 2: The Real Visits

After an assuring breakfast of Maggi cup noodle, we set off early to really visit places in Paris. First we went to the Musee du Lourve. Da vinci code? Not quite. We just took photos on the surface but it was already quite a nice experience. The Lourve is so big that it has 2 metro stations at both it's ends. If we were lazy, we could just take the train to its other exit. Why not?

And of course, cheapo pictures with the lady herself...

Then we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Just for the sake of having a cuppa on the sidewalk, we braved the cold and did just that. The French, whom I like to think to be taking the experience for granted, were feeling nice and toasty indoors.

Trying to squeeze in at Notre Dame- me, Eizac, Boon and Hajar

We then visited places such as Napoleon's Tomb and the Alexander III Bridge as suggested by our very nice and patient and smart Malaysian in France friend cum guide, Chun Han. Both places of which we all don't know much of but he said these were tourist sites. OK. Boleh. I took a picture which I later found out to be exactly the same as one of those paintings they sold at the Airport. Ooh. So there is value.
Then, we went to Champs Elysees for real. This time it is in the afternoon so it was a different experience. See? Anyways, I was outside LV. I took photos. I went inside to look for my friend Li Yin. I took a photo of myself too. Oh-oh. Interdit! I forgot that I should know that it is most definitely Dilarang to take photos in LV. The guards were looking at me funny but they didn't know. hehe!
Inside LV! Interdit!

Oh, what a day. I also bought myself a plush Pooh Bear but I forgot to take photo with it outside the Disney Store. Nevermind, you'll see a lot of him later. Next, we went to the Eiffel Tower for real. We went up to the top!

At the top of Eiffel! - Me, Ivan, Liyin, Hajar and Boon (and ahpooh)

Day 3: Bye-bye Paris!
Just as I was starting to like Paris and have learned how to use the Metro, we had to leave for Toulouse. 10 hours plus bus ride later, we arrived at 8-ish. OMG. This place was even colder than when we were at the Eiffel's peak. It's like harsh. This is also where we first experience non-English-speaking Frenchies. Anyways, we got through ordering food at McD's pretty well.

Oops, didn't know the picture will turn out so small. Sorry, just squint a little.

Day 4: Toulouse Wedding

The next day, it was off to Capitolium for the wedding performance at one of our Toulouse campus's properties. Oh, did I mention that I was MC + narrator? It was fun. :)

Having not much to do at preparation, I found a hole in the wall! Haha. Can you believe they use this to put brochures and leaflets? I mean, why not display something grand or something. I could sit here and pose for a while for a small fee.
What really went on: "Hajar, faster! The guard is staring!"

My classmates' part-time jobs

Giving blessings to the "newlyweds"

Day 6: Going to an even smaller town.

The next day, we got duped into going to a "morning market" when it was actually just the neighbourhood mini supermarket. Oh well.
More photos!
1) On the way uphill(!!) to the "market".
2) On the way downhill back from the "market".
3) This city is called the Cite de l'Espace. Space city. So there is a concrete rocket.
4) San mei + me near l'Astralia. Another themed building. Very unusual place.
5) Then there is the randomly picked photo of John being shirtless while we layer away. Salute!

In Foix

Our accommodation were sweet chalets near the mountain. Cool! And cold.
And what do we do when we have lotsa space and scenery? We take photos, of course. This is Li Yin and me trying some multishot with a robotic thing. Gosh, but funny!
Ah, sunset just in time. The trees have been so dead throughout our trip.
The next few days in Foix is spent going to our Foix Campus and completing our 4-day Marc Combes Challenge. We tried very very hard to focus.
We had an encore of the wedding performance for our fellow French classmates. More pix!
Then it was back to the challenge. Though we tried to focus, our attention was quickly diverted to a very cute French lecturer(no clear photo available yet. Do keep checking this page in case I get one from my friends). I have also been toying with the thought of climbing out the window of my group's classroom into the fresh mountain air and more photo opportunities. On the last day, we all decided to just do it.
What a conducive study environment. Anyways, we also had to wait a long time for them to finally announce the results of the challenge. What do we do when we have lotsa time? We take photos!
FYI, we were being tickled.

Anyways, competitive spirit over, we were given 3 hours to have dinner in Foix Town.
And I found a new buddy. He did mention that he likes to sing and dance.
After that, it was a 10 hours bus ride to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and then right after, a 12 hours plane ride back to KL. Thank God for deodorants and Dettol wipes. :)

There you have it! I hope I have not worsen your eyesight. :)