My new blog: For those who came here for the cake pop class, I've created a new blog with updates on classes and photos over at guiri in the kitchen



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Makan-makan Malaysia

My family forego the plan of going to Taiwan because of I couldn't make it. We headed for Penang instead. It must have been a blessing in disguise cause Taiwan was hit by an earthquake on the same day that we returned from our northbound trip.

So, what did we do in this trip? Well, to start with, the 10 of us set off on Christmas eve morning with a nice dim sum to fill our tummies. On our way, we stopped at Teluk Intan to have our favourite Ah Chai rojak*.


Yummy Ah Chai Rojak

Oh, and did I mention that all the Leong sisters were dressed in a uniform? Well, not exactly a uniform but we had the exact same polo T-shirt. We definitely caught everyone's attention no matter where we went ... he he he...

After that, we visited a goat farm in Chenderiang, a small town next to Tapah. The kids were soooo cute.... when they saw us, they immediately greeted us, "meeehhh... meeeehhhh.....". Yi San tried to carry one of them and the poor fella went "MEEEEHHH!", which I assumed to be "Put me down!".


"MEEEEEHHHH!!!"

From Chenderiang, we headed straight to Penang, and checked-in to the hotel first. Then, for dinner we went to Tanjong Tokong. There we indulged in 4kg of salt-baked prawns, 1kg of grilled crabs, 30 sticks of satay, or chien**, grilled stingray, stir-fried vege, fried meehoon, spicy la-la, gung bao*** mantis prawns and I have probably missed a thing or two from the list. A feast that could feed at least 20. Unfortunately, I had my fingers all dirty from peeling prawns and crabs, I didn't manage to take a photo.

Of course that was not all, immediately after we went to Gurney drive for 2nd helping of Penang food. That was how we discovered that "White" Christmas exists here! There were lots of stalls selling party SNOW spray: 4 for RM10. All the youngsters were having fun spraying at their friends and passerbys, including cars. Though we tried to stay away from them, we were not fully spared as the wind helped spread the "SNOW". I had to refrain from taking photos to avoid getting my camera all "SNOWY". We returned to hotel after having our muar chi and crunchy mango rojak.

Again the very next day it was all about FOOD. We had our routine breakfast at Soong river, one of the restaurants located by the seaside near Gurney drive. Our usual orders: steamed rice noodles with fish (I don't know what type), braised noodles with prawns, fried chicken wings, etc. After breakfast we went to Prangin Mall, and while doing our window shopping, stumbled across a Reflexology center and 7 of us decided to get some massage. Sebastian (first-timer) was heard screaming throughout the foot massage session. Me on the other hand fell asleep during the session. We also had a ear-candling session.


All ready for foot reflexology

If you have been following me closely from the beginning, you should be able to guess by now that our next activity was of course to EAT. It was cendol time :D


Enjoying ice cold cendol on a hot sunny day

Tired yet? Wait! I still have not talked about the assam laksa at our favourite no. 11 stall at Gurney drive (yes, again). And not to forget... *drum rolls* : FRIED CHICKEN SKIN! Yes, you heard me right the first time, an extremely sinful delicacy but Oh, so yummy!


SS taking a bite of the fried chicken skin

That was just a pre-movie snacking. We watched Confessions of Pain at GSC in Gurney Plaza (original plan was to watch Curse of the Golden Flower but it was a full house), and proceeded for our dinner at NS Nasi Kandar. The portion was really big and they gave lots of kuah**** :D

Ok, ok....that's basically the end of our Makan-makan trip. Erm, ALMOST......aside from the breakfast at Soong River again the next morning before our depart and another stopover at Ipoh for char koay teow, sotong kangkung and chee cheong fun. BURP!

THE LEONG FAMILY

*rojak = fruit salad a la malaysian [pronounced as "row jug"]
**or chien = fried oysters with eggs
***gung bao = fried with dried red chilis and dark soya sauce
****kuah = gravy

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Intolerable Cruelty

A friend forwarded me this article from the Star newspaper today.

***
Dog loses jaw after cruel beating - The Star (21/12/06)

JOY, a little black dog whose jaw was surgically removed after he was almost beaten to death, still looks at humans with love.

Despite the cruelty rendered to him, he still looks at people to bepetted and loved.

On Dec 2, Sabrina Yeap, managing partner of the Furry Friends Farm(FFF), rescued Joy at the Ki-Park Sri Utara construction site belonging to developer, Kepong Industrial Park Sdn Bhd (KIP Group).

Joy's jaw had to be surgically removed after it was beaten half to death by Indonesian construction workers.Joy's lower jaw was dangling and his tongue was hanging out.

Two eyewitnesses said they had seen him being beaten by Indonesian foreign workers who kept calling the dog haram as they continuously beat it.

Joy's lower jaw was so badly injured that it had to be surgically removed, but its tongue was saved despite having lacerations and blood clots.

Dr Habeeb Rahman Ibramsa, a lecturer in Quran and Sunnah studies at the International Islamic University in Gombak, volunteered to give atalk to the foreign workers who were involved in the beating of Joy.

But, to date, the owners of KIP Group has refused to co-operate.

"I wish to end this ignorance. The Quran does not support violence against animals; I am willing to give lectures, presentations and screen videos that support what I am saying.

"I hope the public, Government officials, foreign workers and others who need to hear this truth will attend," said Dr Habeeb.

Yeap said FFF was not looking for the government to punish the people who did this to Joy.
"We are calling on the government to support our public education projects by persuading the developer, KIP Group, to allow us to educate their workers.


"Joy may not be able to fetch a ball or toy anymore but he still know how to show his delight in human companionship," Yeap said.

A little gathering will be held at the Canteen Restaurant in Plaza Damas to support Joy.
Those interested in attending can also bring a little gift for him.


For details, call Yeap at 016-631 9018.
***

My heart sank as I read the article. How can somebody be so cruel to a defenseless animal like that? It broke my heart just to look at Joy's photo. I hope that by spreading the news, there will be more to support efforts of people like Ms. Yeap.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Two Left Feet

After more than 6 months of absence, I resumed my dancing lessons with YS Dancesport. "Thanks" to YS who regarded highly of my abilities, he suggested that I join the Advance group.

In the 1st hour (latin technique) I was struggling to keep my balance on the 2 1/2 inch heels; I had been on flats most of the time for the past 6 months since I had to do a lot of walking. Lucky for me, I regained by stability at the end of the class, though the ball of my feet had began to hurt a little.

The 2nd hour was tough. Everyone else was already well versed with the Group 1 and Group 2 sequence for the Cha cha cha, and was learning the new Group 3 sequence, while I was completely in the dark and tried to mimic whatever I could. However, after dozens of double spin turns and open hip twists, my knees and ankles couldn't take it anymore. I was thrown off balance everytime I had to make a second spin turn. My partner had to remind me to keep my feet close each time I make a spin - if only it was that easy!

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the 2 hours lessons a lot (although I end up walking like a duck immediately after). It feels so good to be back there again! Will have my ballroom dance lessons this Sat, really looking forward to it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Holiday....Yipppeee!!!

Yep! It's holiday again for me..... I know I just started this new job not too long ago, but it's school holiday now. The children were relieved from school since end of last week, while the teachers were required to be at school for training, clean up, and a make-over (not the teachers, the school of course!). Finally, it's all DONE (well, almost). Now we all have 2 weeks to rest. Then we'll have to be back just several days before the school starts to get ourselves ready for the noisy but adorable bunch to be back...he he he.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Butterflies, Tigers & Leopards

Aaaaawwwwww, soooooooooooo CUTEEEEEEE!!! All I wanted to do was just to pinch their cute little cheeks, but of course, that was not allowed coz they had paint all over their face! Today's the end of Term 4 party for year 2006. For the past 2 weeks we have been training the children to dance to the song "I just can't wait to be king" from Lion King. And with the Jungle theme, the girls were turned into pretty butterflies while the boys into tigers and leopards! The teachers arrived early to decorate the restaurant, and the children started arriving about 10am to get dressed and have their face painted (I did the tigers!!!)......so very cool ;) I guess the face paint were really uncomfortable, as after 15 mins or so, some of them already tried to wipe them off... he he he..

The party was a huge success, although we had some of them running back to their mummies and daddies during the dance, and as usual, some cry babies too. But everyone had such great fun! The daddies were given hand-painted ties to wear, and mummies were given photo frames. All hand-made by the children (ehem...with help from the teachers of course).

I got home realising that I had also some face paint on the back of my shirt. Looks like the kids also tried to rub them off on me! :P Probably as a revenge!

*updated 30 Nov 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Look Who's New???

"It's Auntie Shirl! Let's give a clap to Auntie Shirl!" There goes Auntie Oli, the teacher for class Junior 1 (also my mentor for the moment) when introducing me to a bunch of cuties below 5 years old.

My life as an assistant teacher at a Montessori pre-school begins today. It's my second time at the school, and I am glad that some of the kids still remember my face though not my name. I couldn't have enjoyed it more. They were not at all shy around me, for e.g. Oscar, he was making me follow him from room to room, pulling my hands to make me continue when I was tired and wanted to stop. He was babbling all the time then made me help him stuff the rubber crocodile with raw macaroni (which I found later that it was not allowed, I mean, to stuff the crocodile). Then during Circle Time, several of them ran to sit next to me i.e. Elio, Isabella, Clara-Ann, etc.

These kids are sooooooo independent! And so very adorable. After playing, they never make a fuss when you tell them to clean up. Of course, these are all the perks of being a pre-school teacher. No screaming from angry bosses or customers, only screaming from kids enjoying themselves. No messy documentation and filing, only lots of messy painting and sticky glue on your fingers. No office politics and backstabbing, only playful "stabbing" from the boys with a plastic knives* (and I had to pretend dead for a while).

No doubt there are tough situations, for e.g.:
  1. Cleaning up after their poo & pee ('accidents' do happen, but it can't be worst than the 'poo' left over by some when working in the corporate world)
  2. Home sick children (e.g. Chiara, an Italian girl, wouldn't stop crying; probably due to language barrier - she refused to mix with the rest except for Elio, of whom she could understand, and only thought of going home the very moment she arrived at school. Damn, why didn't I take up Italian???)
  3. Understanding baby languages; Cassandra was asking for her water bottle during meal time, but I thought she wanted more pasta.... :P

Pheewww, what a day.......more excitements tomorrow! :D

*stabbing (whether with real OR plastic knives) should not be encouraged

Friday, November 03, 2006

One year wiser?

For 2 consecutive years, I did not manage to celebrate my birthday with my family. Last year I was in Spain, and this year, though I am back home, coincidently, everyone's away. Mom and dad and brother and 2 sisters. Only Sean San was left at home with me. So tonight, I spent my birthday having dinner with TW's family, also in conjunction with James' birthday (TW's brother) which was yesterday.

After my 25th birthday, I have stopped taking counts. Just didn't want to be reminded that in a few years, I'd be able to squish a fly with the lines on my forehead, that I would no longer need something to keep me warm, because I would have accumulated enough "insulation" round my waist, thighs, etc. with my lower metabolism. Don't want to be reminded that responsibilities also weigh a little bit more with every year that you add to your age. *sigh*

Happy Birthday to me!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

...

My grey matter hasn't been very productive lately. In fact, it doesn't even care to figure out why. But I am feeling very guilty of leaving my beloved blog cold and abandoned, thought I'd just "pen" in something here.

What have I been doing for the past 4 weeks:

1. Attended April's wedding

2. Read 3 children books in French
- Le Petit Prince by Antoine de St. Exupéry
- Le Petit Nicolas et Les Copains by Sempé & Goscinny
- La Révolte des Coloriés (Sans adultes Tome I) by Alexandre Jardin

3. Read 3 1/2 novels & short stories in English
- Skin & Other Stories by Roald Dahl
- The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
- The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend
- Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend (just started)

4. With the help of Hong Teng, Carmen and my sis, we went to 4 different bridal palaces at Jln. Ipoh to find out different wedding packages. Will be visiting several more near Loke Yew. Planning a wedding is nothing close to fun.

5. Found myself a job as a pre-school teacher; will be working with children below 5 years old starting from November 7th. Cute!!!

6. Appointed as chauffeur for my sis and house guardian during mom & dad's absence (B.O.R.I.N.G.)

Then my brother asked me this evening, what have you achieved for the past 4 weeks that you are back? Weirdly, I was dumbfounded.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Miracle Healer

When I first heard about the miracle healer from my dad 2 weeks ago, I was very skeptical. How could a man act like God and heal people from chronic diseases by just cutting them up without using anaesthetic, then performing the operation, and close the cut again without stitches?

My dad became a believer of this healer, who has his "clinic" in Shah Alam, when a wife of his friend was healed of her ankle pains (which required a surgery in a hospital and months to heal). What this doctor did was - he cut open her ankles, fix the problem near the bones (I have no idea what that bone is called), then closed her wound again. He described that the whole process was similar to what you would do when you replace a battery, open the battery cover, replace the battery, then close the cover again. And all this was done in just a matter of MINUTES for both ankles, and she was able to walk after that without further problems nor pains. Not only that, the cost of the operation was only a tinnie winnie fraction of what it would cost her to get it done in the hospital.

This "doctor" was also reportedly able to completely cure various types of cancers, kidney failures, diabetes, problems with nervous systems, etc. Then 2 days ago, I read about this healer in the Star newspaper - Rich and poor 'healed'. His clinic was raided on the 11th Oct, however, the "doctor" was nowhere to be found. Hmm..I don't know, really, I am still skeptical. Although there seems to be lots of testimonials supporting him, I am not convinced until I see it with my own eyes.

The Health Ministry said that they will not condone any unqualified practice of medicine even though they are claims of positive results. But what about the public??? Should they put their trust on this man? Most of them resort to this option only because they fail to get results from qualified doctors, or because they simply cannot afford the costly treatment in hospitals. Some think that they have nothing to lose but a hope of being able to live healthily again. Are the authorities killing hopes when they try to stop unqualified doctors like this? Or would they be encouraging more bogus doctors if they keep quiet about it??

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Congratulations April!!!

Yesterday I was one of the ji muis responsible for "torturing" the groom when he comes to pick up the bride from her maiden house. One of the chinese customaries during chinese weddings (god knows who started it first), the groom is required to undergo several challenges before he is allowed to take the bride. His willingness to undertake all these challenges will prove how much he loves his newly wedded wife (or wife-to-be in some cases). However, at times, there seem to be a tendency to torture the groom, or his mates, whom are allowed to take over the challenges so that the groom can leave the house alive... ke ke ke ke...

These were the programs for yesterday's morning ceremony:

1. When the Adrian (the groom) and his mates (we call them the heng dai) arrive, each and every one of them was given a banana for breakfast, not just ANY banana, but one that is laced with wasabi (whipped cream was used as a camouflage). Adrian was only allowed to exit his car until everyone has eaten their portion.

2. At the front door, a nice cold bucket of ice water awaited them; Adrian was required to answer 5 questions concerning April (the bride) correctly, else he and his heng dais were required to chew on some chewing gums for each wrong answer while having their feet soaked into the ice water, while the ji muis happily filled the bucket with more ice. They were not allowed out of the bucket until all 5 questions are correctly answered.

3. The last test is held in front of April's room. Adrian was required to sing the April's favourite song, then say 'I Love You' in 7 languages. It must be heard by the April behind the locked door and she must accept all this before the last door is allowed to be opened. Of course, the groom must also pay $$$ to the ji muis as price to open the door. This must be fairly negotiated! The figure will normally be a long string 9's to represent longetivity of the marriage; "long 9s" in cantonese = for eternity.

At last, the door was opened, and there was a ring exchange, photo session, and a tea serving ceremony to the parents and relatives of April. At the end of the session, the couple is ushered to the car under a red umbrella then everyone proceeded to Adrian's house for the next tea serving ceremony to his family members.

As for the ji muis, with mission accomplished, they all went home after lunch to get some rest and to make themselves pretty again for the wedding reception at night! ;)

Some of the ji muis with the bride at the wedding reception

The rest of the photos can be found in Yee Ling's online photo album.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Home Sweet Home

I arrived Kuala Lumpur International Airport on a Sunday morning. Extremely smooth landing, credits must really be given to the Captain and his co-pilots :D I was all covered from head to toe as it was cold the morning I left, but when I got here, the captain announced that it was 26 deg C, even at 6:30am in the morning.....then it struck me.....I am back home to the warm climate...HOORAAYYY!!! Blue and sunny skies awaiting me!

But I am a little disappointed, as the sky was not as blue as I thought, and I can't even see the sun, thanks to our "neighbour". I normally can see the Petronas Twin Towers all the way from my house, but today I even have problem looking at a building less than 2km away, not to mention the "heavenly" smell. Every year the haze never fails to make the headlines.... *sigh*....It rained quite heavily last night, but even that did not clear the haze :( I remember seeing this hazy look when I was in Chambéry, and I asked Jean-Charles if it was haze too, but he told me that was a sign of good weather in the mountains......what a BIG difference!

Anyway, back to my life in KL, I have no problem at all sleeping at night, in fact, I have no problem sleeping till 1pm too!!! Jet lag didn't really bother me, but except that this time I decided to watch 4 movies on the flight, so I was a little, just a little tired, and so j'ai fait la grasse matinée. Plus, the wi-fi did not work from my room, so I had to work on it all night to get it fixed, and even now, the connection is still intermittent....arrrgghh...ça m'énerve!!!

My language communication skills have somehow deteriorated quite badly. I spoke to the girl next to me and the stewardess in french, although both were Malaysian, I can't speak Malay anymore without asking my sis things like, "how do you say 'type' in Malay??", then realising it was jenis. Even in Cantonese, I am saying everything in the opposite of what I meant to say....now I don't even know if anyone can understand what I blog here, although its mostly in English. This is what my sis describe as jao foh yap moh or possessed by devil. Cham lorrr......apa mau jadi dengan saya???

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dernier Jour à Chambéry

My last night in Chambéry is spent updating my beloved blog. Won't write much now..... am a little ivre after several glasses of wine during dinner. Plus, I have to wake up at 4:30am tomorrow morning. But I had a great time joking around with Misaki, Ryo, Asuka, Chern Hwei and Leticia.


Will update the rest of the happenings when I am back in Malaysia i.e Manicure session with Asuka and the Graduation Ceremony at Academie de Savoie.

Malaysia, akhirnya ku kembali padamu.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Where's the Toilet Seat???

"Non!!! C'est pas possible! C'est pas possible au Japon!" That was Asuka, half crying, half screaming, when she came out from one of the toilets in one of the bars in Chambery. She was practically traumatised because there wasn't any toilet seat. It so happens that there was a guy using the toilet next door and he was so shocked to find her screaming in the toilet (poor guy). I found that extremely amusing. Our french friends thought it was rather amusing as well, because Asuka really demonstrated a super duper reaction. Thanks to Asuka, I enriched my French vocabulary with a new word i.e. cuvette, which means toilet seat. Asuka also borrowed my camera so that she could take a picture of the toilet bowl and update it into her blog.

On another completely unrelated story: I have been quite distracted lately, not being able to concentrate on anything at all. YES! I am finally going home! On one hand, I am glad to be back with my family and my darling again, back to my 'normal' life. On the other hand, this is the end of my vacations!!! Time to look for a job again. Of course, one of the main things that I should be more concerned about is how am I gonna pack everything again and make sure its within 30kg?? I had to courier a box of 7kg several days back to relieve some weight of my luggage. Am keeping my fingers crossed everything will be alright......

Anyway, just a summary of stuff that I should have updated earlier:

1. Went to Foire de Savoie with Misaki, Marie & Mira. All of us had a free entry and a free rose each because it was "Women's Day"

2. Went picnic near the waterfalls near Jacob Bellecombette with Asuka, Marie, Mira, Gaby and along with some French friends of Asuka. Guess what they bought for picnic? 2 bottles of red wine and 2 loafs of baguette (in Malaysia we just call it the French Loaf). Very French.


3. Everytime I mention that Chern Hwei is my copain from Malaysia, they conclude immediately that he's my boyfriend. That's the problem with French language, the word copain can both mean boyfriend and just a friend who is a boy. Bof! Told this to Pascaline today, and she suggested that the next time its probably best that I say "un de mes copains" rather than just mon copain.


4. Last weekend I made Prawn mee again and invited several friends over, then I had Momo over for dinner while he was in Chambery, and I cooked nasi lemak with sambal udang, then this evening I made nasi lemak with sambal terung & minced pork for mes amis français. Tomorrow there'll be another fete, and I still haven't decided what to cook yet. Tough decisions....*sigh*

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vous Parlez Très Bien Français

Woooohh.....kudos to Alliance Française Kuala Lumpur! And felicitations to Laure-Anne and Joshua too. Today Nathalie, one of the professeurs at IFALPES commented that both Chern Hwei and myself speak very good french (ehem...), and asked if we had taken a French course before while we were in Malaysia. I explained that we were both in the same class at Alliance Française in Kuala Lumpur. And she was like.....'Ahhh...now I understand....they have very good methods for teaching the French language.' Most of the people are quite surprised that we were able to handle the language quite well *cough* *cough*, as they have always had this impression that Asians have problems learning a European language.

Well, there you go.....MALAYSIA BOLEH!!!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Forgotten Gesture

While doing a randonée to the Croix de la Croche today, I recalled something that I should have mentioned in my blog, sometime in April this year when I set foot again in Europe. I really don't know what triggered it. Nothing of real importance, just of a small gesture from a nice couple I met at the bed and breakfast in London, where I needed to stay overnight to take the early morning flight to Seville. We arrived Heathrow and were picked up at the same time, and that evening, since I was all alone, they invited me to have dinner with them (and they paid for it as well, of course).

Unfortunately I can't remember their names anymore, but still, I wanted to be reminded of them; of the nice people that I came across during my days of travel. Cheers.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rendez-vous at Annecy

The weather has really been very kind to me today. I was not too sure if I would be able to made it to Annecy if it had rained, but the sun was shining all day. I had sent an e-mail to Mohammed earlier today to inform him of my arrival, and he was really kind to wait for me at the train station. Unfortunately the train was late (....biasalar, bukan kali pertama) and he had to wait blindly (he didn't have a phone) without knowing if I would arrive or not :P

We took a walk around the vieil Annecy, had 3 scoops of ice cream each (it was supposed to be the best in town), then walked by the lake. He also took me to see his place of stay, and we enjoyed a nice glass of wine just outside his studio, which was really neat as it was surrounded by greenery, and also the owner of the house was a nice retired man. Lucky for him!

Anyway, I did not manage to have dinner with Mohammed as the last train leaves at 8:19pm. We had a cup of coffee closeby to the station, then it was time to say goodbye. Anyway, he said he would be back to Chambéry again soon, and since he wanted to try some of Malaysian delicacies I have offered to cook him a HOT & SPICY Malaysian food. Ngiak ngiak ngiak.....

Photo time!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Never Ending Staircases

Coincidently while chatting with students from IFALPES last Thursday evening at the Cardinals, Ralf said that he was planning to go to Grenoble on Saturday. I couldn't have been happier and asked if he would mind that I tag along. I just didn't really like the idea of climbing up to La Bastille alone. Of course he didn't mind and we decided to meet at the train station at 9am in the morning.

Just a day before, I realised that the train would leave at 8:53am, while the next one available after that would be at 10:30am. I had no way of contacting Ralf as he did not have a mobile phone, and just had to keep my fingers crossed that he would arrive early. Luckily for me, he did arrive 5 minutes before, and we got our tickets just in time. Then he told me Kirsten was also coming along, and she didn't know about the train time table neither. With a stroke of luck, there was a minor delay with the train, and Kirsten got to the station just on time to buy the ticket and board the train....phewwww!

I guess we were really lucky throughout the whole day, with the sky being a little cloudy and greyish but it did not rain at all. We walked all the way up to the Bastille, of course with me whining again as usual (...I can be a real pain in the ass sometimes :P) We took approximately 45-50 minutes to reach the top....well, no one actually took note of the time, but it was written on the signs, time required to get to the top from the starting point. Coming down of course, was less stressful, as we took a diff route and there were much lesser stairs.

After that we had a really good lunch in a Chinese restaurant, before continuing to explore around the town centre. And finally, we had some coffee before heading back to Chambéry.

As usual, here it is, the link to the the to Grenoble album.

And by the way, here's the link to photos taken in Chambéry...just realised that I have never put up the link for this before....oops!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ma Petite Copine

Ma chère Sarah
Qui est venue à Chambéry
Elle m'a amenée du chocolat
spécialement pour moi, le Cadbury

On s'est connues il y a un an
Ça a commencé à Seville, et ensuite à Madrid
On s'est rejointes aussi à Barcelone
Et puis ici, dans cette jolie ville

On a mangé de la fondue au fromage
De vin savoyard on l'a fait accompagner
Le lendemain, on a fait de la marche
La graisse superflue qu'on voulait bruler

Sitôt qu'ell est arrivee, elle m'a laissée
Dans un clin d'œil elle est repartie
Mais moi, j'attends la prochaine année
Qu'il y aura un rendez-vous en Malaisie ;)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Arrival of Fondateur Des Slips Rouges & A Farewell

Gan finally arrived Chambéry. That poor chap had to undergo several transits, which meant several hours of waiting at the airport, then when he arrived Lyon, he had to wait again for the train to get to Chambéry. He almost didn't recognise me as I was soooo tanned...hehehe... anyway, he had to wait again at the A.L.E. office, because there was like another 3-4 persons waiting in line (which was very rare for the ALE office). His turn finally arrived, settled all the deposits and stuff, only to find out that there was no one available to show him to his apartment. And soooo, I became the guide, and with a map, we tried to search his apartment. I guess his slips rouges probably weren't very lucky.

Several days later, we organized a farewell party in my apartment for Carmen and Carin who were leaving soon and Gan joined us. We had Spanish tortilla prepared by Carmen & the gang, Ratatouille by me, fresh garden salad and Chocolate banana cake (yummy) by Misaki, a Savoyard speciality* by Ryo and healthy fruit salad by Carin. Everything was sooooo good, and in the end, we had too much food in our tummies that we couldn't move. *BURP*



*01/09/06 - I just remembered the speciality was called Tartiflette ;)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

3 in 1

Sorry I have been lagging again. I've got all my days and nights filled with trop activities that I get too mentally exhausted to update the blog. Last week I did 3 excursions with the school, which include 2 hiking trips, several cyling trips to St Alban Leysse, Lac du Bourget & Lac de St. Andre (almost 70km), walking, cooking, and homework of course, apart from my daily classes. Yeah yeah yeah, it's a bunch of crap. I guess I could have easily fill in a word or two in the blog if I really wanted to :P

Anyway, I have just updated the posts of my trip to Lyon, Beaufort & Vanoise

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Parc Naturel Vanoise

I was worried it was gonna be another rainy day as the morning started out really gloomy. But when we got to Pralognan, weather was really nice, though a little cold. I thought the climb would take probably about 2 hours, but I was SOOOOO wrong! Mohammed had earlier told me it would take approx. 4 hrs but I didn't trust him. *sigh* After probably an hour of climb, I was then told by Jean-Charles that we have just reached the starting point, and from there, it would take approx. 2 hrs to reach the Lac des Vaches. Bummer! In fact we took a little more than 2 hrs coz it was really tiring and we had more mini stops along the way to catch our breath. Except for the group of petit espagnols who were also with us on this excursion, the rest didn't want to eat until we got to the lake, which was about 2pm. *stomach growling*

I was whining along the way (I am good at that). WHHHyyy?? Whyy did I pay 18 euros to torture myself?? Blah blah...and so on. But seriouussly, the view was MAGNIFIQUE!!! I wouldn't mind doing this ALLLLL over again (not on the same day of course). Check out the album to see for yourself. It felt like I was inside a postcard, so unreal.

After resting at Lac des Vaches for probably an hour, we had to finally leave. At 2010 metres above sea level, Frans and I stopped at a bar to have some drinks. Manyak cantik larr..... with all the beautiful mountains and greens entouré while you slowly sip your beer, (or in my case...a Coca Cola).

Q: Why did the caterpillar cross the road?
A: To commit suicide, of course!

I almost squashed that poor little creature when we continued our way down. It's just so hard to brake when the hill is so steep. It's a good thing he was really bright green that I managed to avoid him. I really wonder how long he would manage to stay alive with so many people coming downhill. :P My legs got really wobbly by the time I arrived the bus, and the next day, it was really hurting everytime I tried to walk down the stairs. Ouch!

To Vanoise's photo album

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beaufort & Lac de Roselend

We departed early in the morning to a fromagerie at Beaufort, yeeuuwww .... it stank. I tried to enter to storage area, but exited almost immediately as the smell was unbearable. How could people EAT this???? But Jean-Charles got some of it for us to eat during the picnic, and it wasn't so bad after all.

After the cheese factory, we went to see Lac Roselend, a really beautiful man-made lake, which was used as a dam. It was by the lake that we later had picnic, with fresh bread, Beaufort cheese and Vin de Savoie. Later we followed Jean-Charles on a little hiking trip in the hills. The hills are aliveeeeeeeee, with the sound of muuuusicccc ....... that was exactly how I felt when we went to the Cormet de Roselend at Beaufortain. Oh I just had to sing out loud! Erm....I was glad that did not cause a heavy thunderstorm though.

Anyway the walk wasn't really that tough, just that I haven't had enough exercise that it was tough to catch up with the rest. Ard was nice to stay with me, although he could have easily stayed in the lead. Of course, I was not the last...hehe....half of the group of petit espagnols who joined us in this excursion almost gave up! Both my shoes and socks were wet after sinking my feet into "invisible" puddles of water. What looked like a decent grass patch to walk on turned out to be soft muddy ground underneath. (I had to soak the socks overnight and the water was like kopi-o....BLEhhH). Malheureussement, I also sprained my ankle on my way down, having stepped on another invisible hole covered by a patch of grass @!@$!@#%#@^. Yep, I know => I am SUPER clumsy. Probably it's a sign that I should lose some weight...my poor ankle can't support me anymore!





To Beaufort's photo album

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How I Spent My Sunday Afternoon

Plucking "taugehs". That's what I have been doing this afternoon since it was so rainy and cold that I couldn't leave the house. Seriously, it's a good test of patience :D Of course, that was not the only thing I did. I have been saving some frozen crevettes in the fridge for a day like this. I found this nice recipe of Hokkien Prawn Mee, and decided to give it a try myself. But I didn't manage to get all the ingredients required, so I had to do some substitutes. I practically spent whole afternoon preparing the stock, but it was DEFINITELY worth it! It tasted just like the ones I had in Penang..... MMmmmm.. mmmm.. yummy ;) Care for a bowl, anyone?

*taugeh = beansprouts

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lyon & The Rain

It's the 2nd largest city in France (if I have my facts right). Compared to Paris, it's much laid back, but who am I to judge, having spent only several hours in this town? It was a little drizzly when we embarked on our journey, and we got into the bus just in time before the rain got heavy after our first stop at Perouges. We arrived Lyon close to noon time with sunny weather, only to be surprised later in the afternoon with a heavy pour, delaying our guided visit for a quarter of an hour. Just as quickly as it came, the rain stopped and after that came really clear blue skies. Although I was not really expecting any tough walking here, I climbed the hill TWICE on this very trip to see the Basilique! (it was with a diff group of course). *pant* pant* pant*

To Lyon's photo album

Thursday, August 10, 2006

First In First Out

I probably need to attend a course on Fridge Inventory Management. Voilà my problems:
  1. I can't keep track of the expiry dates of the meat and vegetables;
  2. I over-shop. I go to the supermarket with 2 items on my list, and I checkout with 15 items in the trolley;
  3. I thought I have shopped enough for one week, then I realised I need to go to the supermarket again after 2 days because I ran out of milk, eggs, etc. ;
  4. I have limited fridge space, but I keep buying things in bulk because it's cheaper that way. The last time I had to leave some carrots out of the fridge, and they went bad after 2 days...erm...no, 3 days.

Anyway, I found a nice little solution for problem no. 2, i.e. if I only need one item from the supermarket, I get somebody else to do it for me....hehe.... hopefully I'd be able to find solutions for the rest of the problems soon. :P

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

L'excursion à Chamonix

Dimanche passé, je suis allée à Chamonix avec une excursion d'IFALPES. Il y avait peut être 40 personnes, compris aussi les étudiants d'Annecy. D'abord, il faisait très beau et il n'y avait pas beaucoup de nuages. Pourtant quand on y est arrivé, on voyait des nuages gris.

On s'est divisé en quelques petits groupes. Il y avait des personnes qui allaient marcher avec Philippe, le coordinateur, tandis que certaines personnes ont choisi d'aller à l'Aiguille du Midi ou la Mer de Glace. Moi, je me suis promenée au centre ville avec Anna, une fille russe. Depuis le centre ville, on pouvait voir le Mont Blanc. Du centre ville, on a fait une petite randonée jusqu'a La Praz, où nous avons fait un pique-nique. Et puis on a decidi d'aller à la Grotte de Glace. En route à Montenvers, où on devait prendre la télécabine, il a plu. Par chance, j'avais mon impermeable avec moi, donc je n'ai pas été très mouillée. Il faisait très froid dans la grotte, mais c'etait suprenant comment la glace pouvait soutenir la chaleur d'été!

On s'est retrouvé au bus à 17 heures pour rentrer à Chambéry. En rentrant, j'ai dormi dans le bus car j'étais très fatiguée. *béance*

Voilà les photos que j'ai prises à Chamonix.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Summer Rain

C'est triste! On my first day of class, I had to walk to school in the rain. Thank goodness I had not decided to let TW bring back my umbrella and my rain coat. Everyone was taken by shock that it has rained continuously for 2 days here, and it's really cold. The shops have a sudden surge in their umbrella sales, because many of those who came only for vacations did not have any with them. Who would have thought it's gonna rain during summer??? Both the bicycle and the pool pass are of no use to me now. :(

Par contraire, I am quite happy with my class. I was put in the Intermediate level after the test....Yaaayyy! I am no longer debutant. Everyone in class is nice, the pretty professeur as well, and we even have a special guest, Angie! She's the cute little baby Chi Hua Hua that belongs to Jeff, one of my classmates. He is inseparable from her, thus she studies french with the rest of us. Of course, she's almost like a vacuum cleaner, sniffing around the class everytime we return from a break.

Oh dear, next Friday it's gonna be my turn to do an exposé in class. We are supposed to just present anything related to our country, anything at all......hmm... what can I say about Malaysia?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

S.O.S. Call to Malaysia

I had to make that call back home to ask my mom for recipe for Prawn with Asam Jawa. She gave me a packet of asam jawa (due to some miscommunication...I had not requested for it) and I haven't the slightest idea on what I could do with it. Serves me right for not paying attention when my mom does her cooking.

And so, after a quick lesson on the Skype, I did my experimenting on some frozen prawns I bought from E.Leclerc. Having a chef with 10 yrs experience staring at you when you are experimenting can be also quite nerve-wrecking. That's Ryo, my Japanese housemate who is forever curious when you try something new in the kitchen. He's really nice actually, giving little hints and advices every now and then :)

Well, in the end my assam prawn turned out to be quite alright, although not exactly the same taste as how my mom made it. Just a little bit of fine tuning would do. My steam rice came out perfect too! Not bad for a first try ;)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekend at Genève

My course won't start till the 2nd of August, so I am left with nothing much to do in Chambéry. Having done all I have to do, and I am so frustrated I can't find an additional courses to fill my time, and it's been so cloudy and rainy ever since I paid for that one month pool pass.

So I decided to spend my weekend in Geneva, and it's only about 1hr 20 minutes from Chambéry. Mattias said he'll finish his exams by Friday, so I could go over on Saturday. With his help, I found a nice place to stay at Youth hostel, and it costs me only 27CHF (that's about RM89) per night with breakfast inclusive! Of course it was a 6 bedded room, but it wasn't a problem at all, you get your own private locker to put your stuff in. Plus, the shower room is really good too with a power hot shower.

I arrived Geneva at about 9:30am and Mattias was already there waiting for me. That's really sweet of him considering that he partied all night long till 4 am the night before! We took a stroll around town, then met up with his friend Antoine (hope I got his name correctly). Then we drove to Evian (yes, that's where the Evian mineral water comes from!), back in France to watch the golf tournament, Evian Masters 2006. How funny. I have never been a fan of golf, neither do I know how the game works! :P Mattias explained to me a little so that I was not completely lost. Anyway, I did enjoy myself a lot, and I got to see Michelle Wie up close! (well, quite close)

We were suppose to take the boat to Lausanne, but unfortunately timing was not right, so we went back straight to Geneva instead. While I checked into the hostel, Mattias took a train to Lausanne to get his car. At night, after dinner, we took a stroll in town and stopped at a bar where 2 girls were dancing Sevillanas. Oh I was so tempted to dance as well, though I have completely forgotten what the steps were :P Later that evening, Mattias and I joined his friends, Andy and Rob at the Pré Fêtes de Genève.

The next morning I had to check-out by 10am, and Summer, a girl I met at the Youth Hostel, joined me. We went to the Cornavin train station to put her stuff in a locker, then walked to the Tourist Office to get a map of the city. I smartly thought I was suppose to leave from Gare des Eaux-Vives (whatever gave me that idea???!?!?) , so we walked to the closest park to have picnic. On the way, we stopped at Baby Plage, so that Summer could take a dip in the lake. As for me, I didn't want to be all wet and sticky in the train, so I stayed nice and dry and under the shade. Mattias joined us later about noon time, and then when casually we talked about the train station:

Mattias: Are you sure you are leaving from Gare des Eaux-Vives??
Me: Erm, I think so....
Mattias: Shouldn't you be leaving from the same train station that you arrived?
Me: It's NOT the same station??????
Mattias: Nope, you arrived at Gare de Cornavin.
Me: WHAT?!?!?

Ok, I got a little panic there (just a little), as the other station would take approx. 30 minutes walk from the plage. Lucky for me it was still early, and I had ample time to walk back. LUCKY for me, I didn't find out 10 minutes before the train leaves....*phew* or else I'd have to take the next train home. Hmmm...come to think of it, it wouldn't have been too bad at all, it was really nice to just sit by the lake :D


The Geneva photos are stored in my Europe Tour album.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Settling down

I went to school early Wednesday morning to take the pre-entry test, only to find out that I have to wait till 2nd August, to take the test with the rest of the group that starts on the same day.

Then I had my bicycle rented, only to find out that there are no parking space in my apartment for bicycles. I had to carry the bike all the way up to the 3rd floor coz it couldn't fit into the lift. Anyway, now I tied it next to the tree in the lawn downstairs, couldn't be bothered to carry it up and down the stairs everytime I need to use it.

After that I wanted to do my laundry, but there were no washing machine. Gotta hand wash lah, what to do?

Then I tried looking for courses of Yoga or Dance or anything at all, to fill my time, only to find that EVERY single clubs and associations are closed for summer holiday and only re-open for registration in September.

ARrrgghhHH....Okay, okay, so yesterday I paid for a one month pass to use the swimming pool. It's really nice to take a dip in the pool in a hot summer like this. And guess what?? It's raining cats and dogs today!!!

OOOOoohh Làaaa Làaaaa!!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Indomie for dinner

Just touched down Chambéry a few hours ago..... damn it's HOT! How disappointing, I was hoping that the temperature would be a little lower than the rest of France, considering that Chambéry is surrounded by mountains. Am keeping my fingers crossed it will be better tonight.

I was so busy unpacking that I forgot to do my grocery shopping before the shops closes at 7:30pm. Bummer. Lucky for me, thanks to my darling, I have several packets of Indomie Mi Goreng as my dinner backup :D

Will try to update my blog as soon as I settle down: grocery shopping, laundry, rent a bike, take a pre-entry French test (again...arrggh..!)

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Tortures for the "Puteri Lilin"

After Paris, we proceed to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. The rooms in Avignon and Aix was climatisée, so TW was less grumpy. At least he could have a good night's sleep. But still, it's like walking in an oven when we did our sight-seeing. So while we were in Aix-en-Provence, I left him in the hotel room to sleep while I went exploring :P That way I could go shopping peacefully without a bee buzzing next to my ear.

Anyway, while we were in Marseille, we managed to take the bus to the beach area, because he wanted to see if women really did go topless while sunbathing. So I let him see it for himself lor.... Ö

For lunch we had it somewhere near the vieux port, a big dissapointment, I must say. Since TW didn't want to go round looking and comparing the menus because of his blisters, we decided to just randomly choose one, well, the closest one to our position was more like it. I had a quick glance at the menu they put outside, and it seemed alright, so we sat down. At first, the owner greeted us with all smiles, and then gave us a menu to look at. I found that the menu was slightly different than the one I glanced at the entrance: this one was in English, and had only the pricey food items on the list. Then I requested for the French menu, only to find that there was also the Set menu on it, which was not on the other English menu. We both ordered the set menu, with entrée and a main course.

I guess the owner was not too happy that we chose one of the cheapest menu.....coz after that the service definitely deteriorated; he was busy serving the rest who ordered expensive dish like the bouillabaisse, then after the entrée, we had to wait very long to be served the main course, and at the end, when we wanted to pay our bills, he insisted that we had to pay by cash because credit card was not accepted, then proceed to accepting somebody else's credit card. Seriously, I was not in a mood to argue with him, but TW did not want to give in, and argued with the owner until he was willing to give it a try with our credit card. His reason was that his machine would not accept a card without a chip, but he denied us even without checking if our card had chip or not!! The transaction went through fine, and we left without leaving any tips, OF COURSE!!!

I forgot the name of the restaurant, only remembered that it had something that started with the letter "R". Serves me right for taking so long to update this post :P (19 Oct '06)

Photos for Avignon, Aix-en-Provence & Marseille

Friday, July 21, 2006

PAS DE PHOTO, SVP!!!

The guard had to scream across a crowded hall to stop people from taking photos. I don't understand why some people can be so stubborn. Despite being told off several times, these people still don't get it. In certain halls of the Louvre, there were signs in all possible language that say, NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED. And yet, people just click away. I had to tell one lady off, but she just smiled at me and walked off, continuing taking photos of other works of art.

I really don't know who has more rights, the museum, who owns the art collection, or the visitors, who paid to see these exhibits and wants a photo as a souvenir, as something to show to their friends that they've been there. Of course, when we paid for the tickets to enter, we agree to abide the rules of the museum. The same with performances, just when you are enjoying the show, you see flashes coming from the audience. Arrggghhh, I just get so irritated when people TAK FAHAM BAHASA!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Romantic Paris?? ......NOT!!!


Well, I have just been branded the new Queen of Torture. Immediately after mon amour arrived, I took him to the hotel. Though he was quite happy to see me, he was not at all pleased to find that it was not air-conditioned. Anyway, I told him we won't be spending too much time in the hotel because I wanted him to see as much as possible of Paris during his short 4 days stay. And so, we started on our journey immediately with Versaille.

Day 1

At the Chateau de Versaille, though I thought it would be nice and romantic to walk in the gardens, my darling thought it was too hot to walk in such a BIG garden, and we ended up driving around in an electronic car instead. There were long queues everywhere; ticketing booth, entrance into museums, toilets, etc. It was certainly not as pleasant as it was when I was there end of May, although there were less restoration work going on, and lots of beautiful flowers nicely planted in all the gardens with magnificent fountains shows. Then I was guilty of starving him - we had our lunch really really late, coz I was being such a miser and refuse to eat within the Chateau, and we only had one ice cream each as lunch. After spending close to 5 hours at the Chateau and the parks, we finally had our meal in a Tex-Mex restaurant next to the train station. Then we headed straight back to Paris and decided to have an early night rest (here I'll skip the details :P)

Day 2

The very next morning, I made TW walk again, this time to the Office de Tourisme. He was practically whining all the way, thought it was probably just a 15 mins walk. From the tourist office, we got our Museum Pass (2 consecutive days of visit), Disneyland tickets (this was on his MUST-DO list) and Moulin Rouge performance + River Cruise tickets.

I made a lists of museums to visit on Monday, and another list for Tuesday. He was not too keen on museums, neither was I, but there are some that you just can't miss while you are in Paris. We made our first trip to The Louvre, which he had absolutely no idea what it was about except that it has that transparent pyramid thingy. When I explained that Mona Lisa was part of the exhibits, he showed a little bit more interest. In fact, that was his ONLY objective, as after we found our way to Mona Lisa's, he already wanted to leave. I made him stay a little while more, then we went over to Centre Pompidou to see displays of modern art. There he was nauseous when he saw a video clip of gays making love to each other.

We didn't visit any more museums after that as we needed to do some shopping. There was a dress code for the Moulin Rouge show. No jeans, no sneakers. I reminded him to bring shirt and slacks in case we needed to be somewhere formal, and so he did. But he forgot about the shoes. Being particularly picky about shoes, we spent few hours looking for a pair that pleased him. He finally decided just to randomly pick one from Zara because his feet was just too sore to walk anymore....(more whining about the heat)

After the dinner, we took a metro to the meeting point for the cruise and Moulin Rouge show. The cruise was really nice, and when the sun set, the view was breathtaking. No offense, but the Moulin Rouge show which took place after the cruise was a BIG disappointment (ok...not completely, certain parts e.g. the acrobatic show was quite alright). You get a glass of champagne with the show, then you cramp into a small hall with the rest of the tourists. While the women danced half naked on the stage, the men were fully clothed from head to toe. It could have been that both of us were tired from a day's walk - seriously, we almost nodded off during the performance. I guess I don't find bouncing breasts on stage at all interesting, although credit must be given to the costume designer; they are really EXTRAVAGANT! As the show ended very late, we were sent directly to the hotel by a coach, which was perfect, we would have gotten a taxi anyway.

Day 3

More museum visits. But I kept it to a minimum as TW was getting blisters on almost every single toe, and instead of shopping for Louis Vuitton or Gucci, we were shopping for Hansaplast. We went to see Eiffel tower, he can't leave Paris without having climbed the Eiffel tower (we took the elevator lah.... I am not really that MAD). We also went up the Arc de Triomphe at the end of Champs-Elysees street, but we skipped Musée d'Orsay. I had to reserve our energy for Disneyland the next day.

Day 4

I guess this was probably his happiest day in Paris. We went on kiddy rides, watch Winnie the Pooh and his friends performed, took pictures of Mickey & Minnie, Pluto, the princesses, Chip & Dale (they are call Tic and Tac in French....how cute) and many other Disney characters whom I didn't recognize. Because it was so HOT, we probably spent more time in the souvenir shops than outside because the shops were air-conditioned. What I couldn't stand was, every shop he entered, all he thought of was what to get for my brother!!! "I think he will like this mug... I want to buy this Chicken Little for WL... This is cute, shall I get it for your brother???" Heyyyyy!!! He was suppose to reserve his baggage space for me, not fill it up with presents for my brother! :( Anyway, we stayed there until about 7ish, that was after the parade of the Disney characters. By the time I got to Paris, it was too late to meet up with Dita, she was already at the train station. So we spent time packing for the trip down south, while exchanging stuff. I gave lots of books and brochures and stuff for him to bring home .... including the bottle of Limoncello that I have been carrying from town to town since Perugia, while he gave me packets of Indomie, sambal goreng, and asam jawa, an apron, my yoga mat, and some additional shirt and shorts. Phew! A pleasure doing business with you! Hehe...

Of course, every fairy tale must have a happy ending :D. Especially one that takes place in Paris. We had someone take this photo in front of Eiffel Tower after the climb to the top.


Here are the rest of the photos taken in Paris, Versaille and Disneyland.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reorganization of Photo Albums

Thought that it would be better to categorize the photos in France by city, rather than dumping all of them in one album. So that's what I did this afternoon, a little bit of reorganization.

1. Paris & Versaille
2. Toulouse & Carcassonne
3. Bordeaux
4. La Rochelle

Off I go to Cap Ferret tomorrow (again) with a group of students from AF Bordeaux, and on Saturday, to Paris. I probably won't have the chance to update my blog until I reach Chambéry on the 25th of July (where I will have permanent wi-fi and internet access from the comfort my room, YIPPEEE!!!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Toute Seule Au Cap Ferret

Au bord de la mer,
tout le monde bronzait

"Depechez-vous!
Que vienne l'eau"

La pauvre....aie!
Personne ne l'aidait

C'est mouillé,
tout est salé

Le cahier, les stylos
aussi le petit sac-a-dos.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Life after World Cup 2006

Bordeaux was not as calm as I thought after France lost in the finals. Well, the town was not too crazy neither, but supporters of Italy were setting off small firecrackers, cheering, and running around with the Italian flag near Place Victoire, where I watched the game. The rest quietly went home did not make too much noise. Stanislas, the only son of the family that I am staying with, who was extremely hyper before the match, was also unusually quiet. So, life goes on, and nobody else mentioned about the match anymore today (except for some talks about Zidane). No grand fireworks, nothing.

Oh well...forget about the WC2006. So what if France didn't win. Everybody talks about Le Tour de La France now!

La Rochelle et les SOLDES!

Most of the students from Alliance Française that I know have decided to go to the beach at Biarritz this weekend. Since I only had one weekend in Bordeaux, I chose La Rochelle over Biarritz, and travelled alone.

But it was NOT BAD, not bad at all! In fact, I am really glad I chose La Rochelle, cette ville est tellement très très jolie!!! I arrived La Rochelle about 1pm, approximately 30 minutes late from the original scheduled time, but it was alright. The weather was perfect, not too hot, with occassional cool breeze, and not too crowded. As usual, I headed straight to the Office de Tourisme (OfT) when I arrive in a new town, and got myself a guide for just 20 cents. From the OfT, I found out that there is this Vélos Jaunes, that offers free use of bicycle for the first 2 hours, and subsequent hours for just 1 euro/hour!!! C'est genial!

I didn't start on my tour immediately as my tummy was growling. I found a nice restaurant just by the Quai Duperré (Vieux Port). Well, there wasn't just one, but a whole lot of restaurants there, so I had to randomly choose one, Les Regates, which turned out to be quite good. I ordered Moules Marinères as a starter, and a plat du jour, which was some kind of fish served with Normandie sauce, accompanied by some vegetables and rice. The seafood was really fresh, and portion was also sizeable enough to fill my tummy. While having my lunch, I went through the guide and found recommended walks in town for 1 hour, or 3 hours, which was really helpful.

I started my tour by first going to Vélo Jaunes, and found the process of getting the bike to be fuss-free. Just give them your ID or driving license, fill up a simple form, and you off you go with a bike. No money deposit, ilek. From Vieux Port, I cycled up to Baie de Port Neuf, then across Promenade de Chef de Baie, to Port de Pêche and Port de Commerce de "La Pallice" before heading to city centre, along Parc Charruyer then back to Vieux Port. After approx. 3.5 hours of cycling, I returned the bike and did the city centre tour by foot.

Oooh là là... what did I find?? Arts and crafts market, and rows of shops on summer sale! I know...I know.... I really shouldn't be doing any more shopping, not when my luggage is already up to the max weight limit. So I limited myself to just one...one tinnie winnie little handmade necklace. That was it!!! Really....honestly, that was the only thing I bought! Of course, I uhm, am waiting for my darling to come over next week, so that I can offload some of my stuff for him to bring home, and uhmmm... then I can shop again :P

Ok, back to my trip.... I was yet again caught in another delay when returning from La Rochelle, due to some Rave Party, where lots of youngsters group together for drinking sessions, techno music, and doing other crazy stuff. They happen to be partying right beside the railway track, and the train had to go real slow, to be able to brake on time. Why? Some wasted youngsters may decide to do some stunts on the track, then end up being like those bugs on your car windscreen when you drive late at night. And that slow down thingy caused a delay of 40 minutes, and I only managed my dinner at 10:40pm.

Anyway, the trip had been great, just regretted that I was not able to spend a little bit more time there, so that I could also visit Ile de Ré. Next time perhaps! Here's the photo album specially dedicated to La Rochelle.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Allez Les Bleus!!!

More football matches for me. Apa nak buat, Malaysia tak jadi masuk World Cup 2006, but France jadi mah. While I am here, gotta give a bit of support lah. Plus, if they win, also means lots of party party here...hehehe.... everyone was crazy yesterday when Zidane scored the but. Unfortunately, Carolina (espagnole) and Paula (brezilienne) were both supporting Portugal and were really disappointed. U faham, I faham lah........

Next match: France vs. Italy (Lo siento Federico, me quedo con la Francia!!!)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Perfect Timing

I arrived Bordeaux during noon time, and Mdm Brosseau was already at the station waiting for me. She was with Paula, une brazilienne who arrived last Thursday. I was really really surprised when Mdm Brosseau told me she has 5 kids!!! :O That's really not a very common sight on this part of the world. The kids range from 3.5 yrs old to 16 years old, and the youngest, Anne-Victoire, is really really cute. The rest of the girls and a boy, must be like the sweetest kids ever! And not to mention, hyper-active!

Today the family had some guests at the house; while the adults dine inside, the rest, which include the kids (of Mdm Brosseau and the guests), Paula and myself, had our lunch in the garden, with sausages, fries, fruits and ice-cream. The kids were kept busy with lots of toys and games, so that they wouldn't disturb the adults, while Paula and I chatted away.

In the evening, Carolina arrived from Madrid, and all 3 of us went to the Bordeaux Fête Le Vin. It has been running for 4 days in a row, it was the last day today. Seriously I couldn't have arrived Bordeaux at a better timing. We thought it would be nice to get ourselves Pass de Degustacion to try out the wines while we were there. With each purchase of the booklet, we get a wine glass, nicely stored in a pouch. Everyone was tent-hopping to try out all the wines available. That evening we managed to taste 3 types of vin blanc, 2 vin rouge, 1 rosé, 1 margarita and 1 mojito. And guess what, after that, with the alcohol still in our heads, we had to run home as it was raining cats and dogs. The very next morning, we hafta wake up early for class...... TOUGH!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sachiko et Si Theng

Those are the names that I am giving to my 2 new friends. Sachiko, who adores rabbit and the colour olive green, gave me 2 new friends to accompany me on my trip. I decided to name the frog after Sachiko, since it was in her favourite colour, and the rabbit after myself, since I was wearing pink all the time in France (I have no idea why 80% of my wardrobe is in pink...though my fav colour has never been pink). Anyway, from now on they will join Li'l Teddy and Blue Friend in all my adventures!

Sachiko/Si Theng/Li'lTeddy/Blue Friend

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Buuuuuuuuuuuuut!!!!!!!!!!

Ouch, my butt hurts. On my last day in Toulouse, I decided to watch the match between France and Brazil at the Place du Capitole, where the Mairie de Toulouse have set up a grand projection screen for this grand match. By 9pm, the square was crowded with football fans. Sachiko and I found a nice spot to sit, but we forgot our beer. Ai ya ya ya ya yahhh... Neither of us wanted to leave the place or else it would be gone in a second. Il faisait très très chaud, and we felt as if we were enclosed in an oven. Plus, the floor was so hard (I know...when has floor ever been soft?) and I had to shift several times during the first half of the match.

During the break, we decided to move to a bar where there were less people. Although it was just as warm, at least I did not have someone kicking on my butt everytime they tried to squeeze through the crowd to join their friends. France played a good game. Seriously I thought Brazil would kick their butts, but after the first half, I was convinced that they had a good chance of winning. I guess watching a football match is NOT so bad after all. Especially with good company and good beer :D

Friday, June 30, 2006

Last day of Class

I am left all alone in the class today, everyone else have left, while some decided not to come at all (except for Chang, who came for just an hour, and then left) . Instead of having French lessons as we were supposed to, Valerie, my professeur, and I, just chatted and worked on Sudoku puzzles instead. Hehe...what a way to end a session. :D

Just one more goodbye dinner tonight, and tomorrow I'll have to return my bicycle, and start packing. Bordeaux wines, here I come!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Je suis crevée

I know I have been lagging again on updating the blog....but I can't really help it with so many happenings in town. First it was the Fête de la Musique, then came the Rio Loco, and then Fête du Cinema and since this is my last week in Toulouse, there are also lots of goodbye dinners. Estoy hecha polvo!

List of movies that I watched during Fête du Cinema

1. La Colline a des Yeux (Hills Have Eyes)
2. X-Men
3. Cars
4. Scary Movie 4
5. Paris Je T'aime (Paris I Love You)
6. Volver

Except for Volver, I watched everything else in French. So proud of myself...hehe...

Anyway, I still have several posts in draft mode, will try to get it up as soon as possible, hopefully before I leave for Bordeaux this Sunday. Ah yes, I am moving again!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mon "amour"

Je pense à toi, tu es loin de mes yeux mais près de moi des mes pensées.
(I think of you, you are far from my sight, but close to my mind)

Tu es une pierre très precieuse pour moi que je souhaite conserver pour l'éternite.
(You are a stone so precious to me that I wish to keep for eternity)

Je te remercie car je suis convainçu que tu penses à moi.
(I would like to thank you because I am convinced that you think of me)

There you go, some of the messages that I get from Gemma, the guy I met about a month ago on the streets of Paris. I never thought he was actually serious in coming down to Toulouse just to see me, but he arrived last Friday night.

He had originally wanted to come a week ago, but I managed to escape as I was supposed to have this excursion to Pyrenees, which was eventually cancelled. I could not run away this time as I had no excuse :P He asked for my help to find him a hotel, and being hospitable, I found him a cozy 2 stars hotel in the centre. On Friday, he arrived close to midnight, because he didn't know in advance that the train would take about 7 hours to reach Toulouse (and he didn't take the TGV anyway). I was glad Sachiko was with me in town while I waited for him. We went to watch the match between France-Togo then headed straight to town to meet him.

Oh well, when he arrived, I took him to the hotel where he could check-in, told him I was tired, and that we would meet next morning at 10am. He said sure, why don't u come up to my room when you arrive and give knock on the door. I told him NO, we can meet downstairs, at 10am.

Sachiko had to leave for the beach next morning, and she offered her bicycle for Gemma to use, which was very kind. I certainly prefered to have him on the bicycle than walking next to me. So Gemma and I cycled to the Canal du Midi. While we were cycling, he called me 'Mon amour, mon bébé....'. I had to explain to him again and again I am NOT his baby nor his love.... geeesshhh.... why is it so difficult for man to understand the word NO???

Anyway, to cut long story short, he offered to buy me jewellery, attempted to hold my hand, and insisted several times that I should walk next to him with my arms tucked under his and not well ahead of him. He threatened to leave the very next day if I keep rejecting him (I couldn't have been happier). He then helped returned Sachiko's bike, and then again tried his luck to see if I would let him into the house. I guess he finally got the idea that he's not getting anything from me, and walked straight to the metro station without saying a word, just a gesture to say he will call me. I never heard from him again. *phew*

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fête de la Musique

The Festival of Music is held every year on the 21st of June, which also marks the beginning of summer. I was in Carcassonne earlier during the day, but in the evening when I returned, the Fête de la Musique has started. It was just like any other working day, so the highlights began only from evening 7pm onwards.

People playing musical instruments, singing, dancing everywhere ..... partout! Whether you are a professional or an amateur, this is the day for you to show off. Find a spot that you like, then start making music... or noise .....whatever. Nobody will care, not until 2am the next morning. The Mairie of Toulouse set up a grand stage at Place du Capitole and it was almost like an open air discotheque. It was really weird, everyone was blasting their speakers really loud, and you can hear rock blasting on your left ear, and church choirs singing on the right. Then near the St. Etienne, there will be some jazz and classical music played, and lots of jamming as well near Pont Neuf. Just weird. Lots of stalls popping up like mushrooms, selling kebabs, and saucisses de Toulouse and sandwiches and beer. But the crowd was enormous! I thought I saw a stall somewhere selling saucisse, but when I tried to search for it again later, it just disappeared, camouflaged by the crowd.

On the same day was also the opening of the Rio Loco festival along the Garonne. This year's theme was Senégal, and lots of artists were invited to perform in this festival. Although everyone was busy promenading on the streets for the Fête de la Musique, the crowd at the Garonne was not small neither.

Check out the photos of Carcassonne, the Fête de la Musique and Rio Loco. (end of album)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup Mania

Sachiko and Liko wanted to go watch the World Cup at the cafe today to support Japan in the match against Croatia. I thought I'd come along and joined them. After our lunch at Flunch, we settled in a small little cafe in town centre. The moment we sat down, there was this viejo verde, seated by the bar, who could not stop staring at us. Every 5-10 minutes, he would turn his head back and look at us. The match was not even interesting enough for him; if he was not staring at us, he would doze off with his head rocking back and forth a little. We didn't pay much attention to him, and left after the game ended.

Sachiko and I decided to stay at home and watched the match between Australia and Brazil, but we ended up watching the match between France and South Korea instead because I got the wrong information about the match time. The match between Australia and Brazil was already over. That shows how much interests I have for football...bleeehhh :P

Friday, June 16, 2006

Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire, SÉDUISANT?

What more could I ask for in a class? We are blessed with 2 handsome gentlemen (Steve* & Chang*) who are willing to take turns every other day to perform a table dance for all of us before the class starts. Ok, I am joking about the table dance part, but they really do climb onto the table, but to do all of us a favor...(nope, not pole dancing neither). We normally open the window on the roof to let some fresh air in, but at the same time, some of us in the class would be exposed to the risks of sunburn. These 2 nice gentlemen will climb on the table to shut the blinds, so that the ladies are well protected ;)

Today was Steve's turn to be on the table, and Florencia jokingly offered her sweater, for him to dance with :P Then later during the class, we came across a word which we did not understand, "Qu'est que ça veut dire, séduisant**??" , Valerie nicely explained, "C'est Steve sans chausseurs, avec le pull de Florencia sur la table :D" (That's Steve, without his shoes, with Florencia's sweater, on the table). And boy did that made Steve blush! ;)

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the innocent
** séduisant = seductive

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Horse on Wheels

Yesterday, 10 of us from Alliance Française Toulouse went on a cycling trip along the Canal du Midi (which starts in Toulouse, and goes all the way to the Mediteranean sea, approx 250km). It was marvelous! We started our little tour immediately after class, and then we went off-route to a nice little garden to have a picnic before continuing. We cycled about 8km before pausing for a break, then cycled a little bit more before making a retour back to the town centre. In total, we probably did about 19-20km. The cycling path was shady, not crowded, so it was really really nice. I'd probably do this again on one of the weekends with Sachiko :D

The activites organised at the school has been quite interesting. We had Soirée Gourmand last Tuesday i.e. everyone who wanted to attend had to bring a typical dish of their country. Guess what I brought? Nope, not Nasi Lemak, coz I did not have ikan bilis :( But I managed to find some sambal to make Mihun goreng! I was quite proud of myself, and would have given a score of 8 out of 10 (masuk bakul angkat sendiri....hehe)

Right before the Gourmet Evening, we had Atélier de Cuisine, to make Fondant au chocolate et amandes, yummmyyyy. Seriously we were no chefs, so, the cake probably didn't come out looking like it was supposed to, but it tasted good all the same. And we had fun! Not forgetting to mention that we had good wine to accompany it in the end :D

Friday, June 09, 2006

More photos

I thought I'd upload some of the panaromic photos that I have taken both in Paris, Versaille and Toulouse here. The rest of the photos will be in my Yahoo! album.

Place du Capitole à Toulouse


Musée du Louvre


Versailles

Pont Neuf à Toulouse

**Albums moved to http://guiri.site.shutterfly.com/ (Update: 16 May 2008)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Disorganised

Ok, the blog hasn't really been in a proper chronological order lately. I had them written offline, then posted them at different times. It should be fixed by next week, so don't be too surprised if you see a new article dated several days back. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

J'ai un velo!!!

Well....I thought I had to wait till I was in Chambéry to get a bicycle. Fortunately, NOT! My housemate, Sachiko, thought it was a good idea to rent a bicycle too, considering that we have to walk at least 25 minutes a day to school, and another 25 minutes back under the hot sun, with a temperature of 32 degrees. Of course, we could take the metro, but it's not really worth it.

Today, we finally got our rental contract done, and a bicyle to ride for a rent of 20 euros a month (or less if you rent for longer duration). It's really handy if you know how to operate a bicycle properly. We have to be quite careful in some of the areas though, coz the some of the streets are really narrow with lots of pedestrians, and quite often cars too. I guess I'll be quite an expert by the end of June, before I leave :D

Am staying with a French family, and the lady host is really nice. She is more than 60 years old, but still goes out every weekend to dance! That's the spirit! Elle est très gentile, and also a good cook, so I am really quite happy here :) My housemate Sachiko, does not speak English, which is perfect. We are all the time speaking in French. God knows if it is correct French, but at least we understand each other .... hehehe...

The French class is so far going all right. I almost missed the first class as I thought it was the Pentcote holiday. Thank goodness me and Sachiko decided to take a walk that morning, drop by the school and found out that we were supposed to attend class! I was also put into the wrong niveau on the first day. It was too easy for me, and I requested for a change. I guess it's somehow my fault coz I didn't do the pre-entry test properly :P

Oh well, I haven't taken too many photos so far, but here are some picture of sunset in Toulouse. (go to the end of the album)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kena halau!

Oh well...I didn't exactly get shoo-ed away. The guy was quite polite although I had taken his seat. I was so glad to have found the seat no 64 without having looked carefully at the coach no. Well, I did look, but apparently it was not the coach no but the seating class :P I plonked my ass on the comfy seat, plugged on the MP3 player, ready to doze off when...

Nice guy: Excusez-moi, uhm.... c'est ma place? (Excuse me, I think this is my place?)
Me: Uhm, moi aussi? (Me too? I quickly digged out my ticket to confirm). C'est la voiture 1, place 64? (This is coach 1, seat 64?)
Nice guy: Non, c'est la voiture 2. Pardon. (He said sorry although I was the one who was mistaken? How sweet.)

I quickly left the seat....malu again.... and searched for my rightful seat. Ah, the new one is not too bad after all. View was perfect. I had a bel homme sitting diagonally opposite and facing me. He got off at Bordeaux though, which was 2 hours before me, *sigh* what a waste. NO more wash-eye :(

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bye bye Pigeons!

Am packing my bags now, getting ready to leave for Toulouse tomorrow. Except for Rana, the only girl I knew in the residence, I only have the pigeons to say bye bye to. They are outside my window every morning, going 'crrrrrruuuuu ...crrrrrruuu ..... crrrrrruuuu....' and leaving lots of souvenirs behind. :P

Back to packing, I just hate it when I have to cram everything back into the 2 bags. It's always a mystery how I managed to squeeze everything in before, then when I had to do it again, it doesn't seem to fit, and I have to dig out everything and rearrange it again. Thank goodness I won't have to do it again, at least not for another 4 weeks, when I leave for Bordeaux.

More Random "Friends"

It's so difficult to walk on the streets alone without attracting unnecessary attention. Since it was my 2nd last day in Paris, and weather was wonderful, I decided to take a walk in Paris, to see the places that I have missed. I went to see St. Sulpice (another tourist attraction because of Da Vinci Code), Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin de Tuileries, Trocadéro, Porte de Choisy (Chinatown), and Bastille.

While walking across the garden in front of Palais de Chailliot, this guy who was sitting on the grass reading a book waived at me from far. I pretended not to notice him, but as I got closer, he waived again, and gestured for me to walk towards him. I just nodded to say hello, but did not walk to him. Enough of weird men, I thought.

Then, while I stepped out from the Bastille metro station later in the evening, I was greeted by another guy, who was also just promenading on the streets without any objective, like me. He asked if he could join me to just walk, and we chatted a bit along the way (in French, yay!). Later I found out that he was from Congo, his name was Gemma, works in Carrefour, and he has been living in Paris with his family for the past 5 years. Oh well, we ended up chatting in a bar, and yeah, he also called me a bijoux (jewellery). He then showed me a picture of his son, and mentioned that he is divorced, blah blah. He was quite nice I guess, considering that he asked me to contact him if I was in Paris again (I did tell him my boyfriend would come along). He also said that he will come visit me in Toulouse. Tengoklah camne nanti....