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

Monday, May 29, 2006

Weekend at Ile de France

Last Saturday I spent a day with Bruno and Monika at Fontenay-aux-Roses. They were really nice to let me stay for lunch, tea and dinner. I tried some fromage, camembert, blue cheese, and some other I dunno what cheese.

We even went to the movies together (a French movie, mind you). I could guess the story roughly, however did not really understood what was said, neither did Bruno nor Monika. :P Guess it was not so French after all. Apparently they had lots of colloquial French among the Jewish population, which was not fully understandable not even by a native French.

Both of them then showed me around the city and Parque de Sceaux on bicycle. YES! Bicycle again....that funny little apparatus on 2 wheels that I still can't operate properly. We went uphill, downhill, tight stretches, across parks and so on....we cycled probably about 2-3km (it could have been less, but it just felt really faaaaaaaaar). I am quite determined to learn to ride a bicycle properly now. It's just so embarassing that the kids could ride better than me....*sigh*

Hmm...let's see....where can I start....ah yes, in Chambéry, where there's less traffic. And whaddya know...that's not going to happen, not in 2 months time! I can always practice mentally now of course. Perhaps tonight with Mr. Sandman ;)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gloomy Paris

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30am as usual, to get ready for school. As I walked on the streets, I couldn't be more surprised that it was almost deserted, and there was no need to wait for the traffic lights to cross. The metro station was also almost empty. Uh-oh, something's fishy, don't tell me its a public holiday today, and NOBODY told me??? Hmm...come to think of it, I think they did mention something about it last Monday, and I wasn't paying attention.... :P Oh well, I proceeded to the school anyway, and confirmed my doubts, as there were a big sign on their door that says 25 mai 2006 IS a holiday.

Anyway, I had my camera with me, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take pictures of the almost deserted streets of Paris on a cloudy morning. And off I went walking to Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, Tour Eiffel, Grand Palais, Concorde, and along the Seine, snapping photos before my tummy started making noise and signalling me that its lunch time.

So, here they are, a view of Paris on a cloudy Thursday morning.


After abandoning my blog for more than 2 weeks now, I finally have it all updated .... well, almost. For those who have been following my blog closely, thousand apologies for the delay but it can't be helped, I don't have constant Internet access :(

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Parisien Sympa

Who says people in Paris are not friendly if you don't speak French??? Hah! You'd be surprised how friendly they can be.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon by TGV from Zürich, and in less than half an hour, I checked into my room at the Youth Residence for Nurses in Montparnasse. I was quite proud of myself, I thought I managed the French language quite nicely, until of course when I tried to buy a metro ticket later and it felt like the cat's got my tounge :P. I then took off for a stroll, while searching for my school. It's a good thing it had not rained in the afternoon as it was forecasted (but it did rain later though). After a few turns of yuen wong lou, I finally found it. Then I decided it would be nice to take a stroll around Montmartre, while trying to find the previous hostel I was booked in, so that I could make a cancellation and see if I could get back my deposit. While looking a little lost and struggling to find the street the hostel was on, I met this "friendly" Parisien:

Alain: Vous êtes fatiguée? (Are you tired?)
Me: Huh??
Alain: Vous êtes fatiguée? (...then he made some gestures to his face to say that I look tired)
Me: Ohh...non...non..
Alain: Vous parlez français? (Do you speak French?)
Me: Erm....seulement un peu. (Only a little)
Alain: Anglais? (English?)
Me: Yes

It was a relief for me that we continued the conversation in English, and sometimes in French, because I told him I was in Paris to study French. He told me he was an architect, and that he lived near Gare de Lyon, and was on holiday for several days. What a coincidence, he has also been in several parts in SEA, including Malaysia! He helped me find the hostel (I was walking the opposite direction earlier, hence, more yuen wong lou - oh, I am hopeless with maps :P) He did most of the talking, coz I still had my cough, and everytime I attempted to talk, I would also start coughing. After finding the hostel, and settled what I needed to do, he showed me around Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. It was not long before he started an "interesting" conversation.

Alain: You know, it's hard for me in Malaysia
Me: It's too hot for you??
Alain: No, not HOT, but hard.... I look at a pretty lady, and my friend tell me, 'No, no Alain, you cannot do that'. But why? But what is wrong if a I see a girl that I like, we stay together for a night, and then if we like each other, we stay longer, if not, we say bye bye?
Me: ...things are different in Malaysia, I guess
Alain: No, you shouldn't think that way, you are not in Malaysia now!

Then he goes on telling me he is a good cook, but just don't like doing the dishes. And I could help him do the dishes if I think he is a good cook....etc. Less than 10 minutes into the conversation, he is already telling he would like me to stay with him during my 2 weeks stay in Paris (and hopefully more). There was no need for me to waste money staying in a hostel. He would loved to see me every morning when he wakes up. Whooaaaa! Wait a minute... this guy is already asking me to move in with him less than 30 minutes of knowing me? Wah liao.... sorry mister...that's not how things work. I politely told him I already HAVE a boyfriend, but he was quite insistent and said it does not matter because I am not in Malaysia now. Most important thing was that I was happy doing what I want, and it does not matter if I have more than 1 boyfriend. ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Anyway, I bid him farewell (in which he asked me several times to reconsider) and finally we went our separate ways. *PHEWWWW!*. After that, I decided it would be wise for me to return to the residence and have some rest before another nice guy ask me if I was tired again.

Sunday, May 21, 2006



My Europe tour comes to a finalé, and its time to be a little more serious and start working on my français!! I must say I have had a super duper fabulous time!!!! It's really nice to be able to meet again some the great people I have met in Spain last year. I would have loved to meet more people, but I understand my stop is always too short to fit everyone in.

Nevertheless, I'd like to thank the following people for making my trip an unforgettable one:
  • Anette, Lindsey, Angele, Sarah, Rosie, Antonio, Pedro (Sevilla, Spain)
  • Irene & Hans, Ineke (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
  • Niels (Berlin, Germany)
  • Mark, Jane, Paul, Y.Kit (London, England)
  • Federico & family (Perugia, Italy)
  • Michael & his mom, Sarah (Zug, Switzerland)
And not to forget as well the friends of Niels, Federico and Michael :)

Millones de besazos a vosotros!!!

Upcoming Next: Paris - Toulouse - Bordeaux - Chambéry

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rain, rain, go away....

I always thought I brought the sun with me everywhere I went, but I guess I was wrong when I arrived Zürich on Wednesday. It was raining cats and dogs, and the sky was filled with gloomy dark clouds. It almost seems like the weather reflects how I felt at the particular moment, gloomy and moody because of the stupid flu bug. If it would just go away.....*sigh* Michael arrived at the airport to pick me up, and within less than 1/2 hour trapped in the car with me, el pobrecito caught the bug from me and had a headache :P So we decided to just stay in and cooked something instead of eating out.

Next day was really nice though, since Michael had to work, his mom, Beatrice, took me on a nice excursion to Ticino, Lugano & Lüzern! Weather was warm and nice, we had a nice sandwich outside their holiday apartment up on the mountains. While walking along streets of Lugano, I almost had to take off my cardigan because it was too warm. The landscape of Switzerland is MARVELOUS!! Endless views of scenic mountains and beautiful lakes. I was just gaping in awe as we drove from Zug, but didn't manage to snap as many photos as I would have wanted though. In the evening I joined Michael and his friends to watch Da Vinci Code in a local cinema. Halfway through the show, the movie was interuppted, and lights were switched on. Just when I thought "Awww, NOT AGAIN??", I realised it was just a commercial break, and half the audiences left the hall to go to the toilet, or to get a drink. And there I was, sitting there, feeling like a jakun :P

This morning was really fun, as after breakfast, Sarah (Mic's darling) and I danced in the living hall, practicing on my jive, salsa, disco rock, samba, cha cha and waltz :P Was really a nice sweat out.....though I am having lots of difficulty recalling the steps. And after that I went cycling with Michael around Zug and to Steinhaussen. YESSSsss....cycling...and in the rain too. I was so clumsy that I fell off almost immediately after climbing on, and was going eXtremely slow. At one time I almost bumped into him. All I knew was my hands felt like my feet, and my feet felt like my hands. Probably it would have been wiser to cycle upside down :P But overall it was really cool experience. A pity it was raining, or else we would have been able to cycle more. I was just starting to get the hang of it after a few rounds. We then walked home with Mövenpick ice cream in our hands....kekekeke....

Tonight I will attend a 50th birthday party of Mic's colleague, Kurt, and tomorrow I will be off to Paris, another early departure, at 6:29am, though not the earliest so far. Oh dear, I have only been using english and español so far. My french course will be starting in less than 2 days time and I can't remember a single french word!!! Uh-oh.....................

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chicken & Duck Talk

Finally arrived Rome this morning, and was greeted warmly by Federico who drove almost 2 hours from Perugia (and stuck in traffic as well) just to pick me up. I was then told that his parents will be at home in the afternoon for lunch .... unfortunately, neither of them speaks Spanish nor English. Federico said he would be the translator between us.

I arrived his house close to noon time, and was not too well received by his cat, Rambo. The cat seemed to think that I have invaded his territory and was not too happy about it, and decided to keep away from me. While waiting for Federico's parents to return for lunch, we took a stroll along the town of Ponte Valleceppi, where Federico lives. I was surprised to see that the houses here have grills and gates and fences, just like in Malaysia, not a very common sight in Europe; well... at least I haven't noticed it in Spain, UK, The Netherlands or Germany.

For the next few days, we had lunch at home, but Federico's mom just would not let me help. Not even the dishes or with the cooking. I was treated like a VIP in the house. Throughout lunch and dinner time, I attempted to pick out italian words which I understood. The rest I had to rely on Federico to translate it for me :P The second day of my stay I got to meet Francesca, Federico's sister, and her boyfriend. We had a nice dinner at home; his mom made gnocchi and verdure ripiene, while Francesca's bf brought a strawberry pastry. The gnocchi was so good I had to ask for the recipe. She wrote it in Italien of course, and Federico had it translated for me to Spanish :D

17th May - Federico's birthday!!! On this day, Federico took me to visit the Lago Trasimeno, and along the way, we visited several other towns close by, like Corciano, Magione, Castiglione del Lago and Assisi. Assisi was one of the World Heritage site. As usual, como una guiri, I tried to take as many photo as I could, and Federico was never too shy to be my model! :D Overall, the day trip was nice, but there were just too many hills to climb (like Perugia)! I felt sorry for Federico because the poor chap had to climb hills with me and work so hard on his birthday! :P In the evening, Federico invited his friends and myself for a drink at the town of Perugia. Feliz cumpleaños, Federico!

On my last day, Federico drove me to the airport. Just before I left Rome, I bought a bottle of Limoncello from the duty free shop.... hehehe ... I fell in love with it the last time Federico made me try it :) Erm, of course, the promoter at the shop also gave me another sampling while I was contemplating if I should get a bottle or not :P Oh well.....more to add to my luggage weight now!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Things to buy in London

London is such an expensive place to go shopping. Nevertheless, I have 2 very important things on my shopping list:

1. A Lousy T-Shirt: Sam gave me 5 quid to get a "My friend went to London and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" t-shirt for myself because she didn't manage to get enough souvenirs for everyone during her last vacation. Since London was part of my trip, she gave mine away and told me to get one myself.

2. Giant Lollipop: A souvenir for Hazel. She's into collecting huge lollipops, what else can be better for a gift than a one with a Big Red Bus on it?

OK, those weren't really to tough to get....with help from Mark and Yoong Kit, of course. So my shopping mission was accomplished quite easily. What I did not manage to fulfil during my trip in London was to meet up with Tinisha, Keith & Andrew. Que lastima! I only managed to catch up with Paul on my last day, which was really great. Together with Mark, we walked around Portobello and Hyde Park. Had several photos taken with my camera phone! ;)

To the photo album!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Magpies & Sorrows

One For Sorrow,
Two For Joy,
Three for a Girl and
Four for a boy,
Five for Silver,
Six for Gold,
Seven is a secret never to be told,
Eight's a wish and
Nine's a kiss,
Ten is a bird that you must not miss.

The next magpie I see alone on the parks of London will be a dead bird. I am not being cruel, or anything of that sort, its just that I hadn't been really that lucky every time I see a single magpie. Mark says that I can't accummulate all the magpies I see in a day, it doesn't count. They are the only ones we could blame for walking in circles in Hampstead Heath. Everytime we see a magpie, we head for the wrong direction (and always uphill too). Hmm....come to think of it, maybe it's not the magpies' faults. It could be just Mark who thinks I could lose the extra pounds by walking uphill more....hmmm.....*deep pondering* Of course, it was also my idea to walk. I get so used to going round in cars that I am just getting fat and lazy. Anyway, I'd rather walk in the nice parks than get stuck in the stuffy tube stations. And oh did we get a good view of London on foot!

Talking about 'EXITS' in my previous post, I was nicely ushered out of the theatre in central London and shown the 'EXIT' sign just 2 minutes after the show began. Nope, I didn't do anything annoying or created a havoc in the theatre, in fact, the whole audience was requested to evacuate the theatre due to some security alert. No tengo ni puta idea de que pasó. Probably somebody has left an unattended baggage somewhere, and they had to check it to make sure it was not a BOMB or something. Everyone was allowed into the theatre again after 10 minutes. What an experience! Mark said it was the first time this happened to him, so it MUST be my fault.....hehe....didn't realise I had such impact???

Mark has been really nice and generous with me, knowing that I have been deprived of Chinese food for very long time, he had nasi goreng prepared for me on my arrival. And the very next evening, he cooked fried cod fish with chinese wine and ginger sauce. Am certainly a happy baby horse. :D

Ah, something I should not forget - though not something that would be approved by my grandmother...I went visiting cemeteries on the very first day of my arrival :D I even took a picture with Karl Marx!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mana Keluar???


Guess what? Yep, I am in London now, and the next few days, I will be spending a lot of time with Mark (Sam's gonna be so jealous ... muahaha).

Berlin has been a such wonderful city to visit, also thanks to Niels. Right from the Berlin airport , he has been giving me lots of tips and advices on moving around Berlin, helped me with my luggage (thank god he was around to help carry my luggage to my room - it's on the 4th floor...and without elevator!!!) He also made me nice German breakfast in the morning during the weekends, and also brought me to this nice bar on the 14th floor where I could have a nice view of the Berlin city at night. Ooh...and I also tried Berliner Weisse, a nice refreshing drink for the summer - a combination of white beer and rasperry syrup.

It was really interesting to see 2 sides of Berlin, the east and the west (one can easily tell if you have entered the east zone by paying attention to the traffic lights - there exists a different "green man"). With so much being destroyed during the war, Berlin is undergoing lots of construction and re-construction. Probably in another 15 yrs time, sights of towering cranes and excavators will be less common.

My last night in Berlin, Niels brought me to join the members of Rotaract Club Berlin for their weekly night out. It was really nice!!! :D I had second thoughts in the beginning as I did not speak German, but the group really made me feel welcomed, and I had no problems to mingle around as they spoke perfect English :)

Come to think of it, I have now a collection of the word "EXIT" in different languages. Here goes:

Keluar - Bahasa Malaysia
出口 - Chinese (chú kou) /Japanese (de guchi)
Salida - Español
Sortida - Catalan
Sortie - Français
Uitgang - Dutch
Ausgang - Deutch
Uscita - Italiano

Ah yes, just before I forget, here's the link to the Keukenhof photos :)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Currywursts & Bratwursts

I guess you can all tell that I am already in Berlin :D Stuck in an internet cafe, so I won't babble too much for now. I am just extremely glad the weather has been really kind to me, I can almost walk on the streets sleeveless in the daytime, and just need a light jacket for the night. Have tried about 4 types of wursts in just 3 days...hehe....with currywurst being the speciality of Berlin, i.e. sausage with lotsa ketchup and a sprinkle of curry spice powder over it.

Oh yeah, I had marvelous time at Keukenhof, and snapped over 100 photos of flowers alone. Can't wait to upload it when I arrive London this coming Wed. Will have a separate album especially for this set of photos :D

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Of Bells and Stairs

I thought I'd better make full use of the Internet access while I have one. Not sure if I would have the luxury of Wi-fi while I am in Berlin *sigh*

Ever since I left KLIA, I have been walking sooooooooo MUCH! Sometimes I wonder if it is really a coincidence that my boarding gates are always the furthest, what a nightmare sometimes when I think about dragging my luggages (30kg in total) from one end to another. I deserve it of course, I decided on this in the first place.

Feria de Abril was really nice, though I must say that it was not all that I have expected. Seriously, unless you happen to know Sevillanos that own a nice private caseta, you'd probably be well off somewhere else, than to go to the Feria. It is amazing though, to see so many local Sevillanas dressed in nice colourful trajes with elaborate cloths and some with polkadots but after a while you get bored if you don't take part. Mind you it is not cheap to own a dress like that. It can cost up to 1,000 euros, or more, and imagine owning more than one! (girls are not gonna wear the same dress for 7 days in a row, of course!). On the first day, I went to a caseta publica, and then the next few days I was invited to a caseta that belonged to Antonio's friend, Pedro. It was fun and I joined in the Sevillana dance, even though I only knew la primera :P Though I had some Sevillanas lessons almost a year back, and I just couldn't recall anything. During the weekdays, the Feria would be filled with people up till 5 or 6am, though it officially ends about 3am, where the lights of the main Puerta would be switched off. That whole week, I drank lots of Rebujitos i.e. a combination of Manzanilla (a type of white wine) & 7up.

The second day after I arrived Eindhoven, I went bicycling with Ineke. Well....actually, she was doing all the work while I sat behind, just like the movie 甜蜜蜜. Of course, if Ineke was Tom Cruise, it would have been a dream come true, but I loved the ride all the same. We went looking for a place to do ice skating, only to find out that it is only open during winter.... hehehe.... the ride was certainly worthwhile, I get to see almost half of Eindhoven on a bicycle! We got hungry and decided to have a picnic by the park. Bought some nice bread, chips, salad, juices, then plomp our big fat butt on the grass. Occasionally the wind would bring some unpleasant smell, and we thought it was just probably the smell of fertiliser. It was fertiliser alright!!! As we were just about to finish our lunch, there we noticed, less than 8 metres away from us was the dog poo.....Yuckkkkk and DOUBLE yyUUccckkKK!!

Den Bosch/Delft
Irene is the best tourist guide I can get. From trips to Den Bosch, and to Delft, she explained every single thing in detail :) She even got me to try the apple pie and savoury crepes in Delft.....ooohh...they were SOOOOOOO goooood! I could drool just thinking about it. We saw the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), where William of Orange was buried. Then we've also seen houses with roofs that looked like a bell, or stairs, and some, like a neck. In the evening, we had a nice dinner with Mirte (Irene's daughter) and her boyfriend. It was Mirte's birthday! ;) We were very lucky as the weather was perfect, nice and windy, and not too cold. Unfortunately, when we were about to return to Eindhoven in the evening, we weren't so lucky. There was a fire at one of the stations, so the trains had some delay and a change of route. We had to make 3 train changes in order to get back to Eindhoven. During our rush, Irene left her handbag in the train from Rotterdam-Utrecth and only realised it as we boarded the next train to Eindhoven. Thank goodness there was a nice handsome (ehem) conductor around, to help spread the message to track the bag, and it was finally found just minutes before we reached Eindhoven *phew*.

More adventures when I go to Keukenhof tomorrow for tulips!

Meanwhile, here are some of the photos taken so far in my trip :) Check this album often for updates.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Journey Continues...

Just arrived Eindhoven train station few hours ago with Irene and Hans waiting to pick me up. They are really nice to let me stay with them, and boy did Irene feed me well tonight. We are also gonna have a nice home cooked Spanish dinner on Wed night! Ever since I left Malaysia, I haven't had a proper and decent home cooked meal, just lots of tapas and restaurant food. Hmm...not to mention the bed's really nice and soft too...without a doubt, I'm gonna have sweet dreams tonight :D

Started on my Europe tour on the 26th April with Sevilla (and a day of transit through London). The Feria de Abril was humongous, with lots of casetas (tents), beautiful women dressed in trajes de Sevillana, and lots of dancing going on. Didn't really take that much of photos as I had originally planned, as I was being teased by Antonio for taking too much guiri photos.

*Yyawnnnn* ....looks like my appointment with the Sandman can't wait anymore. Just a quick one before I blog off - of my travel route in Europe:

Sevilla - Eindhoven - Berlin - London - Perugia - Zürich - FRANCE (Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Chambéry)

Will try to upload pics as soon as I can ....ZZZzzzZZzzzzZ