Friday, January 23, 2009

What's cooking??

Before we got here, we were kind of worried that it would be difficult for us to cook our own meals because we will be staying at a hotel (for 3 weeks) instead of the apartment the Mr. had stayed the last time he was here. But luckily enough, we got an apartment room at the hotel. We did some grocery shopping on the very first day we arrive, stocking up all the basics to at least sate our hunger in between meals.

The first meal i cooked for dinner was supposed to be Chinese fried rice. We bought a box of rice. Inside, were 4 packets like those u get for instant nasi impit in Malaysia. I boiled 2 packets (as there were 3 of us) according to the cooking directions with the assistance from babelfish (because obviously it's in french). It says to boil for 10 minutes. But after 10 minutes, i saw some grains that still seemed uncooked. So i boiled it for another good 5 minutes or so.

After it has cooled, i surveyed the rice packets and poke it with my bare forefinger. It was hard! Dang it! I panicked for a while... thinking what i should do.. i put it up on my fb status and some of my friends suggested to make kuah kacang. One even said they have lots of pistachios here, maybe i should use that instead of peanuts for the sauce, try something new. (But i thought, takkan dinner makan nasi impit and kuah kacang je.. unless i can make juicy satay to go with it! Memang tak la kan). If only i can make rendang.. but that would be too much as i don't have the right ingredients and i couldn't waste the rice. It's time to get creative. I made chicken soup to go with the "nasi impit" like the Malaysians eat their Soto. It seems doable since i have got some chickens from the Halal store we stumbled upon while we were out exploring the city. Plus, it's much easier to make chicken soup! It was of course improvised with whatever i can get from the fridge, and no rempah Soto or bergedil lah.. So, goodbye Chinese fried rice and hello "French Soto"!! It turned out to be okay.. (Nobody had stomach upset or worse, diarrhoea, means ok la tu ;)).

Some of the stuff i used and dishes i prepared..
Tomato Basil Farfalle, Chicken Paella ala moi, Not-so-french Fish & Chips (this is of course due to laziness) and yes, the "French Soto" (bottom right).

Wife @ work.

Where we get our halal supplies.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The day i was already 30 before i even turn 29.

I was out looking for stuff to buy for the men in my life. Don't get any funny ideas, they are my dad and the brothers (2 of my bro's birthday falls in January so i was looking for a present for them because i'm a sweet sister ;)) but i ended up with a pair of jeans for myself instead. U may think that this is just an excuse, but honestly, i was turned off by the sale in the men's department. I think i can get better bargains at the ladies', seriously.

I'm a jeans person. Always been. I like the bootcut. To tell u the truth, i used to love Levi's and swore by it but of late, i think they are much too overpriced and with all the low waist, slim cut, super low waist, flare, washed, wrinkled, frayed and what not, i gave up. The designs are much too hip for me. I just want my basic comfy jeans!

I loved the Levi's 505 but after the last pair i own was damaged during a track day a few years back, i was told by the Levi's girl that they no longer carry the 505. I bought the 501 instead. Those days i prefer the straight cut.

Nowadays, i just go for the RM40 jeans at Jusco, seriously. They are a bit thin, but they do work for me. They have a suitable cutting, nice colour and the length are just fine. I own 3 of them to date but i hate to tell u that the colour do run a little (well, quite a bit actually). So i thought maybe i'd get a new pair since i couldn't find anything interesting for the guys (if i can find a decent pair, that is). And i was lucky enough to find one. The color was nice, the length would be just right if i were to wear heels (not that i wear them that often anyways). Nonetheless, i just couldn't believe it that i had to take one size bigger than the biggest size i've ever worn. The number is too foreign for me as i have always been in the 20s range. Always!! (I even thought maybe i'm a 28 because it's Europe :P). Though actually the vintage denim fits me nicely in size 29, i had to take a 30 for the dark denim! 30! Yup, THREE Zero! I decided to get the darker colour (yes, the size 30) because the vintage shade was similar to the RM40 jusco one i was wearing. I have to wear a belt for the jeans, but that doesn't change the fact that it still is a size 30!! Mannnn..... But hey, as long as i feel comfy and look good in it. That's what counts, right? (err.. right?)

Btw, why don't Levi's have sale in Malaysia? They seem to offer discounts in other places.

[useless info: author would love to own a Rock & Republic jeans..]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"For Toulouse, always more" - indeed there is!

That's the motto of the city i'm in right now. It is located in the southwest of France, known as Europe's capital of aerospace industry. Which is basically why i am here. (The other half is attending a training at the Airbus headquarters).

At first i thought it was a small city but when i read more about it, boy was i wrong. It is the 4th largest metropolitan area in France, after Paris, Marseille and Lyon. Not only Toulouse is the capital of the Haute Garrone department, it is also the capital of the Midi Pyrenees region, which is the largest region in metropolitan France. And what's more, it is where one of the oldest university in Europe is located (founded in 1229), which ranks the third largest university campus of France after Paris and Lyon with more than 97 000 students.

Haute Garrone department

Midi Pyrenees region
According to Wikipedia (it's obviously where i am getting all these info), born during the Roman Empire, Toulouse was once a major metropolis of western Europe, but it sank into a sleepy regional-level status in the 18th and 19th centuries, completely missing the Industrial Revolution. In the 20th century, relocation of key military and aerospace industries in Toulouse by the French central government have awakened the city again. It was once the capital of the former province of Languedoc but provinces were abolished during the French Revolution.

Former province of Languedoc

U can get more information about the history, demographics, and more on Toulouse here. I can put it here but that will merely repeat everything in Wiki ;)

Anyways, here's a slide on our first day in the city of Toulouse where of course, there's always more. :)

[As a kid, being a teacher's daughter always require us (my brothers and i) to get educational facts about the places we visited. These days, i say thank god for Wikipedia :)]

Monday, January 19, 2009

More of the Sunday commotion

These are the photos of the demonstration took place in front of our hotel last Sunday. Shots are taken by our friend whose room is overlooking the front part of the hotel building. There's a small roundabout in front of our hotel and so, they did one round and moved to the main road not very far from our hotel. I had no idea there were that many people because when we saw the crowd, they were already at the main road and we couldn't see as much (well, i didn't dare really).

According to my friend, one of the guys tried burning the Israeli flag (on the ground) and another was against it so they were fighting among themselves for a while there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We missed the bus...

We were supposed to go on a tour to Albi-Cordes-Gaillac but somehow, they (the partners) got mixed up with the timing of the pickup bus. So, i'm here in our room in front of my notebook instead. Grr.. I can't say i am not disappointed because it will cost us 45 euros for an unguided tour (just to Albi) and 90 euros for guided tour for each person to the 3 places (rugi, rugi..), oh well. We'll have to think of something else to do later today.

Looks like it's just a tour to the bus stop for us this Sunday.. haha.
(waiting in vain, almost frozen too!)

We went for a Saturday walk yesterday, it was a good one except that we were approached by a man, flashing his police i.d. asking for our passports at the train station. This was after we spent almost half an hour going back and forth looking for directions and information on how to get to the airport (and to check out the train fare from Toulouse to Paris). The people there were not of much help since they don't speak English so we had to find our own way. Maybe that's what made them suspicious of us. A policewoman then joined the man to check on us. We were dismissed a few minutes later after they were convinced that we are harmless and sweet (teehee). The lady said that we could take the bus directly to the airport. And so we did. The bus ride took only about 20 minutes.

We then took the metro (for the first time) from Jean Jaures, very near to our hotel to St. Cyprien to go to Les Abbatoirs (a contemporary art gallery) and Chateau D'eau (a photo gallery of those taken by some of the greatest names in photography) situated on the other side of La Garonne river. I decided to come back to Les Abbatoirs next week because they are currently preparing for an exhibition and that we could only visit the first floor. Chateau D'Eau was very interesting. The building was gorgeous and though we do not know much of photography, we were very impressed with the photos, beautifully taken in the 50s and 60s.

Later when we head back to the hotel, we then understood why we had been approached by the police at the train station. There was a demonstration going on that evening near our hotel due to the war between Israel and Hamas. I dare not get near that crowd so the husband took some photos and we went straight back to the hotel.
The demonstration

Some of the Saturday walk photos.

Have a good week ahead, now!

"Aku pi Paris.."

I put up a photo of myself in Toulouse on my facebook and one of my friend commented on the photo that i should have joined her in Paris the other day. I told her that i had just arrived that time and even if we had known, i don't think i would be able to join her. But i will be here for a while, so perhaps if she's around Paris or Madrid while i am still here, we could meet.

Another friend sent me a message with the subject titled above.................. Hmm. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

From another continent

I'm in Toulouse at the moment. A brief update on my whereabouts and what i'm recently up to before going out for a stroll in the nice weather. Having paella ala moi (hehe) and drinking what's called 100% pur raisin jus (written on the box) for lunch as i'm writing. It's grape juice.

It has been 10 days since we got here in Toulouse, and few minutes ago my friend just asked me on facebook whether i'm homesick. My answer to that was not as much, but the thought of local food like my favourite, the char kuay teow really makes me miss home. And i miss the cats and my mini garden too (i wonder if my brother is taking good care of them since he is very hard to get hold).

So far, the stay has been interesting. I get to experience snow for the first time (i bet u can tell from the pix above, hehe). We were told by a local that it is not common to have snow here even during winter. It only snows once in a few years so i am lucky that it decided to fall during the time we are here. --Did i hear u say jakun?? Tak kesahla.. haha.. However, it has not been snowing for days now. I prefer the current weather, to be honest. I was even pleased when it rained when i was out exploring the town by myself last week!

We have visited a few places, and since my other half is here for work, i go out by myself every now and then to bargain hunt (it's SALE everywhere!) and to visit interesting historical places too.

Well then, now that i'm done with lunch, i'll post more stuff later.
Au revoir
for now!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hong Kong Highlights

This is not going to be my typical update on the place i visit not too long ago. This is going to be brief as i haven't been putting up posts for quite a while and I am now again visiting another foreign land (meaning i have more updates coming). So here goes, in point form, no less.

  • The visit to Hong Kong was on 10th-13th December 2008. It was initiated by my cousin who wanted to shop for designer goods and had invited me to join her. Since my other half used to go to HK for car parts, i have succeeded in talking him into going with us and manage to drag another car enthusiast, another cousin of mine to tag along as well (after much poison-ing by us and him sleeping on the idea for so many nights, he finally agreed to come with us. And turns out, they did more shopping than we did!!).
  • I was sick the first 2 days. It started the night before the travel and lasted till day 2. It pretty much upsets the trip as it was quite a challenge to be going from one place to another on foot even be doing what we girls do best (ie. shop) in such condition. I threw up twice before getting on the plane to HK and a few more times when we reached HK, even once on board making me ended up smelling like an old lady all the way due to the minyak kapak. However, because of that, i saved on food. Haha. They were really expensive but the portion was really huge!
  • The weather was perfect for walking, between 17-21 degrees Celsius if i'm not mistaken. I loved it. (But omgee the hongkees dress as if the place was snowing!)
  • We only manage to go to The Peak for sightseeing (in which we're suppose to ride the open top bus to the place but unfortunately it was discontinued for the time being) and skipped the boat ride, riding the old tram and witness the Symphony of lights because of point no. 2.
  • If you plan to go to HK, do not, i repeat DO NOT go on weekends. It was a good thing we went back on a Saturday because by Friday night, thousands of Hongkees started flooding the city. It was no different the next day.
  • I did some shopping myself. Got myself some tops, a pair of shoes, a wrist watch, a handbag for my mum and one for myself (though not all are designer's). I actually felt guilty over my bag purchase, because i forgot that i have purchased the watch when i got it. You see, the watch was the last piece on display so my friend told the sales assistant to get a new one from the warehouse and that we would come back to collect it later. Despite being told that it was a good buy by my fellow shopping companions (memang supportive belaka semuanya..) and even though i did put aside the sum of $$ for shopping, i still feel that i have overspent.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's still there..

The truth is, i miss blogging but i have things in my hands now. Soon perhaps. So don't count me out, at least not yet.