27th October 2010 was a happy day that my family celebrated and welcomed a new addition to our family, my little nephew - Hazir. He was born at 0048 that day and we were all very excited when he came into this world.
At about noon, i was at the hospital visiting this beautiful new guy when the husband called immediately when he touched down from work. I told him the good news and he too was very happy that all anticipation of whether or not the SIL will give birth that night was over and everything was all okay. A few seconds after, he called again. This time he was the one bearing news. But sadly, not a good one. Our friend, Geeva had passed on. I couldn't believe my ears. "Who?" I asked again, thinking i had heard him wrong. "Geeva?".. Paused. "Geeva?????".. again, in all disbelief. He replied "Yesssss, Geeva..." also from his voice, i could sense that he couldn't even believe himself.
In his next phone call, my husband told me that my cousin is on his way to pick him up to go pay their last respects and visit his family. I was at the hospital still trying to digest the info. We were all still in shock (my eldest brother, the youngest brother, my SIL and me were all having a hard time to get this info across). My brother had texted him along with the others to share the happy news the night before but little did we know he would never receive it. He passed away that same night not long after Hazir was born.
I have been avoiding facebook for a couple of days after bidding him goodbye and seeing so many more on his fb wall. A close friend of his created and dedicated a special page in his memory for us to share fond memories of him when he was living his full life. It just made me so sad. Only then that i got to know that he had such a hard life growing up. Obviously, he never showed it.
Here's a story on how we met..
I got to know Geeva about 4 years ago when he joined our racing team, Kazzen Motorsports. The first time i met him was at the 2007 MME race. I was cleaning up at our pit and was heading for the thrash when he came up to me and said, "let me get that for you..". At that time i didn't even know who he was.
Geeva's recruitment to the team was rather special. As the name 'Kazzen' suggests, the team mainly consists of our voluntary family members (mostly cousins) and friends who share the same passion for cars. When i asked the husband if he had known Geeva long, he told me that he didn't know him before but when they were working together one day, he approached Geeva after observing him in doing his job. He told Geeva about the racing team and asked if he would like to join us at the track some time. They have been friends ever since. Not just with the husband, but the whole clan, me included. It was so easy for everyone to be around him as he was always full of laughter, very hardworking and never once he complained about anything. Needless to say that sincerity always shines through in whatever he does. Just look at his profile picture putting up sticker on the race car. Even that.
He recently told the hubby and my cousin that he would one day loved to do up his car and drive at the track. Sadly, this day will never come. We are very saddened by the unfortunate news especially when he had just passed his exams and had finally become a certified engineer (a Licensed Aircraft Engineer to be exact), full of hope and a promising future ahead. The husband kept repeating that full of regret. But after knowing that cars were his true passion, i am glad that he was given the opportunity to do what he loves best together with the team and that we are very honoured to have the opportunity to have had him on board. For me personally, I am truly blessed to have known one of the nicest person i've ever met.
Today, after the shock from the news, even after reality has seeped in, i still find it hard to believe that he is gone forever. The image of him working on the car, joking around while having meals, calling me 'boss' to annoy me keeps playing in my mind and had brought me to tears. We last saw him in September back at the track, sitting down having kfc together sharing small talks after a private race. I never thought that that would be the last time we ever saw him. I guess we all took advantage thinking that he will always be around....
I hope you know that you are truly an amazing person, Kazzen Geeva. Thank you for everything that you've done for us. You are deeply missed. May your soul rest in peace.
I adore beautiful gardens be it small or big. When we were checking out our place before moving in, i told the husband how much i loved the back yard. I would never extend the back for a bigger kitchen or room because we would then lose that small area. We haven't done anything to it ever since we moved in except cutting the grass (that's almost 5 years now) until earlier this year. I have the idea of a herb garden but what can i say, after a few miserable attempts, i have to admit that gardening is just not my forte. God knows i've tried!
We finally decided to change the grass for both front and back lawn (when my eyes could no longer take the sight of weeds growing happily in the "garden"). I had been tending to the front lawn a couple of years back with much love and well, some care even with very little knowledge in gardening. You have to give me some credit for the effort, right?
Then one day, after we got back from travelling, one of my favourite plant (sorry, i have no idea what it's called) got attacked by these white stuffs (Dad says it's "benah") so i had to throw them away. The weather hasn't been gentle to the plants too so some of them were already dead by that time. And then more plants went dead. Ugh. I was so frustrated.
Anyways, after changing to pearl grass, the garden looked nice again and less panic but then some old grass (the thinner and taller ones) started growing back in the back yard. And they are back with a vengeance. Called the gardener but i suspect this guy only appears in front of our gate only when he is in need of cash.
A day after completing the first job, he came to our house to borrow some cash. I don't know what he told the Mr. but he got the money and said he would come back the next day to return the cash and to trim some branches that i now suspect he conveniently had forgotten about. Days passed, nothing. The husband tried calling him several times, no answer. When i called, he answered. Only because he didn't have my number. He told the Mr. that his wife was sick and has been in the hospital for a few days. That he would drop by our place once she's better. Fine.
Then one day on our way back home from some errands, i saw him working at one of our neighbour's house. We turned back and spoke to him "nicely". He came by our house later that afternoon to look at the backyard and (again) said would come the next day for the grass and branches. He did this time. But had told me to pay him for the grass he had to get from the nursery. I told him he has to wait for my husband for that and that we would pay AFTER the job, thinking that we wouldn't have to pay him since he did a lousy job the first time and the fact that he owes us money. But after everything was done, he still got paid and left us with the sweet promises that the unwanted grass won't be back. The Mr. paid him because he said he needed the money and that we can call him to do work for free the next time. Yeah right.
Now guess what? The bloody grasses are back again. Sigh. I'm thinking of doing something to that particular area as some parts are not badly affected and also perhaps hiring a proper person to help upkeep the garden. One that wouldn't cut our throat or get on my nerves. I have the urge to do it myself but given the history, i'm not sure if that's a good idea.
Oh yeah by the way, he also told me that he hasn't been well and has been in the hospital before started working at my neighbour's. Familiar? First the wife, now him. Hmm. When i asked, "sakit apa?", he answered, "sudah mau mati lah saya rasa..". I'm sorry, but all i have in the back of my mind was, Baguslah tu, John!
Oh my god, it took me 44 months to get here to my 100th blog post. That's a long time! Hehe.
But to be fair, i have some drafts shelved waiting to be edited and posted, so i could have reached here much sooner.. They've been sitting there well, 1. because i'm just a major procrastinator and to simply put it, lazy lah 2. lack of words to express my story or maybe just plain no idea. Then after a while, it gets outdated and i just lost the interest to update them.
I'm back in my writing shoes again now.. but i don't know if i'll ever publish any of them at all. We'll see. Take care now. See you on my 101st post! :D
Me and 3 others went to watch a theatre at The Actors Studio, Lot 10 last night. It was the malay version of the ancient Greek myth, Medea. The play is about the revenge of a wife whose husband betrayed her by taking on another wife for wealth and power which ends with the tragic death of not only of the new bride but her own children too. (I thought it's pronounced as Ma-day-ah but the casts pronounced it as Media. As in publication/communication media, media).
The main cast, Azizah Mahzan delivered a very impactful act and i have to say my first time watching a malay play was not at all bad. (I haven't had the chance to go see PGL so i can't compare here. But then again, this is a small production). The background gamelan arrangement combined with short dikir barat performances was good too. All in all, a great performance. If interested, you might still stand a chance to catch the show till Oct 16th at The Actors Studio. Info here.
**The Actors Studio, Lot 10 opened in October last year, has a very nice ambience and has that KL Pac feel to it (outdoors) but i didn't get the chance to take any photos to be shared here as we were too busy trying to look for a place for dinner before the show starts. (Lot 10 has changed so much since we last visited, we were practically lost!). And did u know that the food court are now all non-halal? No wonder a chinese man had this puzzled look on his face when he saw our clueless faces :p
I'll leave you now with a photo of someone who happily drank off a shoe that night..
Have you seen the movie? Well, i loved it. I know the review isn't great.. but still, i enjoyed it. Partly because i can relate to most of what the author was experiencing, or over the simple fact that i heart Julia Roberts, or Javier Bardem is just too sexy, or because James Franco is so charming and makes my "liver" go aaaaahhhh......... *melt*. It also made me wanna re-visit Bali and get on a plane to Italy! In short, i don't care what the review says but i loved the movie. But of course, the movie and the book can never be the same.
I think everybody should embark on a journey to find oneself, inner peace and happiness. For some, it may take longer and more hardship than others. But in the end, it will all be worth it.
I for one, seek solace and comfort from these 3 elements.
I eat when i'm distressed. And i don't mean just eat. I would most prefer meat. Dragging my brother/mr. for a slab of juicy meat after a rough day at the office is not something very novel when i was serving the corporate world. I just feel better afterwards and then i'll start bitching about it. Eat first, talk later and i would be somewhat cured.
I'm sure talking to God has definitely helped you numerous times. Well, me too! I feel that we should speak to God often because you know you can trust Him. I may not be the most pious person, but i find it more rewarding as you won't know whether a person is genuine in listening to all your troubles, but God is. Always. You would probably still be angry or just as confused after "speaking" to him, and you may not get an answer right that instance, but it sure does makes one feel calmer. Much calmer. At least i do. And when you are more in the 'zen' zone, you can think better.
Love works in its own mysterious ways, don't you agree? Being in the arms of your loved one can surely makes your day and makes you feel so much better when you are having a bad day. Even when he/she doesn't have the slightest clue of what's going on, but just by holding you for that few seconds would somehow release somekind of magic that makes you feel tonnes lighter. Like a huge weight been lifted off your shoulders. Ahhh.. the power of LOVE :)
It's true, opening your heart again after it's been (greatly) broken is not easy, but tell me something i don't know. Getting over that someone from your past is never easy. Heck, there were times i felt like i'd rather die. It's just too much pain. (If only we could select certain memories and erase them forever. Life would be so much easier). But life's a pain and it must go on. I believe making peace with ourselves first is a very good start.
Before signing off, i just would like to wish that you find that peace and happiness in yourself (if you haven't already). Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Have a blessed day. And go watch the movie and see what you think of it.
Speaking of the d@mn number, it was a pretty big deal for me that we go out to mark my big day -for some reasons i don't even know how to explain. Notice that i said 'go out'? To have a do at my own place would mean i have to clean up after my own party. Now, who's going to do that, right? I guess it's the same case with some of my friends. This year was just different for us. It's just kind of well, BIG.
Let's see some of our moments celebrating the merriment of turning Big Three-O, shall we? Let's go chronological.
First, mine. I wanted a good dinner with my family. I felt like having tapas so we went to Uno. I always have loved the pasta here (before they increase their prices. Since then, we only visit the restaurant once a while, whenever the moon turns blue. Hehe). My only disappointment that night was that they have a limited selection of tapas on weekends. Tsk.. Of all days! So annoying.
Me and my cake moment.
Not every year i get to have this, so cut me some slack, yeah? :)
I had such a good time Anyways, it would have been nicer if dad was there too.
Next up was my friend, Chey whom had insisted i made an exception to make her birthday cake in the fasting month. It was celebrated in the comfort of her inlaw's house. Can you imagine? Her inlaws threw her a birthday party! With tents and all. Lucky girl! The mum-in-law has a catering business, so food wasn't an issue. There was a big buffet spread and why, of course the food was good.. they had grilled lamb! :D
She said the theme of her party was Thirty, Flirty & Thriving.. I didn't even know there was a theme until she told me at the party. Whatever. Lol.
And the most recent was Chy's Glamorous birthday celeb. Held at Neo Luxe and Lounge, Jalan Sultan Ismail. Nice ambience, even nicer food! (Thanks, chy.. :)). I hope she had gotten over her blues after all that scrumptious food.. I know i would! (Yes. Hi, my name is Azra and i seek comfort in food.. -_-).
Lots of phototaking slash camwhoring took place, as usual :) Everyone looked nice. Well, i could have done better. I know it shouldn't involve too much effort but what can i say, glamour is not my cup of tea. It's mum's. Haha.. (Hehehe..sorry mum). The only testimony that I was indeed glamour that night was that i have cake glitters all over my body, underneath all that coverings. Haha..
Another one is coming up real soon... though she still hasn't decided if there is going to be a party. Whatever it is, have a ball! It's not like every year that you get to turn 30. And don't forget to be thankful to the Big Guy too! ;)
It is this year that my fellow friends that were born in the same year turn the Big 3-0. Yep, some couldn't wait to join the hubby in his 30's (since it's inevitable might as well join in and have fun, one would think ;)), some were rather cool, some indifferent and of course, not forgetting the ones with the blues.. heheh.
The recent birthday celeb was celebrated well, Glamorously (that was the theme). I had planned to go for a glam chic look by pairing my new top with my staple piece, the blue jeans. I only had about half and hour to get ready before i was terribly fashionably late. In the short frame of time, i made a decision to sacrifice 2 major pieces of my ensemble for something more practical.
1. The jeans - I had planned to put on a different wash, the dark blue denim but then decided to change as that particular pair would limit me on my food intake, due to the waist cut.
2. The bag - I chose a small handbag as opposed to a clutch . As i was entrusted of bringing (and making) the cake, being the klutz that i am, i knew without the Mr. accompanying me to lend a help, it simply would spell disaster to clutch a bag under my arm and carry the cake box all at the same time. I can so imagine myself putting the clutch on top of the box or under my arm(pit) and then dropping it, then having to put down the cake to collect it back again. I opted for a small handbag that dangled on my arm while i carry the box instead. And lucky me, we had to climb up a great flight of stairs to reach the restaurant!
so the outcome:
Ugh.. *covers face It bugs me when i look the pictures, okay.. i have to admit. Well, fine. Clothes are not what define you. But your appearance shows your personality, right? I'm not sure how i managed to smile. Probably from all the comfiness :p Is this a sign of aging? Trading style for comfort? Well true, i always do go for comfort first, but not in times of need for style..
Besides that, I also noticed that of late, i always try to find something airy/flowy to wear instead of a usual pair of jeans before i go out... 30 syndrome??? Oh God, please NO!!!
I know i haven't been around. To tell you the truth, i have had some things on my mind i wanted to share.. but i am so inarticulate in pouring out my thoughts, i wouldn't want my points to be wrongly taken and so, i ended up reserving most of it to myself. Well ok, mostly i don't like to be judged. No matter how little my readers may be. But then again, i shouldn't care so much. It's still a learning process as what people say sometimes do bug me. I have to learn to develop some thick skin. I'm always ever so careful with what i write, sometimes i almost don't like myself. Haha.
I have been bloghopping a bit lately, (when my he's not hogging the lappy) and I've thought of starting a new blog, to start fresh. But i'm so not creative, i couldn't think of any other name i wanted apart from what's no longer available.. pfft.. So here i am. Stuck in my old blog.
I just hope i don't bore myself -this blog is mostly for my own amusement.. heheh.. (Truth be told, hubby's out for work. No one's around today and i have so much time on my hands to blog today, after a pickup of 76 cupcakes is done this morning and i'm so in the mood to talk rubbish again..). So, good luck to you readers! :)
We've been planning a family getaway since forever but we couldn't get everybody all at the same time till last month. Malacca being the destination for the 2 nights trip.
We stayed at the A'Famosa resort villa. It was ok for me. I would prefer to stay in one of those small guesthouses in town next time if were given a choice, simply for time efficiency and easy access. Unless u plan to spend time (and $) getting involved in the recreational activities they have to offer, the place is just too far off town (i'd definitely want to go explore and sightseeing!). So it was not quite what i had in mind. But of course, on the plus side they have a private swimming pool :) The highlight for me was the trip to A'Famosa - the fort because i have never been to the place all my life. I know i bore my eldest brother to death as he's not into historical ruins among many other things (he's not a fan of sightseeing what more shopping!) and was only looking forward to the dip in the pool *eyes rolling* though, i did have great fun at that too! Hehehe.
Being in the car with dad had certainly helped polish our (or rather my) bad history knowledge (obviously i wasn't paying attention in school :P). The Mr. has quite sound knowledge about the history too! Like the story of Hang Tuah, the Portuguese and Sultan Mahmud mangkat dijulang! Salute!
We get to go on a river cruise (yes, in Melaka!) in which we stumbled upon by chance the night we arrive and i was really impressed with the nicely preserved old buildings and charming kampung houses being displayed with splashes of golden spotlights! The pictures just could not do justice (unless we use a DSLR la).
The visit to the A'Famosa fort took place on the second day, after our visit to the Animal World Safari (after another round of swimming session, of course) followed by dinner at Umbai (about 20 minutes from Melaka town), then back to town for a walk in Jonker Street. Menara Tamingsari was under maintenance, so we didn't get to view Melaka from the tower. We were all drained out once we got back to the villa - nak main monopoly pun tak sempat. But i was most disappointed that we didn't get the chance to try out any local nyonya food (at least cendol) and go round the city in a trishaw, added the husband :(
But all in all bolehlah... it was great fun to be on a trip with everybody! That's the whole idea anyway, right?
I noticed some changes in me lately. I get irritated and angry very easily (than usual). And the other day, while browsing, i came across this story again and it had me rethink about some things. So, here i decided to to share the story with you since, we need some kind of a reminder from time to time. No?
One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and arrogance. The other is Good - It is peace, love, hope, humility, compassion, and faith."
The grandson thought about this for a while and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"
To which the old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Happy Birthday, bro! Another year older, another year wiser. Hopefully. :P
The cake and the maker :) Visual edited and provided by the wife. I absolutely adore the candle! When i first saw it, i thought.. "That's just so cute, I have to have that!". It's not just about the cake, yes?
And this is not an attempt to promote, but my adorable nephew couldn't stop saying YUMM YUMM... (SE)DAPP... MMM... NYUM NYUM NYUM.. through out eating his cake! And i, of course couldn't resist staying glued in front of him, in awe, feeling all touched and amused at the same time and took photos of that sweet moment.
Not sure if he was just trying to pull my leg, but you know what they say about kids, THEY DON'T LIE ;)
Tak puas pakai tangan, pakai garpu! Glad someone enjoyed it :)
[Yesterday, was my late Tok Bak's birthday. He would have been 83. Al-fatihah].
I'm such a sucker when it comes to versatility (or it's just one of the many justifications that i may have). Well, one thing for sure, i'm a practical gal :P Often you hear husbands/boyfriends say we women pay so much for our handbags and they end up being underutilised. We ladies however, have our own minds about this :) But like some of these guys, i'd calculate the "cost per use" (as one of my friend puts it) of the bags i purchased. I don't mean literally but the more expensive they are, the more i should use them (but of course, you shouldn't choose this over style. That's why it's always something classic in my case. See, practical, kan?) No use to "sayang" materials by just keeping 'em in your storage (i used to be one of them) but then, you don't get to enjoy the stuff you buy and where's the fun in that? And i'm no celebrity, so who cares if i'm seen with the same bag again and again?
Back to versatlity, when you can use them in so many ways, now that's like buying more than 1, right? How's that for value for money?? :D
In my search for an "affordable" basic black bag because obviously, everybody needs one, i went to have a looksee and found some at Coach.
According to some people, Coach bags are overpriced because you can get them so cheap especially in the States so when it comes to value for money, they aren't worth it. I do agree - to a certain extent. But, sometimes i'd go against the common perception especially when i see something that i like and when it's within my reach, i say to hell with all that. Heheh. (Plus, i always buy at discounted price anyways).
Here are some Coach finds that struck my fancy..
The Hailey Crossbody You can wear them as a shoulder bag/sling.
Brooke large tote (They come in medium size too but i'm a big bag person) The short straps for hand held/carried on the elbow And the long one for the shoulders.
Peyton leather drawstring crossbody (in melon) Handheld/elbow & crossbody Always a fan of the drawstring bag. And red's my favourite colour. New arrival (so it will be some time before it goes on a discount..)
Parker small hobo
Parker hobo Okay, these obviously are not very versatile. But not bad for a basic black bag. I don't mind either size. Fancy the lilac too.. but i have to focus here.. black. Or deep brown. Yes.
Brooke large wristlet This one, do not exactly falls under the basic black bag category but is quite versatile. Can be transformed into a small handbag Small bags don't really work for me but umm, sometimes you need them too..?
[I'm thinking whether to get (whichever one) maybe from Whoosh].
Les Abbatoirs, the contemporary art gallery that we wanted to visit during our Saturday walk and spent some time at our favourite spot at Jardin Raymond V park - by the river after that. Raouf, the guy at the kebab store gave us our favourite chocolate pie dessert for free!
One of the days i enjoyed the most..
Touring Les Augustine, a fine art museum by myself during the day, went for a stroll with my other half in the evening before having a nice dinner with the people from Airbus. The museum was an old monastery which probably explains why it was darn eerie when I had lost my way and ended up at the top floor with nothing but a locked huge wooden door. I think it was the fastest I ever ran down down the stairs in my entire life! (i could hardly maintain my cool).
The picture in the far right column (3rd row from the top) is of coffin lids. I was curious as to whether they were hollow but it felt unnerving to look underneath..
Random photos during our stay..
The Capitol hall, which was immensely decorated with hand paintings! (These people really had all the time in the world to have the time to paint the whole walls and huge ceilings..). The place is now mostly used for weddings. I don;t see why it shouldn't.. it's so beautiful! And err, yeah.. $$ not so intact anymore.. did a bit of shopping there.
Another nice day.. (though it wasn't sunny)
A walk to La Garonne River and an antique market we stumbled upon on the way back to the hotel. It was on the first Saturday we came.
That's it for Toulouse.. Till next time. Au revoir la France!
Following my friend's message, i took up her offer to show me the city. The city i've always wanted to visit! Oh, the city of LOVVVVVEEE.. The Eiffel.. The Louvre.. i simply couldn't wait!
The Mr. couldn't join us, so he told me to take the opportunity although, he wasn't sure whether to suggest that i should go by myself at the beginning... I thought, this could be the "adventurous trip" i have been looking forward to!
I wanted to take the train to Paris and fly back to Toulouse at first because i was meeting the friend in the evening, so i thought it'd be nice to catch a glimpse of the countryside on the way. But the lady behind the counter said the price for one way was not and i quote, "interesting". The return flight costs the same as a one way ticket! So obviously i took a return flight.
We travelled the typical Malaysians (on a budget) style. Had a heavy breakfast at the hotel room (my friend prepared rice with Berahim's sambal ikan bilis and kari ayam) to prepare ourselves for the long day and set to go! Hehehe..
First stop, Sacre Coeur (means a "sacred heart" (of Jesus)) at Montmartre (as in the movie, Amelie from Montmartre :)). A church, situated high up a hill where you can see the breathtaking view of Paris, get your portrait done by the artists and drink french coffee at the cafes. (That would be so lovely in the summer). But the day was cloudy so we couldn't get as much view. They have beautiful paintings selling there too! I was tempted to get one but i'd hate to carry fragile things around. Perhaps i should have afterall.. oh well.
Some shots at Sacre Coeur of moiet friend, lovely paintings at Montmartre, an artist working on his art and moi et friend having crepes..
Robert the 'tourist guy' was puzzled when my other tourist guide was looking for the place selling crepes and asked whether she's hungry after only the first place we visited in which she replied, "No, but my friend said we have to have the crepes here..". So we had to have the crepes there.. Haha.. I had the one with nutella. Yummy!
I nearly jumped when that bl**dy "statue" started moving! Didn't know it was a live one!
From Montmartre, we took a bus passing through Moulin Rouge to Trocadero. That's when i met the Eiffel for the first time!! Oh, it was just amazing! I couldn't believe i was actually there. Just seeing the tall, iconic structure with my very own eyes! From that very same spot that the husband and i saw on a photograph at Chateau D'Eau back in Toulouse no less. Took in the view as hard as i possibly can, tried looking for the nicest angle possible for some snapshots (we tried), walked below the tower.. it was surreal.. and took a couple more shots before bidding au revoirto make our way to the sub for our next destination. I wasn't planning on going up the tower, particularly in that cloudy weather.. hopefully there will be a next time. Photos at La Tour Eiffel! I couldn't get enough of it.
I'm in Paris!! (you can't say you're in Paris until you get to the Eiffel.. :))
Based on my friend's well laid map (which was so cute with the hand drawn monuments and all) Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris) was next on our agenda. There was a service going on when we got there and we were not allowed for any photos. My friend got a shot but as we saw the guard heading towards us, we hurried ourselves to the exit!
I learned the differences between a cathedral and a basilica. Apart from it's ecclesiastical differences, (where a basilica refers to a large and important church that has been given special ceremonial rites by the Pope. Whereas a cathedral which may or may not be a basilica, holds the throne of a bishop). From the architectural view, a basilica is built ending in a semicircular structure (an apse) and has a large roofed hall used for transacting business and disposing of legal matters. The cathedral are usually more modest in size. The Notre Dame, is a cathedral.
(I had a minor incident where i realised that i've lost my ring when we were in Notre Dame. But i was lucky to have found it in my bag at the hotel later that night. It must have slipped into the bag when i took out my gloves in the sub. Thank God!).
Next stop, a mecca for art lovers! The Louvre! It was a few minutes train ride from Notre Dame. But our journey took a wee bit longer since we got on the wrong train and had to turn back to get on the right route.. Like most museums, it was closed during the winter (not that we had the time to go in anyways). And i wonder how anyone can possibly tour that museum in one day. Surely one needs more than than a day! Given that it was once a royal palace, it's not that all surprising that the building was amazingly massive. Built over a few major periods, from the middle ages to finally the Grand Louvre it is today (that's over four centuries!). You can actually see the Eiffel tower from the vast complex here too (but there are trees blocking it in the photo below), and a mini Arc de Triomphe is situated across the museum. What a sight!
From The Louvre complex, we walked across River Siene to Musee D' Orsay, another art museum as one of my tour guides insisted. It holds mostly french artists' works - paintings, sculptures, photographies. There was a very long line to get in! It was once served as a railway station, a mailing centre in World War 2, and a hotel before it was a museum.
We were rushing to get to Champs Elysees before dark to check out the designer stores, of course. We walked till our feet were sore (especially my friend who was wearing a spanking new boots!). I didn't get anything except a belt for my cousin. Wanted to get a pair of designer pumps that was on sale but decided not to in the end. I was also contemplating on a bag, but couldn't decide on which design to get. So i went on empty handed.. (but with $$ intact. hehe). I was more interested in seeing the real Arc de Triomphe! So sore feet or no sore feet, we walked till the end of Champs Elysees to at least take a photo at the real arch! I didn't get the chance to get a closer look because we already made dinner plans with my guide's local friend. So our Paris tour that day ended with a nice Parisian dinner at a Parisian restaurant at Saint Michel with a (very cute) Parisian named Axle (name has been changed) before heading back to the hotel.
Moi in front of Orsay Museum, River Siene, the Arch of Triumph and with my 2 tour guides at St. Michel (the very cute Parisian took the photo but we were too famished and tired, not until later that we realised we didn't have any photos with him.. also not even a single photo at the restaurant).
It was a lovely (basic) full day tour. Thanks again, guys! I just wished that the day was brighter, and if only we wouldn't have to worry about our belongings too much at all times, and that there were more time to spend, it would have been much nicer ( i wish u were there too, Mr!). But it was still a good one!
I left for Toulouse the next evening - with a big smile :)
This was a very short trip. We already had tickets (and the itinerary) for London in March before we got to know that he had to go to Toulouse for training in January (see what i mean by coincidental?). So i thought, maybe we could do Spain if we had the time since Barcelona is a mere 2 hour train ride from Toulouse. But my dreams were shattered when he told me that we will still be going to the UK when he gets a few days break from class. Erkk..
The main destination was Wrexham. But the nearest to get to Wrexham is via Manchester. So from Toulouse, we flew EasyJet to London Gatwick, spent the night there, took an early flight to Manchester and boarded the train to Wrexham. Once everything was done in Wrexham, we got back to Manchester for the night and flew back to Toulouse the next afternoon (sempat jugakla singgah H&M kat Market Street skejap.. hehehe). It was one hell of a trip! And may i just say this ----------> TAK FUN LANGSUNG!!! I was bloody freezing and tired (& cranky! It's the weather, right??) and we had to change trains God knows how many times! :'(
What is there in Wrexham, u may ask??
Tadaaa!! Heaven for Him.
I manage to catch 3 hours of sleep while he shopped.
Catch of the day.. a bag full of goodies (bag included).
But at the end of the day, when i look at that contented face, it made it all worth it. We hugged real tight at the airport for a moment, for the successful and smooth journey just before we leave for Toulouse again.. It's definitely a memorable one! :)
Around the same time last year, i was busy googling for things i could do in Toulouse while my husband's away for training. Apart from day tours (thought i'd get adventurous going on my own), i was ecstatic to find some interesting workshops because we were gonna be there for about 3 weeks. I couldn't possibly be shopping and touring all the time.. So i was looking forward to maybe the glass blowing workshop, or collage making (made of photos taken during our stay) or stained glass painting courses. Well, until i saw how much each course costs.. The 1-3 days course were about 100 Euros EACH! I waved goodbye to all 3 immediately.
I spent the first few days wandering about the stores nearby our hotel and one day, during his break, he called me at the hotel to tell that we are going to Andorra for the weekend ON the company! Ahh.. FREE trip! Yippee! What's more, there will be free trips on every Sunday!! (the next one was to Albi and Cordes-sur-Ciel in which we missed the bus. I can't remember the third one because we did our own tour to Manchester/Wrexham). (Baru nak adventurous..) But anyway free trips means more $$ for shopping!! Double yippee!!
The trip took about 2 hours from Toulouse. Andorra or El Pas de la Casa (means "the pass by the house") is a small tax free country located between France and Spain where you can go skiing during winter. A beautiful place, surrounded by white, snowy mountains but tax free as it may be, the perfumes were more or less the price we can get here. Though there was one thing we were very tempted to get (him even more than me -- i have to stress on this :P). It was this beautiful black faced Link Tag for ladies with diamonds that costs RM14k here but was only half the price there! But it's crazy to spend that amount of money for a pair of watch, kan???? 7k? For a pair of watch?? Not now at least (or ever!). The Tags there were cheap alright but sadly, i mean luckily the selection was limited. So the only purchase made was a mock gun by him. Complete with its magazines *eyes rolling*. I was only annoyed because i was afraid people at the airport might think we are terrorists!!! (especially with me donning a headscarf!). And they say women like to buy unnecessary things! Pfft..
Anyways, here are some of our photos taken in Andorra (it's the same snapshots i have on my fb).
Mountainous view en route to Andorra. And the gun made it safely to our shores. Dismantled, some parts were sent thru cargo with some other stuff.
Snapshots of us. One before having seafood paella for lunch with Kuben and Captain Lee, who was once their Training Captain.
[I shall post more travel jots since i am in the mood and have some spare time :)]