Thursday, October 29, 2009


So, what do we do on Day 2 of our stay in Paris? The options are plenty and time is limited.

Whoever has been to Paris would have their pictures taken at the Arc de Triomphe, built in 1806 by Napoleon. Well, Napoleon did not build it himself of-course. One can google Arc de Triomphe to find vast information on this monument. (The wonders of the internet can often make one lazy to write at length!)

As tourists, pictures to indicate that "we were there" must obviously be taken! Indeed in this case, for the sake of Mimi. Later, she can show the pictures to her children that she brought her "atuks" to Paris.

The weather was a little chilly and I have to zip up full for comfort. For someone living in this condition for several years, it was just pleasant.

Then, we moved on to The Louver. I wonder why this most famous musuem is called The Louver, though pronounced with the "er" silenced.

Personally I have a hate relationship with the louvers, not the one in Paris but the one found on the window panes of the Royal Military College. Back then, amongst the daily chores in the very early mornings, when other school kids were still sleeping, we had to clean and wipe the louvres. Not a speck of dust must be on the louvres during inspection by the seniors. But these louvers have a nack of collecting dusts and we ended doing push-ups during inspection time.

So, Mimi you can do your jump at The Louvres while I wished I could break every single louvres in RMC. Ha..ha..

I guessed a rare shot of the senior love birds at The Louvre will be okay, after all we are on our senior honeymoon, with the youngest baby in tow!

One can spend days at this musuem, depending upon one's interest on old artefacts. On this visit, we did not enter the musuem as we had done so on our first visit. Then, we had seen the original "Mona Lisa" which bears no similarity to my wife, Muna! I certainly do not prefer the famous one in the musuem!!!!

Anyway, Mimi would have her chance to do a full visit on her own trip. We were just loitering within the glass pyramid and took several pics for memory.

While having coffee inside, we just have to take a shot at this kid who was playfully peeping off and on with Mimi. Children after all are the same everywhere - innocent and playful. Ever notice when babies cry? You will never know what nationality they are!

More pics along the streets of Paris while looking for halal lunch.

I took this shot of fresh sea-food but settled for kebabs in a Turkish restaurant found within the small streets.

Ah, that famous story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

We did not find any hunchbacks there but discovered as usual, loads of tourists capturing their moments at this famous spot. A Chinese couple was taking turns to touch the brass plate on the square. Its significance? I don't know.

From his attire, this tourist must have been from Tibet. He would have loads of pictures to bring home to show those who were less fortunate.
And here is a parting shot of Notre Dame, taken on the numerous bridges spanning River Seine.
We walked past stalls after stalls selling all kinds of everything - arts, souvenirs of every kind, old books, old paintings, etc. We did not buy anything.

Anything on two wheels attracts me, like this rather cute motorcycle.

Besides it was a Peugeot, but not a car. I only know of BMW motorcycles, and used to own one myself. I never know the existence of Peugeot motorbikes. I bet most of the Malaysian motorbike enthusiasts are not aware that Peugeot builds motorbikes as well.

Our final stop before we headed back to Simplon for the night has to be at Galleries La Fayette. The rather remorse pic of my wife and Mimi says it all. They bought nothing there!

Connected direct through it's own dedicated metro stop, Galleries La Fayette must be a stop for those visiting Paris. Let me re-emphasise here that it should be a must-stop, but not necessarily a must-buy!
A shot at the brands' numerous outlets will not hurt the pockets though. So you can do this lavishly.

I must add, the architecture and decor is a beauty, really worth dropping in, for a cup of coffee at its MacDonald's outlet.
That's what I did while waiting for my entourage to window-shop!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

OFF TO PARIS : DAY 1 afternoon

8th October 2009

My respected elder commented that one can find love up on the Eiffel Tower or on a cruise on the River Seine. Indeed, I agree.

If one goes to Paris, then one must surely visit the Eiffel. And that was where we started our visit today. Of-course My wife and I had visited the Eiffel Tower on our first trip years ago. Like most tourists, we too went up the Eiffel. Did we find love there? Well, I went there with my better half, so I better not find love there......or else I'll be halved!

This time around, accompanied by our daughter, Mimi said she will save the trip up the Eiffel Tower for another visit. She was happy just to have the experience of the Eiffel on the ground, with her parents. I suppose she is saving that for a special trip, on a special occassion. We understand Mimi. We were once in our 20's too...sigh....soooo loooong ago!

Mimi also had this goal of doing a jump at all the places she had visited. That's fine when you can still jump around. Will I do a jump too? We shall see. For now, I will leave that to her to perform the jump.

I guessed I should not be amazed at the number of visitors visiting the Eiffel Tower. But, I am still amazed that after all these years, there are still visitors by the thousands. The queue to go up the Eiffel winds like a dragon. I just wonder, how many millions have gone up the tower.

Paris was warmer than Dublin. No, wrong. I should rephrase the sentence. Paris was less cold than Dublin. Yes, that's the correct way to compare the weather.
Since the weather was quite favorable, we decided to walk along the River Seine. Several cruise boats were carrying the tourists up and down the river.

River Seine had lots of boats plying the river and yet the river is clean. Perhaps I should say, very clean. The color is that of a river too, unlike the teh tarek colors of sadly, our rivers in Malaysia.

Again, just like the Eiffel Tower, we decided not to take the cruise. Mimi said the cruise did not serve rice on their menu, so it was really worthless to bring her dad on the cruise. Fine Mimi. Do save the cruise for a special occassion again. Your mom and dad had already done the cruise on their first trip.

For this occasion, mother will be happy to pose with daughter besides the cruise boat and dad is happy photographing the occassion, minus the cruise.

Along the river bank, there was also an art exhibition. In a cool weather, it is such a joy to stroll and admire the photographic exhibitions. The exhibition was opened to "not so famous" professional photographers to display their work of art. Judging by their names, most are photographers from Asia, Central Europe and South America.

Most shots were shots I would classify under "humanities". These shots are normally those taken in the less developed countries, shots of impoverishment, the less fortunates, the hunger, the pain and the joys of the poor. These pictures usually moves most of us.

Here, Mimi mimicked the photo behind her. Not quite there, but ok la.

Anyway, how about a natural pose!

Moving along, we detoured to that famous street, Champs-Élysées. One may accidentaly knot once's tongue to pronounce this street correctly. Followers of the Tour de France, the greatest annual cycling race in the world will know that the last day of the race climaxed at this cobbled pavement. This happened every July since 1975.

From Wikipedia, I picked up this statement :

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a prestigious avenue in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, and with rents as high as USD1.5 million per 1,000 square feet (92.9 square metres) of space, it remains the most expensive strip of real estate in Europe.

I can't argue more of its prestige. On its side road, one will not miss this hotel, Hotel Athenee. Even from a distance, one can feel the Euro slipping through the fingers like water.

And as I passed by the lobby, I saw this car parked right in front. I don't know the make, neither can I make out the number plate. But I do know its written in Arabic! The owner obviously have huge reserves inspite of the Euros slipping through his fingers like waterfall. Such is life.

Down by the River Seine, I recalled the exhibition and this photograph of a couple watching TV in a place the couple call home!

So I walked back to reality. And this is my reality - "when less is more"

Thursday, October 15, 2009


8th October, 2009

Most people I knew have visited Paris. For some, several times over. For my wife and I, this was the second time, compliment of our daughter. I angled this blog for friends who planned to visit Paris for the first time, and where time is limited. Our itinerary here is for 2 and half-days. We flew early morning from Dublin on Thursday 8th October on Ryan Air, Ireland's version of AirAsia. Dublin airport was already crowded when we arrived. Elderly couples rivalled the younger groups, all looked set for various holiday destinations, Paris being one.

Just like any low-cost carriers, Ryan Air flew into the low-cost terminal at Beauvais airport, roughly 80kms from Paris. An efficient bus service provides shuttle service to Porte Maillot in Paris for Euro 13 one way. One will take the same shuttle service to return to the airport for the flight out from Paris, if one flies via Ryan Air.

First destination on arrival in Paris was to go and hunt for our rented apartment. Mimi had booked an apartment located in a place called Simplon. So, from the bus station at Port Maillot, we immediately went underground. No, we were not illegal immigrants seeking a better life in France. We are very blessed back home. We went underground to the Porte Maillot metro station. From there, we would go by the metro to Simplon. Simple!
Well, not that simple really. First task was to locate the routes within the maze of metro underground routes found at the Porte Maillot metro station.

Pressing the Simplon button on the interactive map, our first stop to change the metro line was at Barbes-Rochechouar station. I really don't know how to pronounce this station. Mimi said in her blog, one must have a lot of phlegm to do so!
From here, it was a "simple" route to Simplon. We bought a 2-day pass, each costing Euro14.40 which allowed unlimited travel within the metro stations.

Exiting Simplon, we were pleasantly greeted with these Halal signs. Immediately my gut went into overdrive mode.

So we ate "tanpa was-was".
I am sure there are other areas within Paris that have Halal outlets. For us, Simplon was simply the place. The apartment we stayed in was about 5 mins from the metro station. We would recommend friends to consider Simplon for their stay. You will get a hang of the metro lines quite easily to move from place to place.
The apartment we rented had 1 double bed and 1 living area which converts into a 1 bed. It had a kitchen. It was perfect for a 3-some, though it was a walk-up to our 4th floor apartment. Damage (to Mimi of-course) was Euro 156 for the 2 nights.

We decided to take a short rest before going back underground, this time to the city for some sight-seeing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Cold is never my strong point. I had to quit my Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal years ago because of biting cold. My fellow trekker joked I should acclimatised in the freezer at home before I left for Kathmandu.

It's 10 degree C here in Dublin. I have been here for the last 4 days. I was hoping for a warmer weather. A 20 degree C is just wishful thinking, so I had to keep warm as much as possible. Donning up a few layers of clothes is a little bother but necessary.

Shamimi, our youngest daughter has moved three times since she came to Dublin. Her current apartment is located in Dublin 1, pretty much where the major shopping malls are located and where halal foods are also easily available. Just across the apartment where she lived, there is a bicycle shop, well-stocked with bikes and accessories. She obviously had the right strategy to get her dad to re-visit Dublin!

On my first trip in the winter of Jan 2007, she lived a stone's throw away from Dublin Business School where she completed her degree in Finance. Now that she is working while completing her ACCA, she can now afford a bigger apartment. That is an acceptable progression.

We are also here to check out on Mimi's elder sister, Shakira who came to complete her degree in Cinema and TV. Shakira (Ila) arrived Dublin during Ramadan to enrol in her third year of study. Unlike her other siblings, Ila chose to gain working experience first after her diploma studies. This she did for 3 years. It is our hope that her working experience will bode well in her degree program and that she will be able to acquire further working experience here before returning home.

Dublin is a cycling-friendly city with dedicated bike lanes, taking space on the roads in the cities. Another pleasant addition now to the city is Dublin Bikes.

The city provides bicycles for rent, conveniently located at major sections around the city. Recently launched in September this year, 450 bikes are now made available and follows the same system as that currently working in Paris. One can check out the relevant websites for further info on this new scheme. I have yet to rent one.

On our third day here on Sunday, Mimi brought us to Kildare, to visit a factory outlet for branded products. A visit is the right word. We bought nothing. At this twilight age, there is really nothing that we are short of, unless one is never short on desires. The trip was more for makan angin - makan angin sejuk....

and a little family bonding amongst the ladies in the family.

Apart from the trip to Kildare, we had not moved around very much except to the streets and malls neighbouring the apartments.

A band from the Red Indians of America gave a splendid reverbating performance on their giant-sized bamboo flutes.

And the Palestinians were there on the streets too, wanting to get the attention of the Irish shoppers to boycott Israel products.

We did, a long time ago.