Friday, January 07, 2011

And The Journey Begins.....(Pilot)

It all started sometime late of 2010 when I was told 'You're going for Cross-Cluster Assignment in Europe'! Well, yea! Can go somewhere different for some holiday! As time nears, more information was leaked, 1st it was the timing of the audit - Late Nov, which is good cos I can then take the rest of the year off for vacation. Then it was 'Paris' WooHoo! City of Lights, Romantic City, Some place I've never been to and frankly speaking, if not for the audit, maybe not in the near future! So excited! Of cos, work comes 1st then leisure!

Then 1mth b4 i set off to explore Paris, I was told that, hey maybe you can drop by Charlotte, North Carolina, for another audit! Woohoo USA! Shopping! And, the plane gota stop over at Newark Airport, so that's like New York! And so begun my 7weeks journey out of hot, humid Singapore into Cold, dry Paris and US.

1st off, 4.5wks of work duties await me in Paris and Charlotte. Of cos, not to mislead you guys, it was actually not Paris Paris. The nearest airport is Paris but the work place is a warehouse in Marly (20mins from Paris) and subsequently we moved to stay in Chantilly, which was actually good cos I got to visit the beautiful Chantilly Castle!

Chantilly is a beautiful little town! I kinda liked the feel of the little town (maybe better than Paris?? More on that later) but unfortch, english is like an alien species there. Well, at the hotel they do speak english, and sparingly when you go out to some cafes, but overall, zilch! So i kinda felt quite alien when i walked out to the town. Anyway who cares! I'll just point, grab and pay! Start with a 'Bonjour' and end with 'Merci' 'Au Revoir'! That's all I can do and that's fine enough!

So my weekend was spent exploring the Chantilly castle which was a nice beautiful little castle, 2nd to Versailles (which due to unforseen circumstances, i didnt manage to go shucks!) The weather was perfect that day for sightseeing, cos it was cloudy and snowy the few days earlier, so I was damn lucky!

Chantilly Castle

Lots of Swans!!

The garden which would look really great during summer

Then it was 'Bye Bye' Paris (for now) after 10 days, and 'Hello' Charlotte for the next 3 weeks. YooHoo to Shopping! Off i embarked on my 10hour flight, and landed at the airport to pick up my beautiful white Chrysler that's f***ingly big for a small sized girl like me. Oh well, who can resists such a beautiful car! I guess there is such a thing called Karma! Haha and it repays! Sexy lady with sexy car!

Was excited abt getting the car, but as a car idiot (who never drives in Singapore, only overseas sporadically), I was stuck fiddling with the ignition key for 15mins, poking the actual key into the hole, but not quite fitting into the hole. Then I gave up and walked up to the counter for help, only to be told that the key is for the door, not the ignition. The bulky stick-like key is the ignition key! Oh rite, well done! Everything set to go, but my seat. Damn these cars! Too sophisticated to be understood by 1st-timers! Seeing that I had wasted enough time, the hell with the seats, I'll just endure it for 30mins and deal with it later. So with a extremely laid back seat, I sat damn straight up and drove out in the eerie darkness. Why do they skimp on street lights? And tiny street signs! Not everybody has eagle eye! Which made me take the wrong turn, even tho i had my gps! You know GPS is not the most easy machine to read correctly when u use it for the 1st time! They tell u to turn next but sometimes, their instructions are not so perfectly clear and u end up turning too early or missing the turn! But eventually i managed to turn my way out onto the right road.

This is the monster! IT is freaking big, u know like those high end cabs we get here

Stuck with the magnificent car for 2weeks, got somehow used to it, but glad that I had to return it for a new car(going off-site for 2 days so had to return the car). So what did i do over the weekends? 1st sunday - Shopping BIG TIME! I'm not normally a shopper, but there r good deals there! And I'm not a reckless shopper, I buy with caution and only absolutely necessary, so even tho i shopped a fair bit, by no means it is mad shopping spree by true shopaholic standards! I mean Levi's jeans for USD30? That's a steal!

Of cos it's not all shopping! I was so tired after shopping for like 3hrs! Time for sight seeing and nature! So I decided to brave the snow and drive up the mountains! Yes, I knew it was going to snow but I really wanted to see the mountains! So even tho my car is not equipped with snow tyres, heck it! It was a partially good decision. 1st - I got to see snow covered mountains!! Yeah!! I drove in the snow with no problem!! Yea!! But I missed going up the mountains cos it was closed due to snow Booo :( So as it turned out it was a 2.5hrs drive up, 1hr drive through the bending mountains to the closed site, 2.5hrs drive back, a total of 6hrs on the road of non-stop driving! Heck, I never knew driving was such a chore! It really gave my shoulders an exercise! They were aching after that day! And as I'm used to right hand driving, it was mainly my right shoulder getting the work out! Sorry, I still can't really drive with my left hand!

I'm in heaven...Not it's fog

Snow covered road. As I drove on the snow fell even more heavily like rain only it sticks onto the windscreen

I had a much better time the following wkend when I drove up Crowders' Mountain for a fantastic view of the city with a fantastically blue clear sky! WOnderful! I love climbing mountains and getting a good workout so I was pleasantly surprised and happy at the view I got on top! If only Singapore had such mountains, but then again, there would not be a great view cos it's all buildings here! Ha!

The last weekend, I went to Latta Plantation area, Birkdale Town (a little European style town) and some park near the Lake Norman Area. THen the highlight was the night drive through McAdenville, aka Christmas Town for the annual Christmas lighting! It is essentially a drive through attraction spot, where literally the whole of North Carolina was there, driving through and viewing all the Christmas decorations and lightings! Of cos I parked somewhere and enjoyed the deco, b4 getting into the car again and driving out! It was a whole 2hrs snailing through the town at 10miles/hr...


And that was essentially my time spent in Charlotte. Of cos I went for 2nd round of shopping (didnt buy much cos I already was filling up my 2nd suitcase), but I'm so loving Walmart, and the outlet malls!

The Black Lincoln, Cool right?!

Oh yes, and I did change a car! I like to say a trade up cos i like the 2nd car better. It's a black Lincoln, sleeker, meaner and sexier :) And the best part, I spent even more time figuring out how to start that machine! I saw the prompt going 'Step on the brake and push the button' so i did just that but it just didnt move AT ALL!! I was there for at least 20mins b4 once again 'Help'! And turned out, you had to step on the brake and NOT RELEASE it as you push the button, and 'Ding ding ding' (ok it really had a sound) it starts and it brings forth the steering wheel and your seat! Yes it does! And once again, I had no bloody idea how to move my seat forward. I managed to do it until it cannot be moved, but still i'm like WAYYY back! So heck it, it was 11pm, i just wanted to go! THis time i didnt get lost! And i figured out the magic button on the side door that brings my seat forward more! Damn! They need to hand out instruction manuals to drivers! Each and every button in the car needs explanation!! I so love that car! It has seat warmers (for cold days) and seat coolers (for warm days)! And it has a sun roof!! Which i obviously didnt get a chance to open up, freaking cold!

After a hectic 3 weeks of work, and a hectic 2010, I finally get the rest of the year off to enjoy my holidays in New York New York!! Off to New York, and off the the next episode of 'And The Journey Begins...'

p/s: For pple wondering..Did you freaking drive ok in US? The answer is YES!! no accidents, no honkings i really drove ok! Up until the very last day when I drove to return the car, i was freaking confused by the road side and accidentally drove into the wrong lane, but luckily there were no cars ard and I quickly turned ard. It was only like 2mins at most! The only black mark on my record but other than that I did ok! I even did reverse parking 90% of the time! When I don't even drive in Singapore! Give me some credit! I used to think head in is easy, but I think NOT so now...

No comments: