Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bonjour Paris

Paris! After a 10hr torturous flight (overnighter on Continental economy is not the best way to travel), I finally arrived in Paris! Not so long ago, I departed from this airport to US, now I'm back! With 2 suitcases, I tackled the train to my hostel. Should not be a problem right? It was at 1st, until I had to change train at Gard Du Nord Station. Turned out, you had to walk quite a distance to transfer to Line 2! And the most devastating of all is the STAIRS!! Maybe they had escalators that were hidden, but I sure DID NOT see any signs pointing to that! So i had to slowly and tediously pull and push my suitcases one at a time up the many flights of stairs! But thanks to friendly French (maybe they didnt know I was NOT french) a guy came forward to help me. He probably said sth but hey I dont understand French!
Transferring at Line 2 and arriving at my station, more stairs awaited me! Turned out there is actually an elevator but was hidden in the middle of the station (i only found out recently through another fren's blog). Damn, they just like to make pple work! All these pushing, pulling, carrying up stairs and along cobbled streets actually aggravated my shoulder pain. But not too serious as to render me disabled! Just need some rest and break from excessive loads..
So checked into my hostel (accomodation is expensive in Paris) which I paid EUR40 per night (very expensive right), I cleaned up and headed out to explore Montmarte (where my hostel is located). 1st stop Sacre Coeur! It was beautiful! Weather was quite alright that day although sky was not very clear, but nice to explore! For those who are wondering y the hell am I wearing a friendship band thingy on my right wrist (the only accessory i wear is earrings and nth else), I got it there! But those stupid scammers, saying that it's a church thingy. Oh well, whatever la, anyway paid EUR2 for it only, claiming I had no $$ hehe!

Interesting looking varieties of cheeses

The area of Montmarte near my hostel is quite the red-light district. When you walk down, plenty of sex shops to choose from! It's just a street full of sex shops! Then further down, you have the famous Moulin Rouge!! Didn't go in la, just 1 person, not so fun!

The night was still young, so I went to Eiffel Tower for the night scenery! Damn the Q is Long! It seems like everywhere in Paris, Qs form! All single attraction I passed by! For Eiffel it was a good 40mins wait b4 i actually bought the ticket, and another 15-20mins wait b4 I boarded the lift up! It was a cloudy day, so I only went up to 2nd floor. Anyway, not much difference between 2nd and top floor! Excited abt seeing the night lightings (good experience from Top of the Rock), I was slightly disappointed by what I saw... It was not so much bright after all! Yes, there were lightings, sparks etc, but 'City of Lights' it is not. At least not to my expectation... Slightly disappointed. It was very cold up there, so I didnt bother to stay much longer and headed back to hostel for some rest....

After a restless night (jetlag setting in), I woke up early the next day to visit Lourve Musuem! I heard that you had to get there early (like when it open) as Qs form later the day. So I reached there slightly b4 9am, only to be met by a long long long long Q!!!!!

Look at the Q!!
After more than 1hr wait, I finally got in! Time to start exploring the musuem! FYI, it's only EUR9.50 per entry, not as exp as I would think! Also, on Wed and Fri, they have late nights and reduced ticket entry from 6pm onwards
Lourve Musuem is damn big! So plan your time and what you want to see! Of cos, go for those recommended art!
Stop shooting me papparazzi
Female or male????? Haha The answer may surprise you!

After 1.5hr in the musuem (too much is an overkill), I walked out to a bright and sunny day!! Damn I love the sun! Time to start walking again! So I started walking pass the garden, towards Triumph Arc, to Eiffel Tower, and then to St Michel!
And of cos, pass the boutique shopping district and LV SHOP!!! And here comes another story!
A few blocks in front of LV shop, a chinese lady stopped me:
Chinese Lady: Can you speak English?
Me: Yes
Chinese Lady: Can you speak Chinese?
Me: Yes (in Mandarin)
Chinese Lady: Oh good, we are all Chinese (in Mandarin)
Me: Thinking "Great, sth is going to happen"
And indeed! She wanted me to help her buy more LV bags (there's a quota per person). As I had nth bter to do and not buying LV, I agreed! Gives me a chance to officially walk into LV as a customer! She readily pulled out the designs she wanted, and handed me a stack of money Yes CASH!! All EUR1,500 of it!! Right into my hands! Oh great! She wasn't even worried that I might just run away with the money!! I suppose I don't have the sinister/conmen look! But hypothetically, I could and she wouldn't know! SO anyway, I walked into this:
After like eternity, I walked out with my purchases and handed them to her! The best part?? She gave me the tax refund!! WooHoo!!! Good Karma pays!!! Just for walking into LV and buying things, I get like EUR130 in payment! Haha That means I actually stayed for free in Paris! Cool!
With happy mood, I continued my walk. Alas, the sky turned cloudy the moment I walked out of LV shop but luckily it did not rain...

The day ended ard 4pm, and I set out back to hostel for some rest. Damn jet lag, it makes you really really tired but hard to sleep! I passed out literally at 8pm, and slept through my roomie entering! But good things nvr seem to last. I found myself awake suddenly at 2am, and didnt fall back to sleep until like 5am. Then it was restless sleep until 8am, and finally pushed myself off the bed at 930am.
3rd and last official day in Paris - Notre Dame and Latin Quarter!

Met a Chinese student (from Beijing) who was spending half a day b4 catching a train to London, so we ended up touring Notre Dame together! Then it was off to guided free tour at 11am of Latin Quarter. you can check out for more information abt their free tours! It was good and informative and they bring you to interesting places that you may not know if you're just following the guidebooks!

Happen to chance upon this bridge where French display their Locks of Love!! If only I had brought mine that day....Damn it, missed chance! Imagine the possibilities I could have locked myself into.....

Then it was off to wonder Latin Quarter! Nice little part of Paris! Lots of eateries and interesting cafes...

Stopping for a bite of Cheese Crepe, a very popular snack in Paris! It's HUGE and very filling! I was totally full halfway through my piece! But delicious!

Jet lag kicked in again, rendering me almost zombie-like by 1pm.. So I headed back to hostel and had a long, good nap of 2.5hrs! It was refreshing to wake up after a good nap! After a shower, it was off to the kitchen for some food and internet!

Coincidentally there was a group of hostelites drinking and chatting at one corner, and I just invited myself to join the party! Hey it was New Year's Eve! A Party is always welcomed!

My new friends from Paris
THe group consisted of many different nationalities - Korean, Americans, Australian, Filipino, Londoners and me Singaporean! It was a fun fun night! And lots of booze!!

We were like a group of people on New Year's Eve, no idea of what to do to celebrate the coming of the New Year, so we just drank and chatted and started photo-snapping!

As time passed and neared the 12hour mark, we decided to head to Sacre Coeur for the countdown! FYI, there used to be fireworks @ Eiffel Tower to celebrate the New Year, but they cancelled it this year due to security and safety issue. Apparently, pple were hurt maybe due to crowding or stampede!

So with 30mins to spare we made our way up Sacre Coeur and managed to find a great spot to overlook the city, surrounded by equally high and energetic Parisians, tourists! At this point in time, all the jet lag just miraculously melted away! I was super HIGH!!
And just like that, 12midnight came and went! There was not really a great HooHaa, and we actually didnt realised it was time until we saw fireworks! Seemed like pple were one beat slower to celebrate the new year! A few minutes after 12midnight, fireworks were lit, pple were cheering....

We left not long after, feeling still energetic and yearning for more, we headed to a nearby bar for more booze and party! I ended up in bed past 3am, too HIGH from the party and booze that sleep was hard to come. When it finally sorta came, I had to get up for my flight back home. Dragging a tired, hung-0ver self, I packed and left for my trip back home...
So was I satisfied with Paris trip? Not really, I missed Versailles, thanks to the flight delay. Was Paris as fantastic as many pple made it out to be? I personally do not think so. At least not from this trip! Romantic? Not really, but I have been told it was cos I was alone. But then again, isnt it best to be alone in Paris? It happens alot in movies, when u'r alone, u meet the love of your life! Haha, dream on! Maybe cos I was in NY the week b4, and the contrast was great! NY was a great city to be in, and Paris sorta paled abit in comparison. Also, the Parisians, hmmmmm not the most friendly person in general on 1st impression, especially when u'r a non-French speaking tourist. Maybe it is fate! Maybe i'm fated to have a not so great impression of Paris so that I HAVE to come back again (for Versailles!!) to judge again the great city! Haha, maybe next time I should go with somebody else to experience the romance the city has to offer... Maybe Maybe... Who knows if i'll go back to Paris again. It's not that near to Singapore, but in life, nothing is guaranteed, only life and death.
And then, my longest trip away from home has ended...On a HIGH!!! Literally!! And the worst was to come! I spent 3 days to be completely rid of my jet lag!! Worse! I must have been away for too long to take so damn long to tune back to Singapore Time!! And back with a leaner frame! All of 3kg leaner... Time to hit the gym and swimming pool to get my stamina and muscles back!

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