Autumn in Paris

It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post. Yes I’ve been a bit of a slack lately, well I had been here and there. I’ve been to London a few times for several different reasons and I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Borders to finish a book. Oh well too many excuses! I think I just had been lazy and focused too much on winter shopping.

As you can read on my previous post, I was so excited about our trip to Paris. Paris is in the list of countries I had to visit before I reach 30. The most exciting bit was I went with my gorgeous fiancée. We got a really cheap flight deal from Ezyjet. The flight was on 7 am in the morning, not too exciting for Ryan because he’s not a morning person, but I didn’t want to waste any time at all. Me & Ryan have a different style of travelling, I’m a planner and want to see everything I can when I visit a new place while Ryan likes to have a relaxing trip and he’s not much a planner. Well, the flight was on time but we didn’t get to sit together since Ezyjet is a budget plane so they don’t allocate seats. But it was ok, it was only an 1 hour flight. Yaaay we arrived in Paris at 9 am, early hours happy me, sleepy Ryan.

We took the RER from Charles de Gauelle airport to the central of Paris, the train was a pleasant journey with buskers entertaining us. We went straight to the hotel, Hotel de l’Avré located near the Champ de Mars and Eiffel tower. It was still to early to check in but the hotel staff were very nice and offered us to keep our luggage.

We went for a walk along the streets to Eiffel tower holding hands and continued to Louvre and Les Halles. At that time I already found Paris beautiful, the city is so pretty. Ryan with our big camera took pictures of the city and his only model —->ME. The architecture, the buildings and the gardens were so magnificent. We walked past Jardin du Carrousel and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The sky started to spit but it was ok, it made the atmosphere even more romantic. We went inside Musée du Louvre and spent hours there. The museum was so huge that you need more than a day to see all the exhibitions. Ryan was amazed by all the statues and took a whole lot pictures of them, especially the ones with a weird genitals! The apartment of Napoleon Bonaparte is also inside the museum. It was so pretty and bourgeois. After museum visit, we walked along Rue de Rivoli to the Les Halles. There were plenty of Brasseries, Patisseries and Cafés around this area, we sat down and had champagne, divine. We also bought some delicious cakes to take home and I tried to eat a pot of créme brulée with my tongue because we didn’t have a spoon. We got back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit, it had been a long day. We got ready and went to the Latin Quarter for dinner. There were plenty of cheap set menus in area. French food can be really expensive but this area offered at quite a bargain. We tried Escargot (snails) and no i didn’t like it, but it was worth an experience, so Ryan ate the rest, hahaha.

Paris was so easy to get around. Metro (underground train), RER and trains are everywhere and not as busy as London tube. We started our second day in Paris with a french breakfast at the nearby patisserie, I just loved the smells of fresh pastries and in Paris, they were everywhere. I loved my croissant but Ryan was not happy with just croissants for breakfast, oh well. Then, we took an RER to Versailles. Our journey got interrupted by a bunch of obnoxious young Americans, who were so loud. Ryan got cranky at them. We got to Chåteau de Versailles and queued for 1/2 hour behind the Americans so Ryan got even crankier, and then we entered the amazing palace. The Chåteau was busy with tourists and the place was so big it took us 4 hours to admire it. We went to get some lunch in the area and hardly anything was open except one Chinese restaurant and kebab place. I’m not a big fan of kebab so I finally found a patisserie and bought an almond croissant and french pizza, while Ryan ate his kebab. We took an RER back to the centre of Paris and went to St Germain des Prés, the place reminded me of St Etienne, one of my fave french indie band. We walked along Blvd St Germain and I stopped by to get crepes, yummy !! one of my fave snack, they are everywhere in Paris and I love them. Then, I turned around and these Paris roller (mass skate) went pass us, loads of people on their roller blade rolling the streets of Paris and apparently it’s a weekly thing. We went back to the hotel to get ready for Eiffel at night and Montmartre.

Eiffel was so much more beautiful at night. In the daylight, it looked like a piece of metal. Ryan loves lights, so he was loving the lights on the tower. The night was cold, and he hugged me tightly on the way there. We went to the top and it was full of couples and yes, somehow most of them kissed, it might be cliché but I like it. The view from the top was amazing, and the atmosphere too. We didn’t realise that it was already late so we jumped on the metro and headed to Les Deux Moulins Café in Montmartre. This Café is very special to me because Amélie Poulain from the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain worked there. It was one of my fave movie of all time!

paris

There was an incident when we just got off the metro station. A french guy approached us and started talking really fast in French and we told him we could not understand him and he went away. Ryan told me the guy tried to pickpocket him but Ryan did not bring his wallet with him. Well that was lucky!

Day 3, our last day in Paris 😦 We decided to have a relaxing day. We went to Bastille for breakfast and then walked along Rue de Rivoli to Centre Pampidou, a Paris cultural centre that has a distinctive architecture. Then, we went to Champs-Élysées and walked to Arc de Triomphe, took pictures just like other tourists. There was this Chinese guy who posed in so many different poses for ages, it was funny to watch. Our last stop was the Opéra and we tried to find this Japanese restaurant that was recommended by lonely planet and ended up walking up and down the street trying to find it. We finally found the place but it was not open yet. Not a good sign since we had to catch the train to the airport soon. I was craving for Japanese food, because in UK, they’re just hard to find. We walked a bit and found a few Japanese restaurants in the area and we were not disappointed.

The journey to the airport however was not as smooth as we thought. The train line for the airport in the station was closed and since our french was not that good and all the announcements were in French, it was difficult to find a way. We asked some of the locals and got a bit of clue. There was a protest so the line had been diverted. We had to be in the airport soon so we just followed our instinct and prayed we would get to the airport in time. Finally we got into the right train and got to the airport early.

It had been a wonderful trip and totally new cultural experience for us. Au revoir Paris. We can’t wait to come back in the summer.

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Goodbye My dear friend..

Yesterday I said goodbye to my dear friend Arief Said. He just came back from a trip around Europe and visited me in UK. He went with this crazy tour to lots of countries in Europe in 4 weeks by bus. I can’t tell you exactly how many he visited but it was lots. He flew into London from Melbourne on the 1st October and stayed with us for 3 nights. Then he went off with his tour and came back on monday night. So I went to London yesterday to see him.

It was a wet day, very heavy rain when I came out from our apartment. Lucky I wore my trench coat (investment buy!). The umbrella I had with me didn’t do the job at all. It was windy to, so my cheap umbrella turned inside out and I was trying to fix it while I was getting wet. I thought, damn I just did my hair this morning so I would not risk to get all wet when my trip just started! I stopped by at the supermarket and looked for a new umbrella. Sainsbury is so huge, when you were in a hurry it was not that easy to find an umbrella section. After a good 10 minutes looking I finally found it but then, there were so many to choose from. Big ones, thin ones, fat ones, expensive ones, cheap ones whoa, i just needed one that would survive the bad weather. So I chose a medium size, medium price black one. I went to the self check out register and the signing pad didn’t work, God what a bad start for  a day! Finally it would let me pay and I glanced on my watch, great I missed my train. So I went on walking on the heavy rain and my umbrella survived. My trench coat protected me from the rain, but my hair was a bit wet. I just needed to sit down for a little bit. I grabbed an apple from my bag and started munching. An old man gave me a smile, i thought that’s very nice. I felt better already and head of to the platform. It took 1/2 hour in the train and when I got to London the rain had stopped. I took a tube to Oxford Circus and wander in the shops while waiting for Arief. We met and were starving so we went to soho to get some asian food which I had been craving for weeks! The restaurant was malaysian / indo influenced but the owner was malay-chinese. I ordered Meehoon goreng istimewa (Wok fried rice vermicelli) served with satay, fried egg and rendang. Arief told me about his trip which sound amazing and overwhelming. He spent approximately a day in 1 city and then continued to the next one. He said all of the cities he visited were wonderful and I couldn’t agree more from the pictures he’d shown me.

After late lunch, Arief told me he had not have his coffee yet, and he’s a coffee addict so we went to Bea’s of Bloomsbury which serves divine coffee. We talked more while we had our drinks, about everything mainly and it was nice. I’m so glad he did the trip. He told me he got me present (yaay) so we went back to his hostel to get them. Firstly, he gave a box of chocolates (yummy) and then he gave me a mask!!! which he got from Venice, aah I was jumping around with excitement, it’s a great present.

Venice Mask

The Gift

The mask was beautifully handmade and I just love it! We talked more about travelling and how it changes people life. It was so great to see him in UK, it created a different experience somehow.

I’ve known Arief since high school and we were in the same class for 3 consecutive years. In high school we were close but we had different friends and different activities. Since high school, I always knew my next study would be in Australia as planned by my parents. So when I found out that Arief was also going to Melbourne for tertiary study, I was excited to have a friend in Melbourne that I already knew. He took care of me when I got to melbourne. He introduced me to all his friends and asked me hang out with them (I actually didn’t get along with them). He also the one who introduced me to one of my ex-boyfriend. I used to hang out at Arief place when I got nothing to do and he used to make me lunch. Most of the time he’s often disgusted with some of my behavior but i know he actually love me (haha). We have always been bestfriend but we don’t necessarily hang out together. He knows everything about my life and my love life and vice-versa.

It was time for me to go and we said goodbye, I wish him good luck for the future ahead of him and I’m sure I will see him again soon.

MeandArief

Me & Arief in London

Oh my knees, why are you so weak?

It happened again last Monday night. The incident i dreaded so much. My right knee cap moved out of the socket but came straight back in.

The pain was so unbearable and traumatic.

The first time it happened was when I was 17 and doing stupid dance move, it was my left knee that time. Since it happened in Indonesia where people believe in traditional medicine, my parents and uncle took me to a traditional masseur. It was the most painful experience in my life. The masseur massaged the injured knee and applied a traditional balsam, which l learned years later  that it actually made the injury worse. The healing took a long time so my dad decided to take me to a doctor. The doctor said it nothing broke and the damage was on the ligament and cartilage. The doctor gave me some exercises to strengthen the knee and I could laugh again.

A lot of things happened to my life but my knee was fine until February, 2005. I went back to Indonesia for my sister wedding and one night I went clubbing with this boy I really fancied. I was dancing the night away when my left knee collapsed again. The worst thing was, since it was in a club, everyone thought I was drunk cause when it happened you just fell down because of the pain. Apparently I passed out for a few minutes and everyone thought I was drunk. I got up and felt the pain but I was having too much fun and so the other people around me. I went back home and fell asleep. The next morning I couldn’t move my knee and it was swollen badly. I called my best friend and after that called my mom. That time, my relationship with my mom wasn’t very good. She also didn’t like the guy I was seeing (and also my friends), so she was showing her concern by interrogating me, instead of showing empathy.  I was crying with pain and she was upset because it caused her trouble in addition to the headache from my sister’s wedding reception. She took me to a bone specialist doctor in one famous hospital in Jakarta. The doctor told us that I needed a surgery. God, I was so frightened. My mom did not believe the doctor and thought he only wanted a quick cash, because the x-ray showed no bones were broken. In Indonesia, the health care system is not excellent. There is no such thing as a free treatment. Therefore, doctors are more like businessmen. So surgery was out of the options, RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and was the medicine. The healing process took about two weeks and was just in time with me going back to Australia.

Two months later, it happened again. I was out with my girlfriend Tana clubbing celebrating my new single life and we were on the dance floor when it happened. Again, everyone thought I was drunk. It was so awful and the security guy even told me off for sitting on the speaker. What made it worse, the club was in underground, so we had to climb up the stairs to get out and no one would help us. So I called the ex-boyfriend whose heart I just broke a couple of months before. He took me to my sister’s house and the healing process started all over again. My sister took me to the emergency room and again nothing was broken just a damage on the tissues. However, this time the GP in the hospital referred me to an orthopedic but disappointingly he could not give me an answer why it happened.

A year passed by and my knee was fine. A lot of things were going on in my life that year (2006), I quit my job because of stress and other things. I started to go to the gym regularly since I had a lot of free time. Then I joined a contemporary Indo dance group to perform at Indonesian Festival. I was enjoying it so much when my knees got aggressive and yes both knees moved when I was practicing with the girls. I collapsed and could not stand up at all. So I called my sister and my then boyfriend to take me home. It was the most horrifying experience so far. I could not move at all even to the toilet. That night when I needed to go to toilet I passed out and my then boyfriend panicked. In the morning, my sister called the ambulance and took me to the hospital. I stayed overnight in the hospital. They gave me crutches and the knees started to heal but slow this time. The damage must had been worse than previous incidents. I didn’t remember which knee, but one knee healed faster than the other. I also had to visit the physiotherapist regularly to strengthen the muscles. He told me my dancing career was over, sadly.

Now is 2009 so it’s been the longest time since that last incident. Well I had been doing yoga to strengthen the muscles and I haven’t done anything like dancing to put more risk to them (I miss dancing so bad though). However, last year I remember it almost happened but it didn’t. I could feel it moved but not to the point to where it used to be. I just have to be careful not to twist my body so much, but sometimes I just forget.

Well that what happened last Monday, I did a turn. Yeah I was walking and I turned around, however only my body that turned not yet my legs and the right knee cap moved and it was so painful. Ryan who never experienced me being like this before, was a bit confused of what to do. I said to him pick me up and put me down on the bench, after 5 minutes the initial pain was gone but I was still in shock. The knee went to be stiff but the pain was gone. Honestly, what was going through my mind that time was PARIS. I could not afford any injury. I was scared it would be swollen and my walk would be restricted. We got home and straight away did RICE and I fell asleep.

The next morning, my knee looked the same! I was so surprised no swelling at all. It was a bit stiff but I could walk okay. I was just so thankful, I didn’t know what happened, the damaged must not been so bad.

Well I’m fit and healthy for Paris 🙂 and I hope it will stay that way forever!