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The Girl With Pink Hair

Not all that glitters is gold, not all who wander are lost

Month

April 2012

The need to stop and smell the roses

I am well aware that it is in my nature to be in a constant state of anxiousness (a more accurate description would be kanchiong) without really being able to relax. Be it when I’m traveling or my daily life in Singapore. I did, however, manage to experience 3 relaxing trips so far which made me fall in love with traveling and diving all over again.

The first time was aboard a live-on-board around Similans Island when there was absolutely nothing to do in between dives but to relax. The second, when I was backpacking Laos and the third, diving at Sipadan. All of which, I returned home feeling well rested and relaxed despite not achieving much (what the hell was I expecting to achieve?). If you realized, mainly due to the lack of possible activities.

Yet now in France, I once again find myself anxious and over eager to cover as much ground as I possibly can. And now as I lie in bed feeling unwell from an earlier drink of horrible cider, I realized that all these long hours of walking in the cold and early mornings are actually wearing me (and my Toms) out and LF doesn’t seem to be enjoying this trip as much as I would like him too. Surprise surprise, the highlights of my trip thus far weren’t derived from any major sights we visited.

Instead, this morning at Dinan, I found myself very much excited having randomly walked into a local cafe where even the policemen were having coffee there. It was a tiny place without a menu and the owner seemed to know almost all her patrons. While LF sulked over coffee about having to wake up at 6.30am, I took in the surroundings observing the older men having a cup of coffee/wine as they read their papers. Eavesdropped a little on the women gathered beside my table gossiping. Watched the owner greet patrons who had just stepped in with their cute wooden baskets filled with bread and vegetables. All while trying to figure out the cost of each item I had ordered (still no idea).

After which I had a great time walking around the market stalking people with wooden marketing baskets trying to see what they had bought, enjoying the awesome smell of various food, being amazed at the items sold and feeling nauseous seeing an entire roasted pig (rather huge, head, TEETH and all intact) being mutilated based on the parts demanded by patrons.

It was then, actually about 30 minutes ago, that I realized these are the experiences that I’m looking for. Not the major sights nor any museums. My favorite experiences from this trip thus far weren’t about the sights. Though I do enjoy long walks, especially by the sea.

My point being, despite having only one more week in France, I WILL make a conscious effort to slow my pace down and attempt to relax. Meanwhile, I will continue to dream about the day when I can finally travel with time/leave constraints.

Ending with a photo of a typical wooden basket I came across (while stalking random strangers) this morning.

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Saint Émilion

Some shots taken at Saint Émilion. I truly enjoyed the walk to and through town. I only wish we had more time to wander amidst the many vineyards which LF said we could be shot for trespassing. Being ‘kiasee’, I didn’t want to risk being shot as I wasn’t sure if it was a private property and so I didn’t persist.

Vineyards we came across on the way to town.
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One of the historic monuments.
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Another historic monument.
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And another historic monument.
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I like natural light effects at the doorway. Entrance to heaven.
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View of the town.
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My first time hearing a sheep go mehhhhhh.
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Looks like a cherry blossom tree from afar.

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Random lanes. After living on flat ground for the past many years, it’s refreshing to walk on cobbled stone paths and uneven terrain going uphill and downhill at every turn.

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As we walked towards the last historic monument on the map, LF started to feel strongly about what we’ve seen and decided to make a declaration.

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I think this is the closest we’ve ever gotten to vandalism being rules abiding citizens from the land of oppression.

That aside, I’m with LF on this. Most of the monuments were just a part of a wall, an archway or a tiny pond(?) with no explanation given.

Photo of tiny pond just to prove my point.

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Perhaps I hadn’t done sufficient research before going. That said, I did enjoy wandering around Saint Émilion very much.

Saint Paul de Vence

Day trip to Saint Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns (really? I thought I was at village) on the French Riviera filled with art galleries and side walk cafes. In all honesty, much too commercialized.

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I had initially expected all buses to start from Gare de Nice and thus did not do further research on traveling to St Paul. Stopped the tourism office and realized how wrong I was. The bus stop, Congress/Promenade, for bus 400 to Vence was actually along Promenade des Anglais. Waited at the wrong side of the road and thus, missed the bus.

Entrance to the town.
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View along the ramparts.
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The highlight of the trip? The best macaroons I’ve ever had!

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Art pieces displayed around town
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As we were leaving, we saw 2 groups of adults playing “petang”, as known in Laos. Not sure what it is called in France. Kinda cool.
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Found a tiny road which leads to Vence near the bus stop.
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Cité de Carcassone

Both photos edited using Snapseed. It’s an awesome app, really easy to use. I actually prefer Snapseed to iPhoto :X

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And this is the original shot, completely unedited, taken yesterday when the weather was great.

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Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side today. Woke up to grey skies, got an amazing windblown hairstyle within a minute of walking on the streets (this I don’t mind) and it started to rain shortly after we had arrived at the cité. Twice today, we made our way to the cité. Twice it rained.

Hoping for a sunny day tomorrow so that we can complete our wall walk just outside the fortress which looked amazing today despite the grey skies. Before it started to rain.

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For now, bon nuit!

Cathédrale Russe

Our current accommodation only allows one device to be connected to the wifi at one time and since LF has to work, he has dibs on it. So here I am doing a short post from my phone. So glad we had gotten prepaid cards with data. I’m paying 5 euros for a week of unlimited data without email access and LF is paying 15 euros for a month of unlimited data with email access. Though he did pay more for the card itself somehow. We both agree that getting scammed is part and parcel of the traveling experience and we definitely prefer small scale scams. Hurhur.

Visited the Russian cathedral at Nice yesterday and the highlight for me was having found Easter eggs! It was fun watching the kids running around gathering eggs.

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In all my years of growing up, I’ve never experience nor organize an Easter egg hunt. Should probably do one after majority of my friends start having kids.

And so we’ve left Nice and have arrived in Carcassone this afternoon. Looking forward to exploring the cite tomorrow! :D

Until the day the ocean doesn’t touch the sand

With no sightseeing/day trips planned for the day, we headed for the beach this morning and decided to splurge a little on brunch by the sea at Le Galíon.

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Being relatively small eaters, we usually order for one to share but since this was brunch and we didn’t get breakfast, we decided to order a main each. Big mistake. Insanely huge portions, which LF managed to finish his and a third of mine. Impressed. Hahahahaha.

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Hung out by the beach for awhile enjoying the cold wind, warm rays and the sound of the crashing waves.

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Spent some time trying to photograph the waves rather unsuccessfully. Mainly due to the lack of patience.

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Left the beach and took a long walk to check out Cathédrale Russe and returned in less than 3 hours to hang out and people watch.

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The tofus sun bathing. Hurhur.
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Mesmerized by the blue waters :)

Sunshine

It’s amazing how the presence of the sun can bring out beauty in world. Photos below, with and without sunshine on two separate days.

Taken on a cloudy morning after a rainy night.

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Taken on a bright and sunny morning.

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Nice is nice!

Bonjour from France! Currently in Nice. Well, Nice is nice! Hurhur.

After a 17 hour flight from Singapore to Paris, we continued on to Nice with a 6 hour train ride. Definitely not a good decision. Started feeling restless and feeling fidgety 3 hours into the ride and there really wasn’t much I could do. In that 23 hours journey, I had watched 3 movies, 3 episodes of Big Bang Theory, completed a book and drew using Paper.

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The train is completely imaginary as I couldn’t recall how it looked like when I drew it on the train.

It was cold and raining when we arrived in Nice. To sum in up, it wasn’t a good first day for us, especially not with wet shoes. That said, day 2 turned out pretty well.

We started off with a walk by the beaches at Promenade Des Anglais, in wet shoes from the night before.

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It was a short walk to the old Nice town, Vieux Nice.

At Cours Saleya, stalls selling flowers, soap, spices, fruit and candied fruit. None of which I tried. I wonder why. Okay, gonna get some candied fruit on Sunday if it’s open.

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Wandered about randomly.

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Up the street which brought us up a series of stairs and apparently, on the right path to Colline du Chateau unknowingly.

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Passed by a beautiful cemetery. Saw a broken tomb which freaked me out a little, half expected a zombie to appear and chase after me.

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Our trek up Colline Du Chateau next.

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