Flight to Paris: We left from home really early in the morning at 5a.m. Poor kids, here Amar is seen flat asleep, PMS also looks slightly dazed yet Sarah was busy digesting her newly bought magazines. The guy sitting in front of PMS was praying we'd reach the destination alive (I guess). The flight was very cheap: a total of 74 pounds for all four of us. Flight to Paris took 1 hour from Coventry.
Upon arrival we were reminded that the time in Paris is one hour ahead of England. We reached Paris early morning, while the sun was still casting golden light. We were darn excited upon touchdown, finally Paris!
We took a 20 minute drive on taxi to our hotel. It costed around 30 euros. However, taking a train would cost around the same for all 4 of us and weigh in the inconvenience of our huge luggage and semi-sleeping children travel by taxi was definitely the better option. Surprisingly our taxi driver was genuine, helpful and genuinely helpful. Coming from a local, we had learnt during the 20 minute drive more than what we read for hours in the Paris Guidebook (the book was also excellent). During the journey, our kind taxi driver was showing us all the beautiful landmarks (including the famous Guillotine - unfortunately not pictured), explained how to get around and advised us to invest 14 euros for the three day "metro pass". For around 14 euros we were able to travel unlimited on the underground trains and busses to all destinations within zones 1-2 in Paris. Excellent.
We found out why the taxi driver was so kind and helpful: he was from Malaysia.
Checking in: This is a view of the lobby of our hotel room. The hotel rates were relatively cheap so we really didn't know what to expect for the money. We were pleasantly surprised that the hotel owner was quite friendly and helpful. We were even more surprised to see our room:
... pleasantly surprised that is. The room was better than we imagined. It was huge and had more than enough space for the 4 of us, fully en-suite, had a TV, air-conditioning (all pictured above) and had an excellent view of the Gare du Nord:
View from our hotel window; Gare du Nord: We (rather, PMS) chose quite a strategic place to stay. Our hotel was just opposite this famous train station, famous to UK travellers that is. Gare du Nord is easily reachable from Orly Airport and had direct underground veins to major attractions including Disneyland, Eiffel Tower, and the Basilisque Sacre Coeur. My deepest regret about the recent Paris visit was not being able to visit the beautiful, white, mosque-like cathedral despite it being only 3 stops from our hotel! (In comparison, the Eiffel Tower is like 15 stops away). Click the links and see for yourself.
Much to our relief and delight, there were at least 3 (I bet there were much more) Halal shops in Gare du Nord. Above was one, only several doors away from our hotel. Food wasn't a problem at all.
After spending much of the day recovering we went out together to Point Neuf for the night boat tour of the river Seine, and above was PMS in front of the Eiffel Tower at night (taken using the "night portrait" mode on the camera.
The next day, with barely time to recover from the night before, we were again resuming our tour. Above was taken just near the Louvre. Eiffel tower in the background.
That's all folks!
- Right now in the UK, we have begun what is called the "daylight saving time". This is the time when we very curiously put our clocks one hour ahead of normal. The rationale, as the name suggest, is so that we savour the daylight for longer than possible if time was "normal".
- Daylight saving time starts at 2am on the last Sunday in October. Confused? My early years in the UK, I really had trouble adjusting to the daylight saving time. There were instances when I came to lectures one hour late, not knowing that time has changed to daylight saving. Those were extremely embarrassing moments.
- The reason why we need to enter daylight saving time to begin with, is because the day is so short nowadays in the UK. Daylight begins at around 7am, and ends at 5pm.
- Imagine coming back from work in total darkness at 5pm! 5pm in Malaysia is when the children starts playing football outside, enjoying the sun.
- That is why many people in the UK are affected by what is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which in English simply means "depression especially in Winter due to not having enough sunlight :p"
- For me though, I love these times. I love coming back home when it's dark. There is a nostalgic, magical feeling that I could not properly explain :)
- Firefox 2 has just been released. Make sure you guys download it ASAP; many improvements from Firefox 1.5.
- Picasa 2 also has ALOOOOT of improvements in their latest update. Make sure you guys do the update.
- One of the best features I love in Picasa 2 is the Web Album integration. If you guys love photos, do give Google Web Album a try - it's excellent. I've already uploaded lots of pictures, but for the moment I'll keep the address a secret - it's for PMS' and yours truly's parents & family only, so far.