Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Flood of Pictures: Paris

I have finally finished my oncalls, but currently I'm too tired to even press the keys on my keyboard. So here are as usual, a flood of photos from the recent trip to Paris.

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!

PS
  1. 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".
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Imagine coming back from work in total darkness at 5pm! 5pm in Malaysia is when the children starts playing football outside, enjoying the sun.
  5. 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"
  6. 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 :)
PPS
  1. Firefox 2 has just been released. Make sure you guys download it ASAP; many improvements from Firefox 1.5.
  2. Picasa 2 also has ALOOOOT of improvements in their latest update. Make sure you guys do the update.
  3. 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.
  4. Fuh!

15 comments:

OK said...

Cool!

Spending a boring day at work just reading and drowning myself in coffee..

Hoping to finish this topic by the end of today. Tomorrow I want to study a different topic. Now I have my caffeine things are going faster.

Nice pics!. Also neat holidays.

Skype me if you are free...


Regards

dith said...

It's fixed! I am borrowing Nisak as my guide whenever Allah permist me to gon on a Uerope tour! She's even good in choosing the perfect afordable hotels.

For someone who's so bushed that he cant even tap the keyboard, you've gone overboard! hehe

p.s. I still dont get your concept of daylight saving hours and why the nostalgic feeling of coming back home in the dark, :p

hiyoshi said...

I think Malaysians need to go to the UK (specifically somewhere in Coventry) to really understand what Daylight Savings Time actually means.

Your no. 6 postscript made me smile funnily. I wonder why?

ajab booboo said...

Not too tired for Shakira, eh, Uncle Mynn? ;)

mama sarah said...

bbyyyyyy you kejamlah. selalu potong line!

dyanna said...

Nice pictures, I'd like to point out some image tips if you don't mind... the pictures would look much better kalau rotate the ground and align it parallel to the horizon so that it would look like tanah tu senget.

Mama Sarah said...

btw: the taxi driver was not from M'sia lah!

rosliothman said...

you photography is getting better everyday muh..well done mate! My best wishes to your newly wed brother as well. Wife dia org mana? by the way, bonfire night is near so be prepared for a long exposure night shoot.

mynn says "I love coming back home when it's dark." hmmmmmm...I wonder why..

mynn said...

OK
you sound alot happier nowadays i could sense it in your writing. no more of that doom & gloom :)

dith
the typing is all for you dith, if it was up to me i'd just post pictures and three word captions. haha. yes, PMH is very good arranging anything really - she's very organised and does alot of research before committing. she's a gem. Uncle de is also the same, he does a lot of research before buying/investing in something.

dith, hiyoshi & rosli
there's a reason why the early darkness brings back memories. as some of you know, i spent the first 7 years of life in the UK and one of my first memories was of my parents taking us out shopping during the festive christmas period - lots of windows decorated for christmas, blinking lights, and at that time it was dark (although still early). My father took a picture of us that day in Cardiff, and it's weird whenever i see that picture as i still remember the event. (ps to bie: tempat my father ambik gambar tu sekarang ada patung depan pizza hut tu, dekat dengan cardiff castle).

... of course i'm not telling you guys the full story, haha :)

ajab
makin segar adalah ... probably that's what gave me the second wind for writing the long entry above!

dyanna
i'm so waiting for you to update with your raya story ... cepat! nak tanya about what you said: you mean the pictures would look better if straight or senget?

PMS
dah update nampak...?

rosli
still far to go lah rosli. wife afar orang kelantan. i know bonfire night on the 6th kan? tak sabar nak try ambik gambar....

dyanna said...

straight, straight.

dyanna said...

try gambar yg dekat airport tu.. and the one Sarah making the leap between the two beds.

Btw, how did u managed to get the Photoshop (CS2 right?) software?? Kalau ori mahal jugak. I do share the same opinion with you abt using Photoshop, tapi terpaksa la pakai yg GIMP cos takut depa scan comp & detect a 'pirate'.

mynn said...

dyanna
seriously dyanna, if you dip your toes into the ocean of photoshop, you'll never want to bathe in the tepid waters of GIMP anymore ..............

oh, and make sure you sign up for picasa web albums, it's worth it. the coolest thing is, through probably excellent compression your pictures are uploaded to the web at very large sizes (e.g. 1600x1000 pixels) but the sizes remain around 150K only. When you view your webalbums, especially if you use firefox, you'd be able to view them FULL SCREEN as a slideshow. It definitely beats flickr's small sized pictures. so far you get only 250Mb, but i've uploaded close to 100 pictures at 1600x1000 pixels (huge) and so far it's only taken 6Mb. amazing! being able to upload it straight from Picasa is also very convenient.

and remember, you just need a google login account to sign up to picasa albums. I strongly suggest taking part :)

ps
if you've noticed, I have great problems getting my pictures straight. my father has astigmatism. entah2 i have it as well! :(

crimsonskye said...

I hope this doesn't sound like such a numbskull question, but you mean to say there really are people who suffer from depression because not having enough sunlight during winter? Woah. Makes me real grateful for living in a place where there's sun all year round!

Paris trip: You didn't pull a Robert Langdon during your stay there? ;)

dyanna said...

Thanks for the info...Definitely will try the Web Album.

Soo many image hosts...fotopages, flickr, tabbloo, mobblog and now picasa.. and I have an account in each site... i guess my pictures are sprawled across the cyber space.

Q related to Photoshop again.. did u get the software together with your Canon software package?

mynn said...

dyanna
i got photoshop with the vaio but id only recently put effort into learning the ins and outs :) you know, i still feel strange doing things in photoshop as it's so different from GIMP, and i think at this point, i'm better at GIMP. however, photoshop's interface is SO logical and easy - it's not that difficult a move.

also, DEFINITELY try web album, you'll see the benefits straight away - especially the huge pictures and i bet you'll convert.

I have pictures sprawled all over the 'net too.

crimsonskye
what happened to yr blog crimson? no one seems to be able to access it. and to answer yr questions:
1. no it's not a silly question, people do get terribly depressed in this country for not getting enough sun, seriously. even when the days are long & supposed to be pretty, most days in the UK are overcast and is not blue. if you notice in most of my photos - the skies are devoid of clouds and are normally white in colour. blue skies are terribly rare and so it's disappointing for photographers.

2. paris trip: i was thinking of da vinci code all the way ... all the way. especially seeing those pyramids. i took like 50 pictures of only louvre and the pyramids.