Posts Tagged With: photo

Scouting in Paris

Today starts late again (I will stop pointing this out or you are going to think I always wake up late).  We are here to film a short and today we are going to meet and have a table read of sorts with Dean’s lead actress, Lydie Melki.  We meet her at the 16th Arrondissement where she lives and I immediately see her as “Sophie” who she will portray.  Casting long distance has its shortcoming but it seems that she will be a perfect fit. We chat, we read, we shoot the breeze, and we make the acquaintance of Buster, her Greek mix-breed.  dog, rescue, mix-breed, cuteness  Get ready for doggie picture overload.  dog, rescue, cuteness, mix-breed  dog, mix-breed, cuteness Buster4

We need to do some scouting and she needs to walk Buster so we leave to later reunite for dinner.  It will be 7:00 pm when we do so.  She is a bit surprised at the “early” dinner time.  I smile remembering 9:00 pm dinners in South America.  Parisians are more used to eating at 8:00 or 9:00 pm.  Most restaurants don’t even open before 7:00. We are looking for a bridge that gives off a sense of romance or longing.  We don’t quite find it but I get some cool shots.  One, of the Eiffel Tower with the Statue of Liberty (in a reduced size) in front of it.  The Statue was given by the Americans around 1888.  Originally it gave its back to New York and upon request by the Americans was repositioned and now faces the same direction the one in New York does. mini Statue of Liberty, Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 16th Arrondissement, bridge, River Seine  Here are some other shots.  Not many, since in the next posts you will be seeing a lot of it.  Eiffe  Eiffel Tower, 16th Arrondissement, River Seine, Paris, France  Eiffel Tower, 16th Arrondissement, River Seine, Paris, France

We go to a restaurant Terrace Mirabeau, Chef Pierre Negrevergne, Pierre Négrevergne, food, great food, Paris restaurant she recommends: The Terrace Mirabeau, manned by Chef Pierre Négrevergne which is there and comes to our table.  We are seated, after all, in the best little corner of the place.  Food is absolutely fantastic!  Everything was above average.  As a grand finale, Dean has a trio of sorbets that, at least up to now, are the very best I have ever had. The Terrace Mirabeau, sorbets, dessert, 16th arrondissement I have a desert that looks like a hot dog – Paris-Bestes – (probably spelled wrong) that achieves making me stop talking altogether so as to enjoy it to the fullest. Paris, Paris-Bestes, The Terrace Mirabeau, 16th arrondissement, dessert Silence that comes as a good break since I have been struggling with my French but managed to have Lydie understand me and manage to translate a few things to Dean.  Fortunately she speaks some English too.

It started to pour so when we part we decide to go straight into the subway and home.

Tomorrow more scouting at Pere Lachaise, going to check out the houseboat we are moving to, more of the Eiffel Tower and just walking the streets of Paris.

Come with me.  I promise we will have fun!

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Categories: 16th Arrondissement, Eiffel Tower, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Going 298 kph (186 mph). Today Je Suis Parisienne!

We arrive at the St. Pancras International Station in London (railroad) from where the Eurostar departs.  I am super excited to go on it. The waiting area is ultra modern St. Pancras International, London train station, Eurostar, London, England while the upper area, train, train station, St. Pancras International, London, England from where the train actually departs, gives you an “I’ve been here longer than you.” feel.  Customs/immigration is a breeze.

Our destination (another reason why my inner child is doing somersaults):  Paris!  I so love Paris.

The Eurostar Eurostar is set to depart at 3:31 and it leaves at… (drumroll please) at exactly 3:31 pm!!!

Tutu wants out and promptly takes over what is supposed to be my seat.  koala, train

I promptly put him in the front seat’s pouch.  He’s not too happy about this.  koala, train

The Eurostar goes up to 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph).  Super fast. Eurostar speed, mph, kph, London-Paris And takes the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France.  I find the speed mind blogging but the fact that we are underwater also blows my mind.  It will get us to Paris in 2 hours and 15 minutes.  Oh but wait, I blinked and we are here!!

Gare du Nord, Eurostar, Eurostar station, Paris, France

We get into the line (queue) to get a cab.  We are headed to the 19th arrondissement (district) to an apartment in an area that is very un-touristy and where we will probably become locals for the next 6 nights.  Love the woman in black. Very Parisian chic.  Paris, France, Gare du Nord

I am still hesitant to practice my French so I ask our taxi driver (in French) if he speaks any English.  Nope, sorry madame, I do not. (In French) And so my journey of embarrassing myself in French begins.  🙂  We manage to understand each other and actually have a bit of a conversation.  So engrossed am I in my French that Dean has to point out the taxi’s sunroof which is all glass. Paris, France, taxi, sunroof

We arrive “home”.  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th Arrondissement, 19 district  It’s tiny but charming, quaint and cozy. Worth the climb up two stairs.  Paris, France   “Tres charmant!”  We seem to be in a red-mode here, as in London.  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  pied a terre, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement

It is a beautiful day. The first, it seems, according to the owner, -who came to greet us- in a while. We settle in.  Check out our view (and our neighbors) who have two of the cutest and biggest Newfoundlands I’ve seen.  sunset, Paris, France  Newfoundland, Paris, France,

British Flag  London, I will miss you but Paris… je t’aime!  Our first sunset in Paris is divine.  sunset, Paris, France

Categories: 19th arrondissement, France, Gare du Nord, Paris, St. Pancras International | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

On the Move

Today, 27th of September, we have another change of address.  We are subletting an apartment in Bronte.  It is a close walk to the beach, really on the border of Waverly and Bronte.

Espresso, Kitchen

Getting My Caffeine Fix!

The owner is an American from Boston.  He is at the apartment when we arrive which was good since he showed me how to use his espresso machine.  Yay!!!!  I won’t have to go in search of a café for my morning caffeine fix.  There it is… in the far corner.

Studio in Bronte

Home till we go to New Zealand

I don’t hear a Bostonian accent and it turns out he has been here for 15 years.  However he has American mayo, mustard and hot sauce in the fridge so he still hangs on to some American customs.  Mayo here is nauseatingly sweet, as is the tartar sauce. I am liking this place already.  The studio is nice and airy with pretty much everything that you could need.

Bill is going to Cambodia and I am immediately jealous.  But what am I saying?  I was there and I am now in Australia all in one year.  And New Zealand is next.  I think how fortunate I have been.  This year has been truly chockfull of incredible experiences.

AlleywayWe also have a cat.  Though he doesn’t technically belong to the apartment since it’s Bill’s girlfriend’s cat who lives two apartments down the hall.  But he visits… a lot.

Cat

Meet Sox

And fancies himself as the local “Don”

Cat

Overseeing His Territory

You can’t see it in this photo but we can see the ocean from here.  

The day is spent unpacking and making myself at home and when I wake up the next day I am ready to become Lidia The Explorer once more!  I am dropped off not far from the Circular Quay where the impressive Sydney Opera is.  I choose to come back to this area since I am familiar with it.  Tomorrow I will be more adventurous.   Besides, I needed a place to meet someone who I have been emailing with, Dianne.  I belong to a travel group on-line called The Travelzine.  We have GTG (get-together) with local people from the group when someone visits.  It is really a lovely set of people.

Already I am enjoying the walk.  I like to walk leisurely and capture familiar scenes from unfamiliar viewpoints.

Train Tracks

Train Tracks from Above

It is around 10 am and the city looks almost deserted.  This is a city that sometimes makes you wonder if it really is inhabited.

Street

I am spotting a yacht I wouldn’t mind being on.

Yacht

I forgo the water and head inland where I will meet with my Travelzine friends.  The easiest and most recognizable place is the Customs House which is a library now.  Makes me smile that the street has a reminder as to where to look before you cross.  My mind adds “You, clueless visitor, do not cross before looking both ways or else you will be run over.”

But it would  be hard to be run over here ‘cause drivers are -as a rule- super courteous towards pedestrians.

There’s a bird roaming around the street.  Nobody pays any head to it.  I figure this is Aussie’s equivalent of pigeons.  I’ll have to find out what they call it.   The photo isn’t a good one –the darn thing would not pose- but I think I will easily be able to capture a good one on other walks.    Sydney is starting to bloom.  Keep forgetting that it’s spring.  This is a reminder for me.  Flowers

I get to the Customs House. A local meeting point and a building you will see in more of my posts.  Customs House, Sydney, Australia

Though I was going to avoid the harbor, it beckons and after I find my new friends Dianne and Murray we head to the water for a drink and a chat.  After a few hours I say good-bye and head out to do some more exploring.

These stairs try to guide me back up to land.  Stairs  But I do not climb them and am rewarded with the image of this duck, calmly swimming in the harbor among ferries, yachts, and others.    Duck

I am feeling a bit tired.  The bus pass comes out.  Bus PassYou can buy these bus passes in most newspaper stands.  Handy to have since some buses are “pre-paid only”.

Once back in my neighborhood I am reminded by this sign that though we speak the same language I may actually need (considering the accent and the slang) a dictionary to translate some things.

Do Not Queue

Translation: Do Not Block the Intersection!

 Tomorrow I am taking a sightseeing double-decker bus and expanding my horizon.  

Categories: Australia, Bronte, Customs House, Sydney Harbor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Switching to Tourist Mode

Today, Friday, September 21, I am going to be a tourist!  First I do the usual: open the door and assess the weather.  It’s early still and brrrr… it’s a bit nippy.

Perhaps that is why the beach is still mostly unpopulated.

Bondi Park is practically deserted.

By the time Dean wakes up the breeze has let up a bit and it is not too cold.  We head out to the bus.   He’s bought me a Bus Pass that makes me feel like a local again.  Never mind that I don’t know where the bus stop is or what bus to take.   This outing will help me familiarize myself with the routes.  We stop at the Circular Quay (which I would have pronounced “kwa” with a long “a” and is actually pronounced “kee”) where the Sydney Opera House is.

The Harbor Bridge greets us.  

I had wanted to do the bridge climb tour where they take you on top of this beautiful bridge.  Was willing to pay the $223 until I saw how high up they go and how windy it could be.  Uh, no thank you!  Ah, but what a view they must get (one that I would not be able to see with my eyes shut!) 

Just in case the sight of this Sydney icon isn’t enough of a recognizable and welcome sight there is a big sign welcoming you to The Opera House.

Didn’t realize that the tiles form a pattern that makes it even more beautiful up close.  1,056,006 glossy white and matte cream tiles!

Across the harbor is Luna Park, an amusement park that immediately brought Coney Island in New York to mind. 

The light is changing and giving the Opera House a different hue.  It’s as impressive up close as it is from a distance.   

One photo of me just to prove I really was here and then we are off toward dinner.  On the way we will see the Opera House from another angle.  But first I glance at the Harbor (Harbour written in Aussie) Bridge once more as the sun goes down.  

People at happy hour don’t seem to give it a second glance while the birds seem to stop and stare.  

And then here, in all its glory, is the Sydney landmark from the other side.

Dinner was at an Italian restaurant, Zia Pina Pizzeria, in The Rocks, a historic area of Sydney’s city center.

We don’t roam much since we have to get back to the Bondi Pavilion to see I Want to Sleep With Tom Stoppard.    My first independent theater outing in Sydney.  I much enjoyed it.  At intermission there’s a large balcony (the theater is on the second floor) from where you can gaze at the beach.

We walk back home.  It’s gotten cold but I am getting to like the fresh breeze on my face and it makes a nice warm bed so much more inviting.

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Bondi Park, Bondi Pavilion, Circular Quay, Luna Park, Sydney, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Oi Goi Oi!

Again my eyes open early though I can’t capture a sunrise on my lens due to the fact that the hotel is in a very busy area of Ho Chi Minh City.  Not much of a sky to see here.

After our morning ritual of coffee, breakfast and climbing on the bus we are all set for our day-long trip to Chau Doc via Cantho.

A few hours in, most on the bus need either a coffee or a bathroom  break so we stop at the Vietnamese version of a Starbucks.   Much more relaxed atmosphere than the chain, with much better coffee!  They use this aluminum coffee filter and place it on top of a glass, one-third filled with condensed milk.  They pour hot water on the filter of ground coffee beans and when the condensed milk and freshly brewed coffee meet, the result is heaven to the taste buds! Don’t know how these people remain thin!     

There are hammocks all over and when you order your coffee they will bring it to your selected hammock.  We congregate around some low, small tables so we can chat.  Again, Vietnam unexpectedly is providing me a flood of memories of my childhood and my country.   Hammocks are a standard in Paraguay.  Rarely will you see a back yard that doesn’t have one.  The shade from the trees they are usually tied to, providing a perfect setting for a siesta and shelter from the brutal sun, while the hypnotic side-to-side swing helps keep the flies away and you sound asleep.  But no time to sleep now.  I do not waste the chance to go back in time and space and lie on one, nonetheless.  I recall, while I do so, that it takes a bit of balance to climb on!  

After a few more hours (observing daily life alongside my window)  

and a stop at a lotus plantation

we arrive to Cantho   and it’s time for lunch near the river.   

Lunch of vegetable soup,  steamed shrimp with mango sauce,

stuffed pumpkin flower   and crispy pork with mushroom sauce, is divine.  Heavenly coffee, divine lunch… there’s an out of this world theme in this post. 🙂

There is a market on the side and I buy yet another scarf and t-shirt.   Our guide has taught me to say “Oh my god!” in Vietnamese and when I exclaim:  “Oi gioi oi!” when a vendor quotes me the price, I get a look of total surprise and the most charming  of giggles  as she calls the other vendors and has me repeat it.  This was me just before I said it.  They are having a ball.  Didn’t get me much of a discount but it did make for fabulous interaction.

A short distance from there we climb on scooters for another of what my tour company calls UFE’s (Unforgettable Experiences).  Scooters and drivers wait for us to take us to a bird sanctuary at the other end of the town, Banglang.    Didn’t spot many birds.

They leave us and we walk through town.  My “inside quietness” surfaces as I photograph their faces, their houses, their town.   


Back to bus.   Karaoke or Internet anyone?  

Long Xuyen is our next stop where we visit the Cao Dai Temple.  Not a promising start…  

Then a surprisingly pretty building…  

Then puzzlement when I see the monument in front with a reverse swastika embedded. Turns out that the reverse swastika, which happens to have a Buddhist influence, is sacred to many Vietnamese.  The swastika (a Sanskrit word) is also a tantric symbol to evoke ‘shakti’ or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness.

Cao Dai is a religion that aims “to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world.  Cao Dai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers form a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without.”  May get my vote on that premise.   I am mesmerized by its colors and by its principles.  About 2 million people practice it in Vietnam.  Persecuted by the communist rule, it gained in the ’80’s its acceptance.

Back on the bus.  Am really liking crossing the countryside.  We are taking this route so as to be near the Cambodian border.  Tomorrow we are cruising from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Pnom Penh, Cambodia on the Mekong River.

On the way we view a bit more of daily life.  School is out and some girls are in the traditional ào dái dress, used as uniforms in the school. They are heading towards the local ferry which will take them home.  A lot of life takes place on the river; they are so dependent on it.  

We arrive to the Dong Nam Hotel in Chau Doc.  I take a shower and again get on the bus to go to dinner at a local family’s house.  It’s actually a bakery by day and at night she hosts small dinners for tourists.  I try taro and rice soup –purple in color with what to me was a pretty strange taste.   Egg noodle with seafood –great.  Stir-fried morning glory (a plant not the same as the one in the US which is not edible) –delicious!   Catfish cooked in a clay pot –good.

When we arrive it was pouring. First downpour in almost 20 days of travel. It reminded me so much of the storms that hit Asunción and used to scare my mom so much. Ay Vietnam, what are you doing to me?  You have generated so many memories!

The rain brings in a visitor that was not invited to the table.    Mom did not like them; I liked them less.  She got accustomed to them; my aversion got stronger.

Back to the hotel.  The rain is steady and strong and turns into the prequel of dreams of times long gone.

Categories: BLT+ (Burma) Myanmar, Cantho, Chau Doc, Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Long Xuyen, Ramblings, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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