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Sunday, September 10, 2006

I've been home more than a month...

but could only heave myself to sit in front of the comp to blog about it now. My excuse for not doing so earlier? Well, I went straight back to work just two days after I've returned and have been kept busy with some corporate exercise that the company is undergoing. Any free time I have is occupied by my latest two craze: solving sudoku(s) and tatting. This I will talk about later.

By the way, I've been signed back on for a 2-year contract with my company. Against the norm, there was no pay cut and in fact, there was an adjustment upwards. Not much but I am very grateful to my boss.

Back to my trip to UK and Paris. My cousin and I landed at Heathrow, London on 14 July. My niece, being such a sweet darling, came all the way from Sheffield with her friend to meet up with us at the airport as she's afraid her mom and I would need help with the luggages and in locating the Riverbank Plaza Hotel. Immediately after checking in, we took the tube t0 Chinatown, Leicester Square, to have an early dinner as my niece and friend had to catch the 9.30pm train back to Sheffield. Coming out of the exit of the Leicester Square station, we saw this raised platform with a big crowd of people and I was hoping it's not a demonstration or something for I do not wish to be caught in the midst of it. It wasn't, just Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn were to appear at the premiere of their film, ahem... "The Break-up". Did I wait to catch a bit of the action? I did. Did I manage to catch a glimpse of her? No. EVERYBODY towered over me! Resigned, we went for dinner at this Malaysian restaurant. I had "Hokkien Mee' and it tasted pretty authentic. Whiff, whiff... turned around and saw this boy next table relishing on his plate of sambal petai (stink bean)! Are we still in Malaysia? As we got out of the restaurant, another piece of action was awaiting us. We saw this man on his knee proposing to his girlfriend! That stopped us in our track. There was total silence all round and I was rather amused as everyone was nodding their head together with her in acceptance.

On the 2nd and 3rd day, we did a bit of sight-seeing and I managed to stash. Just a little as I was planning to do more damage in Paris.

We left for Paris by Eurostar on 17 June and stayed at this 2-star hotel called Emeraude Hotel d'Espagne near Grands Boulevard for three nights. This is a no frills hotel as it was equipped with just the basic amenities. No air-cond nor fan and since it was real hot when we got there, we slept with the grilless windows wide open, casting our safety aside. We contended that it would be some climb for anyone since we're on the 4th floor.

Day one was a bummer in Paris as my luggage lock jammed. I was advised by the duty manager to purchase a new one immediately as the following day being a Sunday, shops are closed. As we were leaving the hotel to search for one, she further advised us not to carry our passports and credit cards. We were like, how safe is Paris? The owners of the luggage shop we went to intensified our fear with tales of how tourists were robbed and attacked. Well, it didn't stop us from doing our stuff. We went to Montmarte by the metro and this place was jam-packed with people as the summer sale was on. I managed to locate Marche St. Pierre amongst all the steep and narrow cobbled streets but left the shop with a few pieces of check linen table-cloths. I've never been a good shopper when a shop is crowded with people. Next, we climbed the stairs to get to the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. After being forewarned by my niece, we avoided those Nigerians selling friendship bracelets on the climb up. It was worthed the climb as we got to see the whole of Paris from up here. A real spectacular sight.

Day two was dedicated solely to sight-seeing and we started out early by walking from the hotel to the Louvre. We got lost a little and only realised when the landmarks didn't seem right. I stopped a man to ask and he pointed the opposite direction. Oops, we were heading north to Montmarte rather than the south. Oh well, we got to see more of Paris this way. Lol. En route, we slowed down to check out a flea market, garden and church. Spent some time at Louvre before we took the hop-on and off bus. Since both of us had been to Paris before, we didn't get off the bus much but preferred to watch the sights from the upper deck of the bus.

Day three was my favourite day in Paris - stash shopping! We took the metro to Gare de Lyon to get to Le Bonheur des Dames at the 12th Arondissement. We were early so we checked out the other shops in this artistic viaduct until the shop opened at 10.30am. Le Bonheur des Dames is a treasure trove and I was taking my time to check out those beautiful framed pieces hung on the walls and at the display window. Here I bought a few pieces of linens, a couple of bellpulls and some charms. I did not buy any of the cross stitch kits nor charts as I was already well stocked with them. Next we went to Victoria Broad at the 10th Arondissement to check out more stash. It was a wasted trip as the lady in charge of the linens was away despite the shop opening at 1.30pm! The other 2 staff couldn't help so I walked away with only 3 skeins of Au Ver a Soie silk flosses. The rest of the day was spent shopping at Galeries Lafeyette, Printemp and Bouchara.

Stash from UK and Paris:

Cool Slideshows

Day four came and it was time to leave Paris. We travelled from Paris -Waterloo - King's Cross - Scarborough. Walter, my step-dad, was there to meet up with us at the station. Mum stayed behind to prepare for us a lobster and crab salad for tea! Yum, yum.

Scenes of Scarborough:

Cool Slideshows

The remaining time spent with Mum and Walter was like... coming home. We watched the World Cup together, cooked, talked, laughed and took long walks along the beach front. Most nights Mum would knit while I either cross-stitch 20 Flowers by Just Nan or knit the kitted scarf in a bag I bought at Liberty's. Friday nights were special as that's the night we'll go to their regular pub for drinks and dancing. Walter was pretty thrilled that my normally reserved cousin sister was good on the dance floor. He kept on nudging me to say, "that's a different side of Poh Eng I haven't seen". Still water runs deep, Walter.

Finished these projects in Scarborough:

All too soon the holidays ended and I was back to work on 24 August. After 5 weeks on flatties, it took some adjusting to be back on my high heels again. There was absolutely no time to settle in to my work as like my boss said, "I missed you so much", my pile of work was saying the same to me. You know what, I need another holiday to recuperate from this holiday.

Category: [ramblings]

The End.