Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 1 - Paris

Right after we landed, we headed straight for the hotel. Me being myself, I soaked in as much parisian ambience around me as I can. The slightly damp smell of autumn air, the chilly breeze, muted sunlight peeking through the clouds, vibrant colored autumn leaves, french songs on the radio. As I have said before, I'm often fascinated by the littlest things.

The journey to the hotel took about 1 hour an a half, because it was early morning, and we got stuck in a traffic jam. We got to the hotel around 9.45 a.m, and thankfully mom had us signed in for early check in (otherwise we'd have to wait for the standard check in time, which is 3 p.m). Only one room was ready though- me and Alya's room, so we (or rather, the bellboy) took all our lugages, up to my room, and decided what to do for the whole day, since we still have the whole day to explore Paris.

We took a Paris map from the concierge, and remember the map I printed out from google map? I marked the places we can visit on a Paris map to see how far it is really from the hotel. The hotel had a free internet connection (albeit a little unstable), so mom made everybody (by everybody I meant my younger siblings) take out their iPods to look for places they wanted to visit the most in Paris (I was the only one who walked around Paris last year. The rest of my family went shopping in Champs Elysees, so they still had a lot left to see). Funny story: The moment dad got on to the internet on his iPad, the first thing he did was to log into our CCTV account to check on the birds (we have a maccaw and a cuckatoo). He contemplated calling our house to freak out our help telling her that we can see her every move, but decided against it in the end. haha.

Madre, upon arrival. That's dad, Alya and Sufyan in the background.

See how close it was to Eiffel Tower? Super stoked abt it!

Once the other room was ready, we changed into something more comfortable (read: with less static cling), I of course took out my beloved Doc. Marten boots (can't really wear it in Malaysia. I usually wear flip flops all the time anyways), and decided to head out to check out the Paris Les Cars Rouge tour(something like a hop-on hop-off bus) by the Eiffel tower, so that we can get a general idea of the touristy places we can visit. When I asked mom how we were going to get to the Eiffel tower, she said non-challantly "Jalan lah" ("Why, we're walking obviously"). I was quite taken aback. Walk?? Really?? But the thing is, I wasn't paying attention before because I was busy checking us into the hotel, it turns out that our hotel was REALLY close to the Eiffel Tower. Literally 287 steps away from Eiffel tower (I COUNTED!).

Once we got to the park right next to the Eiffel Tower, there was an exhibition of like World Bear (I think?) I think I saw something similar around the entrance area in Pavillion. But there were statues of bears for each countries, and on it, every country showcased their art. It really was a sight to see. I saw one from Malaysia, as usual, portraying multi-racial "Satu Malaysia" concept, by the artist Imuda.

Once we're done looking at it at a glance, we started looking for the counter selling the ticket for the Les Cars Rouges. There was none by the way. We looked for a good 10 minutes or so, until I gave up, and decided to ask the bus driver, where we could buy the ticket. Turns out that you just buy it before you board the bus. Now there were options as to whether you want to buy a one-day pass or a two-day pass. It's 27 Euros for 1 day, and 29 Euros for 2 (consecutive) days, so of course, we decided to buy the 2 days pass. I think it's worth your money to spend. You don't have to hail a cab, or confuse yourself with the subway or bus system everytime you want to visit places. It basically covers ALL the tourist attraction places, plus, you get an earphone, which you can plug into the bus' audio system, and listen to the explanation of every places we stop at, while you ride along on the bus. So we decided that on the first day we'd just look around, and on the second day, we could actually get off on stops that piqued our interest.

So on to the bus we go! It starts off at Eiffel Tower, to the Champs de Mars, where you can see Ecole Militaire right across the street. Magnificent building! The next stop was Musee de Louvre. Mom insisted that we visit the museum the following day because she wanted to take pictures of the glass pyramid (I already took one last year, when they were busy shopping, but whatevs. lol). Then it was Notre-Dame cathedral next, then we passed through Musee D'Orsay (which I wanted to go to, but was vetoed out by everyone else)  followed by the Opera building which was really majestic!! I was awed by the sculptures that surrounds it (but then again, I'm always awed by sculptures..)

Sufyan refusing to take selfie with me :(

If you happen to decide to sit upstairs, in winter, make sure you have your gloves on.
My parents decided to get off at Champs Elysees, because my father wanted to go to Louis Vuitton (it's much cheaper to buy it there), since he had his eyes on a watch last year, but he didn't buy it. Me, being uncomfortable surrounded by expensive things, decided to wait outside, feed the pigeons, and people-watch. I mean it was Paris! It was Champs Elysees! I people-watched the heck out of Parisian.

Dad in his element.
By the time my parents were done with whatever they did in the shop, our fingers were so sore from the cold air, so we decided to get a bite to eat. We saw a lovely little cafe, next to McDonalds (yes, we did consider going in there first haha), and being hungry and tired, we just decided to go in, and just order whatever vegetarian or seafood dish they had. In the end, we settled for Pasta, Risotto, and Salmon Steak. I had some salmon and cream pasta, and my sister had 4-cheese pasta. Both dad and my brother had the seafood risotto.

Oh hai.

My cream and salmon pasta

Mom's Salmon Steak

dad's Risotto

Alya's yummy 4-cheese pasta (the one with the blue cheese that I came to love)

Everything was reasonably good. It was my first experience with blue cheese, and I have to say, it was love at the first sight (or rather, taste) for me. I loved it! It was creamy with like a sharpness to it. I was hooked.

Our tummies full with food, and our eyes heavy with sleep (dah kenyang ngantuk lah), I really really wanted to go back to the hotel, but for some obsolete reason, Alya wanted to check out Marks & Spencer. So we headed out there, which turned out to be a pretty good call, because we found our food supplies for our remaining time in Paris. We found cheap sandwiches (tuna, eggs and cheese, etc), cookies (which became my sister's staple food for a week), and most importantly for me, Potato Chips!!

Once we were done with our grocery shopping, we hailed 2 cabs (I can't even remember why we got on a cab instead of boarding the hop-on and hop-off back to Eiffel Tower), and returned to our Hotel.

Even though it was around 4 p.m when we got back, we were all dead tired, plus a little bit jet-lagged, AND it was already dark out (apa kena mengena tah), we called it a day and decided to spend the remaining day resting. Dinner was a quiet affair di bilik masing masing. Everybody had a cup-noodle (which I was sniggering at when I saw mom packing a whole suitcase full of it, but was in the end very very grateful for) and a cup of tea for dinner. I managed to make myself stay awake until 8 p.m before finally succumbing to sleep, thus bringing us to the end of (uneventful) day 1. :)

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