Didier and his buddy Nico drove six hours from Paris to Bordeaux, with Clem and i in the backseat of the car. We only stopped once – to grab a quick sandwich and use the bathroom. We might have reached half an hour earlier if a white van hadn’t blown up on the highway and caused a jam, but it was quite a drama with two fire engines edging their way through towards it. By the fifth hour into the journey, i was playfully hitting Clem for fun cos i was SO fidgety and bored (had already napped and read all i could) and he was hitting me back. Soon we were in a wrestling match with each of us warning the other, “YOU stop!” “Don’t continue and cry!” “You hit too hard!” “You started it!” We both finally stopped and i observed, “Hmm. Now we know why kids always start fighting at the back after being in the car for so long…”
Before the dreary car journey, I had the most EXCITING time EXPLORING Jean Paul and Mimi’s house earlier that morning. When i first arrived in their house the night before, we sat ourselves down for food and wine in the living room next to the warm fireplace. During the course of our meal, i observed the most interesting bits and bobs of decorations, pictures, paintings, furnishings and what-have-you in every corner and angle. What a lamp! What a painting! Who’s in that picture? I couldn’t wait to explore!
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The little Chinese. Lah perh-teet shee-noo-ahs. That’s what Clem’s sister calls me.
Our flight was relatively painless save for an hour delay from Doha to Paris. Friends are always asking me what airline I take, and I’m always happy to rave about Qatar Airways. For a return ticket to most cities in Europe, I usually pay RM3,300. During non-peak seasons, tickets go as low as RM2,800. Their service is wonderful – the stewards and stewardesses remind me of how I grew up envisioning airline service. They’re insanely polite and smile genuinely to the point I feel guilty. Their food is so delicious I have trouble picking what I want at every meal. Oh and their entertainment choices are prime as hell. The movies are always so up-to-date that at times they haven’t even reached Malaysian cinemas yet. Score. On the KL-Doha flight, I picked a new Hindi film to watch, called Agneepath. I had no expectations, as I’ve never heard of it before, but I’d say it’s my favourite Hindi film since Devdas. I sighed in awe at the production quality of the dance scenes and costumes, told Clem ‘I’m sorry, but if the main actor proposed to me I might say yes’, and sobbed through all the sad scenes over two small bottles of shiraz.
After a 16-hour plane & transit journey in total, we arrived in Paris on Saturday morning at, I don’t know, 8am. We took ages to get through the tunnel that leads one off the plane as the French policemen were doing strict checks for illegant immigrants. All the French around me were cursing ‘merde!’ about how we had to stand for roughly 20 minutes in the hot sunny tunnel. When I showed one of the policemen my Malaysian passport, he look at it, and brightly greeted, “Selamat Khabar!” I grinned back at him widely, appreciative of the local welcome he gave me, and he said a few more words in Malay which I returned, before being allowed to pass through. Clem said, “I think you must have met the only policeman in France who speaks Bahasa.” I laughed, glad to finally be on French ground.
At the immigration queue, one of the officers let us skip the queue when he saw Clem and I in the ‘international passport’ line and also spoke to me in simple Malay. Clem was completely taken aback, “What? Everyone in Paris can speak Bahasa now or what?!” It IS a really surprising thing but I felt quite proud that people in Europe actually KNOW Malaysia and Malay words. Clem and I arrived at two different immigration booths at the same time, and we separated to go through them. Strangely enough, the officer glanced at my passport, chopped it, and I went through the barriers before Clem. Clem wasn’t amused, “I don’t understand this country. I’m French and I take longer than you!?” I commented maybe it’s my red hair. No one would try to be dodgy and have such an apparent hairstyle at the same time.
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Today is officially the last day of Christmas (12 days of Christmas remember?)
so i thought i should blog bout Christmas Eve before i never do it!
We spent it at Clem’s cousin’s massive farmhouse,
located about an hour from the city of Paris.
The drive to the farmhouse was slightly disconcerting cos:
1. it was snowing heavily
2. there was only Clem, Flore and i in the car and we got very complicated directions to arrive there
3. there was nothing but dark fields all around us. So imagine if the car broke down or something, we’d be lost AND freezing!
But luckily none of that happened
Just like in storybooks,
there was a HUGE Christmas tree
in a HUGE living room
with HUGE presents under it.
I don’t think i could have reached the mid-height of the tree with my fingertips if i wanted to 0_o
Impressively long dining table set up for 20 adults and a dozen children.
Taking turns to prep food in the kitchen
French man in apron… MmmMmmmm
The men shucking oysters. Very manly.
Belon oysters GALORE
Prepping the fromage.
As if i didn’t have enough cheese during our trip in France,
i bought myself some super slimy smellie brie in the supermarket yesterday, to Clem’s distress.
The women doing nothing while the men work in the kitchen.
I could live with this…
It seems customary to open all our presents BEFORE dinner in France,
just like we did at dinner the night before.
It was complete mayhem.
All the adults were on a champagne high;
and all the children were screaming, running around and tearing open presents.
Serge + Flore
Flore, Romain, Chloe
The children were figuring out and playing with their presents all over the house for the rest of the night,
and i’m pretty sure some of them broken the same night too :p
I knew there would be lots of little girls there,
so i brought a bunch of fairy necklaces i bought in Jakarta years ago (and never bothered selling) to give away.
Soon, there were about 6 little girls running around wearing fairy necklaces.
8 if you include Flore and i
“This is my dream come true…” i told Clem, “Seeing all these girls wearing fairy necklaces ”
I learnt how to say ‘sourire’ whenever i took a picture of the small kids,
it means smile in French!
We pulled Christmas crackers,
wore our paper hats,
and wondered over the tiny toys
We got matching hats!
I’m wearing a sheer black top with gold embellished collar from Gallo by Thian
After dinner i taught them how to play a drinking game…
one which i’m sure most of you reading this know about.
Another little girl was wearing socks with gold polka dots like me!
Flore called us sock sistas.
All the pictures i have after dinner are blurry and drunk.
So i’m just posting one!
We danced and danced till one by one, people started passing out.
At one point i was lying underneath the giant Christmas tree thinking, “So prettyyyy”
And weirdly enough… i couldn’t drink anymore.
I just. Couldn’t. Drink. Anymore.
I couldn’t swallow anymore champagne or wine without feeling like i was going to throw up.
So i took it as a sign for myself to retire to bed!
Lots of people stayed over in the farmhouse that night,
Clem and i got a makeshift bed on the landing on the first floor
which is usually the childrens’ study room or something.
In my tired and tipsy state, i found 5 colour pencils poking at me underneath the covers and thought, “Darn kids!”
Found out the next morning it was placed there by Clem’s 40-year-old cousin to bug us
SO MUCH to tell about Christmas with a gazillion pictures so i have to go through them slowly later!
These are some i edited last week but didn’t have time to post cos we moved from Bordeaux to Le Mee for 2 nights,
then to a farmhouse in Mont (just outside Paris) for Christmas eve.
I’ve drunk more alchohol than water for the past few days,
and don’t think i can look at another oyster or piece of foie gras without cringing as i gave in to greed and overdid it at every meal.
Here are some pix taken in Le Marais, a trendy gay-friendly area in Paris with lots of interesting shops and art galleries.
Even as a lover of all fatty food,
the bone marrow i gleefully ordered as my entree was a bit too much for me to take after emptying 2 and a half bones…
Guerande salt to be eaten with the marrow.
Had a steak but it couldn’t compare to the luscious homemade ones i had for Christmas later on!
18 rue des Archives
Tel: 01 40 27 87 72
The vintage items here are pretty expensive, with a pair of sunnies going at 75 euros.
Ouch… think i’d get a bigger shopping orgasm from finding an authentic but cheap pair in a flea market somewhere!
Puffer fish scho kiut!
I can imagine that my future house will be filled with all these crazy paraphernalia.
This doggie made me think of Steph and Aps.
Cos Steph likes making animals, and Aps likes cross-stitching.
Was trying to take a sneaky shot of this man above who looked like a quirky character but he just WOULDN’T TURN AROUND.
Annick Goutal perfume.
Clem played with the dropper while the lady wasn’t looking and spilled some.
Such a child.
Flowers in plastic bags pretending to be vases.
A light constructed of bells!
I would like these whacky chairs please.
Okay gotta go watch some French DVD with Clem and Flore.
I must admit i’m relieved Christmas is over and i’m not expected to stuff my body anymore!
But it was gorgeous with snow from the 23rd onwards,
lots of champagne,
and Clem’s family made me feel SO welcome <3
It couldn’t have been any better.
I hope all of you had as wonderful a Christmas as well,
with lots of love and hugs and pressies that made you smile and cry.
The day before we left for Bordeaux,
Clem and i took a walk through Jardin des Tuilieries -
a former royal garden that’s almost 500 years old
and open to the public since 1667.
In front of the Louvre
It’s a very large park,
and we strolled through it trying to absorb as much of the sun as possible for warmth.
It’s so cold that half the pond has frozen!
Everytime i see something sparkly i magnetize towards it.
Clem says i’m like a magpie.
The Arc de Triomphe
That night we went to Bouillon Chartier
(7 rue du Faubourg Montmarte 75009)
a restaurant Flore goes to regularly for its great and affordable food.
It was packed and we had to queue for 15 minutes, which was better than an hour.
I had museau for my entree, chopped nose of some erm animal.
Tried some of Flore’s escargots which was nicer, but i couldn’t resist ordering something new and exotic.
Wanted to order boudin for my main, but they were out,
so had lamb ribs instead.
Had ile flottante for the first time, which i loved!
Flore apologizes for her schoolgirl-like outfit.
Trying to be a good blogger and keep up with pictures on my trip here is taxing!
Am too tired to edit and post everything tonight so here are most of the pictures first.
Took a tiring 7-hour drive from Paris-Bordeaux
and have just had escargots + steak + mussels + wine + fromage so you can just guess how full and sleepy i am now!
+ + + updated + + +
Went to Chloe’s apartment for coffee and brekkie one morning.
She lives in a nice area,
and we took a walk around afterward.
There’s nothing like visiting a regular food market in France!
The sight of all the fresh produce and meat made me want to cook!
I asked Clem, “What animal is that..?!”
“Rabbit,” he said.
“Poor Thumper!” said i
Escargots ready to take home and grill
Clem’s mum, Dom, said i had to see the Hermes store that was once a swimming pool:
It was gorgeously done indeed…
even the stair railing was engloved in customized leather.
Had mussels in garlic sauce + steak tartare for lunch
I love steak tartare! It’s raw mince meat with egg and pickles… but i adore it.
Just have to try not to think about raw cow as i munch it.
Here’s another picture of it taken with a diff art filter in an effort to make it look less gross… i hope.
Creme brulee for dessert MMM
There was a store which would stud your sneakeres or what-have-you for 50-100 euros
Sonia Rykiel store front
Weirdly enough, this is the Pierre Cardin store window.
Then we went to another Hermes store,
with REALLY ELABORATE window displays!
We also took a walk down Champs-Elysees and i popped into H&M to have a look at their Lanvin collab.
I was quite disappointed in it…
there was a blue dress i thought i’d buy, but the stitching on the sides were very crooked,
and i really didn’t think it was worth 150 euros.
Even with the Lanvin name on it.
But i did find some other things i liked!
My half-hearted self-imposed shopping ban tak jadi.