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Fourth Full Day in New York City

Today was another interesting day in New York.

The day started off with breakfast/brunch in a near by diner. Then the day of walking begins. So we first started walking toward time square. We thought about watching a show but in the end decided against it, that’s when we came across the M&M store. It was pretty amazing!!! we found these m&m golf ball and we’ve got this idea to take a series of pictures for the apartment. From there we walked toward the apple store to check out the iPad!!! Since today is the first day, it was amazing that I got a chance to touch one of them. And yes there are still available. My comment on the iPad? big iPhone! and it does not support traditional Chinese!!! What gives? yeah.. I would have probably purchased one for my folks if it supported traditional Chinese, but it doesn’t it only supported simplified Chinese.

We then walked toward united nations, we did stopped by a French dessert shop. Oh, it was really nice… it does remind me a bit of France.

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CTIA Day 1 Recap

Well, it is day 2 of CTIA in Las Vegas, let me recap my experiences from yesterday. The day started with meeting up with Xavier for breakfast. Β We had a simple breakfast at MacD’s, but I have to say this McDonald has the look and feel of a coffee shop. Β It was really interesting. Β We then walked to the convention center to get my ID and head toward the Keynote.

As we were headed toward the keynote, we ran into couple of Google Androids.

Back Fill my European blog posting

Well.. for the next few days.. I am going to try to back fill my blog post with events from my France trip. After the blog is complete I will post the pictures on my blog and on Facebook. Stay tuned!!!

New week New hotel and Luggage!!! Finally

So today started off pretty late, I guess I am pretty tired from all the long nights from previous days, but it is the beginning of a new week and the beginning of my last week in France. Today started with my panic attempts to access the internet to finish my work timesheet. With all this traveling, I forgot that I still need to fill out a vacation time card for work. So, I ended up at the local McDonald trying to use their free internet to VPN back to our office to complete my time card. Yes for some reason our internet did not work in our hotel. πŸ™

Amazingly, right after finishing my time card, we discovered that there is an Air France Office nearby. We’ve been here for a few days and there is an Air France office just right next to where we were staying, AMAZING!! Since we have not gotten our luggage yet, we decided to go and see if they can help us. After around 20 minutes of waiting and talking to the reps, we got our new hotel address updated in their system, and found out that they have found one of our luggage and maybe delivering it today. Woo hoo!! With that wonderful news, we help our friends drag their luggages across Paris to our new hotel.

Our new hotel is a bit nicer, it even have an RFID key for opening room doors. How cool huh? However, the location of the new hotel is a bit farther than the previous location, but it is still very close to the metro.

Once we all checked in, we decided to go for another city bicycle ride around Paris. Oh, I just love riding bikes around Paris!!! This time, we rode to the Picasa museum and the Victor Hugo’s House. Unfortunately the Picasa Museum is closed until 2012 and all other museums are closed for Monday!!!

We parked our bikes and stopped for lunch at the Cafe Hugo. Yumm Yumm… Beef and Carrots!!

Victor Hugo’s House.
After a short break we decide to get another bike and ride to Pompidou center. However, I ended up getting a bad bike and unable to return it properly so I was not able to check out another bike. My friends ended up pushing their bikes along the side walk all the way to the pumpadu center. πŸ™ sorry guys…

More stairs!!! This is one of my favorite stairs shots.

After a short visit around the Pompidou center, I got a new bike (paid another 3 euros) and rode to the islands to have some ice cream with my friends at the Berthillon ice cream shop. Yummy!!! They have, supposedly, the best ice cream in Paris. So on a cold winter day, we were having ice cream.

Xavier making Hot Chocolate!!

The shops on this street have some really interesting things.

A night view of Notre Dame de Paris, as we walked toward the near by Metro Station.

For dinner, we went to a small wine shop near Bercy. So, tonight I learned that you can not call red wines smooth, you have to describe the wine as fruity or not so fruity… so many things to learn about drinking wine.

Sausages and beans.

Duck breast salad.

After our wonderful dinner, Xavier took us to a night stroll near the France National Library.
and more “stairs” pictures πŸ˜‰

After we finally returned to our new hotel, half of our luggage was waiting for us!!! YEAH!!!! However, the other 1/2, my half is still missing!!!… so far I have travelled in the same clothe for 7 days. Oh don’t worry, I do wash them nightly ;).
Tomorrow: Versailles

Paris Day 3

It is Sunday today, not much going on, so I will just start with some of today’s highlights.

First, Bastille market!!! It’s amazingly cool, it is like the French Market in New Orleans or the Taiwanese open air market in Taiwan. It’s pretty awesome with all the fresh food and goods. It really makes me want to buy some food and cook. Unfortunately we do not have a kitchen :(.

Look!!! it’s actually a fish bowl with gold fish on his head!!!

Our breakfast break… We bought some bread and beef and carrots. YUM YUM!!!

Churros … freshly made… much better than Costco churros!!! πŸ˜‰

Lunch … French McDee’s. uh.. they are actually not very good.
After lunch, took the metro to met up with our friends Xavier (aka French guy) and Huey. From there we took the RER (the regional rail) to a French outdoor outlet. Since my luggage hasn’t arrived yet, I decided to get a new shirt while I am here. I bought a nice purpose dress shirt with french cuffs and chinese knot cufflinks!!!

Afterward, since we were so close to Disney Land Paris, we decide to visit the Disney Village. From the short visit there, I get the feeling, Disney Land is more like American Land, everything there is about the American and Disney culture.

After our short visit at the Disney village, we decided to head back to Paris for dinner. When we returned to our hotel, we walked out to the beautiful street of Paris and found Leon’s. It is a restaurant that serves mussels. What we did not know is, Sunday night is all you can eat mussel night!!!… Yep after 3 rounds of mussels, I was super super full… so good … so yummy!!!

Finally, still nothing about the where about of my luggage and tomorrow is a new week and we are moving to a new hotel.

The day of Chateau …

Today was an super early day, since we got the tickets from train ride to Amboise yesterday, we had to get up super early to walk to the Tours train station to ride over to Amboise. We really know nothing about Amboise or what is it all about, but since we are out in Tours so we should go to some of the near by places to check out the local castles. So our first stop was Amboise.

Small town Amboise

Amboise was nice and peaceful, when we arrived at the train station, we did not even know which direction to go. Without data plan for the iPhone, google map was useless, so using the old compass (iphone compass) and old school map and following street sign is what we did. We did get a local map from a small hotel. People in rural France are really friendly.

After a visit at the Chateau Amboise and discovering the burial place of Di Vinci. (a total shock to me) We found a local orange store and got some credits added in the the SIM card that we bought. Once again, it is amazing how helpful the French are. Afterward we went for a brief lunch and on to Chenonceau.

So for use to get to Chenonceau, we had to get a taxis. It was very interesting experience for me to call a taxis number and tell them where I am and tell them that I needed a pick up, doing this with the taxis driver knowing only very very little english. But I got a cab and he came and picked us up and we were on our way to Chenonceau. The ride from ride from Amboise to Chenonceau was great, we told the back roads and get to see a bit of the country side of France.

Chateau Chenonceau

Chateau Chenonceau was awesome, the castle was built across the Cher River. The self guided tour was awesome. The guided tours was on an actual Apple video iPod. The 60 minute audio tour gave an awesome historic tour about this beautiful Chateau.

After Chenonceau, we caught a train, which is right in front of the entrance to Chenonceau back to Tours.

When we got to tours, we walked toward dinner and half way, I stop at an Orange store and got the data plan activated …. woo hoo… finally… after so many days without wireless data I am finally reconnected again.

With the help of the iPhone and data plan we finally found the restaurant we are looking for… however, it was closed. After few other restaurants we finally found one that will open around 8pm. We waited for about 15 minutes outside of the restaurant reading the menu and trying to decide what we want to eat and went in around 8.

As you can see it is another wonderful meal!!!!

Tomorrow Paris!!!!

Around Tours

around town during the day….

during the night…

Today is my first day in Tours. It is amazing to finally be in a place full of people which I do not speak their language. Travel around is so different, but so amazing. So after a full day of traveling around, I think we’ve walked around the town around 3-4 times… πŸ™‚ but it was pretty good. So today besides the site seeing and lots of pictures, we’ve accomplished few very key things that I am very proud of πŸ™‚

1) A new Orange SIM card. This was one of the first item that i’ve purchased in France. Yes my Iphone is still broken, but Vicky’s is not… so we purchased a new sim card and now we have a French number but… internet and data plan is still not working.

2) Since my bags were still lost, I had to get a new power adapter. Yep… visiting the French hardware store was interesting πŸ™‚

3) Buying French fruits.. what I have noticed is that French fruits so far are not as good quality and sweet as american fruits. They are a little be less healthy looking fruits. Definitely not as good as the fruits from Taiwan. BTW I love the fresh markets in France… so many food… so many different type of stuff… I even saw them cutting up a rabbit… ummm… looks delicious. πŸ™‚

4) Buying tickets for Chateau viewing tomorrow. Yep got two rail tickets to Amboise and Chateau Chenonceau. How exciting!!! More to come tomorrow.

5) Ordered food in a French restaurant. So after a full day of walking around town we found this little French restaurant, it was amazing. Wonderful food. Oh and their escargot was great!!

Some status updates.

1) Bags are still lost… KLM have no updates and I’ve called AmEx for help… we will see what they can do for me.
2) My iphone is finally back to life.. but unfortunately I had to reload everything.
3) no time to really work on the photos … maybe in a few days.

Once again… it is late and got an early start tomorrow… πŸ™‚

Journey to Tours, France

It has been an amazing adventure so far… with with lots of luck and good fortune, we are finally in Tours. Tours is very very quiet and wet right now, but it seems like a very peaceful town. So what happened?

Well, shortly after my last post, Vicky came back with good news of locating us 2 tickets to Paris. That’s the benefit of being a Gold Status member of an airline. So our flight was around 3:30 pm. Of course, the flight was once again delayed, this time it was because of another flight that caused us to have missing crew members. When we finally arrived in Paris around 6:30pm, we weren’t able to locate our luggages. Yes… after yesterday’s huge mess, our bags are lost. we went to the lost luggage declared our missing luggage and got a tracking number. What I’ve noticed is that when the French say they know a little English.. well.. they actually know alot more than I know French. After I’ve given up looking for our bags, we tried to get our train ticket to Tours. Our original tickets have expired already, so new tickets had to be purchased. Since the TGV was also delayed… more waiting. Our ride to Tours was a 3 segment ride. From Paris to Messy and from Messy to St. Perrier and from St Perrier to Tours (via regular train). We were very very fortunate to run in to a French student coming home from Edinburg. His name is Fransua (I think that is how you spell it). He was also going home to Tours. We were so lucky to have met him, because both of our connections were a little bit strange. 1st connect to St. Perrier, two arriving TGV trains arrived connected together, our train was the second train in the back. I would have missed that train and waited for the next train if it was not for our new friend. Second, during our transfer to the regular train in St Perrier, it was our friend that help us realized that we were boarding now and we barely made it on board.

After a final short train ride from St. Perrier to Tours, we are finally here. Tours was very very quiet. Yep it is a smaller town, where when I ask “if you speak English in Paris”, most people do… But so far the three people that we’ve met do not speak any english. So finding the Hotel at night was an adventure. The hotel was kind enough to leave us the passcode and our room key. So we checked in with out any problem.

The room is small.. but reasonable. Well.. it is late… time for another wonderful adventure tomorrow πŸ™‚

This is the week!!

So this is the beginning of the week of my big adventure. It is funny… I am very nervous lately about my trip. This is the first time that I am traveling some where, where the locals speaks a language that I do not speak. (well.. since 1985 when I moved to the US). I am very nervous about traveling around France with my really really poor French.

But I am sure, no matter what it will be a fun adventure.

So… few things I just realized….

1) It is super cold in Ames right now!!! and this weekend it will get colder!!! Why Ames? That is where I am going for my graduation.

2) WHAT!?!?!? No hood for Masters Students ??? huh? Well… I just got informed that only PhD students have hoods for ISU. Is that true??? that is so weird… I mean… every other school that I have seen have hoods for their Masters students… but not here? oh… this bites! … maybe I should go get a PhD just to get a Hood… nah… maybe not.

3) The weather in France seems to be ok right now .. and the 10 day forecast seems to be good… I hope it stays that way.

4) Trying to wrap up all my stuff for work…

5) oh… I really wonder how connected will I be when I am in France? in some ways I probably don’t want to be connected…

6) Still need to pack… and damn US airlines for charging extra for bags… what gives…

7) got to work out all the logistics for the Thursday morning airport craziness. ( sure do help alot)

8) Plenty more of things to do…


12-08-2009 … choo choo…

So tonight I’ve reserved my train tickets from Paris to Tours. It’s going to be interesting… I will be riding on the TGV!!!
So what is the TGV… TGV is the high speed train in France. I remember reading about it when I was a little kid. I remember reading about the bullet train in Japan and the French TGV. Oh… and now I will have a chance to ride in one!!!! woo hoo!!!

I am very excited about the train ride…I love trains… I remember seeing a steam engine train when was little and riding a the back of an old train with my dad … so many train memories…

so… more information on TGV!!!

Next job rental car and stuff to do in Tours… any suggestions?


Today is my first day back to work after Thanksgiving. It was a busy day and I still have this nagging cold. This is very annoying.
But one good thing is that we manage to book the a hotel in Tours France for the first few nights. We are still looking for the hotels for the rest of the trip in Paris.

But this is where we are planning to stay for the first few nights.

View Paris Trip 2009 in a larger map

More to come… I am feeling tired .. so I am going to bed now… I will try to set up a new site for this month’s activities… maybe tomorrow.

Beginning of December 2009

So, gone is another November and so begins December. This year i will do something different. I am planning to post every day in December and document my busy and exciting December. So I am currently on my connection flight back to Seattle. Work tomorrow… But… Graduation and France in few weeks!!! More to come … Time to shut down and get ready for take off.

Over the weekend … I got an interesting email from someone in France. This person in France saw my website and the picture of an elephant from Houston Zoo that I took. He ask if he can use the picture on his site… So I answered … of course…. just remember to mention my name. … so here is the link to their site.

Oh… it would help if you understand French…