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New York New York!!!

After a full day of travel, I am finally in New York City. So far my impression of NYC is that it is an amazing city with so much history. It reminded me alot of Paris. But then again, I haven’t been to that many big cities before. Even tough it was a super raining day, but it is still amazing to walk around town.

Dinner

Want Curry? Curry in a Hurry?

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.  We had a simple breakfast at MacD’s, but I have to say this McDonald has the look and feel of a coffee shop.  It was really interesting.  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.

Ideas for a book…

With my school done and just work left… during my travel I came up with two new ideas…

1) A book…. a travel guide for photographers, maybe for Paris or even just for Seattle.

2) an invention for making the bed.

hummm.. I wonder if I can accomplish part of this before 2011.

Last Day … in Paris … in 2009

First of all Happy New Years Eve Everyone.  Well, today is the last day of 2009 and it is also our last day in Paris, France.  It was kind of a low key day today, but it is still alot of fun and excitement.

The day started looking for the “Big Head”. It is located in front of the St. Eustache.

After that we really did not have any plans for today so we just wondering to different sites in Paris.  All in all, just hanging around Paris.  It very relaxing and fun.

In the evening, Vicky and I went to do some New Years eve shopping.

Around dinner time, we started to look for a place for dinner, however, most places are either reserved or they are closed on New Years Eve. We did come across a place that we saw an ad for few days ago, however it was also closed for a new years eve party.  We ended up finding a small African restaurant.  They over charged us because it was a New Years eve dinner and the food was not very good.  But it was still an experience.

After dinner, we took the free RER to the airport.  We decided to get an Ibis hotel (small cheap hotel, same chain that we stayed in Amsterdam at the beginning of this trip), since we will be leaving early tomorrow morning back to Seattle.  What’s interesting is that on new years eve all public transits in Paris are free.  This includes the RER and Metro.

When we finally got to the airport, I did not realized that there are multiple Ibis hotels in the area.  We ended up taking the wrong shuttle bus and had to do it all over again.  But around 11:30 pm we finally checked in our little tiny hotel room.  What an adventure day!!!!

Early flight tomorrow morning and back to Seattle. Happy New Year!!!

A day at the Museums

Today was a Museum day. It is our second day with the museum pass and our second to last day in Paris and France.
The day started off with a visit to Orsay – The line outside is around one hour long .. However, we have a museum pass and no wait.

Inside Orsay it was pretty awesome, I was amazed to see the real version of a painting that my parents have at their place. I have to say Orsay was an interesting art museum. After a few hours it was time to move on.

We Walk across the pedestrian bridge and on to Louvre park. Along the way, I took some very good black and white stair pictures of the pedestrian bridge. I’ve also took some more pictures of the tower.

From there we walked along Champs Elysees toward the Arc De Triomphe. We stopped by a small side street greek food restaurant and hand lunch. The owner was interesting, when we told him that we were from Washington state in the US, he says oh… I have a relative in Washington DC. I guess, that is a common mistake. DC and Washington state are not the same :).

Afterward, Vicky spent some time shopping on Champs Elysees while I just people watched and got some interesting street photo.

From there we marched on toward Arc De Triomphe. It was pretty funny, we could not find the tunnel to get across to the arc, but when we finally do get there, there was a 30-40 minutes line… however no waiting with museum pass .. yeah!!! The steps going up to the top of the arc was long but worth it. The view on top was great!!!
After the tower, we decided to head back to Notre Dame to take pictures of the gargoyles, but unfortunately when we arrived, they close the line already. We were not able to get up to the tower… This is something for the next trip, i guess. Note to self, Notre Dame line closes at 4:00 pm. Since, we can not make it up to the top of Notre Dame, we got some ice cream on the island and headed toward the Louvre.

The Louvre also had a long line, but with the museum pass… no line!!! yeah!!! Once again, people every where especially all the famous paintings and exhibits.

After the Louvre, it was time for dinner. We bought some things at the super marche next to the hotel, however, I thought it was a good idea to get some cheap French Chinese food. Well, it was not cheap and the food was not good at all… another learning experience.

So Tomorrow.. is new years eve… and my last day in Paris.

A day at Versailles

Today we went to the famous chateau Versailles.  We woke up early to take the RER to Versailles. Oh and RER stinks.  Anyways.  We grabbed some breakfast in the metro station and jump on our train to Versailles.  Today, the weather was pretty flakey. We stood in the rain to get inside.  The line was super super long and after inside there were so many people we immediately realizesthat to get to the garden we had exited … What a waste of time.  My comment on Versailles is that it is so huge!!! It took forever to walk around. We even saw people on Ez-go’s and Segways.  The Versailles’ winter garden is really disappointing.  I have to agree with my mom, it’s probably much better to come here during the summer.  After a long walk around the huge garden, I was so tired from walking and decided to take the “little train”.  On the transport something funny happened.  We drove by a field and saw a bunch of sheep, and the girls behind us asked, “are those pigs?”.  Oh Wow…. the person next to here immediately responded… “have you ever seen pigs eating grass? ” City folks… ha ha ha

Once we got inside the chateau, it was nothing like the chateau near Tours.  First of all there were so many people.  Just people everywhere.  Second, maybe it is because of our visit near Tours, I just find Versailles pretty boring.  Every room is just another room with different color furniture.  After fighting through the crowd, we took the early train back to Paris.

After returning from Versailles, Xavier took us for Lamb dinner J’go near the Opera.

oh another wonderful day in Paris… tomorrow… the Museums!!

PS… see I am in new clothing today ;) Finally got my luggage.

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. :(

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. :( 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 ;)

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!!! ;)

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.

Bam!!!
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.

Lost in Paris!!! … Day 2 :)

Today was a beautiful looking day, we are so fortunate to have such a beautiful weather day in Paris during the winter season. So the first thing that we did today was to walk to another not very well known, but beautiful view point.

Printemps is a famous department store in Paris. It has a fabulous view point of Paris from the roof. Take a look… oh it is so beautiful and so wonderful and it is free. The location is also super close to our hotel as well.

Oh look more “stairs”…

I also rented a bike today… woo hoo It is great to be able to ride around Paris on a bicycle. I think it is one of the best way to see Paris to ride around in one of the city’s bikes. The cost is around 1 – 2 euros depending on the time.

Some of the places that we saw on our bike ride.


We also rode by the US embassy, however we were quickly asked to move and don’t stand around the front of the embassy… interesting…

The ride was great… the city seems pretty dangerous for bike but it was actually not as bad as riding a bike in Seattle. And these bike are not too bad either, it has 3 gears and very easy to ride.
After the bike around downtown Paris, we met up with our friends in Sacré-Cœur Basilica. The Metros in Paris are just so easy fast and convenient.

more “stairs”… this is actually pretty famous… “the stairs of Rue Foyatier”

Mur je t’amie aka I Love You Wall.

and Mulin Rouge

Afterward, I had a BIG glass of beer near that Mulin Rouge…

Later that night we had dinner at a creole place and I found out that Creole boudin is not like the cajun boudin.
and that ends another wonderful day in Paris…. Tomorrow is Sunday… and Sunday Market Here we come!!! :)
Oh… and my luggage is still missing.

Christmas Day in Paris!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2009 from Paris with Love ;)

Well, today is Christmas day, I can not believe I just spend a long eventful day in Paris on Christmas day. So where to start, well , lets see this morning we realized that everything closed today so we had breakfast in hotel… holy crap 12 Euros for baguettes and OJ???… uh… baguettes!! ha ha ha.

So after breakfast today, we followed my original plan and went to Notre Dame Paris for a Christmas day Mass. The mass was awesome, it was all in French, however, mass is a mass they are all the same no matter what language they are in. One thing that did bother me was that tourist that were just going in and out in middle of the service, taking pictures. I just thought it was very rude and impolite. After the the mass we took some pictures around the church and walk our way toward the Arab center.

Monde de la Arabe was pretty cool. They had a very interesting window shade design to let in light. The most awesome thing is that they have one of the best views of the Notre Dame.

Great view of a Notre Dame from the Arab Center.

After the visit there, tried to find some ice cream, however, they were closed so we took the metro toward the tower to meet our friends.

We were in line for an hour or so and then we walked up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. The 2nd level doesn’t sound too bad huh? Well, except in France, 2nd level equals 3rd level, because they start with level zero. What? starts counting with zero? What is this a computer science class? ha ha ha … but all jokes aside, the walk was not too bad, and I get alot of chances to take pictures for my side project… “stairs!!”.

After a cold evening on the tower, we took the metro to China Town for some French Chinese Dinner. Xavier said there was a very good Pho place, however, when we got to China Town and walked half a mile, the place was not there any more … ha ha ha … that’s ok. We walked back and found a chinese place that had everything. The place felt alot like few restaurant in Seattle’s ID, with one exception, everyone in the restaurant spoke French. In the end, after dinner, I was just excited to get back in my hotel and get some sleep and get ready for another exciting day in Paris tomorrow.
Oh status update… still no news on my luggage…

Christmas Eve in Paris

Today is Christmas Eve, We had to get up super early to check out of our hotel in Tours and then catch our train to Paris. We still don’t have our luggage so traveling is simple and light. Just my backpack and what I am wearing since I arrived in Europe.

Our return trip, we did not book TGV, instead it was just a regular train, however, it was not too bad at all. The train ride was around 2 hours from Tours to Paris. It was interesting to see the number of people traveling by train in France. Oh and did I mention that I love riding in trains!!! Because we are trying to get to Paris a bit earlier to have lunch with our friends arriving from Seattle, we decided to jump on an earlier train to Paris. We got to Paris around 11:50 am. From there, we jumped on a metro train to Opera station in Paris and checked in to our hotel. Our hotel location is just simply awesome!!! it is pretty much walking distance to every major location in Paris and it is only seconds away from 2 or 3 different metro rail stations. Only one thing about this hotel that kind of bothered me. It is the size of things. The stair way was tiny, and the elevator was even smaller. The elevator can barely fit two adults. It is pretty scary. The actual hotel room was ok, but the bathroom was just small. Everything almost overlapped each other. The only time I experienced this size of a hotel room in the States was in Maui’s Best Western near Kihei.

After checking into the new Paris hotel, it is time to find food.

As we were walking back from lunch and were lost trying to find the Opera, we ran into our buddies Xavier, Huey, Peter, and Will on the street of Paris. Amazing!!! it was great to see them and we showed them back to the hotel and checked in.

Xavier gave aus a quick walk around of Paris before we got some RER tickets and headed over to Xavier’s home for Christmas eve dinner.

Xavier’s family was just super nice. We had so many awesome pate, foie gras, and oysters. Oh and that was just the appetizer. We then had a wonderful hotpot dinner afterward. We were so full and tired by the end of the night that there was no way I was able to fulfill my original plan of going to a midnight mass at the Notre Dame de Paris.

On the way back home, we stopped by the Lafayette Gallery, which was one the way from the metro station to our hotel, to take few pictures of their window display.

So tomorrow morning Christmas day mass at Notre Dame!!!!

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 :)

Day 2 Trapped in Amsterdam

Our flight was delayed yesterday because of the big snow storm in Europe. We wasted alot of time in air and then landed in London for refilling and then more time in air. when we finally landed in Amsterdam everything was cancelled. So after 6 hours of waiting in line yesterday in Amsterdam airport for our cancelled flight, we finally got a hotel room at the Ibis hotel near the airport. The hotel was comped by KML and we had dinner and breakfast this morning

So this morning we are back in a 4 hour minimum line for getting a flight to Paris. I don’t know if we will get to Paris tonight. My thought is trying to get them to get us a ticket to paris on the 24th. and just spend our vacation here in Amsterdam. It is already 10:40 and I don’t think we will be getting to speak to anyone before 12 pm today.

We already missed one day of hotel in Tours, missed our TGV train to Tours from Paris, and we will probably miss our return train if we decide to stay here. My iphone is broken so no Iphone.

so yeah… so far this trip really sucks so far… maybe it will turn around soon.

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!!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV

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

12-05-2009… making progress

I know I supposed to be writing everyday… but the past few days has been busier than I expected and I still haven’t got my server to the point where I can put a second wordpress on my server just for December… so I will just continue to post on my main blog. Which is just fine.

Well… after a long night of company party and talking with my friends about hotel rooms in paris, we finally reserved a few rooms in Paris. They look ok… but I am not going to put too much hope into it… but the good thing is they are very close to everything so that’s good.

So here is were we are going to say.

Dec 24 – 28
Hotel Opera Vivaldi
http://www.parishotel-operavivaldi.com/

Dec 28-31
Hotel Le Prieure
http://www.hotelgrandprieure.fr/
View Paris Trip 2009 in a larger map

My Shared Google Map

12-02-2009

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.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187130-d219884-Reviews-Hotel_du_Manoir-Tours_Loire_Valley_Centre.html


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.

GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra

I can’t say I was a super big fan as a kid of GI Joe, but I was a fan. Last night my friends and I went to see the premier of GI Joe: the rise of cobra. We were expecting it to be bad, but good god we were not expecting what we saw. I will try to comment without spoiling too much about the movie.

So first of all the movie’s special effects started pretty cool… then it got bad.. especially in Paris. The actors were poor, even though I thought it would have been cool to see the former Doctor in the movie, but it was bad. The chicks were hot, but that’s pretty normal now for all action packed Hollywood movies. The characters do reflect all the old characters from the 80’s cartoon.

Now here is what was interesting about the movie, about half way through the movie, I started to say to my friends… I seen this movie before… it is ….

1) Team America World Police (2004)
2) Firefox (1982 movie)
3) Moonraker (1979 James Bond Movie)
4) Starwars : Phantom Menace (1999)
5) Stealth (2005)
6) Top Gun (1986) except under water…
7) Appleseed and really bad Robocop

It was like a Frankin-movie. Hollywood have truly ran out of the original ideas.

Now with all that said … there were few plot twists that was interesting and it was obvious that the movie was building up to part 2 so I will be interesting to see what they will try to do in part two. Maybe bring back Sgt. Slaughter?

So finally, my comment to everyone is yeah.. not a date movie and I would probably wait until it comes out on DVD or Blueray and just get it from the library or Netflix.