vendredi, mars 23, 2018

A1 first school trip for a week

A1 went on a volcano study trip with his classmates. They spent five days in Auvergne and came back this evening. We were happy to see him. It was the first time he was away alone.

Though he missed us, he enjoyed himself. The group stayed in a big house and A1 slept with 4 other friends in a big bedroom. They hiked each day and visited Vulcania on Wednesday. They usually did picnic during lunch time and in the evening, had their dinners at a nearby restaurant. He told me breakfast was buffet style and one morning, he had 3 yogurts. He enjoyed mealtimes and ate everything.

He mentioned the hikes were tiring and it was cold in the morning. Indeed, it was the start of spring but the temperature was low for the season. They visitied Puy de Dôme, Puy de la vache and Lac Pavin among others.

A1 had 20€ as pocket money and he spent half on the Saint Nectaire cheese. He must have stopped by this village. He also bought 2 notebooks with pens for himself and his brother. With not much left, he gave 2€ to a friend who was short of cash. I was touched by his gesture.

The cheese was a good idea. Each time we go on holiday, I would buy food as gifts for family and friends. A1 takes after me. Tika loves Saint Nectaire but her daughter bought her a bracelet and a pen for herself. I told her I shall pass her a chunk of the cheese. :)

A1 and A2 were happy to see each other. They hugged once A1 alighted from the coach. 5 days not seeing my boy, I felt he had grown taller. His recital of his trip came with confident and self-assurance. He definitely has grown in these 5 days without us.

mardi, mars 13, 2018

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We spent 4 days in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia during our recent trip to Singapore.  We got around by taxi or with Grab. Grab is Uber's number one competitor in South-east Asia.  We stayed in the Bukit Bintang area and usually a 5 mins Grab ride cost us 5Ringgit (1€). Considering we were 3 adults with 2 children, it was cheaper to squeeze into a car than taking the bus or the MRT. We did take taxis a few times and it cost us thrice the price of a Grab ride.

For most Singaporeans, KL is a weekend getaway place for shopping, food and massages. Since my family and I travelled from far away, I decided to add in touristy stuff with a visit to the National Museum, the aquarium (cos it was cheaper than in Singapore and France) and going to the KL Tower to have a bird eye's view of this city.

The last time I visited KL was more than 15 years ago when I attended a friend's wedding. KL had changed a lot with so many sky scrapers. There was still construction going on just beside the Petronas Towers. Does this city need all these office space?

We shopped at the Central Market for souvenirs. I chose this market as it had air-condition. Seb waited for us at a cafe after half an hour and the boys stayed with him to write post cards. My mum and I continued to the second storey of the market.
There were shops selling local products be it food, craft or clothes. I bought a few batik sarongs as they were really beautiful. I intend to make them into bags or pouches. My mum bought mango chewy candies and durian chocolates. To each his/her interest.
After posting the postcards just outside the Central Market, we took a taxi to the Petronas Tower.
Petronas Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world. The boys were excited to see them. We had lunch at Suria KLCC, the shopping center at the foot of the towers.
After lunch on our way to the aquarium, we came upon a lion dance blessing a shop front. As it was still the first 10 days of Chinese New Year, I was glad that my boys could see this loud performance.
Lion and dragon dance is part of Chinese New Year. So is the big head doll (大头娃娃) though it is often left out.
Aquaria KLCC was just a short 5 mins walk from the towers. As we went on a week day, it was not crowdy.
The boys had a chance to touch small sharks.
This aquarium was as good as the ones in France and from my old memory, that of Singapore's.

We managed to watch sharks feeding. These sharks were fed twice a week and we saw different species of sharks. Other fishes like eels and rays and even a big turtle tried to snatch food.

On another day, we visited the National Museum. The museum is divided into four sections. Starting from the prehistoric age where traces of early men were found in caves, the bronze and iron ages, the colonisation period until the present day with the advance development in the country.

The museum was not big and could be done in an hour and a half. We headed to KL Tower in the afternoon to take in the view of KL. We could see the top of the Petronas Towers. This was where I got the big picture of how developed this city is.
One evening, we visited Chinatown. I thought spending a cool evening there would be nice. It was disappointing as Chinatown only sells fake luxury goods. Touters kept asking Seb if he wanted bags, watches, clothes etc. Seb told me never to bring him to another Chinatown. The one in Bangkok last year was too hot and dusty. This one was full of touters. Oops. The only good thing out of this trip was that the boys bought metal miniature airplanes and were happy. I bought 2 KL t-shirts for them and mum bought local fruits.
On our last day, we hung out at Suria KLCC as Seb wanted to shop for ear phones. Below photo is a Chinese new year theme set up in the shopping mall. It was very well done.
We enjoyed this short getaway. We stayed at a service appartment and the boys enjoyed the pool. The place was beside a train track and from our 10th floor, A2 would look down eagerly for passing trains.

Things in Malaysia is very affordable though I didn't do much shopping. How is it possible? , my friends would ask. The proof: We went by AirAsia with no check in luggages and came back with the same hand carry bags.

KL feels safe and people are friendly. I would like to visit this country again in our next visit to Singapore. Maybe Penang or Ipoh.

mardi, mars 06, 2018

Post vacation

Our vacation in Singapore is over and everyone is back to school and work.
Various thoughts on my mind each time I come back from Singapore.
I was looking forward to go office yesterday to catch up with my colleagues especially one I am close to. She informed me that she had broken her ring finger while walking her dog on the slippery walkway. Sick leave imposed and I won't see her until my next passage to office.
A2 came back from school yesterday and told me his friend who lost her father to cancer is losing her mother too to the same illness. I know this family and A2's friend has come and play with him before.
My close friend C who is going through a rough patch in her couple life, sent me a message yesterday telling me she and her partner are separated. They have two kids togather.
I am affected by these news as these are my new close friends in France.
Broken finger, broken lives, broken hearts.