vendredi, mars 18, 2005

Au revoir, l'hiver

Goodbye winter, hello spring.
In 3 days time, we will be back to 6 hours difference between Singapore and France instead of 7. That also means daylight saving is gone. Which in turn means that spring is coming.
Indeed, about 2 weeks ago, when I wrote an entry about heavy snow even in Paris, I am really amazed to break to you the good news that since Tuesday, during the day, the temperature was at 22 degrees. Can anyone back in Singapore believe that? For me, I still can't get over the fact that on Tues evening, I was out dinner with my friend and I was wearing my suit and a winter overcoat. And on Wed, I was just wearing a pull with a thin outer jacket which was hanging in the wardrobe since more than 4 months. Finally, the jacket can be out under the blue sky. It seems like we skip spring and plunge straight into summer.

In the weather report, it mentioned that this surge in temperature is as abnormal as the snow fall 2 weeks ago. Also, as it had not rain much in France since the beginning of the year, this year may be a difficult year for farmers and in turn, difficult for us. For now, I am just glad to have the sun basking on my face.

Oh yes, before ending, I had to pass by a small patch of greenery each day to work and it is amazing to see wild flowers sprouting out of the grass overnight once the temperature is warmer. Isn't that a miracle?

samedi, mars 05, 2005

It's snowing in Paris

Since a week, it has been snowing in Paris every now and then. Usually the snow did not stay on the ground as it snowed during the night when the temperature was lower. And during the day, with all the pollution from cars raising up the temperautre, the snow would have melted away. But this was not the case on two occasions. The snow stayed on the pavement and on these mornings, I had difficulties walking from the Metro station to work.

It was really weird to have so much snow in Paris. And it is already the start of March. People in Singapore were telling me how hot it was these days over there. I even saw from BBC meteo annoucement that Singapore is experiencing the highest temperautre in 29 years with 300+ bush fires reported. So the weather is going haywire again?

I am spending my weekend in Chartres and it was just so lovely to see the 10 cm snow almost everywhere especially in the garden. We put Bao Bei in the snow and it is funny to see her paw prints in the snow. As the sun was out yesterday, Seb suggested to drive up to the Normandie coast 219 km from Chartres to see the coast under snow. We arrived at the beach resort of Cabourg. Normandie is a region with its unique architecture. The houses are built with the influence from the English. As this is a summer resort, most of the apartments and houses had their shutters closed. I gathered that these must be summer houses. It was like a ghost town in Cabourg, Deauville and Honfleur. But I can imagine during summer, it must be super packed with Parisians since it is the nearest beach for them.

Well, the weather turned for the worse on our way up north. The sun had disappeared and we were the only ones at the beach under the snow. It was good to hear the sound of sea waves though it was super cold too. After a nice lunch at Cabourg, we drove along the coast and passed by other resort towns. We stopped at Honfleur to take in the beautiful sight of the old port. Honfleur is famous for the display of flowers during spring and summer. Even with this cold weather, I saw a group of Japanese tourists. I wondered who will come to such a "ulu" place as tourist. But Seb reminded me that France is not just Paris. That is indeed very true. There are a lot of places of interest all over France. Each region offers its own style, culture and food. We stopped by at an old cafe manned by an old man. We had hot chocolate and the view of the old port was just in front of us. The old man explained to us that the buildings on this side of the port used to house the labourers. And the ones on the opposite side housed the bosses of these labourers. He also further explained that these buildings were built around the late 1600s. Of course, there were only us in the cafe so it was nice to have him telling us these information.

On the trip back, it was snowing harder and Seb had to concentrate harder. He was afraid that the road would froze and that would be extremely dangerous. At these times, salt is usually scattered on the road by the authorises to prevent the freezing. I would hope we have another opportunity to go up Normandie. My next place of interest would be to see the beach where the Americans embaked during WWII and also the cemetery of the Americans soldiers. Maybe when the weather will be less harsh.