jeudi, janvier 29, 2009

Massive strike

Today is France's black thursday. There are massive strikes in the public sectors. Public transports are greatly reduced. Air controllers are on strike leading to 30% of flights cancelled. Seb left yesterday evening for Italy as he had a meeting today. He was afraid that he could not leave for Italy this morning. I do hope that his return flight tonight takes off as scheduled.

As for me, I took a day off to avoid the traffic jam. My colleague had to take a day off to take care of her toddler as the child care center will be closed. The staff are not on strike but most of them come to work by public transport and would have difficulty getting to work in time and getting home after work.

Teachers are on strike too. Schools are closed and parents have to find alternative child care for the day. Judges are on strike too. I have a registered letter to collect from the post but I decided not to go anywhere today cos La Poste is on strike too!

I am not greatly affected by the strike except that I used up my last day off and had to wait until end of Feb to accumulate new ones. I felt that it is good that people can protest. Unlike in singapore where even two people who manifested were rounded up by the police. Maybe one day when I am greatly affected by the strikes would I change my mind.

lundi, janvier 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year

I wish all who celebrate this day a happy chinese new year. May the year of the ox brings you health and prosperity.
I brought some snacks to work today and everyone loves it. Yeah, I work on this really important day. This year, we did not celebrate chinese new year. It is due to the fact that I am having back ache and both of us are feeling tired. Seb is down with a cold. Over the weekend, we had a friend over for lunch and I cooked lor-bak (braised meat). She liked it. Cool. I put in mushrooms, pork belly, hard-boiled eggs and fried beancurd. I learnt this dish when I was in uni from a guy friend. I don't remember his name but I remember very well this cooking lesson he gave me.
On Sunday, Seb's father came and helped us paint the baby's room. Guess no one would do that on a chinese new year's eve. I fried noodles and made my favorite mustard veggie with roasted meat soup. And my father-in-law liked it. A few months ago, I made this soup and gave some to my neighbour. She loved it so much that she asked for the recipe. I gave her the ingredients recently and she made it for her mom. This morning, she told me that her mom loved the soup too. Maybe I should go start a chinese mustard soup shop.
After reading about friends and family having steamboat, I think I will do an impromptu steamboat tonight. This will be considered as my way of celebrating chinese new year!

PS: photo of steamboat.

jeudi, janvier 22, 2009

Yammy rice

I asked mom to buy me a bottle of yam rice paste the last time she came. It has been so long since I last had yam rice. Mom used to cook yam rice but I prefer those selling at some braised duck rice stalls in Singapore.

Last sunday, Seb and I went to Chinatown to do grocery shopping. As chinese new year is around the corner, the 13th district was full of asians. The traffic was messy with cars and humans all congesting along one street. I tried my best to grab the essentials and for the first time, I took a yam. I always thought it was difficult to clean yam but I was wrong. It was pretty easy. Below are the ingredients for the yam rice. Of course the rice was missing in the picture. There were the yam, some chinese mushrooms, dried shrimps and the yam paste.

And this is the end product. Though it did not look yummy, Seb liked it. And so did I. This is one easy one-pot meal. I only used up half the bottle of paste. I wonder if I could easily find yam in the supermarket here. If not, what can I use to subsitute the yam?

jeudi, janvier 15, 2009

Snow in Paris

Two tuesdays ago, it snowed almost the whole day in Paris. After that, the temperature stayed below zero degree for a week. As a result of this, Paris was covered in white except on the roads where car pollution quickly melted the snow.

The pavements were slippery and I was extra careful when walking around with Nicole. We walked a lot during the four days she was here and I was really tired out each night. Still, I had a good time with her. We went shopping as it was and stil is the winter sales and I bought some baby clothes.

We took a stroll in the Jardin de Luxembourg. It was the first time I saw the garden covered in snow. How lovely. At the fountain nearby the Eligse Saint Sulpice, some kids were having fun "skating" on the frozen water.

We stopped by Coolin's for hot chocolate instead of beer this time before heading to les Galeries nationales du Grand Palais for the exposition of "Picasso et les Maîtres". I liked it. Picasso was really talented though I did not like all his works. This temporary exposition ends soon and I highly recommend it even if you are not into Picasso. Buy the tickets in advance as the ticket queue for actual day visit is long.

lundi, janvier 12, 2009

Musical saw

I am in my Korean cuisine phase and Seb is in his Jazz music phase. What better way to spend a friday evening with our friends than having a Korean dinner at Bibimbap with a mini Jazz concert.

Nicole was visiting me from Munich and had never had Korean food. Her friend Liz came along and the last time I saw Liz was 2 years ago. We had a good dinner and each of us ordered a bibimbap set. The Jazz music was alright. Sometimes, it got a bit too loud for us to talk.

We all discovered a new musical instrument for the first time. It was the musical saw. It produced a surreal sound and the musician was able to play music on the saw using what looked like a violin bow. It was pretty amazing. I enjoyed the evening and I would say the same for the rest of my company. Food wise, Seb prefers L'Arbre de Sel. I shall continue my quest for good korean food.

mardi, janvier 06, 2009

Manual torture

Yesterday we brought our car for servicing. Actually, I made a dent on the car 2 months ago when I accidentally hit on the kerb. The damage done was minimal but Seb insisted that we had it repaired. So, while the car was being repaired, we got a replacement car from the garage for the moment.
Boy, the replacement car was a small manual gear car and I am really rusty in driving such a car. It was scary and funny at the same time when I tried to put on the first gear and get the car moving. Since Seb's office was along the way, I had to drive him to work and then parked the car in my office parking. That is always a breeze with our automatic gear car.
When I left work to fetch Seb in the evening, I was mostly on gear 1 and 2. Good thing our offices were nearby but by the time I reached his office and he took over the wheels, I was having tummy ache. I guess I freaked out our unborn baby. Seb was telling baby that this is typical of mom's driving and he would understand when he is born. The car jerked too much from my 7 mins of driving especially at each changing of gear. Also, I was laughing so hard to myself in the car cos I felt as though I was brought back to my teenage days driving a daytona arcade game. This morning when I took over the wheels from Seb to come to office, I felt that I drove better than yesterday.
Still, both of us are so used to automatic car that we hope to have our car back soon.