samedi, février 25, 2017

Book: L'attentat

I read this book three weeks ago. I borrowed this book from my friend's son who is 17 and had to read it as part of his school work.

This book is available in english under the title 'The attack'. The author wrote under the pen name Yasmina Khadra.

A suicide bomber exploded in a packed restaurant in Tel Aviv. Dr. Amin Jaafari, an Isareli Arab surgeon who was respected and admired by his colleagues was informed that his wife might have been the suicide bomber. He could not believe it and decided to find out the truth.

This book is not a thriller. It is not too dramatic. It talks about how the life of Dr Jaafari completely changed after this news. He went to the morgue to identify his wife. He started asking questions to himself. His house in a high end neighbourhood was visited by mobs calling him names and accusing him of being a terrorist like his wife. He was questioned by the police. He was lost and decided to visit the places his wife had visited to find answers.

As the story gets closer to the end, the author showed the readers the other side of the wall. Life in Palestine. Dr Jaafari realised that his wife was indeed the suicide bomber and he came to realise what she was fighting for. He realised he could never be part of her belief. He was a surgeon meant to save lives.

The ending was sad. This is the second book I read about the conflict in the middle east. I would prefer the other book. Though I read it many years back, it is still one of my favourite book. I shall write about it soon.

dimanche, février 19, 2017

A walk in the winter wonderland

When the sun finally came out on Thurs on that ski week, I joined a guided walking tour in the forest. We put on our snow shoes called raquettes in french. Raquettes mean rackets. It is having plastic rackets with metal grips underneath tied to our shoes. In this way, we could "easily" walk on the soft snow. We do have walking sticks to make the walk easier.

Still, I was sweating after walking up a gentle slope. Most of us in the group started to unzip our jackets by then. The forest was silent and it was beautiful. The guide showed us animals' traces. Sometimes, he would go off trail and we would be walking in almost knee deep of snow. It was fun.

Our ski resort was opposite right at the top of the mountain.

The walk was a physical workout. Just that few hours made me exhausted yet the scenary made it all worth well. I am amazed with my boys who skiied the whole day and yet in the evening, were still full of energy.
And I made a friend. Her daughter is studying in Singapore and she is going to visit her in April. She did not expect to meet a Singaporean in this part of France.We exchanged numbers and I promised to send her tips about her up coming trip. Singaporeans are not aplenty but we are everywhere.

Book: La cigale du huitième jour

I love to read. Since I don't take public transport to work, I hardly have time to read. I normally read during vacation or just before going to bed.

I just finished reading a novel and thought I start to write down the title of books I read with a short review as I tend to forget the author and the title after.

I have been reading in French as English books are not available in the nearby library. My friends lent me books in French. I have no complains as I like french writers and french books by foreign authors are usually well translated.

Tika recommended me La cigale du huitième jour (The eighth day) by Mitsuyo Kakuta. I didn't like the ending but overall the story was interesting. It was about a woman who went to her ex-lover's house to see the baby of his wife. Out of impluse, she stole the baby and raised the baby as her own. She was always on the run to avoid being caught. The second part of the story focused on the baby who had become an adult. The story brings us through different parts of Japan. There are various women's issues mentioned which touched my heart.

After reading the book, I would like to visit the Japanese islands mentioned.

mercredi, février 15, 2017

First ski trip

For the first week of school holidays, I took the boys to ski with our friends. Seb had to go USA for a work trip so he could not join us. We took trains to Aime La Plagne and the boys were excited to take a TGV train for the first time.

The week we were there, it was snowing everyday. We had sun only on the last two days. The boys had never ski. After a week's lesson, they can ski well. They were in the Flocon class but with different monitors. The monitors were friendly and amazing with kids. A2 kept talking about his monitor, Stephen. I think he was his idol. 

Other than ski, the boys sledged down the snowy slopes.

With their monitors, the boys progressed fast and tried out different trails. They were very happy and A1 eagerly showed me on the map where they had skiied. I was impressed.

On the last day, they had tests before getting their Flocon badge. Both of them made it. Below was a game of cat and mouse and A1 was the mouse. The person behind had to try to catch him.

Come snow or sun, the boys skiied. For me, I lazed around and chatted with my friend who did not ski too. On sunny days, I took out the camera and snapped away. Here was A2 in blue starting his lesson after lunch.

We stayed at Aime 2000. It was really convenient as the ESF ski school was in the same building. The boys put on their skis and could ski from the door steps.

A1 did not want to go home at the end. As our friends came by car, we left them earlier to catch the train. The journey back was a pain as there was a problem on the tracks. We had to take a coach to reach another train station and this delay made us missed our TGV at Lyon. We took a later TGV train and reached home at midnight.

Overall, this ski trip was really fun for the boys. They are sportive and learnt to ski in no time at all. A1 asked why I didn't ski. I told him I started late and did not enjoy it. He could not understand that. Well, I replied, "do you see any snow in Singapore?"