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Day 70: Pot envy

The beauty of obtaining a researcher’s studio apartment in Cité U lies in the fact that not only I have a roof over my head, I also do not have to deal with utility companies and waiting for internet connection. Moreover, the apartment is furnished (unlike most of Parisian rentals that tend to come unfurnished), buying me some time to select additional household items to help make me feel more at home.

It is with envy that I looked at these lovely copper pots outside a restaurant at Place St André des Arts. I currently have a meagre one pot to use, and am shopping around for my own set pots and pans. Not copper ones though – they’re a bit out of my budget. Tefal, however, I could still splurge out for.

Ps1: I am doing something right! A man was staring at me on the RER today and when he caught my eyes, he gave me a smile and thumbs up for my purchase from Patrick Roger. I guess we know good chocolate when we taste one. ;)

Ps2: I am really thankful to Anne and Sandrine who threw a lovely “Bienvenue à Paris” party this evening. I also get to see other friends of theirs whom I spent a weekend with in La Baule a couple of years ago. Fun reunion :D

Day 69: Église du Sacré-Cœur

Cité U is my new home in Paris. A campus with numerous buildings to house students and researchers alike, I guess you can say I am now experiencing a delayed “student life”. I’ve been fortunate I’ve always live in houses, sharing with cousins and/or friends, regardless when I was either an undergrad or a postgrad. Funny now that I have a job, I find myself in a campus environment instead. While the laundrette may be communal, I do have my own studio apartment equipped with kitchen and en suite bathroom. Little mercies of life ;)

The campus is vast, and I dropped by Maison Internationale (i.e. the main reception building) earlier today for a bank appointment (yes, in France, you need an appointment to see someone to open a bank account). Looking out the glass door to the back, I spotted the Church of Sacré-Cœur, which is not to be confused with the famous Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on the hill of Montmartre. Quite a pretty little thing, don’t you agree? I must trek over to have a visit sometimes.

Day 68: Somewhere over Dublin

I woke up this morning and there are plenty work still to be completed, but I had no choice but to halt all activities and concentrate on one task and one task only – finish up packing. With flight to Paris but a few hours away, tough choices were made, on what to bring and what to store away in boxes. In the end, I departed with a suitcase of 23kg (slightly overweight, ops) and a hand luggage.

We took off as the sun was setting, but unfortunately I was sitting on the wrong side of the plane and missed out on photographing what was a spectacular and vivid evening sky. However, it did afford me the view of Dublin Bay. I think the pier at the corner of this photo was that of Dun Laoghaire. I can’t be completely sure though, as the view from above was completely obstructed by cloud for a couple of minutes following take off.

Au revoir, Dublin.

Day 67: Magnolia

More signs of springtime! Blooming magnolia down the road from our house, at Pembroke Park, and crisp clear day of blue sky and light breeze. Perfect for a walk, but not to be stuck indoor with work (still plenty to do) and the looming urgency to pack (I admit, I have been putting off packing forever but with flight only some 25 hours away, I’m running out of time).

I retrieved my passport back from the French embassy yesterday, complete with my temporary visa affixed within and therefore I am finally good to go. Right now, the key is for me not to forget any important original documentations and accidentally put them away in one of the many boxes I’m leaving in storage here. Wish me luck!

Day 66: Wheel of Dublin

All these “city eye” can be a bit of a gimmick, from London to Sharjah to Singapore, and quite recently, Dublin too. However, fair play to the other cities, the locations are quite spot on for wonderful bird’s eye view of the cities and their environs. For Dublin though, I’m not sure if the same can be said, which is a real shame.

It’s hidden all the way down by The O2 (formerly The Point), an area not known for casual visitors but busy when there’s a (sold out) gig/show being played/ performed. Not only that, its location and size (it’s only half the height of London Eye) also means many landmarks of Dublin are not easily seen, given we don’t have many tall buildings and with most road being relatively narrow, from a distant, all the buildings easily blurred into continuous rows.

Passing by to have a look at it carves a rather dejected sight. Not all the pods were lit and the carousel was not even in operation. Granted, it’s Monday today and I was there after its closing time. However, last week, when I was around the area on a Friday evening, it was the same. And according to the website, it should still be open until 11pm. It makes me wonder – is Wheel of Dublin even in operation anymore?

Day 65: Wexford Bridge

I’ve gone a bit trigger happy with miniaturisation mode it seems – two pictures two days in a row with similar effect!

Supposedly the longest bridge in Ireland (really? I supposed if it’s a bridge spanning across water and not including motorway bridges) Wexford Bridge spans over nearly some 400m across the River Slaney between Wexford town and Riverbank. It is rather handsome, I must say, and it not only serves traffic purposes, it provides spots for fishing too.

Yes. Fishing. From the bridge. Particular in the warmer summer months. Armed with rods and baits and pails, usually from evening on till early morning, there would be someone fishing which may or may not include my relatives… In a good season, the boys would catch fairly good size sea bass quite easily, and for days on end we would be cooking the bass in a variety of way. Steamed, fried, fillet and coated with corn flour before frying, etc. They are so very delicious.

Day 64: The Sky and the Ground

I’m back in Wexford for a couple of days to see my family, and to say goodbye to the town that first hosted me in Europe. I spent only a couple of years there and yet I call it home more than I do with Dublin where I’ve live for just over a decade. Anytime that I need an escape from the city, off to Wexford I go. Unfortunately, it won’t be quite as easy in the future to do so. I won’t have just a couple of hours of bus ride to take, but I’ll have a couple of hours of flight to catch too.

The Sky & The Ground is a gastropub in town on the South Main St, which used to be the haunt of my uncle and I. I haven’t been there for a while now so I am not sure how they are doing nowadays. My uncle mentioned a while back that there was new owner to the place, but I can’t be sure if this is correct. Everything in my brain is a tad hazy right now. Not unlike the effect of this photo following the use of miniaturisation mode. ;)

Day 63: Grand Canal Square

There’s a new theatre in the city – the Grand Canal Theatre – situated adjacent to some office blocks but on the lovely site of Grand Canal Square.The theatre has opened for about a year now, and still I haven’t a chance to attend any event there. Unsurprising, given how often I was away last year, and I haven’t seen something that caught my eyes in particular to pay the theatre a visit.

I didn’t realise that the Grand Canal area also falls under the Dublin Docklands initiative. Silly me. I should have though. The colourful set up is one of the hallmarks around the quay area. But for tonight though, I tried to play away with just single chosen colour. Pretty interesting effect but I’m not entirely convinced that it shows off the Grand Canal Square properly as it should…

Day 62: Moroccan night

There are two Moroccan restaurants in Dublin city centre – perhaps the whole of Dublin, or Ireland even? – and since we had a farewell party in mind, we went to Dada on South William St. I’ve been to El Bahia on Wicklow St once a few years back and it just wasn’t too spacious. Our group was initially meant for 12, then 14 plus a baby, add another, minus another (sort of). And the baby was a real angel all through the evening.

We started with a selection of appetisers to share, which included grilled merguez (I <3 merguez) among the 6-7 items on the plate. For my main, I chose the lamb tagine which was generous in portion and I couldn't quite finished. With a bit resting time, I was then ready again for dessert, when which we were served a selection of sweet pastries and ice cream, complemented with Moroccan mint tea. A big massive thank you to all my friends who made it out for the evening for my going-away do (and the lovely presents). It does make it so hard to imagine leaving them in mere few days from now.

Day 61: Venetian masks

Venetian Carnevale fever hits Temple Bar currently, and as interesting as it may be, this image was taken outside an adult entertainment premises. Sure, they are as colourful as some of those paraded in Italy coming up to Mardi Gras, but they also come with interesting price tags.

I must admit, I miss the real Venetian Carnevale. A city full of revellers, and mysterious figures strolling the alleys and canalways of Venice in controlled steps, pausing every so often to be photographed and idolised. Caught in the moment, I once even had my face painted with semi-mask in blue. Unfortunately, those were the days when there wasn’t any Avatar to make bright blue a popular face colour, and I had to catch a train from Venice to Milan looking whichever way I did. For the few hours, I was attracting wrong attention – plenty of stares and even a stalking guy, hmmmm.


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