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Project 365: Week 11 – Kif-kif

Here’s a word I’m not sure if it’s in the French dictionary – my mini French-English dictionary doesn’t have it – since it’s largely a slang: kif-kif. It basically means (all) the same, or alike. Something that is kif-kif really doesn’t have much importance one way or the other. I must admit it’s not an easy “word” to try to convey through photos, but then again, there are not many words in French starting with K in the first place, and they’re also not easy to photograph over 7 days without all looking the same! (See, back to kif-kif) ;)

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Menu

10 Mar: In this small tarterie, it seems all tarts are made equal. Pick any two savoury tarts, plus a drink, and they’re yours for less than €8. It also inevitably reminded me of Mouff’Tarte, my favourite tarterie before it suddenly closed down over Christmas break a couple of years back. When I came back to Paris in the new year, another café had taken over the shop space. People may say a tart is a tart is a tart, but I’m saying no, some tarts are more superior than others.

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Project 365: Week 10 – Jardin

We are lucky that there are gardens and parks everywhere in Paris. For a major city, it is quite green and often colourful. And to the gardening enthusiasts, even small apartment sizes are no deterrent. They work their magical green fingers to nurture something on their balconies and their rooftops. Annually, there are even special open days where public could meet the gardeners of major parks for chit-chat and tips exchange!

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Bird

3 Mar: Sure sign of spring, right? We’re starting to spot birds other than pigeon coming out from hiding, chirping away happily, and some would even try to follow us around with cute little expression which says “feed me”. We could do with more foliage on the trees though, since they’re still looking a little bare. Can’t wait for the warmer and longer days. I need more daylight, please!

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Project 365: Week 9 – Inachevé

Oh yeah, I have about a gazillion (well, it feels like it) unfinished stuff that I would like to wrap up, but there isn’t really a reset button in life where you can press and clear the whole lot in one go to start completely fresh and anew. And perhaps to take on less so each can be completed in good time. How do we, realistically, decide between being ambitious so to do it all and being pragmatic so to be selective?

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Porte St Denis

24 Feb: The top part of this medieval city gate of Porte St Martin gleams but the remaining looks like it had seen better days. I had initially thought this is the outcome of unfinished restoration/cleaning work, but upon a small research, it seems I am wrong. The two-tone schema is brought about by the difference in materials used, marble vs limestone. The marble certainly keeps its shine better than the limestone that absorbs much of the pollutants in the air.

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Project 365: Week 8 – Heureux

I tried to Swype “heureux” on my phone once when I had forgotten to change the language setting accordingly. It came back with the suggestions of “heiress”, “heretic”, “heroes”, which amused me to no end. Happy, also the title of the crazy catchy song that everyone’s dancing to, is an amazingly difficult word for me to pronounce in French, but who cares? Just because I can’t say it like a native, it doesn’t mean I’m not. Happy, that is. Not only that, it makes F laugh, because it’s cute. ;)

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The Seine by night

17 Feb: To walk about Paris by night and see the flickering lights reflected in the Seine always lifts me up. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it. There’s of course a big element of admiration on top of the feeling of being privileged to live in such a beautiful city. If you’d told me when I was young that I’d be destined to call Paris home one day, I would have laughed at its absurdity. It seemed rather unattainable back then, with the language and the culture divide. Now, as I set my roots, I hope to conquer them.

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Project 365: Week 7 – Galerie

This week’s word is not an entirely foreign word, but when F suggested it to me as the theme to photograph, I knew immediately that this makes a good opportunity for me to explore the galeries et passages of which some are well-known but many stay pretty hidden. These Parisian galeries can be think of as precursors to modern shopping malls.

Created at a time where waste management was a citywide problem yet demands were there for more comfortable (window-)shopping experience, these covered passages offered well-maintained arcades and shelters from the elements. Some of them are still kept in good condition, but sadly a good few more are quite run down. Many had also been demolished – in its heyday, some 150 were present but only about 1/6 of them remains today, and not all are open to public.

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Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

10 Feb: I couldn’t resist posting more than one photo of Galerie Vivienne, the most elegant galerie that I’ve visited in Paris, and certainly the best known among the visitors who search for something off the usual grid. Elaborately decorated entryway, mosaic flooring, stylish lighting, and surely enough, the shops that line this passage are also seriously upscale. A walk deep into the passage reveals private spiral staircase, presumably leading to some residences. I wouldn’t mind having such a prestigious address here ;)

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Project 365: Week 6 – Finesse

La finesse is one of those words I hear often but the changing context had me questioning if I really understood it. My 20-year-old mini dictionary said little except “fineness” yet I often hear it as a word that describe the finer things in life, of elegance, of delicateness, of refinement. Other contexts suggest physical shape of a person, in the state of being slim and slender, as well as one’s behaviour, worthy to be noted as in fine moral standing. I suggest we explore the finesse in French objects.

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Sea nymph

3 Feb: This is not the first time I’ve posted a photo of this water nymph on Pont Alexandre III, and it’s unlikely to be the last. I adore this sculpture. I always drop by to say hello when I’m in the area, and I’m also very pleased to see it free from the clutches of love-locks (yes, some muppets put locks on her before). There are many other sculptures on this same bridge, but I find her presence calming and radiates a certain inner beauty.

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Project 365: Week 5 – Écarlate

When the word écarlate was picked, I thought photographing this should be relatively straight-forward. Not quite so. To try to differentiate scarlet from all the different shades of red is far more challenging than I’ve prepared for, so much so that I think renaming this week’s theme as red would be more appropriate. Well, enjoy “scarlet” ;)

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Swatch watch

27 Jan: Some of my friends would be surprised to hear that it has been a while since I ventured into any Swatch shop. It is for my own good, considering I have hard time resisting picking up a new one every so often to add to my collection. While I don’t have as many to rotate for every day for a month (yet?), it is a tad excessive to own quite so many watches – am thinking I should donate some away.

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Project 365: Week 4 – Doré(e)

It’s strange to look at the calendar and to note that January is coming close to an end. Among family and many friends, the chatters of the day revolve around the preparation for the upcoming Chinese New Year, prompting some action on my part to organise a CNY dinner with a few close friends next week. Sadly, it has been years since I spent CNY at home. Ah, those were the golden times indeed… And oh, speaking of golden, that brings us to the word of the week: doré(e)!

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Perfume

20 Jan: Have you ever wonder why perfumes exist mostly in shades of gold? I understand from marketing stand point, of trying to evoke this sense of luxury and wealth, and link it to a certain status bestowed among perfume users, but shouldn’t the fragrant matters more than the colour of the liquid? In my mind, the darker the shade of gold, usually the more off-putting the scent. Too strong, too intense, just too much.

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Project 365: Week 3 – Composé

When I was photographing with this week’s word – composé (composed of, compound) – in mind, I was wondering how much of a stretch can I go in interpreting it? I’m still trying to familiarise myself with my new neighbourhood, and there are still things to be done to turn the apartment into a home. With my head half in the air, certain interpretation may be shaky. If only it’s possible to photograph the compounded stress I was feeling earlier in the week but slowly dissipated as more and more task got struck off the check-list…

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Pastries

13 Jan: You know the whole “stressed spelled backward is desserts” thing? Yes, I sought some sweet cure today, in the form of a mixed box of bite-sized treats. Adorably called the children’s selection, six different desserts have been put together, checking the boxes on: fruitiness (lemon tart), nuttiness (hazelnut tart), chocolateness (chocolate tart), crunchiness (candied choux), silkiness (vanilla slice) and fluffiness (praline choux).

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Project 365: Week 2 – Bordélique

This week has been completely bordélique and I have pretty much abandoned a whole bunch of things aside to concentrate on the move (although not before completing another MOOC). Packing up our lives after two very comfortable years while accumulating more things than ever was a lot of work, and cleaning up two apartments added to the load too. It appears the previous tenant to our new apartment doesn’t understand the concept of hygiene and cleanliness…

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Brochures

6 Jan: I guess packing could be a whole lot easier had I not been obsessively keen on keeping every single brochure, map, ticket and whats not from our travel. I’ve been meaning to sort them out and save only the most “important” ones in a travel scrapbook, but clearly I’ve been procrastinating… I won’t have time to go through them now but I will definitely get working on the scrapbook as I unpack, so nothing beyond the necessary will stay in the new apartment.

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Project 365: Week 1 – Aléatoire

With seemingly a gazillion and one things happening, this week’s photos consist of a random mix, summing up the chosen word rather nicely: aléatoire. I must admit, photography is low on my priority at the moment, as we dealt with certain apartment-related hiccups, postponed our move by a week, and started to pack (and still packing – how much stuff can one own while living in a small Parisian apartment?!) everything up. Intermittently, there were friends to see, closing exhibitions to catch, and galette des rois to eat.

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Carousel

30 December: Throughout the month of December, all the carousels owned and operated by the city council have been offering free rides to much delights of the children, and perhaps parents/grandparents too, especially those whose young ones normally want to ride it over and over and over and refuse to leave without throwing a tantrum. Afterall, it can get expensive quickly. The danger, of course, is said children in question will continue to seek the same, if not more, number of rides once they are no longer free again…

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Project 365 – Week 52

Another round of Project 365 more or less completed, even though we have a couple more days to go to end the year. I’ll put those two photos towards the first week of the next project, so to keep the week running nicely from Monday to Sunday. Still hesitating though over the set up for the new series, and I don’t even have quite as much time as I thought to ponder over it, because F and I are moving to a new apartment and there are tons to do!

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Christmas baubble

23 Dec: While presents that we bought have been safely delivered, they remain unwrapped. Cue: a morning spent covering up gifts with papers that will quickly be shredded into pieces on Christmas day. This glass baubble reminds me of how fragile trees are in our current environment, to be torn down, often without much second thought. I normally do not wrap presents – I’d rather put them in reusable paperbags – but since F’s nieces won’t understand such concept, I make my peace with the wrapping paper use and vow to be more vigiland with my effort to stay green.

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Project 365 – Week 51

You know what I’m missing this week? Rushing around to grab last minute presents – I’m impressed with my own efficiency in getting all shopping done and delivered – and packing to travel to Ireland come Friday. Otherwise, instead of the cheese, you’d see flutes of pink champagne in the Shelbourne; instead of The Parisianer artworks, you’d see street lightings displaying Nollaig Shona Duit; instead of the kouglof, you’d probably see slices of Bailey’s cheesecake. Nonetheless, exciting time ahead: my very first French Christmas coming right up!

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Sunset

16 Dec: What a glorious sunset! F was off work today, so we went on a little date in Montmartre. The last time he came up here with me was when we photographed a very snowy Sunday morning in January. We didn’t do too much, just strolling in the neighbourhood, visiting the Sacré-Coeur, peeked about the Christmas market, and then watched the sun set over the City of Light. It sure makes a memorable outing.

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Project 365 – Week 50

A couple more weeks to the end of the year, so a couple more weeks to wrapping up this series of Project 365. I’m currently considering if I will proceed with another one next year or not, and if I do, how should I do it? Always the same old dilemma – what should be the theme of the project? Photos of “a step a day”? Photos of colour of the month? Any other suggestion?

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Postcards

9 Dec: I mentioned recently about doors in Paris being varied and relatively unique, and see what I found today – postcards depicting the very thing! I particularly love those with heads of mystic beasts but the simpler ones are not too shabby either. There is no such door knocker for my building though, as the door is a glass one. Perhaps I should start a collection of such photos, hmmm…

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Project 365 – Week 49

It had been a good week. I finally completed my first MOOCs, after sitting through two exams this week, and there will be a couple more to come in the next fortnight. The weather took a turn for the sunnier side and I’ve been enjoying long walks whenever I could muster the time to. The Christmas shopping is more or less sorted. Swimming progress had been a little slow now that we’re working on correcting my techniques but otherwise it’s good to see some improvements, no matter how small. Of course, plenty of socialising time organised so I get to see people before we all leave for the Christmas break. As I said, a good week.

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Harps

2 Dec: These harps reminded me of Ireland, where it is a state symbol, used in official government correspondence, on the coins, coat of arms and more. It is also used as corporate logo for Guinness, just in the opposite orientation as those of official nature. When I first moved to Ireland, I had not realised the extent of use of the harp in govermental letters, so I was rather confused to see so many letters arriving to my aunt’s from “Guinness”. Took me a few days to figure it out that my aunt didn’t (and doesn’t) have vested interest in Guinness… ;)

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Project 365 – Week 48

We enter the last month of the year without much fanfare. I have, afterall, been holed up a good bit at home this week, working on finishing up a few courses on Coursera. Many final assignments are due this week, and as we enter into the exam period, a little revision is in order too. I am happy that the courses have so far gone well (bar the little assignment incident last week), and found them rather interesting to boot too.

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Lady Liberty

25 Nov: On the River Seine, a Lady Liberty stands at the end of the artificial islet of Île aux Cygnes. This sister of the Statue of Liberty in New York stands at 22m, about one-fourth of the statue gifted to America, and they are oriented to face one another across the ocean. I am seeing this more regularly nowadays since it’s located right next to Beaugrenelle, and as we all know, I can’t seem to stay away from M&S Food Hall. She is quite a beauty, isn’t she?

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Project 365 – Week 47

I guess it’s the season. Christmas decorations are starting to crop up all over the city, and shop windows are also being changed for a twist of seasonal cheers and a few touches of festive glitters. I’m starting to look into my list of Christmas gifts to get, and in the next days orders shall be made online. This way, gifts can be delivered directly to my in-laws’ (where I’ll be spending Christmas this year) and I would not have a million and one thing to carry in the train. Win-win.

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Door grill

18 Nov: Doors of Paris can be impressively ornated. Solid timber doors with its various knockers, glass doors framed by stylised lines, metal grills with classic motifs like this one above. While cherubs are adorable and make fine adornment, my favourite is to see two side of the grills with couple looking at each other, the man at the centre of one side of the grill, and the woman at the centre of the other side. Come to think of it, I should photograph such pair one of these days, so I can share it here.

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Project 365 – Week 46

I have a couple more posts on Malaysia to come, then we’ll be back to talking more about Paris and other random things. In a way I’m rather pleased that I’ve managed to write up about the various trips before I forget more of the details, even if they are already a little later than usual. You don’t mind it too much, do you? ;)

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Window decoration

11 Nov: This has got to win some sort of window-dressing award! It’s like someone has gone to a bric-a-brac and came back with a random selection of things – Kennedy-like bust, miniature pig to go above its head, a selection of transportation methods and plushies as company… I’m still not completely sure how to interpret the pig over one’s head thing though. Do you have any theory?

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Project 365 – Week 45

It has been a smashing week, one which I get to spend with old friends that I have not seen for a while, once which I accidentally ran into an university friend quite by chance, one which I played peek-a-boo and sing-a-long with my niece, and one which I met my goddaughter for the very first time. I had such lightness in my heart when I think of just how fortunate I am to be surrounded with so much love.

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Calla lily

4 Nov: I don’t see calla lily all that often around the city, so it’s always a pleasure when I happen to spot one randomly while I’m out for a walk. It is one of my favourite flowers, afterall, but perhaps I am biased, given its name and mine share some similarity thus creating a sort of affinity between us. What truly draws me is its elegant form, just like the way tulips make their way into my heart.

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Project 365 – Week 44

It feels like we’ve suddenly plunged into winter this week. It started wet, then windy, followed by arctic chill for a couple of days, and back into wet and windy weekend. Not too much fun for my friend who was playing tourist in the city. And as if wet and windy in Paris was not bad enough, F and I headed up northwest to Brest to visit our friends at the weekend. Oh, gosh, it has been a long time since I was that soaked!

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Road sign

28 Oct: Here’s a fun fact: in Paris, while there are “no entry” sign aplenty, there is none of “stop”. Another fun fact: many of the “no entry” sign has been used as canvases for street art. I’ve started coming across “Kiss Kiss” (that’s my nickname for it) on a rather regular basis since my return from southeast Asia, so I wonder if this is the current batch of no-entry-art. Previous batches have been “The Handyman” (man carrying a bar), and “Witch Hunt” (man in the stocks).

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Project 365 – Week 43

A mostly grey week made me hanker for more sunshine, but as I was busy catching up with various course load from my online classes, among other things, time just flew by and before I knew it, we were packing our bag to go away for the weekend to attend a family event, and by the time we got back to Paris, my best friend was settling in into our apartment with a cup of hot chocolate and awaiting our return. Next few days will be busier than ever!

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59 rue de Rivoli

21 Oct: It is easy to walk down rue de Rivoli and identify the building that is today an art squat. I’ve photographed 59 rue de Rivoli for my previous Project 365, and it appears the exterior of the building is ever so lively! The changes made had been subtle, in terms of forms of the decor given the theme promoted by the artists in residence, but the materials used seem to be similar, mostly clothes and string-based. I like this new “kite-like” theme more than the old “pants-like” theme.

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Project 365 – Week 42

Now that we’re settling back in to the daily grind, our social calendar also starts to fill itself up quickly. We’ll be seeing friends and family, in Paris and elsewhere, and significantly my oldest and best friend will be here in a week for a visit. I have so much to show and to share with her, that I don’t really quite know where to start. Since la rentrée there are many interesting exhibitions to see, new places to eat, etc. I need to make a list and let her choose what she’d like to do most.

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Notre Dame Cathedral

14 Oct: Paris is beautiful, and even more so in autumn. For F, it’s the softer lights of the sky that make autumn an enchanting season of the year. For me, it’s the colours surrounding us. There’s something about golden leaves on the trees and a variety of hues between vermillion and tangerine to spread some seasonal colours – quite a difference from the multi-coloured summer blooms. I also love stepping on the drying leaves, hearing the rustles under my feet while daydreaming as I walk. Even the slight nip in the air doesn’t bother me when I get into this little world of my own.

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Project 365 – Week 41

It is somewhat disorientating to be back in Paris when I’m still in semi-Asian mode. You know, like wanting to eat noodles or nasi lemak first thing in the morning, craving for dim sum in the afternoon, longing for late-night supper, lamenting the lack of time to play more with my niece and my nephew, missing my family in general… Poor F had had an overdose of Asian food though (my family was feeding him ALL the time) and had decreed that we would be eating European fare for the coming weeks.

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Happy Hours

7 Oct: Many bars around Paris have some kind of happy hours offer nowadays, but sadly, not at my favourite cocktail hangout… and sometimes, I wish happy hours in Paris can be more like the happy hours in I used to enjoy in Milan. Strictly speaking, it’s not happy hours per se, but l’aperitivo, the time for a pre-dinner drink. Traditionally a good selection of snacks/food are also available and usually included in the price of the drink. Classic options include olives, chips, pizza and pasta but some upscale places would even serve fruits, antipasti, savoury pastries and more!

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Project 365 – Week 40

Final week of holiday and then we’re back in good ol’ Paris. We were lucky to not have suffered too much from jetlag when we flew out to Southeast Asia, courtesy of a 3-hours hotel room rental in KLIA to nap before we headed further south to Bali. We were all adjusted from Day 1 after arrival. Coming back, it’s different. We now find ourselves up at 5am and ready to sleep by 7pm. Good thing we have relatively flexible working hour, since it means starting our work day by a couple of hours earlier than usual (might as well) and therefore ending it slightly earlier too.

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Old Dutch fort

30 Sep: Many many years ago, my friends and I did a geographical survey of the area surrounding this former (reconstructed) Dutch fort, designed in the 17th century to store and to protect the abundant tin supplies in the state. I don’t remember what we wrote, but it was certainly back in an era when I was punching away at a typewriter so we would have a neatly written report. Spaces were left empty on certain pages so we could incorporate tables, charts and photographs. There were just no such thing as instant paragraph editing and constant play with format etc, so we really had to plan ahead on layout to make sure everything was good to go!

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Project 365 – Week 39

Week two of our holiday came and went. We spent a good few more days snorkelling in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia (not to be confused with East Malaysia, which is part of Borneo) before we returned to my hometown for yet another family event. The questions that were hovering on everyone’s lips upon seeing me were (1) “Why did you get yourself so tanned?” (Uhmm, there’s no why, just how, and I was enjoying the outdoors for a good bit in the last 2 weeks!”) and (2) “When are you getting married?” (“Honestly, I’m not in any hurry to.”) Nobody seemed to take me seriously on either in any case.

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Ceiling

23 Sep: I have been to Kek Lok Si on multiple occassions and yet somehow, I have never noticed these crystal ceiling lamps before. Not only that, I have also been missing the vibrant colours behind the chandeliers, along with the cobwebs of course. Could it be the (lack of) expectation for decorated ceilings in Asian structures that tend to be unadorned, unlike European palaces and halls that come kitted with extravagant frescoes and decorative elements? If so, I’ve been remissed.

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Project 365 – Week 38

This is week one of our main holiday for the year and we’re in south east Asia! It had been a rather relaxing week, all in all, with considerable time spent in the sea – what can I say? F loves snorkelling – and some other time sightseeing and eating. There would be a lot of eating throughout the trip. Such a shame though I was given wrong info about a certain family function so our time in Bali was cut short. Oh well…

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Funereal offering

16 Sep: There are nine directional temples in Bali and among them, this is the least known to foreigners. Pura Masceti is off the beaten path, the site truly sacred (no watersports or sunbathing on the stretch of the beach adjacent to the temple) with countless purification and funeral ceremonies taking place here. Legend also has it that this was where Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakhsmi came to end their relationship following a fierce argument. Balinese therefore believe that couples in relationship should not visit the temple or risk coming to their own irreconcilable differences.

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Project 365 – Week 37

I must be out of my mind. I’ve signed up for online courses that are starting pretty much at the same time as my main vacation this year. Since this is my first dip into such uncharted territory, I am not sure how much commitment would be required of me. Not only that, I have also planned for a fortnight of internet detox, so that’s unlikely going to be helpful either!

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Hôtel de Ville

9 Sep: The parvis of Hôtel de Ville is always busy. Centrally located, it is subject to tens of thousand pairs of footsteps daily, and yet rather curiously, I hardly go anywhere near it unless I’m searching for an ice cream fix. More specifically, when I want some delicious gelato of Pozzetto. I grumbled that the building is too large to be photographed (come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever posted a photo of it in this blog…) but frankly, I should have tried harder. How about starting with just a little part of it for now?

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Project 365 – Week 36

May I say just how much I am looking forward to my vacation? All things finalised, booked, printed and nitty-gritty details all updated to my TripIt app, I guess that means we are all set. The only thing that I know I won’t be able to realistically achieve is to schedule blog posts during my absence, so there’s going to be a whole lot of back-dated posts in the next few weeks…

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Afterworks

2 Sep: The first time someone suggested that we go to an “afterworks” I was rather confused, especially since the invitation was issued in French. The explanation that was given to me sounded like a Friday evening blowout party at a club, something not particularly my kind of thing, so I declined. For me, an outing after work is more aligned towards a group at a local pub where we can chill, have a drink or two, chit chat, and maybe then decide if to go on an impromptu dinner together or not. (I sound old and sooo not hip, isn’t it?)

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Project 365 – Week 35

Blink, blink. September has just turned up, the French population is gearing up for la rentrée while I, well, dealing with a bunch of paperwork actually. That, and finalising the details of my upcoming holiday. In the mean time, I’m suffering from writer’s block and find it very difficult to put words to paper (or to WordPress, in this case). Please excuse me while I search for my inner wannabe-writer…

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Carved façade

26 Aug: There are the typical Haussmanian buildings, and then there are a whole lot of variations of non-Haussmanian too. I don’t think I was too far away from Pont d’Alma when I took this shot, just because it’s quirky enough to be different from its neighbours. I’ve been trying to search for more information on this architectural style, but haven’t have much luck so far. I may need to dig deeper, or whip up the thick book of Parisian architecture bible that F bought a long time ago. It’s a very interesting book, but just a bit too much French for me to read, so it’s work instead of fun reading.

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Project 365 – Week 34

Finally, the works in our neighbour’s apartment terminated so no more loud drilling, hammering, and the likes. Sadly, the traffic is also coming back to the city, so one form of noise replaces another. On the plus side, some of our favourite restaurants are/will be re-opening after being away for several weeks, so I’m looking forward to a break in cooking and baking. Ah, such is the ebb of city life. ;)

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Off Gare de l'Est

19 Aug: We are a couple of days away from the full moon, and this is a significant one in the Chinese calendar. According to the Chinese custom, it marks the height of the Hungry Ghost Festival, and if I was still living with my grandparents, they’d be telling me right now not to stay out late so I won’t encounter any roaming spirit. But hey, I live in Paris, the sun doesn’t set in the early summer evening. I also don’t see various festival-associated offerings and rituals performed, so I don’t get spooked quite as much. Instead, I am out with my friends, and we’re all appreciative of just how big the moon seems tonight.

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