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Postcards: Galeries of rue Vivienne (FR)

A couples more passages couverts can be found on rue Vivienne: one aptly named Galerie Vivienne, and the other called Galerie Colbert. Traditionally rivals but today each with its own activities, the former is a bustling passage with cafés, bookshops, print-sellers and hidden apartments while the latter housing university departments and administrative offices which inevitably also means security presence at the entrances that dissuade most that it’s a passage no longer open to public.

Galeries of rue Vivienne

Galeries of rue Vivienne

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Postcards: Passages of Grands Boulevards (FR)

Steps away from the métro station of Grands Boulevards are various covered passages of Paris, some more interesting and better kept than the others. Passage Jouffroy is my favourite among these; I could spend time window shopping at leisure here, and there are always something new to distract and wow the visitors strolling through. They are colourful, they are stylish, they are vintage, they are fun.

Les passages at Grands Boulevards

Les passages at Grands Boulevards

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Postcards: Île de la Jatte (FR)

River Seine snakes around Paris and Île de France, and with it, a number of small islands grace the region. We know all about the Île St Louis and Île de la Cité within central Paris, where the city’s history began with the settlement of the Parisii, but other islands are very much “invisible” to many. I should definitely explore more of them!

Île de la Jatte

Île de la Jatte

To the west of Paris, straddled between the communes of Levallois and Neuilly-sur-Seine, lies a small, picturesque island called Île de la Jatte, aka “Island of the Bowl”. We stumbled across it quite by chance, when Chloé and I went to Levallois for lunch at the weekend. I struggled to pinpoint why the name sounded familiar, but Chloé knows it well – it used to be a favourite hangout among Impressionist artists. Seurat’s Un dimanche après-midi à l’île de la Grande Jatte (now housed in Art Institut of Chicago) is indeed a very well-known painting to many!

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Postcards: late Irish autumn (IE)

A few weeks ago, I was back in Ireland to meet my god-daughter for the very first time and to see those who are near and dear to me. In between, I had a little time to visit one of my alma maters (Trinity College Dublin), the centrally located St Stephen’s Green, and the luscious Wicklow mountains. Everywhere I went, the autumnal golden hues were unmissable. Everywhere I went, I saw unrivalled beauty.

Late Irish autumn

Late Irish autumn

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Postcards: Versailles and Trianon (FR)

Just about every non-French visitors chez nous had requested a visit to Versailles in their Paris to-do list. Some got the required information on how to get there for a day-trip, some were personally accompanied by yours truly.

On average, I’ve gone out there at least once a year. Each time I came back swearing I’d never subject myself to the cattle-herding system of visiting the palace again, until sufficient time had lapsed and I found myself agreeing to another visit request. I am not learning my lesson very well, am I?

Versailles

Versailles

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Postcards: The legacy of Georgetown (MY)

A single blog post is hardly going to be sufficient to tell the rich history and the many tangible heritage sides of Georgetown, and I would not even dare to try to write a succinct summary in fear of getting it wrong or short-changed it in any way.

Instead, I’ll let the photos take you through a simplied journey, of appreciating the kind of childhood that is familiar to my generation (and those that came before, for we played barefoot outside and wouldn’t think of sliding an icon on a touchscreen gadget), on looking at freeze frames harking back to the colonial time, or seeing how much we stand to lose if we do not preserve part of our roots.

Georgetown

Georgetown

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Postcards: Kek Lok Si (MY)

The Temple of Supreme Bliss, or Kek Lok Si as it is known based on Fujian dialect (the most prominent dialect in Penang) pronounciation, is the most celebrated and largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. Sitting atop the hill and overlooking Ayer Itam, it is said to be auspiciously located and feng shui-approved to protect the well-being of the temple and its devotees.

Constructed in 1893 under the direction of a well-supported head monk of the Kuan Yin Temple i.e. Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, from local consuls to the Chinese Emperor Guangxu, Kek Lok Si incorporates motifs of Buddhism from Burma, Thailand and China – a nod to both major branches of Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. (Note: ask most Chinese Buddhist and they’ll have a hard time telling you which branch of Buddhism they are followers of, in part due to the integration of Taoism to muddle up the mix further.)

Kek Lok Si

Kek Lok Si

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Postcards: Inlands of Bali (ID)

A considerable amount of time of our final 24 hours in Bali was spent on the road. The north-south parallel roads system in the region we were at meant it would never be quick to get from one place to another, even if they are geographically nearby. From the car, we scanned the horizons so to remember what it was like to be there, and when the vista got really interesting, we asked Komang to park to the side briefly so I could at least grab a few photos.

Given Komang was really there to be our driver and not as a driver-guide, I don’t have much stories to tell you in return either. Nonetheless, I hope you too enjoy the views which we had oohed-aahed over ;)

Gunung Agung

Gunung Agung

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Postcards: Amed and Tulamben (ID)

There wasn’t a day in Bali that we did not go into the sea. In fact, whenever possible, we squeezed in two sessions in the water – once in the morning, and another in the evening. I usually paddled by the beach, although I did once go out snorkelling with F, the veritable water baby.

Amed was therefore the perfect base for us while exploring East Bali, and we also nipped over Tulamben, which is popular among divers, for a couple of hours to snorkel. These sleepy towns were exactly what we were looking for – calm and peace from large tourist groups and urban traffic. Don’t get me wrong, there are other visitors around, but unlike Kuta or Ubud, we did not feel like there were more foreigners than locals in Amed.

Amed

Amed

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Postcards: Masceti and Candidasa (ID)

Our ultimate destination in East Bali was Amed, the name of a village but synonymously used to refer to a number of other villages within the same coastal stretch. Normally a solid three hours drive away from Kuta, we broke the journey down a little by making a few short stops along the way. We made it to Masceti Beach and Candidasa in the morning, before tracking down Bali Asli for lunch and the subsequent visit to Tirta Gangga.

Bali

Bali

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