Random Musings

Au revoir France. Bienvenue Dubai!

April 19, 2013

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The trip is finally over. I say finally because it was a really exhausting one for me. I’m not so sure about you but for me, the maximum days that I can go for a holiday until I get sick and tired of it is approximately 2 weeks. Does this happen to you as well? Or I’m just the weird one here? Probably if I’ve been given a chance and if I have the financial capability to stay in better hotels and longer days – I’d probably do it but will only stay in one city and not travel so much. I say better hotels because one can only stay in 2 star properties with tiny beds and even tinier bathrooms for a couple of days until you miss your queen size bed waiting for you at home. The last 2 days of my trip was quite hard since my legs were literally killing me in every step I make. If it could speak, it would’ve cursed me like there’s no tomorrow.

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For this trip, I tried not to transfer too much between cities like I’ve done in the past. I took only 3 transfers by train but as much as luck would have it for me, the lock of my suitcase broke and I had to buy another suitcase in Paris as it won’t hold on to the things that I have anymore. So there I was, transferring cities, catching the trains, walking on cobbled-stone pavements and trying to figure out which direction I should take for the metro – with two freaking suitcases. I never travel with more than one carry-on bag for this very reason. Apart from it being a total inconvenience, it’s just adding up to the chaos that I already have in my mind when faced by a new and totally different city.

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During this trip as well, I’ve met quite a few interesting people along the way. Good and bad kind of interesting but mostly, people who were helpful enough to give directions to a newbie in their city. As much as the cliche goes that Parisians will never ever help a tourist in need (it happened to me 5 years ago during the first Parisian trip), I think they are more tolerable now to tourists. The tip that I can probably give you as the most helpful of all is ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, greet them in French. Try as hard as you can to speak in French. It doesn’t matter how wrong the grammar is, just show them that you are trying to speak their language. I can’t stress how important this is but you will definitely see the result of it as they show a little bit of sympathy to a lost tourist. Bonjour! S’il vous plait. Ou est la toilette? :p

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As this particular trip was actually a business-related one for the first 4 days at least, I’ve also enjoyed the company of my colleagues for the days that I was with them. I’ve met new people and old ones who by the way got surprised on how much kir royal I can drink in one night and how drunk I can get afterwards. Yes, I got drunk. It’s probably not the smartest idea to do specially during a business trip but I did. I didn’t do anything crazy though apart from singing at the top of my lungs in the middle of Champs Elysees but the next day, during some more hotel inspections, was hell for me. Thankfully though, I got back to my senses by mid-day and I was back in my old self again.

My roomate and partner-in-crime during the business leg of the trip - Salwa.

My roomate and partner-in-crime during the business leg of the trip – Salwa.

All in all, this trip made me realize how beautiful the country of France is. As of this very moment, I’ve visited Paris (twice), Nice, Cannes, Strasbourg and Lyon. I have so many other places that I’d like to see in France but I know it’s just a matter of time for me to see it. Paris is lovelier the second time around. I hated Paris the first time I went there 5 years ago. The loathe that I felt towards that city was immeasurable, until now. This second visit, I have already removed the glitzy, glamourized and romanticized image of Paris as what the movies, books and songs instilled in my mind about the place. So I was able to wholly accept it as it is, just like any other normal city in Europe with all the fabulous buildings and the problem with the illegal immigrants. LOL. Funny thing is, as soon as I have removed that glamorized image of Paris – I began to appreciate it more and was able to see what the books, movies and songs are all talking about it : it’s a lovely city. Lyon and Strasbourg have their own uniqueness in them as well, more on that on different blogs.

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In the coming days, I’ll be writing more about the experiences I’ve had in France. I hope you’ll all keep up with it. I must warn you though, there will be a sh*tload of photos in the coming posts. 🙂

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