Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quick Update From Paris

aka Bliss Part 27. :)

It's Day 18 of my vacation, and just returned to the City of Lights yesterday evening, after concluding a 2-week-long tour of the countryside.

Details from our journey will follow in a later entry. For now, all I can say is that I'm enjoying myself thoroughly, and have been most fortunate to meet many locals who've been nothing short of delightful. Made lots of new friends from the tour itself. Our Tour Director and coach driver have also exceeded expectations, and I was very sad to bid them goodbye.

However, my mom and I now have another week to explore Paris on our own, with a couple of outings to Versailles, Giverny and the Loire Valley lined up as well.

Considering a few horror stories I've heard from various people who visited France in recent years, I was definitely apprehensive about making the trip. Not sure if it's our good fortune, or whether the French have mellowed, but all our experiences thus far have been very pleasant.

The cuisine had its ups and downs, but I blame it on the organized tour group dinners, a few of which were rather disappointing. But when my mom and I went hunting for restaurants on our own, we often struck gold. I already count at least two of our meals - in Beaune and Monaco - among the best I've ever had. There was another one in a small town, but I don't even know the name of the place, and we basically ordered randomly from a French menu.

Perhaps that's part of the appeal of these gastronomic adventures - not really knowing what we're going to get, so when the meal turns out to be great, it makes the whole experience that much better.

Also, let's not forget all the handsome young male waiters who seem to have cornered the restaurant business. Hardly see any waitresses around anywhere, not that I'm complaining. :)

It really is quite amazing how unbelievably good-looking some of these chaps are. At one sidewalk cafe in Nice, there were 4 gorgeous hunks strolling around at the same time, with the best of the lot - a dark-haired version of Ryan Gosling (!) - serving us. And believe it or not, I managed ( though ununtentionally ) to get him very flustered at one point. Don't ask me why, I just sat back and enjoyed the display. :)

And yes, it appears that Asian women are prized by the Frenchmen, both young and old. I guess it helps that I look much younger than my real age, plus the fact that I dress well and smile a lot more when I'm overseas. It's easy when you're not bogged down by stress or fatigue. The weather also agrees with me, as evidenced by a healthy tan and perpetual rosy cheeks. :)

Mum and I are now staying at yet another different hotel in Paris. First one when we arrived in late August was in the Opera Quarter. Second one was yesterday, near the Eiffel Tower. Today's is in the Tuileries district - excellent location, close to many museums and monuments, all within walking distance. And our toiletries are from Bulgari. Yow. :D

The Rue de Rivoli is just a street away. Met E, my penpal from Paris, for afternoon tea at Angelina, and ended up chatting for 3 whole hours, about everything from food to music to family. My mom joined us, of course ( she was NOT going to let me meet a stranger in a foreign country alone ), and can't stop singing E's praises either. The restaurant was packed to the brim, with lots of tourists and a few locals, but definitely a fashionable crowd. I was particularly pleased with a table adjacent to ours, populated by 4 gorgeous young men who fit the jet-setting, playboy mould to a T. I think one of them sat next to mom and I at a Chinese restaurant later during dinner, but with a different chap whom he didn't seem to know that well, based on their conversation. That was interesting. :)

This is what I love about France ( not just Paris ). People-watching has never been one of my favourite pursuits - I prefer to eat and run in Singapore, who the hell cares about the other diners? But the French have helped me learn to relax and appreciate life a lot more. The first few days were a little tough, as we waited up to 30 minutes between courses, and a typical dinner took 2-3 hours to complete. As our trip progressed, time passed more smoothly, and I found myself daydreaming, savouring a beautiful sunset, feeling the cool breeze on my face, and really tasting the food I was eating.

I'm often homesick when away for more than 2 weeks, but currently find myself extremely reluctant to return to Singapore...

1 comment:

Shanhan said...

Hi spacefan, sounds like a nice holiday! Monaco's an absolute dream isn't it? Was there in 2002, didn't want to come back myself! Haha