Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winkelcentrum and Olympia

Winkelcentrum is my favorite place. Whats that you ask? Why its only the mall or in other words, an area concentrated with tiny little shops that entice you to pull out your credit card and throw away your hard earned dough! I spent 60 euros on clothes today and thats more than what Ive ever spent on clothes in one go. But I also needed to spoil myself during the season and so Im not feeling too guilty. My uncle bought me a coat, its one size bigger than what I usually wear but its pretty sturdy. Its waterproof, windproof and fireproof! So even God can't get through it! ha! The sales in Holland are pretty sweet and I picked up stuff from Promiss, C and A, Miss Etam and Body Shop.

Later in the evening my aunt convinced my uncle to take us to a Greek restaurant. Great choice! This was my first encounter with Greek food and boy was it good. Below is a picture of what I had. This was called the Thessalonikki Steak. Its comprises of 3 kinds of meat, some fries, some green and a delicious sauce dressing at the side. Greece I like you and the owner's son was pretty gorgeous too. The restaurant is called Olympia and its probably the only one they have in Rotterdam that serves such good food because there were hordes of people going in and out!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Maritime Museum and Café Lisboa

I visited the Maritime museum in Rotterdam. I was not too keen on visiting it because ships didn't appeal too much to me but I did not have much chalked out for today so I ended up going after all. And you know I sure am glad that I did because the Museum Ship 'De Buffel' is quite a small wonder all by itself. If I remember correctly, this used to be a warship that sailed along the coast of Holland and then as the times went by, technology progressed and the 'De Buffel' became outdated. The ship was however in perfect shape and the government decided to convert it into a museum. So the vessel is presently docked at the Maritime Museum and on board, you have various props such as the wax statues below that document the lives of Dutch Sailors on vessels at sea. I personally loved the decor in the lounge area which was reserved for the Captain and his guests. The setting was such that one feels you are actually on board the vessel, all equipped with noises, articles and other things seen on a ship. There was a beautiful piano and the pages from a Sonata on the side. The dining table was laid out with food (not edible ofcourse) and the lamps were lit and there were lovely old books lying on the table. I loved all of it. I guess this visit has thought me one thing, never judge a book by its cover! So if you see that place which looks so dreary, I say give it another chance. Who knows maybe you might fight a nice photo opportunity buried under the boring exterior or you may even improve on your general knowledge or you lust just have something to do for about 2 hours! :)

So later after spending a good day wandering around town. I went with my uncle and his family to Café Lisboa. Good Portuguese beer can make you feel at home rightaway! While at the little resto my uncle tried to drill sense into my head while sipping on one too many beers. All I gathered from his conversation was that I should save up my money and save up my money. I also undertsand that he has friends in Portugal who would like to help me if I decide to move there but it will not be a good move because Portugal does not pay its teachers too well. My uncle is a live contradiction! But all the same, it was quality time with the family and he is also grateful that I came in and convinced his present wife to stop divorcing him, so I enjoy the lovely treats to different restaurants with him and family :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It snowed all over Normandy

They informed us about a week back that it would snow today. I didnt take the weathermen seriously and guess what it did snow! I got out of building and it was everywhere. Since this was my first experience with snow I wasnt sure what to do, should I step onto it or just turn around and head back to bed! I decided to jump right into the experience and Im so happy I did! It was beautiful! Except for the fact that my train was halted for over half an hour at Sotteville and all the TC could say was ''A cause des raisons climatiques, votre train est arreté pendant une période indéterminée''. Thats when I began to worry a bit because I realised I was in a foreign country and I was in a situation that required me to take an action on my own. My sixth sense said I should stay put. I arrived at Ecole BP just in time for class. The mood at the school was so lively and everyone was making snowmen. I was so so happy to see my kids just enjoyign themselves. Professors in a good mood too, strangely. 

The mood was equally playful at Ecole TM. The teachers here are really kind and they even spared me a huge piece of cake, foie gras and lots of lovely cheeses that were left over from their Christmas lunch on Tuesday. I ate food that was ''très française'' which meant I ate Pain Epicé (bread with spices) and foie gras, which gives you a 'sucré salé' taste (salty and sweet). You can have the above with a bit of fig jam. I handed over some Christmas gifts that I had brought from India such as scarves, pen holders and mirrors. All the above were a hit with the teachers.
I barely managed to get on the train back home, thanks to the snow that was melting by the time the day ended and hence made my walking all the more difficult! Andy had already left for Paris to catch her flight to the US. She is spending xmas with her family and Im happy for her because she seemed like she needed a break from French! Well so right now I have the apartment to myself for the next 2 days before I head to Rotterdam! Im listening to the lovely Buena Vista Club music and the last snowflakes are slowly vanishing. Life is beautiful :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Paris with an American

I went to Paris again today with my roommate. We must have walked for over 8 hours all over the city. It was a glorious day in Paris and I never get tired of visiting the city. The weather was particulary lovely today and the highlight of my trip was catching the first rays of the sun at the Louvre and in second place comes the walk on the street off Champs Elysées, where high end designers like Chanel and Dior just spruce up the pavement! We also walked to Musée d'Orsay and guess what they were on strike. I mean how is it possible for a museum to go on strike?!! Tsk Tsk only in France mes chères! I chalked out an itinerary for us all by myself and it involved all the places Ive been to and which Andy hadn't. Musée d'Orsay was going to be the only new thing I visited in Paris and so you can imagine my disappointment when I saw the sign that said Museum is on strike in four different languages. My day got better when we went to Pierre Hermé, undoubtedly the best macaron shop in Paris. I also went into Ladurée, the macaron store and tea salon on Champs Elysées because that was on my to-do list and there was an hours long queue! A queue to buy macarons! sheesh! 

Pont by Notre Dame