Monthly Archives: July 2012

The arrival of summer?

The weather has been unseasonably bad here in Paris… and when Friday evening hit, it seemed like the weekend was running according to the recent schedule. Anyone would have thought that we had fast forwarded the summer and skipped straight to October! It was chilly!!! Fortunately there was some on-stage action at FNAC Live to create a festive mood. The Hôtel de Ville wasn’t bad as a backdrop, either!

On Saturday the almost-miracle hit… the sun came out!!! What better way to celebrate than dim sum in the sun?

Unfortunately they weren’t as good as they look so won’t be recommending the restaurant. A bike ride, some time out in the lovely Parc Monceau and a spot of shopping along the upmarket Rue de Courcelles rounded out the afternoon…

As we were on our way to Mr R’s housewarming party, the Froggy and I may have become distracted by a cool little shoe shop (perilously close to our place). There are unconfirmed rumours that we both walked away with some hot new shoes…

When we eventually made it to the party, a lovely time was had by all. R was the perfect host, even singing Russian ballads whilst self-accompanying on the guitar! I met some lovely new Parisians and had to put up with a decent amount of ego-stroking relating to how good my French is. It’s a tough life sometimes! Hehe.

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A moment of gratitude

A blog post? Really??? Yes, really people. After a lengthy period of writer’s block, I am back. Certainly bigger (after a prolonged Parisian winter), and hopefully better than ever.

Tonight I had dinner with my new Aussie friend, the lovely R. She took me to a great Thai restaurant (that does yummy larb!) called Lao Siam on Rue de Belleville, conveniently located about a 10 minute walk from my house. I am yet to decide whether having Paris’ second Chinatown almost on my doorstep is a blessing or a curse!

One thing I know is definitely a blessing is living across the road from the beautiful Parc des Buttes Chaumont. On our way back home, we stumbled across this rather impressive sunset…

I completely succumbed to one of those amazing moments where I felt so incredibly lucky to be alive and to be able to appreciate such a magnificent gift from Mother Nature. And the joy of whipping out my camera and capturing the moment, knowing that I could then share it with others, for me just added to the magic.


Another tick on the bucket list

When I heard that yesterday afternoon’s gentlemen’s singles final at Roland Garros (also know as the French Open) was unfinished due to rain, my ears pricked up… surely an opportunity to get along to the final at a reduced price? Or at least an opportunity to try!

A quick visit to the French Open site soon revealed that Viagogo was the official trading site for unwanted tickets. There were plenty around, but with a hefty 22,50€ of agent’s fees, I opted for an impromptu trip to the arena and a hopeful rendez-vous with a scalper…

The hour’s trip passed quickly and I managed to focus on thoughts other than the lingering question… should I have just coughed up & paid for one of the tickets that was available online? As I joined the sea of people flooding out of the station, doubt started to hit…  I really wasn’t expecting so many people would be available at short notice on a Monday!

At the first sign of a scalper, I decided to go for it.

“Oui, je cherche un billet.” (“I’m looking for a ticket.”)

“It’s two hundred euros.”

“Non, ce n’est pas possible.” (“No, that’s not possible.”)

“Vous parlez français ? ” (“You speak French?”)

“Oui.”

And not for the first time since living here I became very glad to have put so much effort into learning the language. My final negotiation was under 50% of his original price and far less than the Viagogo option. I was a happy lady. With a very dodgy ticket! And so Othmane Saifaoui, who fortunately didn’t have her ID checked as she had “been yesterday” entered Centre Court at Roland Garros.

Support of the two players, Nadal and Djokovic seemed pretty equal amongst the crowd. Being a staunch Federer supporter, I didn’t really have a preference either way, but was pretty quick to get behind Djokovic in the hope of a 5th set!

Coming from a traditionally hard-court playing nation, I couldn’t help but have respect for how these guys played their strengths to the demands of the clay.  The tennis was, as to be expected, of an extremely high calibre. Unfortunately Djokovic was outclassed and Nadal triumphed in 4 sets. 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. To make matters worse for the poor guy, he double-faulted to hand the match to Nadal! That surely must be the worst way to lose any match, let alone the final of a grand slam!

I was impressed by Djokovic’s graciousness in defeat. Nadal obviously seemed pretty chuffed to be taking home his 7th (the new record!) French Open trophy.

All in all, Othmane Saifaoui had a great day out…

And was sad to wave farewell to Roland Garros…

But happy enough to console herself by heading out to a local bar to watch the France v England Euro match and sharing a mean charcuterie and fromage platter with the Froggy and one of his collegues!