November 18th, 2015 · By Lynn
There’s a movement here in Paris called Je Suis En Terrasse (I’m At A Sidewalk Café) so people will get out and live life as normal as possible considering the circumstances.
Patrick and I went out yesterday on our scooter and did some shopping. Our bags were checked several times by security and we had to open our jackets to show we had nothing hidden on us. We didn’t mind, quite the contrary, it was reassuring.
Crossing the bridge to go to the Eiffel Tower. The photo’s a little blurry, but hey I was on a scooter.
We then headed over to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up in bleu, blanc, rouge. Afterwards we went to sit at a sidewalk café. I’m happy to say the terraces were packed with people enjoying the evening and the warm weather.
No, I have no excuse for this photo being blurry, I hadn’t even had a drink yet.
Maya Muses: It was almost like old times. Almost. We weren’t afraid, but it was normal to be a little apprehensive. I think you can’t help but remember in the back of your mind what occurred a few days before. Still, that won’t stop us from living life as we’ve always done. Yes, it’ll take time for Paris to heal, but we’ll get there.
Photo Credits: Personal Photos
November 16th, 2015 · By Lynn
November 13, 2015. 129 killed in Paris. What is this world coming to? I ask myself this question more and more. What kind of world are we leaving for the generations to come? This Little Blue Planet of ours is so beautiful and yet things continue to get worse. What has mankind learned from history, from our mistakes? Nothing.
I remember the bomb that went off at the Drugstore Saint-Germain in 1974, I remember the bomb on the rue des Rosiers in 1982. I remember walking up the rue de Rennes on my way to the FNAC in 1986 and seeing a helicopter land in front of the Tour Montparnasse after a bombing. I remember the bombs down in the Métro in 1995. Yes, we were frightened afterwards. I stopped going to the Marais for awhile. I stopped taking the Métro and took buses instead. I stopped walking near trash bins in the streets until the city replaced them with see through plastic bags.
Yet, despite the threats we survived and the Parisian lifestyle survived. Parisians are a strong people with a long history of survival. We will continue to live as we’ve done before. We’ll continue to sit at sidewalk cafés, eat in restaurants and brasseries, go to the opera, the cinéma, and the concert halls and we’ll continue to flâner. It’s a French word that means to stroll without a destination in mind, just for the pleasure. No one knows better how to flâner than Parisians and there’s no better place in the world than Paris to do it. We will live like we have always done because we will not let the terrorists win.
A friend wrote on her Facebook page this morning:
Dimanche matin c’est l’heure…
Avant de partir j’entends
Evitez de sortir sauf nécessité absolue
Conseil aux parisiens…là je me dis, J’AI UNE NÉCESSITÉ ABSOLUE: VIVRE.
— Cora Arnould
Sunday morning, it’s time…
Before leaving I hear
Advice to Parisians…
Avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.
I tell myself, I HAVE AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY: TO LIVE.
Maya Muses: The weather today in Paris was warm and beautiful, my friend Cora went out, Patrick and I went out. And I was happy to see young people and old, families and couples, children and babies, enjoying the weather in spite of everything. La joie de vivre remains in Paris.
Photo Credits: Personal Photos
Tags: bombings | Drugstore Saint-Germain | France | In The News | it's all maya | Marais | Maya Muses | November 13 2015 | Paris | Paris - Paname | Paris La Joie De Vivre | Paris Will Survive | Parisians | Rue de Rennes | Rue des Rosiers | terrorists
October 22nd, 2015 · By Lynn
The end of September Patrick and I took a short holiday for a few weeks to the Côte d’Azur. It was a little crazy as we criss-crossed around France. First, we went down to Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer, a small isle on the Mediterranean, to visit friends for a week.
Jackie and Gégé call this place home for half the year. Lucky them.
The weather was perfect and most of the tourists were gone, so we were left with gorgeous beaches and afternoon lunches amidst the locals.
Chic Saint-Trop with great cafés and restaurants.
In Saint-Tropez the afternoon sunlight was like a picture-perfect-postcard.
I want this yacht! No wait, I want that one!
And the yachts, one after another, had us dreaming of what it would be like to be rich and famous. Okay, forget about famous, we would’ve been happy with rich so we could afford one of these yachts. What put a damper on it was you needed about two million a year just for maintenance. Definitely, way beyond our budget for now.
Driving through Provence was wonderful as we headed toward Uzès with a stop in Nîmes to visit the arena built in the first century AD during the Roman Empire.
I love the tree lined roads that the area is known for.
We visited Eric and Yetunde’s new cooking school, Cook’n With Class and had lunch there with a number of students.
Relaxing after a class and a full meal.
Patrick already off to explore the marketplace which sold mostly regional produce. The ambiance was amazing.
Me getting ready to walk across the bridge. Uh, backwards?
We toured the Pont du Gard, the famous Roman aqueduct and got lost trying to find a panoramic view of the bridge.
Hey, there’s suppose to be a great view around here somewhere.
Almost 40 minutes later we found it.
There are three olive trees dating back to 908 AD. They were beautiful in their own right. The things they must’ve seen in the 1,107 years they’ve been around – amazing.
We then went to Nantes to spend Patrick’s birthday with his nephew/god-child and his family.
Patrick’s birthday cake and champagne.
The Château de la Bretesche, a medieval castle, was built in the 14th century. The Parc Naturel de la Brière surrounding it was simply gorgeous.
Welcome to my home.
Patrick and his nephew Sédrik walking on the castle grounds.
Beautiful setting for a game of pétanque.
Jackie and Patrick deciding who won. (Jackie and I did, of course!)
Maya Muses: We had a wonderful time and we were tired as we headed back to Paris, but we were happy. We had spent countless hours eating and drinking with friends and family, but we had also done a lot of exploring and walking.
Uh, I know we’re here somewhere.
Did dad and Uncle Patrick get us lost?
Well, kids, it sure looks that way.
The weather this autumn has been another Indian summer in France with the leaves turning and one beautiful day after another. Paris has been no exception and welcomed us back with days of sunshine.
Photo Credits: Personal Photos
Tags: Château de la Bretesche | Cookin' With Class | Côte d'Azur | it's all maya | Maya Muses | Mediterranean Sea | Nîmes | Parc Naturel de la Brière | Pont du Gard | Provence | Roman Empire | Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer | Saint-Tropez | Special Moments | Travel | Uzès
September 11th, 2015 · By Lynn
The spirit of New York City lives on.
Today, fourteen years after 9/11, it’s a day of reflection. A day to look back and to look ahead. The spirit of New Yorkers on that fateful day gave us hope that although evil could bring them to their knees, it couldn’t destroy them. It says a lot for the goodness of the human spirit and it gives me hope for this mad, mad, world we live in.
Brave firefighters going toward danger.
When I think of the brave men and women who rushed into those buildings, who helped complete strangers despite the danger to themselves, it’s proof that there’s good in this world.
When I think of the men who knowingly boarded those planes with the thought of destroying as many lives as possible, it’s proof that there’s evil in this world.
Police officers running toward the unknown.
When I think of firemen, police officers and soldiers who kiss their families goodbye each day not knowing whether today may be their last because they’re risking their lives to help complete strangers, I know there’s good in this world.
When I think of the killers, the rapists, the arsonists, the thieves, the terrorists these men and women have to chase, I know there’s evil in this world.
Malala Yousafzai, a brave young girl fighting for others.
When I think of humanitarians who stand up against all odds because they believe in the rights of each individual to live decently, to have a roof over their head and food in their stomach, the right to be educated, to make a life for oneself and they’ll sacrifice their own safety for those rights, I know there’s good in this world.
When I think of corrupt politicians and world leaders who care only about themselves, who lie and make promises they don’t keep, who hoard wealth while their people are starving, and who send innocent young men and women into battle for their own gain, I know there’s evil in this world.
Aylan Kurdi, drowned on his way to what his parents thought would be a better life. As Benedict Cumberbatch said, “No one puts their child in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”
When I see women, children, old people, along with the men fleeing their homeland with the hopes of reaching safety elsewhere so they can live without fear of being attacked, bombed, destroyed, I see the power and strength of the human spirit to survive and I see good in this world.
When I see world leaders turn a blind eye for years until a photograph of a young child washes up on the shore for them to react, or I see countries treating these people like animals, beating them, throwing food at them, not giving them water or shelter, I see evil in this world.
Petra Laszlo, a woman with no heart.
When I see journalists and cameramen risking their lives daily to bring us the horrors that go on, who tread where most people dare not go for the purpose of bringing us the news, not for their own glory, but to make us aware of these atrocities, I see braveness and I see good in this world.
When I see a camerawoman purposely kick a young child for the sole purpose of causing harm, or when I see her stick out her leg to trip a man with a child who has walked for hundreds of miles and who has never done her any harm, I see evil in this world.
Our home, the only one we have.
Maya Muses: There’s so much good and evil that exist on this Little Blue Planet we call home. It’s such a beautiful place and there’s enough for everyone to live a good and decent life and yet we don’t. Why? Is there more evil than good in this world we live in, or more good than evil? I prefer to believe there’s more good. When we watch the news it would be so easy to think the opposite, but if we think that way, we’re surely doomed.
So, I refuse to end on that note and have hope for a better future when looking ahead.
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Tags: 9/11 | Aylan Kurdi | Benedict Cumberbatch | firemen | Good and Evil | In The News | Is Anyone Listening? | it's all maya | Malala Yousafzai | Maya Muses | Petra Laszlo | police officers | Political Parlance | refugees | The Good And Evil In This World We Live In
August 21st, 2015 · By Lynn
Last Stop: Macau
The new part of town.
I love the different color buildings…
…and the Portuguese influence.
Patrick and I made a last minute decision to go to Macau because it was only a boat ride away from Hong Kong. The interest wasn’t in the casinos, especially if you’ve been to Las Vegas as Patrick and I have. It was the old part of the city that made Macau interesting.
The old part of town. (Didn’t I just say that?)
Walking up to the church of Saint-Paul.
Well, what’s left of it from 413 years ago.
We visited the ruins of St. Paul. The church was built in 1602, but only the south facade remains. The rest was destroyed by a fire in 1835. Afterwards, we went to the museum and by late afternoon we decided to look for a restaurant for lunch.
Not a smile on anyone’s face. Maybe everyone’s hungry.
Now, let me be honest here, the Macanese are not known for being very friendly and believe me I won’t be the one to refute that. Uh hum, just between us, I have to say they were pretty cold. But, if I have to find something positive to say about them, well, they do like to feed you for free.
Patrick was hungry too.
As Patrick and I went looking for a restaurant, there was almost no need to. Vendors stood outside their establishments with trays of food for people to sample. We smiled and said, thank you, but our thanks were greeted with stone faces and silence. (Hmm, I wonder, was it us?) Not really, other tourists fared no better. While Patrick was tasting the beef, I was trying out the cookies and pastries. Anyway, by the time we got to the restaurant we weren’t very hungry, we had stuffed ourselves with free samples. We did buy cookies to take with us out of guilt and because they tasted yummy. Actually, it was easier to find pastry shops than restaurants. My kind of town!
Looking down at the old city.
The old and the new merge.
Time to go in and throw away some money.
Maya Muses: If you like to gamble, Macau is definitely a place to visit, it’s the largest gambling center in the world. If you’re looking for more, I suggest visiting other places in mainland China.
…look old, but they’re new.
Beautiful as it may be, it’s still a no-no.
A Fine Mammoth Tusk Carving of the Great Wall.
Is it time to leave yet?
Photo Credits: Personal Photos
Tags: China | gambling | Hong Kong | it's all maya | Las Vegas | Macau | mainland China | Maya Muses | Our Trip To Macau | St. Paul | St. Paul church | Travel
July 4th, 2015 · By Lynn
Third Stop: Hong Kong
Welcome to Hong Kong.
After the 38°C (102°F) weather in Thailand, we arrived in Hong Kong to a balmy, cool 29°C (86°F). It was great. Julien’s apartment is located right in the heart of Central Hong Kong.
We met his roommate, Holden, first of all who was super nice. Julien was working at the time. Come to find out they even have a rooftop terrace. What we wouldn’t give to have a terrace like theirs here in Paris.
Holden and Julien sprucing up the terrace for an evening BBQ.
After leaving our bags we walked over to the restaurant he manages to say hello. It was a 5 minute walk through a maze of streets and back alleys. Julien greeted us with a frozen margarita. The best margaritas in HK by the way.
Patrick and Julien hanging out before the crowd arrives.
Mmm! So good.
We decided to stay and have dinner at Boomshack. It’s a great little diner/restaurant that serves burgers, tacos…well think fast food fare, but with a personal spin. I loved everything, even the beet fries and I hate beets. Who would’ve thought to deep fry them like potatoes?
Soho Hong Kong.
The whole area was hopping with locals and tourists who mingled in restaurants and bars that line both sides of the streets one after another. People partied and made noise until 3-4 in the morning.
Patrick was a big hit with the T-shirt I bought him in Bangkok.
The ambiance was similar to what the Latin Quarter used to be like back in the early 70s before the cafés were closed down and designer shops took over like a virus and killed the atmosphere. (But that’s another story.)
We made friends with a couple from Switzerland. They were great fun and we hit it off right away as though we had been friends forever.
She’s in red and he’s the one with the beard. They were as nice as they are a nice looking couple.
All four of us left the restaurant we were in. (Thanks Austin for the wonderful dinner. Sorry I forgot the name or else I would mention it.) We made our way down to Boomshack for a final drink – margaritas, of course.
The four of us clowning around with others in the background.
The couple gave us their card and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember either of their names. All I remember is the girl worked for Hewlett Packard. Well, long story short, we lost their card and their email address along with it. Too bad, because we would’ve loved to have stayed in touch. Here’s hoping someone recognizes them in the photos and they can tell them to contact us. It’s a long shot, but hey, you never know.
The energy in the city is amazing. From the harbor to the skywalks, from the skyscrapers to the temples, and from the mountains to the beaches, it’s a city of contrasts, of old and new, where East meets West, and rich and not so rich coincide.
Bangkok was a city of rich and poor, but the poor in Hong Kong were less visible.
Beggars and homeless people roamed the streets of Bangkok, but in Hong Kong we only saw one homeless person on the street. I’m sure there are poor people there, but we didn’t see them and we went all over on both sides of Kowloon Bay. Instead designer clothes, shoes and accessories were evident everywhere. You could smell the money.
Patrick and I love the way the woman in Hong Kong dress. Some reminded us of porcelain dolls. The style is totally their own.
For ten days we commented on how they looked and of course I didn’t think to take pictures of them until our last day there and then it was too late.
Too bad, because some were a sight to behold.
Yes, even the guys.
Actually, some of the guys take the HK street style to a whole other level.
A foggy day in Hong Kong harbor.
The view of the city from the harbor is breathtaking. But then the view of the harbor from Victoria Peak…well it’s even more breathtaking.
Night time on Victoria Peak.
But who would have imagined a short distance away, there are beautiful beaches to enjoy. Patrick and I were seduced by it all.
Julien and a few of his friends invited us to a day at the beach where we had no less than four chefs cooking our food.
Patrick and Julien walking along the beach.
The temples around Hong Kong were amazing.
And so was the Tian Tan Buddha hidden up in the mountains.
Going up by cable car to see the Giant Buddha.
And climbing the 268 steps. (It seemed like a lot more when I was climbing.)
Entrance to the Po Lin Monastery.
Why don’t we have tea shops like these?
Or the local convenience store like this.
Not the local 7-Eleven store that’s for sure.
The food was less exotic than the food in Thailand, but it was just as good. We ate at nice restaurants…
…and I loved, loved, loved, (Did I say loved?) the steamed dumplings.
Mmm! My favorite.
But, we also tried the local stands where no one spoke English or French or Spanish and we had to point to what we wanted and hope for the best.
Actually, this street restaurant turned out to be one of the best. The food was delicious.
A lone fisherman. I love this photo.
Maya Muses: Hong Kong is an incredible city. We hated leaving.
The Cheung Po Tsai, the famous Aqua Luna boat.
When we got back to Paris we had the impression we were returning to a sleepy little village. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever compared Paris that way. It took Patrick and I weeks to readapt to our life in the City of Lights. Now we’re happy to be home, but if anyone would ask us, “Do you want to go to Hong Kong?” We wouldn’t hesitate for a second.
Until next time.
Photo Credit: Personal Photos, HK Street Fashion: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Victoria Peak and Cheung Po Tsai boat.
Tags: Bangkok | Boomshack | Central Hong Kong | Fashion | Hong Kong | it's all maya | Kowloon Bay | Latin Quarter | Maya Muses | Our Trip To China | Paris - Paname | Thailand | Travel
June 22nd, 2015 · By Lynn
Patrick looking around above the crowd.
Last evening, Patrick and I danced in the streets of Paris until 1 a.m. We headed over to the Palais Royal to hear a concert, but it wasn’t really our cup of tea. The weather, however, was perfect and the evening turned out to be a great success. Fête De La Musique had a slow start in Paris in 1981, now it’s celebrated in more than 700 cities in over 120 countries around the world.
Not just one or two people in the streets any longer.
The first couple of years kids barely learning how to play an instrument took to the streets of Paris to perform as well as the regular street buskers. People brought out their boomboxes and played them as well. Now, over thirty years later, there are actual concerts and professional musicians taking to the streets, but you can still enjoy the simplicity of kids playing their hearts out.
All ages, all music, that’s the Fête de la Musique. These were some of the older kids.
We received a text from one of my exes that there was a great jazz ensemble at the Place de Furstenberg, so we hopped on our scooter and made our way over to Saint-Germain-des-Prés. There were a number of different groups playing around Buci. You could hear Dixie Land Jazz to Pink Floyd to Piaf to Bebop.
Even the little dog couldn’t help but dance. (He’s the third one over from the two girls in pink pants.)
We walked to the Place Saint-Michel and watched people taking turns dancing to the beat of African drums. We were ready to head to the Marais, but decided for some reason to walk over to the Rue Saint-Jacques. We’re so glad we did.
Dancing to an African beat.
Someone with an amazing voice was singing a Brazilian jazz tune. What a troupe they were and what a repertoire. There were nine singers in all, each one as good as the next. They were backed up by a small quartet that played everything from Jazz to Blues to Pop. This is where we decided to stay and dance. They even had two dancers who did everything from go-go to belly dancing. It was insane and non-stop. When you get a group who can sing Besame Mucho, Comme d’Habitude, then Fame and Barry White’s You’re The First, The Last, My Everything, you know you’re not looking at any ordinary band.
From the nine singers, she had the most energy. She reminded us of Zaz.
Maya Muses: The ambiance in the Latin Quarter was electric and the mood convivial. People of all ages were singing and dancing together. Patrick and I finally decided to call it a night while the group we were listening to continued to perform. Walking back to our scooter we stopped to enjoy a few more groups, then headed home. Another Fête de la Musique celebrated to bring in the start of summer.
We passed this group in the early evening. Going back to our scooter at 1 a.m., they were still playing. The kids though had surely gone to bed.
Photo Credits: Personal Photos
Tags: Entertainment | Faites De La Musique - Make Music 2015 | Faites De La Musique 2015 | Fête De La Musique | Fête De La Musique 2015 | it's all maya | Make Music 2015 | Maya Muses | music | Music Muses | Paris | Paris - Paname
June 12th, 2015 · By Lynn
Second Stop: Bangkok
Arriving at the airport.
When Patrick and I left Paris, let’s just say it was still cool outside. The high that day was around 10°C (50°F). We left early in the morning, so it was still quite chilly. When we stepped out of the airport in Bangkok at three in the afternoon, it was like stepping into a hot oven. The temperature was hovering around 38°C (102°F) and I was ready to run back into the airport until it cooled down. That wasn’t going to happen any time soon, so we made the best of it and headed out into the heat to look for a taxi.
A shopping paradise.
What we found was a city full of energy. If you’ve never been to Far East Asia, it has an energy that you just don’t find anywhere else in the world. The people were friendly enough, but not very patient. If you asked a question and you couldn’t understand their accent, they got annoyed with you pretty damn fast like you were wasting their time. They kind of reminded me of New Yorkers.
Don’t ask me what this was, I don’t know.
These tasted yummy.
Mmm, so did the desserts.
We stayed in the Siam area which had enormous shopping centers. It was a fashionista’s paradise filled with designer names everywhere you looked. Stores like Louis Vuitton and Lancel on the Champs-Elysées seemed small in comparison to the ones in Siam. A place not to be missed is the food court down in the basement at the Paragon. Patrick and I spent an entire day looking at the different foods on display. Each time we thought we had come to the end, it kept going on and on and on. We sampled a number of different things, everything delicious, but I couldn’t tell you the names of any of them.
The Buddhists temples went on and on as well. They were huge and each one more beautiful than the next. Before we left Paris, I had told Patrick I didn’t want to go on any boats or ferries, not after our boating accident where we both almost drowned. Once in Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River is the means of transportation to get to several temples. I wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to see them so I did a fast course in overcoming my fear of water. Well, to be honest, I’m still afraid, but while I was on the water, I kept my mind busy taking photos and praying.
Farangs casing the joints.
Patrick checking out the girls.
The thing that struck me about Bangkok most were the male tourists (the farangs) who go to Thailand from around the world for the sole purpose of prostitution. Everywhere we went we would see fat old men with beautiful young Thai girls on their arms. There’s enormous wealth and poverty in Thailand that co-exist and you can’t blame the girls. There are brothels and you see signs like “Free Blow Job with a Drink”. Yes, a drink! I told Patrick, “Don’t get any ideas!” Okay, I didn’t have to. But now that I think about it, he sure did take long when he would go out for a cup of coffee each morning while I was at the hotel getting dressed…hmm.
Our tuk-tuk driver.
Riding the sky train.
Maya Muses: There was so much to see and do, different foods to try, riding in tuk-tuks or taking the sky trains through the busy streets, watching the Thai girls dance their traditional dance, learning about the life and enigmatic end to Jim Thompson’s life, visiting Nana and Soi Cowboy, and the list goes on.
Thai girls weaving silk at Jim Thompson House.
Pretty Thai girls in a ceremony.
It was our first trip to Thailand, but we definitely want to return and spend more time in this amazing city. And, of course, visit the islands next time as well. Thank you, Bangkok, for such a fantastic adventure!
Photo Credit: Personal Photos
Tags: Bangkok | brothels | Champs-Elysées | Chao Phraya River | Far East Asia | it's all maya | Jim Thompson House | Lancel | Louis-Vuitton | Maya Muses | Nana | Our Trip To Thailand | Paris Paragon | prostitution | Siam | Soi Cowboy | Thai girls | Thailand | Travel | tuk-tuk ride | Wat Arun | Wat Pho | Wat Suthat
June 2nd, 2015 · By Lynn
Workers taking down the locks. Yes!
This beautiful bridge turned ugly.
Patrick and I went to the Pont des Arts yesterday just to see them lift off all the ugly locks that have been destroying this beautiful bridge and making it an eyesore for the past number of years. There were quite a few Parisians there just for the occasion. (Tourists were there as well putting on their last locks.) Many of us were reminiscing about how beautiful the bridge use to be before this stupid tradition took off like a cancer and is still going on throughout Paris.
Finally! It’s about time.
I’ve written several posts about the destruction and vandalism these locks were making, but do you think any tourist listened? Of course not! Instead, they talked about the “beautiful romantic tradition” of putting locks on the Pont des Arts. They don’t know what they’re talking about. The Pont des Arts was first built over 200 years old and this so-called tradition started in 2008. Some say it started when some Serbian filmmaker put the first lock on the bridge during filming. Apparently it’s a tradition in Serbia and it should have stayed there!
I wonder how many of those “lovers” are still together?
Many aren’t, I’m sure. (No, I’m not being unromantic, I’m being pragmatic.)
As one French gentleman lamented yesterday, “The Pont des Arts will never be the same again.” When the bridge was rebuilt in the early 80s it was painstakingly rebuilt as the original with a few changes. The millions of people who placed those locks and wouldn’t listen to the pleas to stop destroying the bridge has made it necessary to change the bridge from its original construction.
Locks are showing up everywhere.
Maya Muses: Special glass will replace the ironwork and supposedly the glass will withstand the graffiti that undoubtedly will attract many. Taking off the 45 tons of locks has put a stop to the cancer that was growing on the Pont des Arts. Now, what about the other bridges in Paris? Chemotherapy is needed there as well.
But, it’s a start and I’m happy those locks are gone from the Pont des Arts!
No more eyesore in the future, hopefully!
Photo Credit: Personal Photos
Tags: In The News | it's all maya | love locks | Maya Muses | Paris | Paris - Paname | Pont des Arts | Those Ugly Locks Are Taken Off | Those Ugly Locks Are Taken Off The Pont Des Arts! | Ugly Locks Taken Off The Pont Des Arts!
May 12th, 2015 · By Lynn
First Stop: Dubai: (I know, I know, it’s the Middle East, not Far East Asia.)
Airbus A380, a city in the sky.
Patrick and I started our trip on Emirates Airlines. When we saw the plane, the Airbus A380, we asked ourselves, how in the heck is this enormous plane ever going to get off the ground? It’s the world’s largest passenger aircraft and only certain airports have the facilities to accommodate it. There are two levels, the upper level is first class and business class with a lounge area, a private bar, and private sleeping compartments. You can even take a shower at 40,000 ft. The lower level has six sections with ten seats across (3 on each side and 4 in the middle) going back nearly one hundred rows.
Shower spa in the air.
The traveling city (that’s what it seemed like) was impressive, but what impressed Patrick and I the most was the service provided by the airline. It was like going back in time when flying use to be fun and service was great. (Remember those days?)
Even economy is spacious with huge overhead bins.
No more peanuts.
Most western airlines today have completely done away with any comfort for their passengers. Now a days you’re lucky to get 5 pretzels in a little bag that are handed out like nuggets of gold. Don’t think about asking for a second bag, they’ll bark at you and tell you one per customer. (All right, that’s not true, but you feel like that’s what’ll happen, so most people don’t ask.) At the rate airlines are going it won’t be long before the seats will be taken out and everyone will stand like a herd of cattle.
Emirates crew from around the world.
But, let’s get back to the Emirates Airline. There were stewards and hostesses that spoke a total of 28 languages. And I don’t mean text learned by heart like on some airlines where you don’t understand half of what they’re saying. On the Emirates, each of their personnel was fluent in several languages. Menus were passed out so you could select the meals you wanted. Hot towels were given to you before each meal so you could freshen up. Free wine and spirits were available. You had each meal with real cutlery, no plastic crap here. If you were hungry in between meal times, you could nibble on something at the bar in Business and First Class. In Economy you could ask for a cup of noodle soup or ice cream.
Time flew by!
Headphones were given free of charge and each passenger had a large individual screen. There were more than 500 films in a variety of languages and countries to choose from. Hollywood isn’t the only one producing films, you know. We spent seven hours flying from Paris to Dubai, but it seemed more like three or four the ride was so comfortable.
Welcome sign as you get off the plane.
Dubai at dusk.
Dubai was not what we expected. Then again, we really didn’t know what to expect. I think I had kept in mind all the Arab/Middle Eastern countries I had been to. Places like Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, or Israel. The United Arab Emirates was ultra modern and as soon as you landed you knew this was a place of wealth. Luxuries and designer names were everywhere. The women wore the traditional long black abaya with a hijab, but you could tell just from looking at their clothes they were made from the best quality material money could buy. And why not, many women do buy their abayas from Chanel, Dior, and a number of other top designers. Gee, who knew?
Women shopping in Dubai.
It was nothing like the djellabas, chadors and burkas of good quality, and poor, that I had seen in other Arab countries. For some reason the images that have stayed with me in those places were more of poverty than wealth. Sand storms, where it was always hot and dusty, also come to mind. Here, everything was air conditioned and even the men in their long white dishdasha and keffiyeh looked pristine despite the hot temperatures outside.
A hologram greets you in the airport.
Maya Muses: The people were friendly and spoke both French and English so we had no trouble communicating. Patrick and I didn’t stay long enough, but we told ourselves we would definitely like to go back again. Inshallah – God willing.
If you like nuts, you’ve come to the right place.
Photo Credits: Personal Photos and Airbus A380, Shower, Economy, Delta, Crew, Bar, Dubai, Shopping
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