It’s All Maya!

If Life is an illusion, then why do I keep banging my head against the wall?

Si la Vie est une illusion, pourquoi je n'arrête pas de me taper la tête sur les murs?

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Merry Christmas 2015!

December 25th, 2015 · By Lynn

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Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and hoping that yours is filled with peace, love & happiness, and most of all, you’re able to share your day with those you love, near and far, if only in spirit. Joyeux Noël.

Photo Credit: Google

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Autumn Round Up Once Again

December 21st, 2015 · By Lynn

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My Christmas tree this year.

It seems my blog has become more of a phlog lately and it’s not a bad thing, just different. I mean why spend hundreds of words describing my adventures when photos will do it for me.

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Candles and flowers for those who died at Bataclan.

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After our trip to the south of France to see Jackie and Gégé at the end of September, it seems like we haven’t stopped. First of all, we went to pay our respects to those who lost their lives at Bataclan.

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Patrick put out a flag from our office window.

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I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with a market class at Cookn’ With Class. Patrick was the chef and it was a lot of fun. He gives quite an interesting lecture about all the different seasonal produce you can find at the street market and then everyone decides what they would like to eat and make for dinner back at the school.

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Patrick entertaining the class.

You not only watch, but you get to cut, chop, and cook along with the chef before sitting down to eat your 4 course meal. It’s the second time I’ve gone and it was as much fun as the first. The bottles of wine are a plus.

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Not turkey, but it was yummy!

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A gorgeous hotel/resort in Bretagne.

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A few days after Thanksgiving we took off for Brittany to surprise a friend for her birthday. Jackie hadn’t a clue that her family and friends were all literally going to the end of the Earth for her. Her son, Laurent, owns a 4-star hotel in the region of France called Finistère which is latin for, well you guessed it, end of the Earth.

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Our lovely hotel room.

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Patrick getting acquainted with his surroundings.

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The view from our window.

Laurent, had asked her to go spend the weekend so they could have a little party for her birthday. Then she found out that the hotel was full and she couldn’t stay there, but had to get a room several hundred kilometres away. Needless to say, she was a little miffed and clueless that over 50 people were traveling to her son’s hotel and he had booked all the rooms.

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When is Jackie going to get here?

 

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The birthday girl finally arrives.

Anyway, everyone was there and when she finally walked in, she was taken completely by surprise. Laurent and his wife Sandrine, and Jackie’s daughter, Christelle, had done a marvelous job of arranging everything.

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Christelle, Jackie and Laurent with her birthday cake.

I would be remiss not to say anything about the hotel/resort. Laurent and Sandrine took an old abandoned village from the 1600s and converted it into a gorgeous resort. The old stone houses with the fireplaces, the wooden beams, etc., were kept intact as much as possible. Only the plumbing, heating, and electricity were modernized for the comfort of their guests. My photos don’t do the place justice, I would suggest going to their website and seeing for yourselves how truly beautiful it is. Les Moulins du Ducs

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A seafood tray for each table at lunch!

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Dinner time with friends, what could be better?

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We spent hours at the table eating and drinking. Laurent, who’s also the chef in his kitchen along with his brigade outdid themselves. From 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm we had a wonderful lunch and then by 7:00 pm we were gathered once again in the large salon for cocktails and amuse-bouches. By 8 pm we were seated once more for dinner that went on until 1 am. Everything was wonderful.

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Stéphe, Jackie and Jos, the three sisters.

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Someone with Polnareff, who could it be?

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Patrick waiting for breakfast the next morning—hungry again?

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If you’re looking for a place in France to relax surrounded by the natural beauty of Brittany, this is the place to do it. The food was wonderful and the scenery was simply beautiful.

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Getting ready for our guest.

The very next day after we got home, I began putting up my Christmas tree and decorating the apartment for the holidays. It took 4 days to complete, but the result was well worth the time. We then began preparing for our Christmas party/sit-down dinner. Patrick took care of the menu; I did the table arrangements, music, and making my favorite holiday cookies. We said we’re getting too old for this, but when our guests were still having a good time at 3-4 am, we knew the party was a huge success once again.

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I want some.

Soon after we got the apartment back to normal, we were already making plans for next year. Funny how quickly we forget all the work involved when we can share special moments with friends.

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Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées.

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Patrick and I went to the Champs-Elysées to see the Christmas lights and the marché de Noël as we do every year. We weren’t disappointed. The lights were a lot better than the past few years. The big ferris wheel has increased in size, but we still haven’t gone on. We keep telling ourselves one day we’ll get around to it. The market stalls have also increased in number, but there seems to be a lot more shops selling food and drinks than things to buy. I hear the Christmas market is better at la Défense, so we’ll have to go check that one out soon.

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Fourme d’Ambert, a mild blue cheese I actually liked.

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Is it time to eat again? I think so.

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This past week, I did a Cheese & Wine Pairing class. We tried 5 different cheeses, a glass of champagne, and 4 different wines – 2 whites and 2 reds. I hate blue cheeses and Roquefort, but Preston, the wine expert, told me I would love the blue cheese he chose. I never say I hate something unless I at least try it once, so I gave it a go and I have to say I really did like the cheese. Fourme d’Ambert is a blue cheese, but quite mild in taste. Patrick loves blue cheese and Roquefort, so he now has one blue he can buy that I won’t mind eating.

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Who wants macarons…

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when you can have petits choux.

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Mmm! This was my choice of little cream puffs.

Two days later I did a Paris Gourmet Tour with a few people from the Cheese & Wine Pairing class and from the market class. We visited some of the gourmet places that are a must. We then went back to the Cookn’ With Class school and had a light lunch with the goodies we got from the different shops we visited. We had a dry wine with lunch and a sweet wine to go with our desserts. Yep, we had more than one! All in all, it was great fun.

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A vin chaud in Montmartre.

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Walking around the quartier and listening to good music.

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After lunch, I called an old friend that I’ve known for over 30 years. Marie-Agnès happens to live in the same neighborhood as the cooking school. We met and walked around Montmartre the rest of the afternoon and were entertained by three jazz musicians. We stopped to have a drink at a café before I headed home after a long day.

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Time to shop before it’s too late.

Maya Muses: I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping and to think Christmas Eve is only 3 days away. The weather has been warm, too warm for this time of year. A few days ago it was 17 C (61 F) in Paris and warmer in London than it was in Madrid. That’s a first I think. I don’t know if it’s El Niño or global warming. Either way, it’s a little disconcerting.

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Hope everyone is ahead of me with their Christmas shopping!

Photo Credits: Personal Photos

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Je Suis En Terrasse

November 18th, 2015 · By Lynn

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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.

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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.

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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

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Paris La Joie De Vivre

November 16th, 2015 · By Lynn

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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.

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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

Translation:

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

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Sea, Sun, And Friends In The South Of France

October 22nd, 2015 · By Lynn

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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.

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Jackie and Gégé call this place home for half the year. Lucky them.

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The weather was perfect and most of the tourists were gone, so we were left with gorgeous beaches and afternoon lunches amidst the locals.

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Chic Saint-Trop with great cafés and restaurants.

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In Saint-Tropez the afternoon sunlight was like a picture-perfect-postcard.

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I want this yacht! No wait, I want that one!

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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.

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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.

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I love the tree lined roads that the area is known for.

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We visited Eric and Yetunde’s new cooking school, Cook’n With Class and had lunch there with a number of students.

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Relaxing after a class and a full meal.

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Patrick already off to explore the marketplace which sold mostly regional produce. The ambiance was amazing.

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Me getting ready to walk across the bridge. Uh, backwards?

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We toured the Pont du Gard, the famous Roman aqueduct and got lost trying to find a panoramic view of the bridge.

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Hey, there’s suppose to be a great view around here somewhere.

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Almost 40 minutes later we found it.

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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.

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Patrick’s birthday cake and champagne.

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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.

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Welcome to my home.

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Patrick and his nephew Sédrik walking on the castle grounds.

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Beautiful setting for a game of pétanque.

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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.

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Uh, I know we’re here somewhere.

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Did dad and Uncle Patrick get us lost?

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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

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The Good And Evil In This World We Live In

September 11th, 2015 · By Lynn

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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.

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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.

FILE - In this April 16, 2007 file photo, Blacksburg police officers run from Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., where student gunman Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage that left 33 dead, including himself. More than four years after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, an administrative judge is to begin hearing testimony Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, on whether the school should pay $55,000 in fines in connection to the shooting. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry, File) MANDATORY CREDIT
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.

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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.

REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINEATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH OR INJURYA young migrant, who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos, lies on the shore in the Turkish coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, September 2, 2015. At least 11 migrants believed to be Syrians drowned as two boats sank after leaving southwest Turkey for the Greek island of Kos, Turkey's Dogan news agency reported on Wednesday. It said a boat carrying 16 Syrian migrants had sunk after leaving the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula, and seven people had died. Four people were rescued and the coastguard was continuing its search for five people still missing. Separately, a boat carrying six Syrians sank after leaving Akyarlar on the same route. Three children and one woman drowned and two people survived after reaching the shore in life jackets. REUTERS/Nilufer Demir/DHAATTENTION EDITORS - NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY. TEMPLATE OUT
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.

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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.

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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

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Our Trip To Macau

August 21st, 2015 · By Lynn

Last Stop:  Macau

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The new part of town.

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I love the different color buildings…

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…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.

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The old part of town. (Didn’t I just say that?)

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Walking up to the church of Saint-Paul.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Looking down at the old city.

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The old and the new merge.

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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.

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These ruins…

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…look old, but they’re new.

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Beautiful as it may be, it’s still a no-no.

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A Fine Mammoth Tusk Carving of the Great Wall.

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Is it time to leave yet?

Photo Credits: Personal Photos

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Our Trip To China

July 4th, 2015 · By Lynn

Third Stop:  Hong Kong

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Patrick and Julien hanging out before the crowd arrives.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bangkok was a city of rich and poor, but the poor in Hong Kong were less visible.

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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.

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Patrick and I love the way the woman in Hong Kong dress. Some reminded us of porcelain dolls. The style is totally their own.

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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.

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Too bad, because some were a sight to behold.

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Yes, even the guys.

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Actually, some of the guys take the HK street style to a whole other level.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Patrick and Julien walking along the beach.

The temples around Hong Kong were amazing.

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And so was the Tian Tan Buddha hidden up in the mountains.

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Going up by cable car to see the Giant Buddha.

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And climbing the 268 steps. (It seemed like a lot more when I was climbing.)

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Entrance to the Po Lin Monastery.

Why don’t we have tea shops like these?

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Or the local convenience store like this.

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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…

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…and I loved, loved, loved, (Did I say loved?) the steamed dumplings.

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Mmm! My favorite.

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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.

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Actually, this street restaurant turned out to be one of the best. The food was delicious.

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A lone fisherman. I love this photo.

Maya Muses:  Hong Kong is an incredible city. We hated leaving. 

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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.

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Until next time.

Photo Credit: Personal Photos, HK Street Fashion: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Victoria Peak and Cheung Po Tsai boat.

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Faites De La Musique – Make Music 2015

June 22nd, 2015 · By Lynn

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Our Trip To Thailand

June 12th, 2015 · By Lynn

Second Stop: Bangkok

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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.

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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.

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Don’t ask me what this was, I don’t know.

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These tasted yummy.

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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.

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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.

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Farangs casing the joints.

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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.

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Our tuk-tuk driver.

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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.

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Thai girls weaving silk at Jim Thompson House.

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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

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