The Little Princes

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Knock On The Door

Last Sunday, as we were steaming fish for dinner, I thought I heard some faint knocking on the door. So I went outside to check through the peephole. Sure enough there was someone outside, but it didn't look like the regular newspaper money collection woman.

I opened the door and there was this maid standing there sobbing. She told me that she wanted to make a phone call home because she wants to talk to her family. She also told me that her employers were "no good" because they didn't allow her to use the phone. She she only could write letters home. (FYI, the family from next door only just moved in a week or two ago ...)

After checking and confirming that she is the maid from next door, I told her that I cannot allow her to use my phone for overseas calls, and advised her to use the public phone downstairs to do so. Alternatively, she can check with the Management Office or Guard Room if the phone can be used. So after that, she left.

Told wifey about it after she left and we could still see her through the window in our yard, standing and clinging on to the grilles in the living room, looking seemingly depressed ... scary! Apparently her employers were not at home at the time.

I don't think I was wrong in not letting her use the phone. What if I did and next time whenever she felt like calling home she would come over? Anyway, don't want to get involved in someone else's affairs. What would you have done?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Day 6 - Au Revoir Versailles!

Before this trip I've never expected to be back in France so soon as I was here just before Chinese New Year in February. Furthermore, I did not have time to visit Versailles in the previous trip, but now, I am here for a week! Another example of how unpredictable life can be.

Anyway, its back to reality soon and I will miss the "bonjour" and "merci"s, but yet I am looking forward to maybe Teochew porridge for lunch this Sunday and some nice Singaporean food next week.

Mr S. did not have any alternative LV "sacs" to buy so means I am free this morning to update ze blog. Will be checking out around 2pm to take the train (yeah, decided on it to save some $$$). Flight is at 11:15pm so I dunno what I will be doing until then. Maybe I will save some of the minutes remaining from the wireless to surf around at the airport.

Anyway, here are some pics of the room service I had over the past few days. It was for dinner and I saved the bread for breakfast!

Cesar Salad Vegetarian Lasagne Omelette - Mushroom, Cheese and Herbs

Day 5 - Versailles

Finished up slightly earlier in the customer's office today so by the time I reached the hotel, it was only about 4pm. This means I had time to quickly change and "chiong" down to the Louis Vuitton store in Champs Elysees (Paris) to fullfil my POs.

It took about slightly over an hour from Versailles Rive Gauche RER station to the George V Metro Station. Pretty efficient I would say even though I had 2 connections (i.e. had to switch trains twice). One of the George V Metro station exits is just right in front of the LV store.

Wasted no time looking for a salesperson and gave the orders. I needed to buy a bracelet and 2 bags. (Cel, SIL and Mr. S) Unfortunately the bracelet and Mr. S. bag were out of stock. Luckily, it was only 6pm (meaning 12 midnite Singapore time). Managed to get Cel on the line while talking to the sales lady and changed the model of the bracelet to something they had in stock, but couldn't get hold of Mr. S. So the haul of the day was only 2 items.

Louis Vuitton - Alma Sac de Ville & Koala Bracelet Multicolore Louis Vuitton Paper Bag

The LV shop opens at 10am Paris time so hopefully Mr. S. can provide me his alternative(s) by tomorrow morning so that I know if I need to go back to the store. Based on today's experience, I wouldn't want to carry my luggage around Paris cos the trains are not very luggage friendly. Latest I can leave is around 10am from Versailles as I need to go back to check out of the hotel before 2pm (requested for late checkout).

The items come in boxes which are quite big. Hopefully I am able to bring them on the plane, it would be a shame to have to discard the boxes or squeeze them into my luggage as they may get damaged.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Day 4 - Versailles

Quite a tiring day at the customer's office. Reached back to the hotel at around 5:30pm. Most of what I need to do is done. Tomorrow should be a short final discussion before I finish for the trip.

Anyway, once changed to t-shirt and shorts, I am now too lazy to go out. Maybe I will have room service again. Hmm, let's take a look at the menu ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Day 3 - Versailles

OK, no photos today, but only because I didn't have a chance to take any! Had a long day at the customer's office and only managed to get back to the hotel at around 6:30pm. Rushed out to buy mineral water (2 bottles) before they close. Weather is really dry so water is very important.

The weather today was quite good, not so cold and gloomy. In fact, it was quite warm in the morning so much so that I almost decided not to wear a jacket. Anyway, I hope this weather will remain for the next few days. Tomorrow's schedule is full but maybe I will get some time to visit the Chateau in sunshine on Thursday afternoon. After that, I will check out on Friday afternoon to go to the airport. (with a special detour along the way to fulfill some POs that were sent to me this morning) :-D

Oh ya, bought another 10 hours of Internet access today for 15 euros. The previous 3 hours is almost finished. Should have bought 10 hours in the first place.

The daylight hours is deceiving here as the sun still shines until almost 9pm. Think I'll order a salad from room service before I go to sleep. Bon Soir!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Day 2 - Versailles

Today's first day at the customer's office went quite well. Managed to get everything up and running within the first day.

Their office is impressive. Typical large French engineering company, very spacious offices and labs, and the spread for lunch was also very impressive. Appetisers, main course, dessert, wine, coffee, etc.

Taxi fare from their office back to the hotel was equally impressive, a whopping 30 euros. So tomorrow's taxi fare to and fro will be approximately 60 euros (SGD120!).

Today's weather is warmer. It's now 8:30pm but outside the sun is still shining. Just came back from a walk around town. There was a very nice park with a huge pond (looks more like a mini lake) just outside the Chateau grounds to the south. Lots of couples, joggers and people walking their dogs. Great place to relax and take in the fresh air.

I was also searching for a supermarket but couldn't find one. By the time I got back to the hotel, all the shops were closed, even the one selling mineral water (cheapest so far is 2.50 euros for 1.5l). :-(

8pm Shadow Entrée du Chateau de Versailles - Statue at the Gate Cathédrale St Louis Château de Versailles - Pièce d'Eau des Suisses

Monday, May 21, 2007

Awake

It's 5am in the morning and I am wide awake. In fact, I was awake since 4am. After yesterday's lunch cum short walkabout in the cold Spring afternoon around the Chateau Versailles area, it was back to the hotel for much needed sleep. If I remember correctly, I actually went to bed around 5-6pm.

Anyway, my pickup to the customer's office is at 9am so there's still plenty of time to update this blog with some pictures. Enjoy!

Chateau de Versailles Chateau de Versailles Chateau de Versailles Panorama Chateau de Versailles Hotel Sofitel - Chateau de Versailles - Front

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back in France

Bonjour! Just when I thought that my previous trip to France was my last, I am back in Paris again. This time on business, and putting up in a hotel in Versailles as it is nearer to the customer's office.

Anyway, the flight to Paris was pretty comfortable via AF but I would have preferred SQ. I was also unlucky as I broke my glasses during the flight...

I was sitting next to a burly man, which afterwards I found out to be Mike, a 52 year old welder from New Zealand who is currently working in Australia. He seems to be pretty nervous about flying, especially taking off and landing. Throughout the whole flight, he could not sleep and was always playing with the end of his seat belt. Also, he had to go to the loo every half a hour or so. Because I was in the ailse seat, I had to get up everytime he went. Because I hung my specs on the front seat, I found my specs bent out of shape after a few of his trips to the loo. When trying to bend them back, they broke, and my contact lenses were in the luggage!

It was a challenge after that, trying to go through customs and collect my baggage without any glasses. Basically, I followed Mike all the way to the baggage collection. Once I got my bag, I immediately put on my lenses. Phew, I can see again!

The train ride from CDG to Versailles was pretty straightforward with the RER because I was here a few months ago. Anyway, my hotel in Versailles is just outside the Chateau De Versailles, only 2 mins walk from the RER station. Its a nice hotel with pretty small rooms. Its (160 Euros) because it is just outside a major tourist attraction. Think I wouldn't be able to claim the full hotel rate, will have top up from my allowance.

The weather is pretty dismal today, cold, gloomy with showers. Not exactly nice weather to visit the Chateau. Think I will hang around the room for a while before going for some lunch later. Nice LCD TV with EuroSport channel showing motorsports to keep me company. Internet is also available but not cheap. Bought 3 hours of Orange Wireless Internet access for 10 Euros.

Hotel Sofitel Courtyard Hotel Sofitel Room Hotel Sofitel Room Hotel Sofitel Room Hotel Sofitel Room Hotel Sofitel Room

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Person's Character

My BIL was asked to resign from his job (of many years) at an MNC without any compensation because his boss deems his "recent performance to be unsatisfactory". However, he was still tasked to come up with Training Manuals and even conduct the training for the new graduate which was hired to fill up his position!! Sounds like a company cost-cutting ploy! If the boss thinks his performance is "unsatisfactory" why get him to even conduct the training at all! What a load of crap!

If I was in that situation, I would have told the boss straight in the face. But I guess it is just not his character. Unfortunately BIL is too "un-street-smart", if there is such a word. What was worse is that he even told us that he was stressed out these last few days of his job because he was afraid that he may not have covered everything during the training and the new employee may have problems picking up from where he left off! OMG! BIL, WHO CARES!

Mother's Day Dinner

Wifey asked MIL what she wanted to have for Mother's Day dinner, and the usual replay was "Mutton Soup". From what I know, there are only 2 default answers, either "Mutton Soup" or "Beef Brisket". :-D

So with the recommendation from FIL, we went to eat Chinese Mutton Soup at Kitchener Road, a stall called "Kong Kee Mutton Soup". Couldn't find any reviews on the Internet, but found it HERE in someone's list of "Good Food" in Singapore. It's just across the street from the more famous "Scissors Curry Rice" stall.

Anyway, Jalan Besar / Kitchener Road area is always crowded on weekends. After navigating through the streets near Mustaffa without knocking anyone (mainly Indian folk) down, it was a miracle that I even managed to find a place to park 2 streets away at Syed Alwi Road.

We had Mutton Soup and the stall was kind enough to provide us with a few bowls to put some dishes which we bought from the Scissors Curry Rice stall!

The mutton (at least the bowl I had) was nice and juicy, no "muttony" smell. Soup tastes good too, can even ask for refill (although not too much I think).

Kong Kee Mutton Soup (Chinese) @ Kitchener Road Mutton Soup (Chinese)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Volkswagen Golf GT TSI

The VW Golf (V) GT TSI, "only" 1.4 litres, 240Nm of torque at 1750RPM, 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds ... WooHoo!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Brotzeit @ Vivocity

Yesterday had a meeting in Brani so I met up with wifey after that at VivoCity. Was searching around for a place to eat when suddenly remembered Cactus' recommendation of a German place called Brotzeit. Curious, we decided to go.

The place wasn't what I expected, with the exception of the beer, nothing else in the restaurant looked German. The decor was contemporary and modern. We took a seat near the back of the restaurant facing Sentosa. (In the zone between air-con and non-air-con)

Anyway, being in a German restaurant, I had to get a beer. Decided on the second most mildest bottled beer cos had to drive later on. Can't remember the name of the beer. Didn't take the mildest cos that was actually non-alcoholic!

For the main, we ordered a cold-cut platter for 2, which consisted of lots of cold cut ham, bacon, some funny dried up sausages, lots of pickled stuff, vegetables, eggs and 3-4 kinds of bread. Yum! Wifey ate about 30% while I finished off the rest. Burp!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Crystal Jade Golden Palace @ The Paragon

Yesterday evening we went to Crystal Jade Golden Palace @ The Paragon. The occasion? One of our doctor friends got promoted to "Consultant". So it was another "scumming" session for all of us.

This session was organised by our head "scummer" (commodity trader turned private banker) ... which means the choice of food should be very good. Indeed, we were not disappointed. We had a private dining room and the dinner started with a round of 功夫茶. Small shots of potent chinese tea to clear and cleanse the palate for the main courses.

The following are not the actual names of the dishes but were we can remember being served:

  • Cold Flower Crab
  • Braised Goose
  • Fish Maw & Shark Cartilage Soup
  • Steamed Fish
  • Broccoli
  • Fresh Lobster
  • Teochew Fried Mee-Pok
  • Fruits and super soft Muah Chee

We also had white and red wines to complement the seafood and meat dishes. Dinner was wound up with another round of 功夫茶.

Although we didn't get to see it, my estimate is about $100+++ per head for the bill, and there were 11 of us. Anyway, amidst the conversation and good food, both wifey and myself forgot that we had brought our cameras and in the end, didn't even take a single shot!

Another Kids Weekend

Another one year old birthday celebration.

Happy Birthday Randall!

Didn't get to carry Randall cos he's quite "sticky" only to those that he is familiar with. Ended up spending most of my time carrying Uriah, the "Korean Sumo". He's called the "Sumo" cos his weight was once off the charts (i.e. >95 percentile).

BTW, don't you think they look kinda alike?

Rain Uriah