It took us (Nil and I) about 14 hours of flight from KL and another four to three hours in transit at Dubai plus one hour plus waiting for our baggage at Charles De Gulle to finally reach where we were supposed to be… Paris, France, itself.
Now I was, at first, planning to write a detail description of the trip but decided against it when brevity seemed to be more in favour at the moment with. (Am still suffering from slight jetlag and PMS at the same time. Gah.) Anyway, truth be told, France is a lovely country and perfectly safe contrary to popular beliefs of the possibility of getting torched while in my car or drowning in flurries of snow. Apart from the chinetoque incident, everything else was as smooth as a baby’s bottom (or so it was said in TV comedy series Mind Your Language).
Paris was ever the beautiful star city of France, although the two hour traffic jams were horrendous (I think there are traffic jams ALL the time but hey, it’s was just me when I was there) and you do really have to watch where you step just in case your foot lands on a soft pile of brown stuff. Otherwise, the city is enchanting and for the men, you get to do some bird-watching too. Yes, it is perfectly normal to stare openly and lasviciously at women in France.
Lyon, on the other hand, was completely different. While I had time to wander around in Paris in the fashion of a regular ole’ tourist, in Lyon there was little time for that. My days spent in Lyon were peppered with family meets (Christmas dinner in two places) and quick hikes just to tire out the children, which never seemed to work because they always stayed active as hell. It was a refreshing experience and I took heart in the discovery (and knowledge) that French families were VERY different from Asian ones.
One thing about family reunions and festive occassions in France though is the food. So much food and oh my good lord, the bloody pieces and cakes of frommage (cheese). I swear nothing on earth save for one week old dirty socks smell as bad as some of the best cheeses in France, or so they say. BUT the redemming grace is the fact that 1) they have fresh SUPER fresh GREAT bread, 2) speciality foods like white sausages (white because of the cream), Paupillotes (chocolates just for the festive season) and even veggies specially for Christmas, and 3) yummy Clementine oranges.
The fun, of course, didn’t stop there. There was the wonder of the French Alps where Nil’s father is currently building a rather quiant little house just for holidays (he does most of the work) and where I did a lot of snow-walking and sledging. (It’s called the ludge here.) Honestly, the sledging bit was scary coming from one with vertigo and a rather overly large imagination. The sledge is faster and more dangerous on hardened ‘old’ snow and thus, that would probably explain the look of reluctance on my face and the fact that I burst into hysterical tears twice. ~_~ Oh, did I mentioned that I flew in the air for a few seconds and promptly landed on my butt after slipping on ice? Heh.
All in all, it was a really great trip although the weather was a bit crazy – it went super cold at one time and then not so cold (but I love the cold weather…hate it hot!). Nil’s family is wonderfully friendly and small and funny. I hardly felt like an outsider. Bathrooms with heated tiles and thick fluffy quilts to sleep in. Ah, the wonders of living in a four season country. Plus all that crazy crazy snow! (I know I should have taken a picture of that snow angel I made.)
Now, I think I’ll stop here. (Blogging this during work ain’t such a good idea. Heh.) Anyway, for the full set of pictures (yes, you could have clicked on the pictures above but I didn’t put everything in Flickr.com), feel free to go through them here.
Till then, have fun! ^_^