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Wednesday 30 December 2009

Changing Colours



Location: Clarke Quay, Singapore
Date taken: 3rd November 2009
Camera equipment: Nikon D300 + Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D

Monday 28 December 2009

From Paris to London

It was 11th June 2009 that I made my way back to London from Paris. I was on the Eurostar again but this time on a Standard ticket without the meal on board, unlike the leg from London to Paris when I upgraded to Leisure Select.

I arrived at Gare du Nord more than an hour earlier to my train departure at 12:13 p.m., so I walked around shooting pictures again.

All the Eurostar trains were parked at the ground level, but the passengers had to check in through the upper level. What an inconvenient arrangement, unlike the other ordinary trains where passengers could just board from the platforms.

Knowing that I was not gonna be served any meal on board, I went to the cafe to have a big piece of chocolate-nut cookie and a cappuccino.

When the departure time was near, I checked in, boarded the train and waited for the departure. I was looking forward to my arrival at London and all set to roam around it.

I was lucky enough to fill my stomach at Gare du Nord with that big piece of cookie, because I couldn't get any food on board. It was sold out!

About two and a half hours after departure, the train arrived at St. Pancras International.

It was about 1:30 p.m. in London. London time is one hour behind Paris time.

I was all ready to hit the streets of London but unfortunately there was a Tube Strike. Therefore, I needed to look for alternative transport. It wasn't too much of a hassle to get to the Tower Bridge by bus anyway.

Saturday 26 December 2009

My Whereabout for the Past Two Weeks

I went to Shanghai and the neighbouring places for a two-week holiday. My journey started with some glitches due to flight delays. I am losing even more confidence in Malaysia Airlines as my flight out to Kuala Lumpur from Kuching on 14th December 2009 was delayed for more than two hours. My connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur to Shanghai on the following day was even worse! It was delayed for more that four hours! Even more so, there were 44 Chinese passengers who refused to board the plane and it took the management team another half hour to persuade them. I was almost called in to be their interpreter but they finally found a bilingual air stewardess to do the job.

I had the same problem with flight cancellation during my trip to Brisbane last year on Malaysia Airlines. What has happened to our one and only national carrier? I had better quality of service from budget airlines like AirAsia and Jetstar!

Apart from these hassles, the rest of my journey was quite smooth, luckily.

Sometimes I could even pamper myself with a cuppa at Starbucks. There are plenty of Starbucks cafes around China. I was at the West Lake outlet when this photo was taken.

I was alone most of the time, but along the way, I met with some temporary travelling companions sometimes.

I quite enjoy the trip partly due to the cold weather. The mercury-filled tube didn't hit any double-digit reading and it was even at sub-zero degree sometimes. Well, another part of the enjoyment was definitely due to the good food!

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Panthéon with a Pendulum

Although with the same name, the Panthéon in Paris looks very much different from the Pantheon in Rome.

However, the podium does look the same as the one in Rome with soaring Roman Corinthian columns. From what I have found out, it was actually modelled after the Pantheon in Rome.

The inside of the Pantheon in Paris is grander. It was built as a church but was turned into a mausoleum upon completion. That explains the very church-like interior of a mausoleum.

The main dome is supported by for arches serving as gateways to the galleries.

A 67-m wire hangs from the middle of the dome with a 28-kg bob at the bottom end. This is the prominent Foucault's pendulum installed by the French physicist Léon Foucault in his experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the earth. This pendulum has been oscillating since 1851.

On the gallery walls, some huge paintings depicting the bible stories and French history are displayed.

The Panthéon now serves a burial ground for the prominent figures of France. Among others are Victor Hugo, the author of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"; Joseph-Louis Lagrange, an Italian-born mathematician and astronomer who made great contribution in calculus; and the only lady who won the Nobel Prize for two times, Marie Curie.

Monday 14 December 2009

CK is Going Places Again

I will be leaving Kuching again for my trip to Shanghai. My flight to Kuala Lumpur is at 1740 today and then I will be transferring to the flight to Shanghai at KLIA scheduled at 0140 tomorrow. Now I have to think of what to do at KLIA for the long flight-transfer hours.

This is my third time to China and my main base will be Shanghai. I will detour from there to visit Suzhou and the surrounding water towns. I will also most probably be visiting Hangzhou and stay a couple of days there.

Please stay tuned for my blog updates on these places in China! I will be back in two weeks' time. Till then, have a great time ahead.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

In and Out



Location: Clarke Quay, Singapore
Date taken: 3rd November 2009
Camera equipment: Nikon D300 + Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Changing Hue





Monday 30 November 2009

Art Appreciation in a Train Station

Gare (Station) d'Orsay was completed in 1900 facing River Seine and became the first electrified urban rail terminal in the world. In 1977, it was converted into a museum with the same name, Musée d'Orsay, and has been guarding the French Government's collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture and photographs since then.

The entrance fee was €8 at the time of my visit in June 2009. I got a ticket with Millet's The Gleaners, one of his most celebrated works.

This ticket opened my eyes to a vast exhibition area, which is much better than those enclosed galleries in some other museums in my opinion. I like open space.

The first painting I looked for was no other than Millet's The Gleaners, since it was printed on my ticket. The original work was definitely more stunning than the tiny little print on my ticket.

On the larger walls of the ground floor, a few life-size paintings were on display. Some sculptures were lined along the walkway as well.

The ground floor also houses Manet's and Monet's paintings, as well as some other impressionist artists' works.

The walkway of the ground floor were lined with sculptures for visitors to appreciate at close range. Those standing on the ground and sitting on the benches not included!

The upper floors display the smaller paintings, mostly from the impressionism and post-impressionism era.

That includes one of Van Gogh's self-portrait painting and one of his last 100 or so works produced during the last ten weeks of his life, The Church at Auvers. I like Vincent van Gogh's paintings very much for their vivid colours and wave-like patterns.

During my visit, there was a non-permanent exhibition of Italian portraits which I like for their warm tone, rich colours and the environmental details.

One of the paintings that shouldn't be missed here is Bal du moulin de la Galette (commonly known as Le moulin de la Galette) by Renoir. Nobody would doubt that this is one of the most celebrated masterpieces in impressionism.

As I was walking around, I saw some teenage girls chatting while resting, ignoring Caillebotte's Les raboteurs de parquet (The Floor Scrapers) scrapping the floor behind them. Nevertheless, they at least caught the attention of another girl.

The last batch of paintings I appreciated included this Tahitian Women on the Beach by Gauguin. There were just too many paintings to appreciate in this museum! My €8 was well spent. I think most painting lovers will agree with me.

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