They Call It Autumn-Winter (part 3-Paris)



"Amazing Race?"

Nah, this is not my version of Lovers in Paris. Ours was actually like an Amazing Race. We were in Paris only for 2 days. We got to Paris via Air France. We flew at 10am and arrived after almost 2 hours. We checked in at Perfect Hostel, in a private triple room at 75euro a night after a train ride where we saw Paris "not at its best". Vandalism was everywhere. I don't know if it was part of their expression being known to be artistic or just plain rage. Whatever it is, i didn't find it nice. Unlike our first two stops, Paris was more diverse. Much like London (the first European city I've visited). But like in Germany, to speak to them was a challenge! Not much speaks English. They speak only French. But anyway, we managed....

Walking from our hostel to the nearest tube station, Anvers....

After a short subway ride, we reached The Louvre Museum at about 3pm... ----------------------------------------------------------------The Louvre Museum
General Admission was 9 euro each....

Of course, a visit to Paris is never complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower. After having dinner in one of the Restos in front of the Louvre Museum, where we ate pasta at 6.50 euro each plus a slice of pizza, we passed by to a souvenir shop then headed to the Eiffel Tower by train at 1.50euro each. But due to slight rain and windy night, we decided to leave...

-------------------------------------------------------Morning shot of the Eiffel Tower.

---------------------------------------------------------Eiffel Tower day and night.

So the next day, we came back to see the Eiffel Tower then rushed back to the hotel to check out and left our luggage in the train station for 9euro and proceeded to Disneyland Park Paris!

It was a long train ride to Disneyland Paris. The train was old and the view was n't very pleasing to the eye, either. Then you'll see a huge castle like building and you knew it would be time to get off the train! Entrance to the park was 49 euro each.

----------------------------------------------------------------Disneyland Parc Paris!

My second visit to Disneyland Resort still left me disappointed, for again I didn't get to fulfill my dream of getting a souvenir photo with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck!

“They call it Autumn-Winter”

Strolling along the streets full of yellow orange leaves scattered on the ground, a very cool breeze kisses the skin, or pearly white snow showers the ground, yes this is what they call autumn winter. Now, after soooo long, on an autumn winter day, Ive been there....


Travel Information:

Tour date: 21-26 November 2008, Autumn-early winter

Clothing: Thermal Jackets, winter coats. boots.

Currency: euro (1 EUR = 5.19208 AED/ 1 EUR = 1.41366 USD/1 EUR = 66.6034 PHP

Visa: I applied for Schengen Visa at the German Embassy since Germany is our point of entry. There is an interview for Filipino citizens when applying for Schengen visa for the first time, unless if you have already travelled to any EU member state as in my case. Waiting period took 12-14 days. In addition to the usual requirements, you also have to submit a valid travel insurance.

Links: http://www.paris-tourism.com;%20www.emirates.com;www.disneylandparis.com;www.booking.com/


Hong Kong! Hong Kong!

NAIA Terminal 3. Cebu Pacific flight to Hong Kong departed from NAIA terminal 3. There is a terminal fee of PHP750 per passenger and PHP1620 departure tax for international flight, so better include this in your budget on top of the airline ticket.

Day 1: Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)
We met my sister's former classmate in College at Mc Donalds in Tsim Sha Tsui, and she brought us to Peking Garden Restaurant where she made a reservation for lunch. It was a fine dining resto that offers authenic chinese cuisine. Then, at 4pm, she drove and came with us to Disneyland Resort. Lucky that there was a promotion on that day for annual pass holders that they can bring 1 friend free for the whole day pass at the Resort so my sister and I enjoyed the resort for free courtesy of Liway.

True to what I have heard from friends who had been to Hong Kong Disneyland, it is more for kids under 12. There were not much rides for adults and it was quite small too. Despite the many negative reviews about this resort, I'd say that I still enjoyed seeing Disneyland, the stay at Hollywood Hotel was part of the fun too.

There is a hotel shuttle service every10 minutes to and from the hotel and disneyland resort park. While checked in at the Hollywood Hotel, you may also visit and eat at Disneyland Hotel.

Twin room garden view ( actually I didn't see any view of the garden!) was hkd 1320 nett without breakfast, with two double beds enough for 4 pax at the same rate. I booked it directly with the hotel website.

Shower gel, soaps, shampoos, dental kit, mugs, lift, bench, etc. you will see mickey mouse everywhere!
DAY 2: Storm signal no. 8 hoisted
The day we left Hollywood Hotel in Disneyland, there was an advisory that says, its signal no. 3 that day but there was no rain yet so we took pictures here and there. By the time we reached Kowloon, the rain started pouring heavily. We crossed the street and luckily, the City View Hotel where I had a reservation for two nights was just across. We explored nathan road that afternoon in search for dinner. Although there were too many food stalls nearby, we ended up buying food at seven 11 and ate dinner in the room because the menu in the small restaurants were all written in chinese and we hardly find someone that speaks english, too. Storm signal no. 8 was advised, by 6pm, public transport were shut down, malls have closed. We were locked inside our hotel room with nothing to do, so i decided to get an internet connection for hkd100 and ordered room service.

Day 3: Victoria Peak.

We called the Hong kong Tourist hotline to ask if it was safe to go out. We called twice and got two opposing answers! So we ended up deciding for ourselves. We then proceeded to The Victoria Peak and then at The promenade, avenue of stars.

View from Victoria Peak 

Day 4: Ocean Park
All the scary rides I could think of was in front of me. Since there was only my sister and I together at the Ocean Park, I had no choice but to accompany her and try whatever there is to try. Knowing her, I knew I'm up for the test of my life! The challenge: The Mine Train. This time, closing my eyes didn't do the trick! It was more scary when eyes are closed. There was butterfly in my stomach. It drops and turns rapidly. But before I could start praying, we were already at the end point. Alas! it wasn't so scary at all! It lasted only 2 minutes or so. ( that was the only ride i tried though...hehehe. all the other rides, my sister experienced alone. Brave birthday girl! )

The Cable Car. We moved from the Highlands to the Lowlands which was on the other side of the mountain. We took the Cable car to transfer. Ughhh, I swear I would never ride a cable car again! Yes, i have overcome the roller coaster but comes another frightening experience. It was 15 to 20 minutes of hair raising, horrifying, death defying, worst thing to experience for me! Below us was the ocean, just one wrong move and I'd be dead! As they say, the cable car is one of the tourist attractions in Ocean Park, so I would not get into details as each one of us has our own fears. Mine just happened to be this.

Tour Date: September 21-25, 2008
How's the weather: first day was so humid and hot, next day there was a storm!


A Summer In London

Planning. I found myself packing straight after I finished my duty at 10pm of Saturday 20th of June. I filled my new delsey cabin trolley with 3 pairs of jeans, 4 shirts, 4 light jackets and a pair of shoes…and I’m ready. Am I really ready? I guess I’m not! I knew I had always wanted to see a picture of myself standing in front of a world famous landmark and the only way I could have this is to go to that place and bring a camera along! When I went to Singapore a few years back, I have well researched the place before landing there. I have visited all the websites, have maps gathered from travel agency and studied the location and read all the reviews about the hotels in Singapore and a complete list of itinerary. It was very much unlike my trip to London, where everything was abrupt! Nevertheless, I would say that it was a trip well worth it.

The Flight. Emirates flies to London Heathrow 5 times a day. It takes 7 hours and 40 minutes from dubai to London. This was my first ever European trip! I, together with Elsie who was so excited with this trip being her first, and Jinky, who “organized the trip” or should I say “she chose the date” (and everything else we leave up to fate!) boarded the flight EK001 at 7:30 am bound to London Heathrow.

Transport. Knowing nothing but the address of the apartment we have booked through laterooms.com, we headed towards where everybody was going to and soon after we saw a signage of public transport. We chose to take the bus going to Victoria Station. We paid £4 each after like, 45 minutes we reached Victoria. From Victoria we took a taxi to Marlin Apartment at the corner of Borough and Long lane st.

The Hotel. During the initial stage of planning we intended to stay in a hostel to save money but ended up settling for a more “decent” hotel instead. We were so happy with our room, (though costly for us at GBP202 per night, triple occupancy ) It’s a one bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen complete with all the necessary utensils so we were able to cook, thus made us save some bucks on food.

The Marlin Apartment is located at Empire square near London Bridge. There is a convenience store near the building and a walking distance away from the Tube station. Our apartment has a 32" LCD tv and a spacious living area that we were not able to enjoy because we were all the time outside sightseeing and we only come here to sleep. If you are going to London for a short sightseeing trip and is on a budget, better check hostels near Victoria.

Sightseeing. After a heavy breakfast which Elsie prepared, we were all geared up for our first day in London! We took the bus going to Victoria and from there, a lot of tour bus companies were offering London city tours. We opted for a Big Bus tour of London and paid £ 20 each valid for 24 hours which covers all stops at the major attractions in London minus the entrance fee but includes a walking tour from Trafalgar Square and a ride to Thames river cruise which we did on our second day. We went to the Houses of Parliament and of course took our pictures with the Big Ben on the backdrop! We also took a look inside Kensington Palace but paid £12 pounds each, which I think was too much. There was nothing much to see inside and taking pictures were not allowed too! The Kensington Garden outside got a very good view of the lake with swans swimming. We saw a lot of people having picnics and just lounging under the sun. It would have been very nice to sit there for a while but the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum will close at 6pm so we decided to go. We dropped by to see the London Eye but didn’t try it. There was a big queue outside. We did a lot of walking down the street of Oxford where all the nice brands of clothing were lined up in the street. There was also summer sale so we got to experience shopping in London! On our second day, we had a round on Thames river riding a ferry. It offered a very good view of most of the picture perfect landmarks of London including the London Bridge. I always mistake the Tower Bridge to be the London bridge, I never knew that the two are different from each other. I didn’t get to experience what it is to be inside the Tower bridge since it would cost a hefty £15 but the view outside was good enough, in fact I love my picture taken there! It was very “London”! London wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Buckingham Palace. We arrived there at noon time only to see a flock of people, tourists and groups of students waiting for the changing of the guard. I was amused to see this much people and thought that if an everyday event like this attracts this much audience on an everyday basis, then London must have got a great deal on tourism. The event started with a parade of the guards with big piped band playing sounds we often hear in movies shot in a palace, while kings and queens, handsome princes and princesses wearing big gowns walk down the aisle with guards wearing big headdresses stand firmly on the side with swords….uh-um, ahem…back to reality, we watched only the changing of the guard minus the royal family! But I would say that this is not to be missed if you are planning on a trip to London.

Shopping boutiques lined on the street of Oxford......
At 9pm, the sun is just about to set.....

A lazy relaxing day at Kensington Palace Garden.....

Next time. Should I have another chance to visit London again, I’ll include an out of town trip to Stonehenge, see the castles, try the tube and experience the country side, perhaps in winter?

Planning on a trip to London? check http://www.visitlondon.com/; http://www.laterooms.com/; http://www.emirates.com/ ; www.booking .com

Travel Information

Visa Requirements: check http://www.vfs-uk-ae.com/ (fee 525 dhs, changes everytime)
Currency: British pound GBP (1 GBP = 5.93416 AED )
Tour date: June 21-25, 2008
How's the weather: cool summer.
originally published on July 2008, friendsterblog.




Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 2: wow!

My flight landed in Singapore Changi Airport exactly at 7:15 am.
Since I have plenty of time to kill, i strolled along this amazingly equipped airport and feast my eyes with things to see and do. I will be here in the next 4 days as a prelude to my long awaited vacation to manila.

Coming from a sunny Dubai, it was quite a sight to see rain pouring down as we go out of the airport. At 11 am, we kicked off with an enjoyable taxi ride to the hotel care of "koon", the Singaporean part-time taxi driver cum businessman (as he described himself) who could very well pass as a tourist guide for Singapore and made us feel at home with his rich Tagalog vocabulary, the reason? he has a Filipino wife! He said that living in Singapore is so costly and with two children to send to school, a part-time job is inevitable.

-Orchard Road-
Soon as we got to the hotel, after a quick shower and change, we didn't waste anymore time and gone out to our first stop...a dinner at the Orchard Road and Shopping!Since Christmas was already approaching, Orchard road was beautifully dressed up and that was also the first night of their Christmas light up festival. It was truly a sight to behold! Everywhere, lights were on and people were all around too! I noticed too that just like Dubai, Singapore has a multi-cultural community. What I liked about Orchard the most is that, you can doll up yourself without anyone giving you an annoying look.

-Cross cultural wedding at Holiday Inn-
Alarm rang at 7:00 am. Although we slept late last night, we had to get up early to attend to a wedding of my friend's colleague. On our way to the holy Trinity Church, we were greeted by the morning sunshine and rich greenery of Singapore roads. I was so delighted to witness trees enveloped before our pathways! Truly,Singapore lives up to be a garden city.
Wedding rites begun at 9:30. It was just like a typical wedding ceremony that I have attended to in the past, except that the bride and the groom were from two different backgrounds. It was union of a Malaysian girl and a South-African guy. A love story that blossomed and developed in Dubai, after all, not all love stories of this genre ends in a bitter goodbye. They came from entirely different continents, met in desert sands of the middle east, married in Singapore and who knows where their future will bring them.

I managed to take pictures despite my shaking nerves as we rode the sky-ride tens of meters above the ground at sentosa park. This was one of the many attractions inside the park. Although I had a list of things to see inside, I didn't have much luck to see it all. I have missed the underwater park, the cable ride and animal safari which would be enough reason to comeback.

The Merlion
If only my legs could shout, I know it will ask me to stop. But even then, I still won't obey for I would never leave this island without my picture taken next to the Merlion! With my friend already complaining, I did not give up searching for the merlion park, while searching for it with a map on my hand, I have seen some more places of interest like the Fullerton hotel with its huge and beautifully architectured facade, you'll never be able miss it. Then across was the esplanade theater, also another picture perfect building. And alas! the Merlion Park!

(originally published on Nov. 2006 at http://haydeedominguez.blog.friendster.com/ )

Me and My Itchy Feet :)

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