Sunday, April 27, 2008


What a trip that was. Where do I start? Firstly it was awesome seeing the South African bunch that I so rarely get to catch up with. Alison looked cute as ever and in spite of missing Dani very much, the new girl, Kate, is equally as lovely. Manny, the SA Manager, also invited his dear friend, now a partner of ours, Lindi to the trip. I had met Lindi two years ago, she's the kind of extra-ordinary fun-loving-ultra smart woman, and I loved her.
(Kate, Me, Alison, Lindi)

We wasted no time in celebrating our reunion at Heathrow airport with a free flow of Gin and Tonics for the girls and beers for the boys, it was 11 am... The trip was non-stop amazing sights and activities so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves... except the last one maybe, which will require a bit of explaining.
We started with the Blue Lagoon

The hot spring was so warm that when I went out in the cold and wind to take the pictures I did not feel the cold at all. These images were followed with a drinking session in the designated area of the Lagoon, specifically Blue Lagoon Cocktails which were lovely. It's a wonder no one drowned.
The evening was followed with something equally unique... A drink in Surely the Coolest Bar in Town (Me, Alison, Nikolaj, Lindi and Peter)

You guessed it! It's an Ice bar. Woo-hoo. Although, with my over-acting imagination, I thought it was going to be like in that James Bond film with Pierce Brosman, a giant igloo with ice scuplture and ice furniture, this was mostly a fridge freezer with ice on the walls but still Minus 20 degrees celsius.
(Here with Alison and Clive)

After a hard day of work, we went to a typical Icelandic dinner. It was a regal, I stuffed my face silly I enjoyed so much, sachimi, rainbow trout, cod fish and lots of delicious things I wasn't sure what they were.

Here with Torsten thanking him for the great organisation (he's the man who planned it all). He promised me at that point that I had seen nothing yet. Followed by after dinner drinks:

A little too much drinking

(Kenneth and Martin)

A little bounding

(Kate and Peter)

A little singing

(Torsten and Ron)

After a hard day's work and a hard night partying; we went on a tour of the island (in fact just a small portion, the island is gigantic and it would take 8 hours to drive to the next town just a eighth of the island away) This is where the Tectonic Plates meet, on the right, the American Plate and on the left, the Continental plate; in the middle Peter, Rudiger and Manny.

We then went to the Gullfoss Waterfalls, absolutely amazing, I loved it, you walk along a long and narrow, snow covered cliff to reach the waterfall and it is breathtaking, there is three levels of falls, this is the third one and most impressive - I kept wondering what the debit of water was ?

but got even more mesmerised when I saw the first level of the fall, because you cannot see where the water is coming from? Then my brain went into a buzz of whether the power of the water could actually defeat gravity!!! (you also notice the geek in me)

So I walked back up above the waterfall and there I saw it, for miles the water is gently coming from the mountain in the distance.

This is a 20 meter geyser, I managed to catch it just as it was emerging. Martin who had been freezing his hands trying to video it ran out of memory on film just before it erupted.

Okay, at first, this looks weird, but it's not, it's my foot. Well, okay, it is a weird looking foot and that's why I am showing it and what looks like shadow under the bump is in fact a bruise. I have no pictures to explain why I am injured, so you need to use your imagination

On the last trip of the day, we were going to visit a glacier, we were in these huge four wheels drive and I thought, like everyone else that we were going to drive there - none of us knew what to expect. but in the middle of the snow covered mountain, were snow mobiles waiting for us. I was scared so I jumped on one behind Nikolaj who is a big strong man, he'll take of me. It was frightening enough because of the speed we were travelling at, my helmet was shaking and I was scared it would fly off and injure Martin who was right behind us. But we made it safely to the Glacier and it was impressive, I did not take any pictures because I was all wrapped up and could not reach my camera, we had a snow ball fight which was good fun and started our journey back. Half way back, we had to climb a steep slanted slope, Nikolaj and I were very good and as told by the instructor leaning as much as possible towards the slope so that the snow mobile would not roll back, but now that you've seen my foot you all guessed it, we did tumble - I never saw it coming, one minute I was leaning to the left and the next I was lying in the snow with the 280kilos snow mobile crushing my right foot while head in the snow I was whailing 'my foot is stuck, my foot is stuck and thinking it's lucky I'm wearing this helmet or I'd be freezing my face right now.' Martin jumped off his snow mobil and Nikolaj got back on his feet and the two of them heaved the machine back up and away from me. That is the story, so since I have been in pain. nothing's broken and my doctor was incapable of giving me something for the pain, so I am treating myself with herbal and natural remedies like foot bath in Dead Sea Salt recommended by my dad and lots of Arnica and Bach flower recommended by my mom. It seems to help, today my foot is less swollen and less painful but rest and foot up it is for me...

Anyhow, this remains the best trip we've had as a group and altough Iceland was never one of my top 20 destinations I would now strongly recommend it and it's only a matter of time till I go back there with Alex.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Brokeback Mountain

I am a bit late watching this film, mostly because there was no way in hell I could have made Alex watch it. This afternoon, I loaded the DVD in the player, poured a large glass of orange juice and put my feet up to watch the multi-award winner film. I have to say, I rarely talk about movies I watch (I think the last one was Crash and maybe Life of Others, if I did not review the latter I'd better get to work), I'm not a very good reviewer because I get so over-excited I cannot be objective and I would too readily give away the story... but this Brokeback Mountain, was a very - very - very good film, it strangely reminded me of Out Of Africa; possibly because of the amazing cinematographics, the breathtaking backgrounds of these incredible love stories; the social backdrop which persecute the characters (Karen Blixen was secluded just for being a woman on her own in Africa and a cowboy to be in love with a man in Texas - God forbid!) but also because of the drama behind the relationship, the impossible happy ending, which not surprisingly end in tears (mine mostly). I would hope that a film like this would inspire more tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality; I cannot understand homophobia; I think homophobes must be the same people who are racist, they have no or little respect for people who are different in any way. It's a shame really. The only conclusion I have is hands up for Out Of Africa just because it's a true story and Brokeback Mountain simply for successfully tackling a real yet unspoken issue.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Itchy feet or all that it seems, it isn't...

My dearest favorite reader That Girl - okay, you're all my favorite readers -Colosseum, Rome, Italy made a very clever comment on my last post; the kind of comment that make one introspect oneself - hahaha, I sound like a freaking professor in just two words... really, I do love travelling, it is one interest Alex and I share and we make sure we go somewhere new and exciting at least every year if not twice a year. We want to make the most of it now that we haven't a little one to limit our adventures. So that's 2 new destinations a year. Of course Alex being Malaysian means we get to go home every year to see his parents and my brother and nephews for Chinese New Year.

Pankgor Island, Malaysia With my brother, sister-in-law and nephews in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

And because I am French and just a short flight away from home means that we get to either go to my grandma' s place by the seaside with long walks on the beach and long lunches or to my parents' summer home near the famous Provence, with its cricket songs, never ending dinners and lazy afternoons and of course the Christmas reunion back to my home town where all the family resides. So that's already 4 more ensured destinations a year, which wouldn't stop when we have a little one in tow.
Ile d'Oleron, France Dans les gorges de l'Ardeche, Labastide de Virac, France
Plus there might be a quick local getaway visiting beautiful English towns like Bath or Oxford, both 2 to 3 hours drive away. When Alex parents come and visit, we'll take them to Cambridge where my mother in law has got an old friend. (Cambridge is also whThe London Eye, Millenium Bridge and Big Ben and The House of Parlimant, London, UKere I learned to speak English in the summer of 1993, although my English really took off in Malaysia in 1994 because I had to pick it up real quick if I wanted to communicate with my friends.) Then I am also very blessed because my job takes me places every year, with the Kick Off meetings in January that take us to gorgeous cities all over Europe and our more secluded sales conference in April where our team meets up for training and the incentive to do a good job for the year. This year, the meeting is next week, on Sunday in a week I will be flying with my colleagues to the fantastic and one and only Reykavik in Iceland, with apparently straight from the airport to the Blue Lagoon. So that brings up my travels to really 5 new destinations and 4 usual destinations, although still exotic to some extend.

So I travel all the time indeed but most of all, why I report it is because I want to share my adventures with anyone who might not get a chance to go, so they still get to discover the place through my eyes and stories, but mostly because I think that this is what makes me interesting, I am convinced that what I do defines me, not who I am, so all the extra-ordinary things I do, I know make me interesting. I don't think I'd be very interesting, I like quiet things, I play quiet games, I work quietly, I take pride in being quiet too. One, because I Acting silly to make people laugh, my favorite past time along with travelling, here entertaining the Italians in Madridwant to be left alone most of the time and two, because if I make a mistake, no one will think it's me and three, when I do/say something silly, which I love, it stands out drastically against my more obvious personality. I love to make people laugh, but it depends who I am with, and with the right people, I will make them laugh and people will remember me being good fun. But I am also a normal person with fears of rejection and my greatest fear is people being disappointed in me / or not liking me, even the people I don't like, I must get their approval (it's mad I know!). Anyhow, these latter things that make me who I am, I can't put on the blog... because of the many different people who may or may not read my blog, so all that's left that I can safely talk about is what I do and travelling is what I do best. ;)