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HongJapWan March 2014
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China2 August 2012
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China November 2011
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Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

London 3 - June/July 2010 - Page 4

Day 14 - Thursday, 8 July 2010


Today I did a lot of screwing at work.
I screwed over 9000 screws out and back in again. In between the screwing I did a lot of cable plugging and opened the same log file about 32,000 times. It was fantastic. Then I took my laptop out to a series of rubbish trucks that smelt of vomit and repeated this procedure behind a seat wearing a hard hat in the heat. My laptop still smells.

Then my train broke down on the way home.

My evening walk was therefore short, in and around the Victoria station area. Had an M&S meal for dinner as you can see below.

A rare picture indeed, not only am I at work, im working, or at least posing pretending to be working. Also check out my awesome yellow waistcoat, these are the latest in London Fashion.

I dont know what this building is, but the tower thing is impressive.

Reality Distortion Field: Engaged.

My dinner - chicken jalfrezi biriyani, delicioud and only 400 calories.

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Day 15 - Friday, 9 July 2010

Last day of work

Today was my last day of work.
I went to a software development head office, which turns out to be a basement flat in someones house. I have no idea why they wouldnt come to our office if they are working out of a single room, but I felt bad for them!
The journey to their 'office' went over a very dry river with lots of mud with old boats wedged in the mud with people living in them. A photo would have been a good idea but I forgot.

I will be back in London on Wednesday night, tomorrow I am going to Paris on the Eurostar. That should be interesting.

The last night of the proms turned up at the local shopping centre to play star spangled banner and the german national anthem.

Heres my dinner, a naked burrito salad, with black beans and rice. It was quite nice, but nothing too special. I do like black beans a lot though.

I actually went to have a look at the 'fun park' carnival set up in the park. You had to pay to get in and from what I could see there were 0 people inside the fence. However just outside the fun park theres lots of drunk people making their own fun.

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Day 16 - Saturday, 10 July 2010

I am in Paris, prepare for photo overload

Despite the entire internet suggesting you will die with in 5 minutes of arriving in Paris at the hands of gypsies, so far it seems fine.
The eurostar journey was ok, it slowed down around Lille and was 30 minutes late, but that was the only problem. I am 90% sure Johnny Depp was on the train. There was a smelly dude that looked like him unshaven, big sunglasses, funny suit and hat, with 2 minders in immaculate black suits in the buffet car. If it wasnt him it was his lookalike, he does live in France apparently.

My hotel seems fine, has excellent fast free wifi, and the location whilst not the nicest part of Paris, is walking distance to the attractions.

Initial impressions, people do not know how to drive, everyone uses their horn non stop, scooters go everywhere, traffic lights are just a suggestion, it really does seem a bit backwards in this respect, worse than mainland China.
The streets are a bit dirtier than London, but the dire warnings I read are not really warranted, it is hot though, and humid, there was a brief spell of rain also.

The sheer number of boulangeries and pastisseries has me wondering why everyone isnt huge. I think I may skip regular meals and just live off baked goods.

The number of immigrants is huge, mostly african, some parts of Paris there are no white people at all.

Now onto the photos, there are too many and they are probably boring, so you have been warned.

The departure lounge of the Eurostar, the good thing is they do French passport control in London, so once it arrives in Paris you just walk off. Airports should do this.

My train on the platform at St Pancras.

The buffet car and the back of Johnny Depp (guy in suit with hat and strange boots)

First photo in Paris, african area full of yelling and screaming and guys pushing each other, the shops were mainly hair salons and the angry guys in the streets were only picking on Africans to go into the hair salons or I think by phone calling cards. They left me alone.

The market near my hotel, closing time, I will go back for cheese and bread.

This was amusing, the couch is going up the powered ladder thing, this is how you move house here. I have never seen anything like it. The guys seemed really angry I was taking their photo for some reason.

Great internet in this hotel, that access point is just outside my door, and theres 4 of them on this floor alone, 1 for every 3 rooms.

These rental bikes are everywhere, I have to work out how to use them, although I am scared of bike riding without a helmet.

Here is where I plan to eat all my meals, none of this weird french food for me, I need a meat pie and pavlova.

Gratuitous monument shot, there will be more, sorry.

There are lots of streets like this closed off to traffic, and a huge shopping mall under them, which was about 40C and non air conditioned. I found it amazing that a big modern mall had no cooling at all, it was too hot even for me to stay in there.

I think this is the outside of part of the Louvre.

More random monument photos.

Huge building with famous guy on it, the airport guy.

I think this is the museum of modern art, that is a finished building, theres a very large plaza in front with lots of buskers.

This guy is terrorising small children with bubbles, he was pretty creepy and way too excited to see small children.

Random street, it goes on forever dead straight with buildings all of the same style and height.

Arch de failure.

This is my room, on the 5th floor. No complaints so far.

View from my balcony.

Montmarte, I think?

In the early evening I wandered out, not knowing where I was going. I have already decided Paris is quite small, and perhaps I need not have bothered buying the train pass, still it was only $25 for the 5 days to go anywhere anytime.
I found myself near the church at Montmarte, I am pretty sure thats what it is, its up a big hill anyway, and I presume thats the Mont part. I was pretty excited to see the dudes tying strings around peoples fingers and then demanding 20 Euros. They didnt pick on me but I told 2 young girls as I walked by 'dont do it, its a scam!' and they quickly pulled their finger out and ran off. And the guys got angry with me both times, but whatare they going to do? Theres like 2000 people there and they are trying to scam money out of tourists.
You can read about this scam on the internet. Once you are tied to the guy by your finger he demands money for the friendship ring hes tied on you, and when you complain 5 or so other guys come over to tell you to pay. There were literally 20 or more guys about with multicolored string in their hands.

You can see the view from the church below, going into the church was free and it was very impressive on the inside, and didnt fall down when I entered, but there were lots of signs saying no photos, in english even.

After this I found myself in the red light district which is nearby. It was only 8pm and I doubt any of the 'shows' had started, but still guys were trying to convince me to go in, this is also a scam, these places tell you that its 10 euros to get in, then give you a drink, and the bill comes for the drink at 800 euros (for one drink). One guy actually grabbed me, and I turned and pushed him hard and he backed off immediately, again these guys are risking serious trouble if they get caught id imagine.
But its weird, that these scams seem to be so well known, so obvious, yet they still exist. Why dont the French authorities stop it?

The view of the church from part way up the hill

Looking back down over Paris from the top of the hill.

My attempt at framing the view artistically.

The church close up.

More view, enjoy the view, this is your last chance for the view.

Some sort of French goth gathering, the smell was overpowering.

The moulin rouge stage show version of the Australian movie of the same name about some ballroom dancers that ride a bus through the desert during world war 2.

My dinner, yes Vietnamese food. Beef testicles in soup (really, I think thats true!). I decided to have a healthy dinner as I see many cakes in my future.

I take supermarket pictures wherever I go. I like supermarkets. This isnt a full sized one just a central city sized one. They have Pepsi Max though.

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Day 17 - Sunday, 11 July 2010

Typical bloody tourist

This morning I went for quite a long walk to a couple of the main tourist attraction. I decided Sunday was the best day to do this as I have heard everything pretty much closes down on Sunday, however that means the tourist things which are open are even more popular. Still I dont plan on going into or up any of them, just to view them from outside, and that generally means long queues of hot and bothered people make it more interesting.

As soon as I walked out of my hotel I saw a big car crash right in front of me, it was a strange kind of crash, take a look at the pictures for details.

It is very hot here, especially in the sun, and I feel sorry for the people lined up in the sun to climb the eifel tower.

On my way back to the hotel I tried to get into a supermarket and it seems they were closing, and the store owner unleashed the fury upon me, yelling and screaming as I had dared to enter. Of course I couldnt understand what he was saying so this made it amusing and I just stood there smiling at him and this only enraged him further! I should have taken the camera out then.

Right now I am watching the formula 1 race from silverstone in German, I have the choice of 4 channels to watch it on, none in English, France hates England.
So I am watching in German, Germany hates England as well, because despite not speaking German I did listen to them talk about how Germany will beat England in the British grand prix, Germany beat England in the football, and Bangladesh will beat England at cricket, because England is a huge joke of the world! HAHAHAHAHAHAH! They really did have a huge laugh on air.

Heres picture 1 of the car crash, he hit at full speed the concrete bollard thing you can see tipped over that separates the bus lane from the regular road (It sort of looks like a wheel in the photo). This launched his car in the air and he hit that van, bounced off and its resting against the van now.

And heres the front of the car, I was expecting more damage actually. Of course the two french guys rendering assistance are actually abusing him (presumably because he is black) and hes afraid to get out of the car. Meanwhile all passing traffic is blowing their horns and leaning out of their windows hurling abuse at the guy (sorry the pictures a bit blurred, but you can see the guy is still in the car).

Here I am on the metro, buskers get on the metro. The photo doesnt show it too well but theres a guy and a girl doing some sort of gangsta rap routine, they brought a boom box on, and at every station he runs around collecting money in a plastic cup from people getting off the train.

You dont see Iran Air offices in every country.

The arc de triumphe (exact spelling, I dont care about). If you look at the sculpture (frescos?) on it, its actually bearded old men with weapons harassing naked young virgins.

Another view of the big arch. North Korea built one the same, slightly bigger, because North Korea is the greatest country in the world.

Heres the champs de elyseeeeseses (correct spelling, I checked), very sunny as you can see.

The American built eifel tower.

The river sane, complete with garbage barge.

Check out all the garbage on the bridge with the garbage barge going under? Whos responsible for keeping the streets clean here!!

Real soldiers with real loaded machine guns, note they are actually in patrol formation, people get out of their way, I follow and take photos. They actually look like proper soldiers that would be skilled at killing.

More tower.

The entire sea of people you see are waiting to go up the tower, guess what I will not be doing?

Interesting view, note the suicide netting everywhere. How romantic it would be to romeo and juliet off the eifel tower.

Default tower photo.

I dont know what this is, but it had lots of gold on it.

Proof I was in Paris. Up until now you were thinking I just stole photos off GIS.

The Yves Saint Laurent store.

Heres my lunch, un baugette avec de brioche chocolat. I know poisson is fish but I didnt want a fish baugette so I had to point at the chicken one. I could have done a chicken dance I guess. The bread was pretty delicious, now I feel very full though, they love their butter, squeezing a baugette shouldnt result in butter oozing out in my opinion

La Defense

Its world cup final night, but its not on until 8:30, and I am not actually that interested but decided to watch it anyway. This meant going some place that wouldnt take too long, google suggested the grand arch at la defense, which is the new part of Paris, quite a distance from the old part which everyone outside of France assumes is all of Paris (myself included).
To get here was 2 trains, but it didnt even take 30 minutes, which is good because it must have been 40C on the train and people were freaking out from the heat.
The buildings are all unusually shaped and quite huge, a sense of scale is hard to acheive due to the grand boulevarde being so vast and the arch thing is over 100 metres high.
Now onto the photos.

I changed trains at the bastille station so I decided to come up to the surface and have a look. This monument thing is there, but I guess I dont know what the bastille is as I couldnt see it, its something you can storm, I cant imagine anyone stormed that monument.

Meanwhile some Palestinians turned up and staged a protest closing the road, they were singing a song of protest, and seemed happy.

Heres the grand arch, its much bigger than the arch de triumphe. They line up with each other and its a straight road (separated by a river) between them.

The view back the otherway down the grand boulevarde. I might have to go back on a working day to check out modern Paris with modern people rather than the few tourists who are here now.

I tried to capture the scale of the arch a bit more, its on top of a hill and up a lot of steps you can see here.

My dinner from a noodle bar. I had French food for lunch, so shut up, theres only so much butter I can eat.

Near my hotel, Spaniards gathered in the street outside La Paella to watch the football. I am preparing for a potential riot. Something funny is my hotel is above 2 pubs/cafes full of people and their tv's seem to be on about 5 seconds delay compared to mine, so I see the action, then step out onto my balcony and watch them get really excited 5 seconds later.

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Day 18 - Monday, 12 July 2010

The Louvre

My typical tourist experience continues, with a visit to the Louvre. They dont have any climate control which is surprising, it was very hot in there and I would imagine that would be bad for the artwork.
It was really crowded and noisy, but the worst bit is the tourist groups, I cant think of anything sadder than following around a guy with a flag whilst you all wear matching hats and he blows a whistle when its time for you to move to the next room.

As a museum, its quite overwhelming but a lot of it is the same, a kilometre of rooms with paintings becomes just more paintings after a while. I think I prefer the London museums, also the London ones are free, the Louvre costs about 10 euros.

Heres my 'free' hotel breakfast. All hotels I could find in Paris come with breakfast which is unusual. Given the choice I would always opt to not get breakfast in the hotel rate so I can eat some place different each day, but since I have paid for it I might as well use it.

Breakfast is more than one course.

On the way to the train I spotted this weapons shop. They are selling AK47's and modern assault rifles right in the window.

This is the main entrance to the Louvre in the pyramid, as you can see its an apple store, way to go apple, excellent commercialization of an 1000 year old museum.

There are many statues, most of the penises have fallen off. I have noticed this in many museums.

A typical room full of paintings, all the old masters are represented.

The ceilings in many of the rooms are decorated as such.

The massive courtyard with the new pyramid underground entry that ties the 3 areas of the museum together.

I photograph the photographers.

They are of course photographing the mona lisa. You cant get anywhere near it and its a pretty small painting, I dont get the big deal over it there are far more impressive paintings of castles being melted by lava with demons stabbing virgins. But everyones interested in an ugly old chick with no eyebrows.

Yo Dawg, we heard you like painting, so we did a painting of you painting a painting and stuck it in a room full of paintings.

I found this ceiling particularly impressive.

Now I am in the stuff stolen from Egypt by Napoleon section. This is Osiris or Merenptah or similar.

A whole family of corpse boxes.

This indoor area was pretty nice, but so hot under the glass.

Looking through the pyramid.

Spanish people are pretty pleased with themselves.

I swung past Notre Dame after the Louvre, which is on an island in the Seine. I like to pronounce it like the Americans do because it infuriates people.

There is graffiti everywhere in Paris, especially on any sort of public service or work vehicle. I am not sure if this one is vandalism or not.

Heres my lunch, similar to yesterday, but note the delicious slice of cherry tart I have incorporated.

I made my own dinner

After getting back from the louvre I immediately headed out again, to chinatown. I go to chinatown wherever I am, its a tradition I started just now. So far Sydney is the best apart from actual China, which is slightly better. But certainly London is poor, its honey chicken chinatown.
Paris turned out to be slightly better than London, I have to reserve judgement as in the middle of the afternoon nearly everything was shut, but it did seem to be mainly vietnamese which makes sense I guess because it was part of France before the USA invaded.

I walked back and was pretty exhausted, so I stopped in at the supermarket and bought some stuff to make my own dinner in my hotel room, which is a challenge when you get a plastic stirrer for a cup of tea and nothing else of use in your room.

Heres a part of chinatown that looks somewhat open.

Theres an entire wall of ads for 'massage', nothing besides massage is being advertised on this wall.

More and more I am noticing white vans covered in graffiti. The french love to cause social unrest, until they actually get invaded then they just give up.

Some actual decent graffiti, I dont know why I take photos of it since I have very little interest in it.

Heres the supplies I purchased to make a baugette for dinner, I love cheese.

Voila! here is my creation. I made a mess of the carpet.

Little India

First of all, 3 update in one day! Are you terribly bored of my ramblings?
I decided that despite general leg soreness and heat stroke, I would go for an evening stroll. I soon found that behind the Gard du Nord station is a sizeable little India. The focus is on Pondicherry which is the French part of India, Mauritius and Reunion (which are islands nearer South Africa but mainly Indian people live there).

I might have to venture back for a meal, as there were at least 100 restaurants there, mostly vegetarian.

There is a canal system running through central paris, complete with locks to allow barges through.

And there are lots of homeless people living in little camps all the way along it.

Here is a small part of the Metro that runs above ground, if you have seen the movie Subway (as its often called in english speaking parts of the world) starring Christopher Lambert, the actual metro these days is not as cool as that.

Chennai Silks. I bought a few shiny outfits for myself from here.

PONDICHERRY, that photos for you Leo.

There are not many nice cars in Paris, mainly because every car has multiple dents due to people not knowing how to drive. This old Triumph is interesting though. I suspect if its still there in the morning it will be covered in graffiti.

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Day 1 - Friday, 25 June 2010
  Adelaide to Melbourne
  Melbourne Airport
  Melbourne to London on a 747
Day 2 - Saturday, 26 June 2010
  Welcome to London
Day 3 - Sunday, 27 June 2010
  Lazy Sunday morning in London
  Grand Prix Flying, England Failing
Day 4 - Monday, 28 June 2010
  I am working, so dont expect much
Day 5 - Tuesday, 29 June 2010
  Theres nothing to see at Canary Wharf
Day 6 - Wednesday, 30 June 2010
  Theres no such thing as too much walking
Day 7 - Thursday, 1 July 2010
  All day driving
Day 8 - Friday, 2 July 2010
  Theres not a lot of photos today
Day 9 - Saturday, 3 July 2010
  Wales hates vowels
  Edgware road is great
Day 10 - Sunday, 4 July 2010
  Administration day
Day 11 - Monday, 5 July 2010
  New working week
Day 12 - Tuesday, 6 July 2010
  Not Notting Hill or not?
Day 13 - Wednesday, 7 July 2010
  Train spotting cars
Day 14 - Thursday, 8 July 2010
Day 15 - Friday, 9 July 2010
  Last day of work
Day 16 - Saturday, 10 July 2010
  I am in Paris, prepare for photo overload
  Montmarte, I think?
Day 17 - Sunday, 11 July 2010
  Typical bloody tourist
  La Defense
Day 18 - Monday, 12 July 2010
  The Louvre
  I made my own dinner
  Little India
Day 19 - Tuesday, 13 July 2010
  Paris shopping - nothing special!
  Indian food
Day 20 - Wednesday, 14 July 2010
  It rained on everyones parade
  Hotel dramas!
Day 21 - Thursday, 15 July 2010
  Last day in London
Day 22 - Friday, 16 July 2010
  Planes, sleeping, showers in Singapore
Day 23 - Saturday, 17 July 2010
  Back where I started