mercredi 31 mars 2010
A Bit of Malaysia in the heart of Paris
I had noticed the bold Malaisie announcing the existence of the Malaysian Tourism Office more than once as I walked along the street that leads to the magnificent Opera Garnier. Today my destination was Nespresso, but I decided to go in to see what exactly was inside. As many of you know, Malaysia is touted as one of the top 10 tourist destination for the year 2010. The welcome indeed was warm, obviously the French lady had been exposed to the Malaysian Hospitality! I collected a few brochures, was interested in the volunteer tours to Muzium Negara offered in French and English on Thursdays, a set of postcards which I will distribute among my friends in Cuba, next week when I return there. I wanted to know the address of the boutique of the Chinese Malaysian designer. When I was last in Malaysia his design did make headlines since the visiting French Minister of Economy, Christine Lagarde was seen wearing one of his designs.
Since 2008, I have been very lucky to have visited Malaysia many many times, I loose count, more than ten times, which is especially great when you think I live half way around the world! My best friend in Asia is from KL and she keeps me informed with the relevant articles relating to Malaysia and my interest in the Health of the population as well as critiques of Malaysian Millieu from inside and outside; she includes articles from The Star which makes me feel that I am close to KL. Whenever I am in Kl, I am kept very busy but each evening ends with delicious dinners from local restaurants (I never eat European food in Malaysia)..
Mr Ng the designer is a Parisian now, has his boutique at 89, Rue de Reamur, near metro station Sentier on Line 3.
Mrs J the ,marketing executive was very helpful, she had to call the manager to get details and that she did and found out the address for me; that would be my next stop in finding Malaysia in Paris!
Mrs J told me that the best months for a good fare from Paris to KL on MH is april mau june sept and October. But Eithihad; Qatar and Egyptair all offer good fares year around; For example, right now Egyptair has a round trip fare of 450€ from Paris to KL, around 2000 MYR which is an excellent fare indeed!
Last year more than 130 000 french nationals went to Malaysia, through her offices, of which she was very proud
I think it is high time the French and other Europeans discover what I have been enjoying
The Malaysian Hospitality…
And in my case, I can look forward to it in August and again in November and with a bit of luck once more in between..
www.ontmalaisie.com website in Francaise
www.tourismomalasia.com.es en espanol, para nuestros amigos hispanohablante de Espana y Hispanoamerica. MH tiene un vuelo direto desde Buenos Aires a KL via Ciudad del Cabo y Johanisburgo ;
Office National du Tourisme Malaisie é
29 ? rue des Pyramides, 75001 Paris
33 1 42974171
mardi 30 mars 2010
Paris being the most visited City on earth, on rare occasions people from different parts of the world may coincide with your visit to this city of Light and Love.. I have seen my friends from Portland, Oregon and Melbourne, Australia here. But this reunion was certainly an unique one..
L had flown down from Norway to spend the weekend with her friends from Japan. I got an email from L, who is Vietnamese by origin, but had lived in Tokyo and Moscow before putting down her roots in Oslo. I had encountered her because of her interest in Cuba!
I had arrived the day before from Miami, and at the appointed time met them in front of Opera Bastille and had a very typical parisian lunch at Cafe de l'Industrie near by. The visitors from Japan did not speak any English, one of them had some rudimentary English, so L was burdened with translations throughout the long lunch. The visitors were so traditionally Japanese and innocent of western culture and customs, that it was truly charming. They had fully planned their trip before they arrived in Paris, eating and going only to places recommeneded in their guidebooks. They had maps of Paris and each of the bakeries, restaurants and tourist spots were marked clearly; Laduree and Luis Vuitton and Chatelet Shopping were clearly marked, Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur, Tour Eiffel were to be done early in the week.
The thoroughness of their preparation was impressive and I was told that it is nothing unusual. Paris is the most expensive city in the world with Tokyo coming in at no 6, but to them Paris is cheaper because Luis Vuitton and other brands that the Japanese like to have are half price here. No wonder that there is always a line to go into Luis Vuitton on Champs Elysees; they wanted to try the ¨cheap¨ croissants and pain au chocolats and had noted down the bakeries to go to from their guide books.
What is their impression of paris?
We did not expect it to be so modern, we thought all buildings would be from 17th or 18th centuries! and we thought that Paris would be dirty! it is clean and modern!
They had planned each meal, so while we are having lunch, they were thinking of dinner!
i must admire their adventurous nature in food, they wanted to try everything.. Escargots, Carpaccio, Steak Tartare, Au Gratin and they had healthy appetites!
I said goodbye to L, the typical french fashion, planting kisses on both cheeks; The japanese were horrified, one wanted to try! when i kissed her on her cheeks, she was giggling and saying that her heart was racing and that it was the first time she has done this way of saying good bye!
very cute indeed
such is a pleasant lunchtime in Paris and thank you dear friend L from Oslo!
PS their sunglasses are from vendors in front of Sacre Coeur!
mardi 2 mars 2010
It is good to share a deep friendship like that I have with my sister Jackie. I appreciate her presence in my life and I realize her worth..she has allowed me to be a better person by giving me this opportunity.. and of course her unselfishness is legendary. We both felt good sharing the day together. Lunch was Thai Food (Pad Thai, tofu, shrimpt) and for dinner Jackie cooked Lamb, beans and sauce with mint jelly. and Thank you Continental for that South African White Wine (Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc).
That evening while rushing back to the house, after having my afternoon shot of cortadito, I noticed an elderly black man sitting on the pavement, near the house. I spied a blue passport lying next to him, thought it might be a jamaican one. A young black lady was talking to him. When she finished talking to him, I saw him get up, pull his small black case behind him and walk slowly towards the main road. I stopped and enquired.. What was happening to the old man?
He does not speak any English, only Creole. He says he has to go to Miami City and is looking for a bus stop. I pointed him to the road and told that buses leave for Miami from that bus stop.
Why dont we give him a lift to the bus stop, I asked. She hopped in and we found the man walking along the pavement. I tried to get some information from him, but I dont speak Creole, he does not speak Spanish or English and our French was mutually unintelligible. I was able to understand that he had arrived from Haiti (I checked his passport, he had landed in Miami on 23rd, three days ago), he wanted to go to Miami city or Homestead (both destinations very far for a pedestrian old man pulling a suitcase albeit small from Kendall where we were..) and the only address he could give me was that he wanted to go to 5th avenue and it was near a football field.
We took him to the bus stop and when we stopped a Metro Bus to seek help, the driver was positively unhelpful. That is when the young lady decided to seek the assistance of Police and we drove back to the spot where we found him near the my sister's home (the young lady lived nearby) and waited as the night was approaching and the wind was getting chillier.
The young lady had friends who spoke Creole and she got them on the phone and after many conversations, we garnered that he had arrived in Miami three days ago, on a programme of temporary asylum after the earthquake. The people who were supposed to pick him up didnt show up, so he decided to walk to what he thought was the right direction. He had a crumpled Haitian passport and a few single dollar notes.
He has been on the road for three days!
tu as faim? are you hungry?
he nodded, I am very hungry.
Quickly we got him something to eat, the young lady rushed to her home to fix him something to eat, my sister's husband came out of the house with their jamaican helper, who fixed him something warm to drink and a packet of biscuits which he eagerly slurped. He ate in delight, he sat and was mumbling and then suddenly recited a telephone number. The young lady immediately dialed that number, to our disappointment, the answerphone came on to say that there were far too many messages on the answerphone. He looked puzzled and scratched his head. He recited yet another number.
Ring Ring for what seemed to be a very long time
we explained the situation. The lady on the other end of the phone said, Yes, she knew him and that her address was the one the old man was looking for.
we noted down the address
but it was in Florida city. This old man would have never reached that place, it was beyond Homestead and a fairly long drive..
The lady who answered didnt have any transportation, and she suggested that we call the police to bring him!
I will take him to that address, said my sisters husband.
I will go with you, said I, let us take him home, this poor old man from Haiti.
I will go with you, said I, let us take him home, this poor old man from Haiti.
No, my sister's husband said, sister jackie has prepared a nice dinner for you. I will take this old man and the jamaican helper will come with me.
and the policeman who had just arrived was immensely grateful to be relieved of a very difficult problem, since Florida city was much beyond his territory.
I was later told that when they reached a petrol station near the address, they were told to wait there for someone to pick him up. No one came, so a Haitian taxi driver drove the three of them to the address mentioned.
As the football field and the block of flats came into view, the old man was Haiti was joyous and was eager to jump out of the car and was shouting his joy in creole language.. This is the address.. this is the home..
He opened the door of the taxi, and ran to the apartment! Before he left my sisters husband gave him $20 usd which he gratefully accepted.
Through the Haitian taxi driver, we learned that the US govt has precleared him for programme of temporary residence, since he had been to the USA before as an agricultural worker. And more gratifying to every one was the fact that two of his sons from Haiti are studying to be doctors in France!
I know that the kind deeds of the youg lady ad my sisters husband would be bestowed as blessings on their loved ones. My sister just had chemotherapy the day before and I told her, it is the law of the Spirits that your husband's deeds will be reflected in your suffering less the effects of chemotherapy this time around.
I wrote this waiting for a flight to go home to Paris, there was a snow storm in the North East and a windstorm in the atlantic coast of France..but i got home safely. My sister called from Miami to say that she is okay.. tired after the chemotherapy but nothing too bad, she was resting.
This is what happened to me in little over 30 hours in the city in USA that I have always loved: Miami, Flroida.
The temperature today High/Low in degrees Fahrenheit
NYC 37/32 Montreal 35/3 Miami 68/52 Havana 73/54 Baracoa 83/67 Paris 52/40 KL 95/79 Mumbai 91/75..
Today is March 2, 2010. A gorgeous day in Paris and a member of the family, Solen, had a baby, who is being watched at the Intensive Care Unit. My sister from Miami wrote an email:
lundi 1 mars 2010
I sat with my sister for hours, chatting and catching up on common news. Since her treatment began in July 2009, I have tried to be here at appropriate moments of her therapy, and at least once a month. She lives in Miami and I live in Paris. She always feels good on Day 1 of the therapy, in days to follow, she begins to feel the ravages of chemotherapy but she has remarkable ability to bounce back. Good Luck to her..
It was then, I began to feel bad, physically I mean. A combination of fatigue and head ache, weakness in the legs. This is truly the price to pay to visit USA. I am aware of the lack of food availability in the Indian reservations. I try not to eat BAD FOOD that meant going hungry or eating just a bit or drinking coffee to ward off hunger, or eating the food brought over from France. The snow was more than two feet high so going out for leisurely strolls, or driving out in the snow to the nearest town 50 km away in the dark for dinner.. It was bitterly cold minus 5 F to minus 15 F, when i drive out to work in the morning, to the clinic a few minutes away. Only two meals, one Thai and one Vietnamese were satisfying. A patient wanted to eat out at Olive Garden, a place striving to be a restaurant, a mistake on my part, the Eggplant parmigiana was not one of their signature dishes. The nail in the coffin was the dinner on my last night there at a restaurant in a small town called The Green Lantern on the banks of the Missouri River.
Fish? Farm Grown
Chicken? Origin Uncertain.
Certainly I was not about to eat Steak, which was probably the best culinary choice here, but not after seeing the hundreds of cattle under conditions of cruelty in their life and death at nearby meat packing plants and "cattle" factories. (they pollute the air, the pollute the earth, they pollute the bodies)
I opted for chicken with grilled mushrooms and rice pilaf! Dont get excited, check for yourself the picture..attached.
Exhaustion, plus chemical food on a detoxified stomach. ( Quiberon, Paris, KL and Cochin in the first 37 out of 45 days of this year 2010)... and I was in the state I was.. Even flying First Class does not guarantee you freedom from Chemicals.. in fact it is worse since they dont give you anything in the Economy Class!
Less is definitely Better even in this context..
This brings me to what I have always believed in-Genetic Loyalty when it comes to food. Eat food that your genes can recognize- in my case Indian and Asian Foods. Not Hamburger. Not French Fries. No Soft Drinks etc etc..Only the food recognized by our bodies can build up our immune system! that is what I believe since foreign food which is dissimilar to your genetic memory would harm you... (dont you wonder about 68% obesity in America and 45 % obesity in Malaysia and Australia and UK waiting to top the Scales?)
Western food, unless it is French, de toxified food will make me sick. Asian food will rejuvenate me. Alas! my next asian trip and Durian Pancakes at Mandarin Oriental and Baby Duck at Restoran Oversea are five months away!
1400 Thursday to 2100 Friday
A: Encounter with a young woman in an Airplane Toilet
No, this is not a story about the famed, Mile High Club!
Esconsed in seat 2E, enjoying a glass of a South African White Mix (nothing racial, mind you), Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc, I hear the chirpy Flight Attendant, tapping my shoulder and say, Are you a doctor? (she has the passenger list). Yes, I am. what sort? Medical?
There is a woman who has passed out in the toilet. Could you? I will hold your lunch.
Dont worry, and I reached out for my stethoscope which I had put in my carry on luggage, and walked to the back of the plane.
I was expecting an older lady, gasping for breath or another sweating clutching the chest or a diabetic cold and clammy..
I prepared for such a scenario,
But, stretched out on the cramped toilet with her leg up on the wash basin was a very attractive young woman, well coiffed and well dressed, with a very large diamond on her wedding ring!
My first question was, Did you get enough sleep last night?
Alcohol, Drugs, Discos all flashed through my mind. I checked her pulse, it was a whopping 140/minute. She was short of breath but in no pain. I listened to her heart, it was regular, thus decreasing the doubt of a fatal heart beat problem.
Does this come on when you are flying? No
Are you excited or nervous ? No.
As I was talking to her, i noticed that her pulse rate had come down to 120/min. The Flight Attendant had connected me to the MedLink on the ground. BP? 110/60 but looking at her slender build, I guessed it was probably not far from her regular BP. What is your normal BP, aroud 120 ? Yes, confirmed.
I had a feeling more and more confident that this was a supraventicular tachycardia, while appearing dangerous, may not be as life threatening as Ventricular tachycardia.
She had her both feet up in the wash basin, and slowly the colour was coming back to her face.
I will be alright, she said, I had something like this about four months ago, it went away by itself.
Few more minutes of talk, pulse now 100/min. MedLink was on the line again. How is she doing? She will be fine, I told them, she will follow this up with her doctor..
In a few more minutes she said, I want to go back to my seat.
A few people had gathered at the scence. I was particularly suspicious of a young man trying to get closer to her, ogling at her.. Oh! Boy!
I went back to seat 2 E
A cold bottle of South AFrican white wine was on my seat. Tina, the Fight attendant, came in with an effusive thank you and a pleasant conversation followed.
On arriving at MIA, I went straight to Baptist Hospital Oncology Treatment section where my sister was receiving the last but one of her chemotherapies!