Monday, December 19, 2011

This month's photo: banc public (2)

My previous posting was done in such a rush that I forgot half of it!

So first here is a little bit more about my bench.
If you have been following my "this month's photo" serie, you know that I like to take the photo during the month of the theme. And you also know that I'm far away from a brilliant photographer and that my stong point is more the story than the photo (which can even sometimes be taken with the iPhone.........)
So here is the story about this one: This month has been short on trips, by that I mean exotic trips (I have spent way too much time stuck in the office in rainy London), so our trip to the Bako national park on Borneo was MY chance to get the photo!
This bench is actually a good reflection on Bako's environment: back to basic!
I would have loved to show you the view at the same time but really the number of trees and the sun would have killed the shot so I just went for this lonely bench. Actually there were quite a few like that around the loop, one was on a supposed view point but with a wall of trees in front, another was facing a big sign telling you it was your last chance for a smoke (before the vegetation turned drier) but this one had the remoteness factor built in!

I'll write the post on Bako soon and I can already promise some amazing animal shots (that R took, sorry I'm the writer of this blog he is the photographer!:-)

Second part of this post, finally here are the links to the other blogs:
Celiano, Cynthia, Guillaume, 100driiine, 4 petits suisses dans un bol de riz, A&G, Agnès, Alex, Alexanne, Alice, Anne, Anne Laure T, Aparça , Aude, Ava, Babou, Bao, Bestofava, blogoth67, Boopalicious, Carnets d'Images, Caro, Carole In England, Caroline, Cathy Brocard, Cekoline, Céline, Céline in Paris, Champagne, Cherrybee, Clara, Claude, Clem et Chat, Doremi, Doréus en Alberta, Dorydee, E, Edegan, El, Fabienne, Florian, florianL, François, Frankonorsk, Frédéric, Galinette, Gilsoub, Gizeh, Glose, Grignette, hibiscus, Hugo, Isabelle, Jean WILMOTTE, Jen et dam, JoAnn, Karrijini, Krn, Kyn, La Fille de l'Air, La Godiche, La Madame, La Papote, La Parigina, Laurabreizh, Laure, Lauriane, L'azimutée, LE BOA BLEU , Le Mag à lire, le via carmina, Le-Chroniqueur, Les voyages de Seth et Lise, lesegarten, Lhise, Lucile et Rod, M, M.C.O, magda627, Mamysoren, Mandy, Manola, margote05, Margouia, Marie, Marion, M'dameJo, Mérantaise, Meyilo, Nathalie, Niwatori, Nomade57, Noon, Nora, Olivier, Ori, Où trouver à Montréal? , Pavot de Lune, Rene paul henry, Sébastien, Sephiraph, Shandara, Sinuaisons, Sprout©h, Stephane08, Stéphie & les Cacahuètes, Surfanna, Tam, Tambour Major, The Mouse, Thib, Titem, Ty, Un jour-Montreal, Une niçoise, Urbaine, Urbamedia, Vanilla, Viviane, Xavier Mohr.

Sorry about the delay, but don't worry, my brain is already on next month's theme: Bubbles!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This month's photo: Banc public

I'm running really late on this post... Hopefully I won't be kicked out this month!

The shot was taken on Borneo island, Bako national park.
Old fashioned, 3 planks 4 legs bench, looking at the bay.

A bit more on Bako national park soon!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elephant parade

If you have recently been to London, Copenhagen or Singapore, you may have seen colourful pachyderms hanging around town.
They belong to the elephant parade, an exhibition trying to raise the profile of the endangered Asian elephants. They have been painted by international artists on various theme.
These ones belong to the Singapore exhibition, in particular the ones around Vivocity.

To support Asian elephant, replica in sizes going from 10 to 75 cm) are up for sale

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Vertical marathon at the swissotel

It has been all over my Facebook page for a couple of weeks and a lot of people are still wondering what I am on about, so here is the story of the vertical marathon:

Last April, we were heading to Borneo to climb the Mt Kinabalu. In order to train before climbing thousands of steps, I had started to climb the stairs of our residence.  Doing so, someone had mentioned to me the existence of the vertical marathon of the Swissotel, a climb of the 73 storeys of stairs of the famous Singapore hotel.
The training was useful as we had a good time on Mt Kinabalu and I kept the idea of the vertical marathon on one side of my mind.
So when time came, I registered for the race and R decided to join me.
On Sunday the 21st of November, after a good night of French food and wine and before flying off to London, at 9.00am, we completed the climb!
We were split by sexe and age categories, which made us a 30-39 type. R was going first, then he was supposed to come down, get the bag and I would have gone second. As you can guess, despite being the last women of the 30-39 group to go, R didn't make it down on time and I had to climb with the bag...(which probably slown me down by a good 10 minutes:-)
From stat to finish, level 1 to 73, it took R 12', me 19' and the winner 7'...
R was in the top 20% and I was about half of my list!
Surprisingly, muscles did't hurt at all, breathing was ok, but the heart rate went off the chart! (I also had a bit of a stomach issue potentially linked to the garlic butter of the snails of the night before...:-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This month's photo: To the end of the world

15th of November, time for this month's photo!

The theme today is "Au bout du monde" which translates in English to something like:"To the end of the world"
I admit straight away, I haven't thought about it too much by massive lack of time. By consequences, I have failed to follow my internal rule which is to take the photo during the same month as it gets published.
The photo was taken on the 90 miles beach, on the North island of New Zealand and here are a couple of reasons why it links to the theme:
             1. This blog is based on Paris time and New zealand is probably as far as it gets from France, so it is then end of the world...
             2. This beach is so long that it could take you wherever is the end of your world between little white clouds and waves

Theses deserted new zealand beaches never failed to let me lost in my dreams.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Zealand out of this world landscapes

Theme 1: Beaches
The colors of both sand, sky, rocks and water; the driving at 100km/h and the length of all the beaches we visited were all amazing factors!

Theme 2: Water in general
At sea, on rivers or on rapids, water is everywhere! It always looks clear and clean and freezing!!!!


Theme 3: Geothermal activity
I had never seen a geyser before, nor bubbling pool of mud or smokey landscape, it was all stunning!


Theme 4: green, green and more green which usually goes with sheep, sheep and more sheep!
Surprisingly, not that many lamb chops in restaurants :-(

In conclusion, a postcard country:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beach trip to Rawa island

Rawa is a tiny island on the east coast of Malaysia, not very far from Tioman where I went several times for diving.

But this time, no diving, just a lazy weekend on the beach. We actually only have a few photos because there was no memory card in the camera so we were (very) limited by the camera own memory.
But I think it's enough to make any Europeans jealous on this Halloween week end...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sport fanatics

On top of rugby, which I have already talked about, kiwis are crazy about sports and are definitely adrenaline junkies. Afterall they have invented bungy jumping!
I was not ready for bungy jumping (I can still feel my heart pumping from the sky diving last year) so we did some black water rafting in Waitomo caves, some skiing in the Tongariro national park, followed by hiking and finally White water rafting near Rotorua. And I'm still supposed to call that holidays!

Despite the water temperature (I would say around 10C), the black water rafting in the caves was probably the easiest activity. A couple of jumps and a lot of floating admiring the glow worms.
Skiing was a nice unexpected surprise. We had planned to do some serious hiking (that I was not totally convinced by). The day before, we went to get information at the tourist point when we were asked if we had crampons and ice axe. Hmmm no.... Apparently the hike is still covered with snow and ice. Other options were skiing or do a lower altitude walk. As we couldn't make up our mind, we went for both! 3h30 ski on the morning followed by 4h trek.
While enjoying the deserted slopes, the slow lifts and the spring snow, we were stopped by the following announcement:
This is a volcanic emergency announcement, please move immediately to higher grounds...
All lifts had stopped, a few people were moving and we were seriously wondering what was going on! So we moved to higher ground, waited for a bit (for the volcano to explode!) and after a while when the lifts restarted we went back down the mountains and that's only at this point that they made another announcement: we have now completed the volcanic emergency test thank you....
Great! Thanks! I'll remember my first time skiing on a volcano!
Hiking would have probably been a really relaxing walk if we hadn't been short on time. Most people were on their way back when we started the walk!
So, the 7h30 walk (according to the sign) was finished by a very grumpy M in 4h15!!! It was still beautiful...
Finally White water rafting. I have kept the best for the end. On the way to Rotorua we had stopped a couple of times to see famous rapids and falls so it wasn't a surprise that there was lots of rafting around. The trip sounded good: the biggest commercially raftable water fall in the world (7m) but the only requirement was to be above 13 years old, no previous experience required. Perfect! We got equipped with several layers of wet suits, splash jacket etc and then the training came in the bus to the starting point. Here are the key things to remember (then you tell me how you feel):
- if falling in the water, do not stay vertical, put your feet up immediately (otherwise broken leg will be the best outcome...)
- in the water fall, do not come out of the boat, hold and hold tight!
- if the boat flips, do not let go of the boat?!?!!!? Breath inside, then only come out when you hear banging on the boat
- if you let go of the boat, you'll get caught in the "washing machine system" of the fall (meaning you'll stay under water). Form a canon ball and the washing machine will expel you......
Now we can go rafting!!!
Imagine how delighted I was! Anyway, the boat did not flip and I managed to stay in the boat despite being shaken like mad. ( the boat went first completely vertical before going completely under water)
Now we are back to the adrenaline junkies that are singaporian taxi drivers ;-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rugby world cup in New Zealand

If there are 2 words which go well together, it's rugby and New Zealand. In this small country it's like a religion and from what I have understood during our 2 weeks down under, it is not a laughing matter!

We landed in Auckland on the 24th of September, the day of NZ-France (also little sister's birthday but not the subject of this post), the locals were very tense. The track record of the All Blacks against us (Frenchies) in RWC is really not that good...
We watched the match in a pub, only 3 French people but we made as much noise as all the kiwi together! We lost very badly, the day after the press was tearing us into pieces... but after all, as they said, it was the B team...
And that really didn't get better after our defeat against Tonga that we had the pleasure of witnessing in Wellington stadium.

So on the morning of the quarter final against England, people were a bit nicer to us while we were having brunch in Auckland. No one thought we would stand a chance!
Note that menus in restaurant had been twicked for this big rugby WE.

We were hoping for the best! I didn't touch my French shirt for 3 days before (as I have now concluded it's jinxed), we had the flag, we got our faces painted with tri-colored roosters and R even bought a "beret" for the occasion (that he keeps on wearing now!)
We watched Ireland loosing against Wales on our way to the stadium on TVs that people had nicely put out in their front gardens. It was a good crowd, every one was having fun. And the game was obviously fantastic 16-0 at half time, for once I enjoyed the 2nd half, not too stressed out!
That was a happy qualification (for both players and fans) for the semis, totally unexpected and our friends from Scotland, Ireland and Wales were obviously delighted that we had managed to send England home!

Unfortunately for us, that was the end of the holidays in NZ, so since, we had to watch the rest of the world cup on TV, middle of the afternoon in Sg!

Actually for the semis, we were in Malaysia, R had called the hotel in advanced to check that they had sky TV and that they will be showing the match. And that's how we got to watch the French qualification with a bunch of English people (still bitter) and a very depressed Welsh guy on a paradise island.
We are obviously not very proud of how we played but after all, giving red card is not our call and if the Welsh can't kick we can't do anything about that either!

Conclusion, we will play the final against the All Blacks, in black (as we were fair play enough to let them wear their trade mark shirt) in Eden park. On the rugby planet it doesn't get any better!
Oh, wait, may be we could win?