Saturday, September 28, 2013

F1 2013, happy birthday to me!

A few months ago, R offered me some F1 tickets for my birthday. They took their time to arrive, but a couple of days before the Grand Prix, here they were!

I was not disappointed as I was treated to a different stand everyday!

Friday for practice, we started with a beautiful view of the Marina, Marina Bay Sands was even showing some F1 on its wall and a checked flag under the "boat" at the top. I discovered that despite being a night Grand Prix, there is a lot happening before dark: Porsches race, GP2; plenty of time to get roasted in the stand! (It is actually rather rare to stay outside in the sun in Sg, and that was a reminder why...)

I also discovered my noise limit, Porsches I can do without earplugs, GP2 can not lah! (as Singaporeans would say)

We gave a miss to the big concert that night (some Koreans bands) but caught a little bit of a British artist at dinner time at Esplanade.

Saturday for qualifying, we were in the posh zone: zone 1 where we got a free ride of the Singapore flyer (the big wheel) just ahead of GP2 race!

Then, it was time for Porsches qualifications, a bit more practice and finally F1 qualifications.

The seats were fantastic! Just outside of the pit lane looking over turn 1,2 and 3. I believe it's where the best photos are from.

At dinner, we saw Bob Geldof performing and post race, we went back to the Padang for a really cool concert of the Killers.

Sunday was race day for all categories, Porsches, GP2 and F1, this time we are on the Padang stand (ready for Rihanna's concert!)

We got to see the tour of the pilots on vintage cars, the safety car a few times, the thing is, we were so close to the track that it wasn't really good for the photos...

But we were indeed at the best location to watch Rihanna (not) singing and moving her bump (a lot)!

All together, a fantastic birthday present!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Where are you from?

It has been a while since I have written a "special note", one of my little philosophical discussion with myself... But a question I was recently asked 3 times in the laps of 3 days prompted it.


It is rather frequent when abroad that I am asked where I am from and I never really know what to say! If I'm in Thailand for the WE let's say, I would tend to say that I'm from Singapore (because after all, it's where I came from for that particular WE!) but then people look at me weirdly, apparently my eyes don't look Asian enough...

This time, the 3 questions were asked in Singapore and all of them within the boundaries of the F1 circuit. (Post on F1 coming, R is playing with the photos!)

First while ordering beer, someone heard us speaking French and asked where we were from (in French), he didn't seem very satisfied with the answer Singapore... Neither did he seem satisfied with France, what he was looking for was Lyon/Burgundy.

Then the next day, we were asked to fill a survey at the entrance gate and to the question where are you from we said France, again False! He was looking for Singapore as we live here and have employment pass, he had another question later on for nationality...

And finally, metal detector guy asked me where I was from and this time I got it right, I said France and he was happy!

As you can tell, France is my go-by answer because in Asia people can not tell from my accent! (British people please do not laugh too hard...) and then they are surprised that my accent is not horrendous! :-)

When I was in London, I couldn't answer France to the same question as most people already knew that from the way I speak!

May be to please everyone I should go with:

"I hold a French passport, was born and grew up in Lyon (to be replaced by "Lyon, France" if talking to US citizen, they like attaching state to city!), spent most of the last 10 years in and out of London and currently live in Singapore" but that seems rather extensive knowing that most of the time the person doesn't really care...

So I'm still looking for the perfect answer but may be, as my physics teacher would say: "tout depend du referentiel!" (my answer should be adjusted to the referential!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Forgotten koalas and kangaroos!

It appears that I had written an article about the penguins but nothing on the koalas and kangaroos!

Back in April, R had to go to Australia for a business trip and I very nicely offered to keep him company... We were based in Fremantle (slightly south of Perth on the west coast), but as we had been there before we didn't want to spend the WE in town so we went north to the Yanchep national park to pay a visit to the koalas and kangaroos et we came back with some rather cute shots!

I believe the koalas could do with a mani pedi but even that would probably be too much work...



Monday, September 16, 2013

Feeling like a tourist in London

I now have to admit it, I am like a tourist in London!

Having left my "home location" (as BP would say) more than 3.5 years ago, I am disconnected with what is London today. In my defense, the Olympic Games happened in between and so many things were done/redone for the games.

With D and A visiting for the weekend, I had made a fantastic plan, we were going to take the train to Waterloo, get on the Boris/Barclays bikes (never tried them), cycle along the southbank all the way to Greenwich, get on the Emirates cable car, cross the Thames, potentially go up the Shard (potentially, as it is atrociously expensive), then head for afternoon tea, take the sun in Hyde park and then go for cocktails and dinner.

But if everything else has changed in London, the British weather is still the same! Guess what, my master plan got disturbed by a full day of rain from start to finish! But after all I'm nearly British by now so I kept calm and carried on! ;-)

Train to Waterloo - Done

Cycle along the southbank to Greenwich - replaced by trip along the Jubilee line, walk around the O2 and coffee at Costa's.

Emirates cable - Done, couldn't see much but anyway spotted, the Excel, London city airport, the O2 and the Thames barrier

Shard - so glad I hadn't booked tickets, we would have wasted them!

Unplanned activity - racing boats in St Katherine dock getting ready for a race around the world with people who have never sailed before (I have to admit that the concept still escape me a bit...) boats were huge, security staff outnumbered public (easily), pub looked beautiful!

Unplanned activity 2 - getting absolutely soaked walking to tower hill station! 3 French girls in London, 1 pair of open toes shoes, 0 waterproof jackets, 0 umbrella... Keep calm, I said...

Afternoon tea at the Lanesborough - Finally somewhere dry!!! We dried our feet in the bathroom, made an attempt at looking presentable despite the wet hair and the soaked jackets! I still think that the guys opening car doors at the entrance were more looking the part than us...

We stayed over 2h, ate a huge quantity of sandwich, cakes, quiche, biscuits, scones, canap├ęs and other delicacies, drank tons of hot tea and listened to the lovely lady playing the harp with music sheets on her iPad (beauty of modern technology!)

Taking the sun in Hyde park - the what?

We decided on making our way back to the hotel, switching the rain for the hot tub! 2h later when we decided to go out again, it was still raining...(the capacity of the sky to retain water sometimes amazes me!)

Cocktail in London got replaced by Tapas in Richmond! Not bad, they even had non-alcoholic sangria! (Thanks for virgin cocktails!)

And that's how you convert a plan for a sunny day in London into a pretty similar plan for a very wet day in London.

Obviously on Sunday, after having dropped A at Heathrow, the sun was out and so were the fancy cars!

(Photo credit goes to D and Instagram!)

D and I were able to enjoy a bit of dry outdoor walk in Richmond park where we met with some gorgeous deers.

Not to worry, as soon as I dropped D at Heathrow, it started raining again! If you can take me out of London, you can not take the English weather out...


Friday, September 13, 2013

Sunday Walk in Weybridge

Still in Europe, still in London, on a sunny Sunday, after a really good lunch it was time for a walk along the river.

Weybridge is not really known for being a poor area of Greater London, I was struggling to decide which one of these houses I should buy (just in case one day I have a few spare millions...)

I think I'm going to go for the last one hidden by the huge tree so no one can take a photo of me!


Otherwise, the locks are good fun to watch, apparently these boats can be rented for the weekend but they seem to be quite hard work! (According to the couple we helped)