Saturday, 31 August 2013

Edinburgh 2013



“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”― Nelson Mandela

Back to Irish fresh air for a day, then departed with Ms. R and Ms. K to the heart of Scotland.Image

Sooooo thrilled to be back to my favourite city after 3 years! Edinburgh, a medieval city, is a big buzzy city that at the some time, gives a very peaceful and calm countryside atmosphere. As a student who was supposed to enroll in Edinburgh Uni, I may be a little biased but the locals are so friendly that they can make you feel a tinge of warmth in your heart despite the all-season chilly climate.ImageImageImage

Okay la lao niang's story went pretty much like this. I was supposed to enter the University of Edinburgh for Chemical Engineering in Masters or Heriot-Watt Univeristy for Oil and Gas studies in 2012. After a hospital attachment and some experiences dealing with life and death, I decided to opt for medicine and that was when a medical scholarship came in handy. A series of disagreements with my parents came and went and here I was, being in Edinburgh as a tourist instead of a resident.ImageImage

There are so many things that is very own to Edinburgh.

1. Edinburgh Castle may be the ugliest castle you'd see around, well at least it is the ugliest on my list. Dull colours, monotonous architecture, old and worn-out, with bullet holes and stinky stones everywhere. Something that will forever ruin your imagination of castles after watching sleeping beauty.ImageImageImageImageOf course, it is not fancy for a reason. Edinburgh Castle was built upon an extinct volcanic rock and has been more of a fortress instead of a castle to fight off the English with canons bomb bomb bom!! LOL you can't have a beautiful castle when wars are going right, imagine all the enemy canonballs getting stuck on your walls LOL.

And creepily in Edinburgh Castle there are a couple of prisons. Imagine all the ghosts roaming above your heads sending you breaths of kisses... Oh my, thank goodness the sight of this young hot angmo came to my rescue.ImageOh my, heart-melting stunning smile for me! Lao niang's heart skipped a beat.

2. Arthur's SeatThere would be NO OTHER hill like this legendary Arther's Seat in another part of the world !Image

3. This scenery

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4. Edinburgh's Shame.

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LOL the National Monument on Calton Hill was supposed to be built based on the Panthenon in Greece but the constructment was stopped due to lack of funds. Well obviously it doesn't look much like Panthenon besides the standing tiangs LOL epic faiiill.

5. The statue of Greyfriars Bobby, who spent 14 years guarding his owner's grave beside Greyfriars Kirk until 1872 OMG SO LOYAL T.T LAO NIANG ALSO FEEL VERY TOUCHED. Gimmeh a pet dog! This status in on George IV bridge, 10-20 meters away from Harry Potter's birthplace!

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6. The Elephant House where J.K.Rowling wrote Harry Potter! LOL took lao niang some time to find it based on a map cos' apparently it has shifted before according to my brother. Die-hard HP fans MUST COME HERE! :) HERE WE UNITE!Image

7. Edinburgh's old-time "sewage system". Or rather, waste disposal system.

During war time, the houses were all built within the defensive wall surrounding the oldtown and as population grew, the houses were built higher and higher, approaching 12 or 13 floors at the side of the city.

During that period Edinburgh had no sewage system so people would shout gardy-loo! and pour their wastes out of the window LOL so if you're downstairs on the street you have to shout back NONO I'M STILL HERE PLEASE HOLD ON TO YOUR SHITZ but I'd suggest you to BETTER RUN REALLY FAST LOL or the godsent waters would be poured right on your face....

Condolences, my friend.

Then the wastes would follow the alleys and flow to the lower parts in the oldtown, one of them being the Cowgate, which is turned into an area of student accomodations and backpacker's hotel now. *giggle*Image

8. Edinburgh's ghost stories, the most haunted city in the world.

We joined a ghost tour at night and our tour guide, Craig was like 123456789 times hotter than Tom Cruise like no joke. This ghost tour became less scary LOL lao niang felt so safe having such a hot handsome leadman. Well, this tour taught me a lot about some Edinburgh's history, but also left me feeling a little weird...

Image*cough* Anyway, the point is about the ghost stories. Or sometimes, facts.

First of all, in 18th century when the population in Edinburgh was bursting, South Bridge was built over Cowgate to extend to another side for expansion. Its arches over Cowgate formed some commercial areas on the surface, and many underground floors below as vaults.

So at first these vaults were used by businessmen as store rooms but very soon water was leaking into the vaults so they were abandoned. After some time when Cowgate became a slum, many homeless people, prostitutes and thieves etc moved into these vaults and these places became like some sort of criminal areas for dirty dealings. Because there was no sunlight, no sanitation and no access to clean water, it was closed down in late 19th century. Please forgive lao niang for not being daring enough to snap a few pictures in the vaults T.T

Anyway, the vaults were pretty creepy, almost every room has different spirits guiding them, some were a little stronger some lesser and the temperature flactuates with it, and some evil while some welcoming. Apparently the lights aren't very welcomed down there because they don't like it so even though you bring torches in most of the times they won't work, or stop to. Tour guides use candles all the way. Well personally I didn't feel anything from the vaults (Guess I have very oblivion nature all along). However, there are many TRUE stories about tourists feeling cold breezes down their necks and hand-grabbings, hearing unexplained voices and capturing weird pictures with unknown shadows and many many other paranormal reports, one being recorded about hearing a priest reciting the Last Rites followed by a scream.  Anyway Lao niang stole this photo below from google. The vaults aren't this bright inside though.

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It was in the older days when the crowd LOVED public executions, all of them would leave their houses to watch people being hanged. This photo was taken in Grassmarket where public executions were carried out in those days. No wonder I felt a little uneasy as I walked down the street, as if the street was a little different from the others but I couldn't tell what it was...

There's an incident happened here when a smuggler who helped another prisoner escape and won the public's sympathy and the crowd started to ask to free this man. Seeing this mess, the town guard captain ordered his men to fire the locals and a few died. The crowd became agitated and thus forcing the captain to retreat from the baying mob. The people thought that he was responsible of the deaths and should be hanged but he was pardoned by the Queen.

However, it did not end here. The people protested and he was forcibly frog-marched(being carried with each limb and face downwards) to Grassmarket. They bought a rope on their way (LOL) and before he died of hanging, his body was taken down for the people to abuse before being hanged again.... poor, poor man, he had his fault but the people were VERY irrational!

ImageMeanwhile, Burke and Hare were body-snatchers who killed and sold corpses to Dr. Robert Knox for money. In 19th century cadavers were very in need and many medical schools would "take corpses with no questions asked" which is considered as "anatomy murder" nowadays.

Burke and Hare(owns a logding house) met when they became neighbours staying in the same close (underground street). Their first body sold was an old man who owed Hare 4 pounds so they sold him for 7 pounds to Dr. R.Knox's assistant.

Their first murder victim was a sick tenant so they gave him whiskey and suffocated him. After that they started luring people from streets back to the lodging house for murder until a lodger became suspicious and found a body under a bed. Anyway Burke was executed and hanged publicly while Hare wasn't because he agreed to testify against Burke and was granted the King's evidence(Immunity from prosecution) while Dr. R. Knox received no punishment at all WTF =.= lao niang kenot under the logic in those days LOL.

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Another famous ghost story would be the one around Mary-King's Close which is now buried under the oldtown city center. In 17th century during an outbreak of a plague, many citizens working and living here were quarantined, or rather, locked up in their houses. Well actually maybe around half of them were healthy, but still acted upon because Mary-King's Close was doomed, and they were poor and probably won't do much good for the city WTF LAO NIANG DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW U CAN SIMPLY LOCK PEOPLE LIKE THIS ONE LO. So aalmost all of them died there having it as their tombs. So by 18th century, this place was covered up with buildings.

A building above Mary-King's Close were said to be haunted so a group of daring nurses dared each other to have a night's stay there. It was seen from the windows that they were having a great party with bright lights and noises and laughters everywhere. The next day when the door was unlocked, all the nurses ran out looking wornout, scared and tired. Ask why? No one wanted to tell.

The most famous ghost there is a girl called Annie who's been seen many times and it was reported that she was looking for a doll she lost. Well, many visitors often leave many gifts for Annie around :D

LOL lao niang so not chicken, dare to type about all these ghosts at 2am *proud*.

8. High Street where the entertainers and dealers dwell in the summer heat. ImageImageImageImage

9. The Scott Monument!
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9.  Pubs
Even better when they have epic names LOL!ImageImageImage

10. Love!
Be it for the music, or for life. You see it everywhere in Edinburgh :) Lao niang so happie la! We saw a marriage ceremony in
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Edinburgh was great! So were the people! Downfall or not, lao niang was too happy to be there to notice anything hahahahahahah!!! Ending this post with a photo of mine :)

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#nowplaying wake me up when September ends

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Bonjour 2013

Est Paris l'amour. Je t'aime

A day before leaving Dublin I felt sick already. Initially it was an itch in the throat which escalated quickly into a sore.
I sounded like a duck.

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My French was pretty limited to bonjour, adius, merci, au revoir and hahahha while Ms. K was totally nuts at it. So even though I've been here before, we were still !@#$%^&*() LOST because I can't read French map. And after 3 years Paris STILL HAS NO ENGLISH MAP haha!

ImageParis was being quite a hot old. Same old, same old. Still with this stunningly spectacular baroque architecture. This pretty much sums up what we did in Paris there. A lot of walkings and a lot of photos. My sunburn got so bad that people thought I was a Nepalis HAHA THANK YOU LA LAO NIANG HAS VERY SPECIAL FEATURES RIGHT =.=

Hahahah!! Ms. K with a couple of gorgeous sizzling soldiers.

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ImageUpon entering Louvre, I felt so bad for not being knowledgable enough.
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IMG_1751My first time entering Louvre. There is so much in the history, in the world that we need to learn about, so much to understand, so much conspiracy, so much darkness in humanity. Yet I know almost none of the stories.

I read some French history and art mysteries before coming but it wasn't even close to 1% of what I saw in Louvre. :) Art is great.

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IMG_1809A naked female statue with a pile of old shirts.....what? I don't even...?

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IMG_1803The Last Supper and Mona Lisa are placed right opposite facing each other. Such contrast when Mona Lisa being such a small portrait has security guards around it.

After seeing Mona Lisa for myself I started understanding her grandeur, her power and attraction.  It's a fact that the smaller a portrait is, the harder it is to perfect it. Yet Mona Lisa is so... fine. It's amazing how Leonardo da Vinci can draw just a portrait with many hidden notions. Mysteries aside, some physicists say that you can even derive some mathematical formulae from the portrait. I certainly derived one. 1 eye + 1eye = 2 eyes.

Look the the amount of people in front of me! There wasn't even a line LOL. Ok la I went a little uncivilized and started squeezing bit by bit to proceed further or I won't get a closeup even after a spending a century there. Hahahaha sorry la, forgive lao niang la, it wasn't easy to get my way between so many big-sized angmos lo.

After 10 minutes of battling blood and sweat with big sweaty sea of bodies.

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IMAG2605-2Halfway through Louvre I was already feeling a slight regurgitation of whatever in my stomach. It worsened after my hard work fighting off big angmos. So I sat down facing The Last Supper and this baby girl joined me. Her company was therapeutic. :)

Thank you little punkie sweetheart!

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IMG_1814Upon leaving Louvre we saw this Mama-shadow. Scared lao niang crapless for a while. =.=

Bought my mum a bag in Champ Elysees. The moment we stepped out of the shop, everyone stared. CRAAAP I swear lao niang would have run away as fast as Usain Bolt if it wasn't for Ms. K. I know we both look very young compared to Parisians my age who look so mature that they can be my dad and mums but please don't openly stare like this it's impolite okie =_= I got so scared that instead of the subway, we hailed a cab and paid 30 euros for that. =.=

We grew back down for these. Paris Disneyland was spectacular and both studio's and parks' tickets only came at 50 euros.

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IMG_1593We waited until 7pm when the fairy carnival started! I swear I saw Toy's Story armies actually doing Gangnam Style lol no joke.

After the carnival ended we went to grab some food and got tiok money. One freaking cheese garlic bread was like 8 euros. With this rate my pocket would be empty and I might be stuck in Europe and can't go home. Got a place to stone for mental restoration and went back once again for Space Mountain LOL.

Bought this ice cream cos' we saw everyone eating it. Con money one, it tasted the same as Our Mat Kool, the ones they sell in the ice cream car :P

IMG_1447That's Ms. K with her ultra thrilled SUNBURNED face LOL.

Then the day turned cold from like 28 celsius immediately to 20 celsius just like my temper. We sit at a nice spot near the middle for good view and we talked about boys, about how dry we became, about how a year has passed, almost about everything. We even vowed to get a French guy for ourselves hahaha! We obviously have both failed. It was good because most of the times we were either busy walking, or just stoning. But walao lao niang waited until 11pm for fireworks until butt hurts. Waited so faithfully, fireworks you better be good. :)

Okay la fine. It's a summer night. After all it was worth the wait :)

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ImageAll this while there was one stupid lamp post standing there like a boss blocking the whole sky. It actually appears in all my fireworks photos hahahah!!! The fireworks and 3D lights show was at least 30 minutes long? We got lost in time. We got lost in dazzling starstruck fire in the sky. I think somehow we left our hearts there.

We were so lost that when it ended, we couldn't bear to leave until we gotta run to catch the last train to the city.

We left Paris.vous voir bientôt, la ville de l'amour.

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Paris has changed quite a little in 3 years time. First of all, this was nowhere to be seen any more.

Image1. cigarette heads

I must guess that after this European Recession, people couldn't afford as many cigarettes LOL joking. Whatever the reason is, the cigarette situation is A LOT better than before! Ohhh lao niang sooo happy ahhh there was no more clouds of smoke to walk into, no one blows clouds with round shape into my face. Yes Parisians, you've got smarter, stay away from lung cancer! :D

The streets becameso much cleaner. Even the subways smelled less of urine fouls! Parisians rock!!

Image2. Pharaohs

I remember seeing Pharaohs everywhere near Champ de Mars last time. Where have they gone to now? Definitey not back to Egypt.

3. Jokers like these

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And now, we see this. Wheels of I-dont-know-what-you-are-built-here-for. It's everywhere in the city.
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And the coffee shops became less crowded.

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Another interesting thing is how the English and the French dislike each other, so much that the French disapproves of conversing in English. Last time, my dad got scolded by a French for asking for direction in English. So I went to ask again and greeted him with bonjour, he went on smiling frenzy and led me out of the B&B to direct us! Wahlao eh, lao niang didn't know Bonjour do magic LOL.

Only this time, the French became a little different. We didn't encounter any French giving us trouble just speaking in English with them, a few even exclaimed agitatedly that they understood English completely.

Dad said this English-French conflict started after World War II because of the domination of the British empire. Besides, although French had been supreme throughout Europe, English rose to importance and everyone learns English lo. Then the French flips table. Somemore lao niang heard last time The English used to always insult the French Food (although English food is terrible=.=). Thus to the French, they find it a praise to their nationality and their language when foreigners, although couldn't speak French, take an effort to speak. Nationalism/ national pride, you name it, we all have it. :)

Overall, be it English or French, maybe we should lay our armor low and LOVE instead.

IMG_1282merci muh, chère Parisiens. au revoir.

Oh, and never leave your place after midnight! And beware of pickpockets! There are way too many of them in Paris!

#nowplaying you're every woman in the world to me.