Monday, 23 June 2014

Snowing in Summer 2.0

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The next day in Switzerland, the plan was to hike up the Jungfrau, top of Europe, which altitude is about 3500m. Except that we didn't have to hike. We took the train up and THE RAILWAYS WERE BUILT 100 YEARS AGO!! Goodness, human brains are utterly amazing creations! The photo above is how the train station we boarded on, looks like. The train station was so beautiful that we took our time until we had to catch up with the last train to go up to Jungfrau.

But quickly, we realised that the decision to move on with the train was the best decision we have ever made. Because we had to change our train at the next stop and this was how the next station looks like. IMG_3365IMG_3366

The whole transition was TERRIFIC! For a while I just sat on the stony ground breathing in the beauty in air. Many friends did the same thing until the next train came. It took us some time and hesitation to board and move on the railways.

Then the whole journey became very.... undescribable. On that instance, I know that I could never go home without missing this place already. IMG_3346IMG_3317IMG_3333IMG_3356

Then slowly, after a somewhat 2 hour ride, we were near the snow already. Despite travelling so frequently, this is only my first time seeing snow, because we always ONLY travel during summer haha!IMG_3372

Then we are finally at our terminal station, the Jungfraujoch!IMG_3407

It was very cloudy and misty up there, the peaks were always covered in clouds. We were at first on the Sphinx Terrace. It's technically a platform stretching out in the air among the Alps. Among the mountains, there were some black birds flying. At first I thought they were crows. I looked closely and saw big feathery wings that allow them to glide in the air, with very prominent yellow beaks. Then I realised that I couldn't be right, since crows only eat rubbish. We only find crows in markets and dirty pasar malam and if they live here they would have starved to death already.

I know they ain't ordinary birds. IMG_3395

They are the alpine choughes.I fed one with bread. But as soon as a woman holding an apple came, those stupid birds ditched me for her. Eventually, I had to eat the bits of breads myself. Alone. Miserable. *cry* IMG_3397

Things got pretty boring when we realised that we couldn't get to play with snow. We felt so cheated for a while, having to have come so far up for some shit views. *cry somemore* So we walked randomly in the complex until we unknowingly reached an entrance to somewhere very bright out there.
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OMG SNOW!! We ran out and embraced the snowy ground and planking. IMG_3453IMG_3431

The weather forecast predicted that it was a rainy day ahead. So thank you for at least the heads-up, we weren't too sad about the thick mist. Then it started snowing, finely! Dad was so excited about the snow that, the engineer in him made him sit down and examine the shape of the snowflakes. I guess everybody ignored him and had our own fun haha!

This is my parents, the Legendary Papa Fu and Mama Fu! IMG_3438 Noticably, it wasn't even that cold up there. So we started rolling on the snowy ground and throwing snow balls at each other like how they do in Korean dramas, without the romance.

We bimbo-ed there just for a while to pass time. But after all the excitement passed, oxygen was low and I felt very breathless, my heart pumped far too much and my brain couldn't function too well. For a while I think I got a little dumber. IMG_3467 Just when we were leaving, a girl in wedding dress and she became the target to all cameras!! Awww! Happy alone wedding photoshoot!IMG_3458 We all slept in the train on our way down the mountain. Then I woke up to this magical view :)IMG_3493IMG_3497Then sadly, as time passes, it seemed almost a pity to leave Switzerland. Then as if Switzerland wanted to give us the greatest goodbye, on our way to Italy, we drove on a highway that goes rounds and rounds across the snow mountain. It was a... luxurious feeling that no money can buy.IMG_3517 IMG_3520IMG_3523 I think my parents got so excited they started throwing snowballs on us kids. I felt so bullied =.= shouldn't they be the stern no-dont-play parents? Why are they trying to pick a snow fight now, and of all places, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD? It is so ironically funny since my parents always scolded me whenever I played near the roadside when I was younIMG_3526IMG_3542 I felt so moved appreciating how Switzerland is so gifted with such beauty of nature. But I bet they suffer with a lot of snow during winter, and I hate the cold so hahaha, I will settle with Malaysia. :)IMG_3528   So guys, when you think of visiting Europe, please please realise that London and Paris are the only places to go. Switzerland should always be on top of your list alright. The tourism ambassador in me is showing. See you in Italy!

Snowing in Summer 1.0

Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going to fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. -- Eddie Cantor

Immediately after crossing border of France to Switzerland, there's a great change in the landscape: from the very flat land to an extremely hilly agriculture. I couldn't even exactly place my feelings. I just felt so free without worries. The scenery heals and mends all broken hearts. Definitely moving to Switzerland if I ever have the chance :P

Welcome to the most expensive land in the world, where they charge you almost 5 Swiss Franks (similar to American Dollars) for a fruit tart LOL. It's hard to imagine how these fruits are actually subsidised LARGELY to reduce the number of Swiss who buy imported fruits.... How expensive would it be without subsidy?

But it's still okay. It doesn't feel so bad paying 5 Swiss Franks for a fruit tart, since it's the most expensive country in the world. But I felt like shit when I saw the bank notes...

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They look like colourful toy paper money. The characters on the notes are not exactly too photogenic. However, with all the Swiss bankers working the magic, Swiss Franks is still one of the most wanted currency in the world.

We checked into a Hotel Schonbuhl(pronunced as Shore-Bore) in Wilderswil near Interlaken. This hotel is run by Urs, who is the Downhill Ski World Champion in 1989 OMG *fan girl faints*. I borrowed his gloves in hopes that they would give me champion luck, to prepare for the trip up to Jungfrau the next day.

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And this is how the backyard looked like. So gorgeous let me die here.


Switzerland is the safest country in Europe. You can leave your wallet on a public place for hours without it being stolen. But it is scary how the military works in Switzerland. Some centuries ago, Switzerland decided that it is no good for war because it is so small compared to her neighbours. It has been 499 years since its last war. Despite that, Switzerland is ever ready.

1. Most Swiss men have at least a gun in their houses. So if anyone ever has to rob, please avoid Switzerland or you're going home in a black bag.
2. If war ever happens, all men can be mobilized in 2 hours.
3. ALL tunnels in Switzerland are dynamited ie. equipped with bombs WTF so if someone invades when you're driving in a tunnel, you're sadly, not returning home because Switzerland is gonna bomb every single organism. They can blow it up anytime.


 But this doesn't mean that Switzerland never invaded anyone. In 2007, during an army training in a forest, the soldiers took a wrong turn but they kept moving on, equipped with their guns. After walking for about 2km, they realised that they were now in Liechtenstein. So they quickly retreated back to Switzerland and Liechtenstein didn't realise until the Swiss informed them. I guess everybody had a pretty good laugh at how Switzerland just broke her record of an invasion.

On my first day in Switzerland, I only got to stroll around the town since it took 10 hours to go from Paris to Switzerland. But it's already healthy for the eyes and mind.

There is something very unique about the houses in Switzerland. They are all made of carved woods. They all have different features. They all have toys in front. And they are all so beautiful!!


It was 9pm and it started to get dark. Some sheeps were already back home so there were lesser and lesser sheeps to be seen and I was desperate to spot a herd. Suddenly I heard some sounds from up the hill and saw black and white figures! I ran up to the hill and the closer I got to the herd, the more I realised that they were not sheeps.

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They are alpacas!!! .... or llama. I have no idea.Anyway I thought they only exist in New Zealand or something!!

They are weird and curious, these animals. Unlike sheeps which just take a look at you then continue grazing, these alpacas would just stare at you. And it isn't an individual thing. They stare at me, in a group of 25 or so. Like this picture. Except for the brown one whom I assume is a girl. She got close and gave my outstretched hand a sniff, decided that I'm not gonna feed her. Then she LITERALLY turned her head and neck like 150 degrees backward, then jerked her body away. It was like in cartoon and I laughed so hard that I scared all the other alpacas away and they just sit at the back staring at me like this. Whenever I move an inch or so, more alpacas will stare, until I stop moving for a minute, then they lose interest. So imagine when I try to pose for a photo, 40 alpacas look at me like I am the celebrity of the animal kingdom.

Alpacas have swag. I am gonna keep one as my pet and I will name her Lady CaCa. IMG_3347

As we know, Switzerland is famous for the bankers, Swiss knives, watches and cow bells. I'm not quite sure why Swiss rolls aren't on the list. Swiss bankers have a reputation of not revealing client's particulars, which we can always see in especially those action and Nazi movies. If they ever do reveal those secrets, they will go to jail for a long long time.

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A Swiss knife is the one you would definitely know. You just shake the thick set of knife once and a specialised knife would flashingly appear. Shake once more and another blade appear. It may be a can opener, a pair of scissors or even a killer razor. I wanted to buy one so badly and my budget was 10 Swiss Franks. I went to a shop and I saw some selling at only 7 Swiss Franks and I wanted to buy. Then I realised that the 7-bucks one only flashes 2 arms, one being a small useless knife and another one is a... nose picker =.= Who the hell would need that.

Needless to say, the watches from Switzerland are Rolex, Tissot, Cartier and you name them. Globally, Switzerland produces one fifth of the watches but they carry 90% of values of watches.IMG_3247 In the photo above, which was taken before the night fell,when you look closely, there are bells hanging on the sheeps. Those are cow bells.... hung on sheeps hahahhaa what an irony. And these cow bells.... I just hate them. Every morning I woke up to the KILING KOLONG sounds of cow bells as the cows would surely get chased from one place to another by a herd dog and the cow bells are more efficient than clocks that conventionally need batteriesIMG_3101

While strolling in town, I passed by a wooden shop called Holzkristall with a board crafted with Chinese characters. There was a beardy man sitting outside, reading newspaper. As one of Chinese descendent, it caught my interest. So I stared at the man and squinted my eyes asking, "did you write these?" while pointing at the characters.

He raised his head looking bored. Then when he finally had a clear vision of me, he was so warm and said, "yes yes! Come in and see my shop!" I was a little confused by his reaction, then I thought meh maybe because I'm just pretty.

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Apparently it's a stone collection store. There were just tons of stones. Well I'm not the biggest fan of stones so I can only define them by colours. The first shelves only had the black grey ugly ones, yet in very sharp defined shapes. Then as we entered deeper, the beauty revealed itself.

I don't even know his name. But he started talking about everything.

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He is a miner, and he mines in Jungfrau, the highest mountain in Europe. Then he showed us a book with a picture showing half a man's body and his head deep in a crystal cave.

"Ho Ho Ho that's my body!" He beamed.

He told us about how he went 200 meters deep into the cave. He ran out of light source and touch was the only sense he could use but he continued deep into the cave where he knew the finest crystals were buried at. Just when I was wondering about how dangerous his job is, he put his hand on my chest and said ernestly:


"SERVE WITH HEART, NEVER FOR THE MONEY"

Being a shallow person, the first thing that sprang into my mind was that, okay he ain't no touchin' ma boobies. Only after 10 seconds, I realised how deep his words hit me as a future doctor. Serve with your heart...

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My thoughts go on until he interrupted with, "I like Chinese and your mysteries! I'm going to Xi'An in September for 4 months!" I wanted to tell him that I'm precisely a Malaysian Chinese but I left it there because I was distracted by my own thoughts: goodness, so he didn't invite me in just because I'm pretty zzz... Mm hmm, too much info dude. Now I'm the sad one.

He gave me a piece of crystal that he mined a couple of months ago.

Then I put in a piece of my soul in this Swiss stone, and brought it home.


SERVE WITH YOUR HEART

Second day, to be continued...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Paris 3.0

It's funny how the little things excite us more than anything else. Like how we pulled up in this train-cart whatever you call it, at Dover. IMG_2548 It's like the train is a portkey in Harry Potter and when you park your car in and poof! you've landed in France! Apparently, this is called the Channel Tunnel, which is constructed underwater. Or rather, it is built within the layers of ground under the sea. So you drive your bus into a train, park it inside until the train is loaded and ready to go.

Advantage: just too cool to be overlooked
Downside: I didn't even know whether I was on ground or underwater cos' it was all dark from the window of the train. IMG_2556 So there we go, after landing in France and a 300km ride, we arrived in the heart of Paris! Bonjour! IMG_2659 As we all know, France is a beautiful yet ridiculous country. I guess stubbornness runs in all French blood. #nevermarryFrench. Being one of the richest nation and in G8, France is the biggest operator of nuclear conversion to electricity. Well, every year G8 countries would get some marine boats to go negotiate with France to reduce the usage of nuclear power but well, it is obvious that they haven't succeeded. And France is famous for being stubborn in many other things. Like their food. Although just a sea apart, French food is obviously a lot better than the English food, which is near unbearable. There's almost no competition simply because English food is meh so I don't know how the fight about French or English having better culinaries can last as long as centuries.

There are plenty of great food just everywhere in France. Firstly, the French have their snails, the es cargots! IMG_20140601_003702 It just gets me wondering how French can make snails, these things that purr and crawl on soil and shits, taste so refined and relishing... French and their mystery. I don't want to imagine what they have added. BUT, but snails are never among the biggest French food around!French fries and croissants are! ......Only that they stole both from other countries and claim them theirs.... French fries known as frits in France was originated from Belgium, while croissants, the heavily buttered pastry is from Austria. Both of which France are never gonna give back to their origins. Yesh! These ahre mhine! says a French. But their fondness for weird food, either stolen or processed, doesn't end here.

This is a food which is already banned in many countries, which even parisians themselves don't eat. The goose liver, Foei gras (fwa-gra). Foie_gras_en_cocotte It is a controversial product of forcing a tube into a goose's gastrointestinal tract, constantly force-feeding 300g of corns everyday, until their livers are fat enough. Basically, it just means fatty liver. Being a French delicacy, it's ironic how Parisians don't eat them so it's extremely hard to see them in Paris. Usually, it's packed in a pink yellow Pâté form. I remember it tasting somehow buttery with a nugget-like texture. It just tastes... liver-rish.

But this is not why France is so famous with its stubbornness. The main reason is how French always think that France is the best country is the world. Or the ONLY country in the world. When you start travelling more around the world, you'd come to realise that you just don't meet so many French internationally. This is because French stays home a lot that when they travel they just usually go caravan around the French outskirts and that's all. We ain't noh stepping ohn your lands le stupide! Read this sentence out loud in a nasal tone with an oomph! at the noh! and you'd make a perfect French accent. Yes, you're doing it right! IMG_2723 Imagine a conversation that went like this:

French: Bonjour (bong-zhur/ hello)
Me: Bonjour! Bonjour! Comment ça va?(Ka-moh-se-va/ how are you?)
French: oui ça va! bien, bien! Comment ça va? (wee se va! bian bian! Ka-moh-se-va?/ yes great! Well Well! How are you?)
Me: the weather... comme ci comme ça (cum-si-cum-sa/ so-so)
French: *wave hands frantically* Why makes you say this? You should feel so happy! You're in the best country in the world!!!
... 3 seconds pause...
Me: haha oui oui! Now I gotta goooo merci! tres bien! (tra-bian/very good) au revoir(o-re-voa)!! Byee!

Thank goodness he didn't say you're in the ONLY country in the world!, I would have fainted on him.

Of course, it isn't just the goose liver, the stolen food and the patriotism that makes the French ridiculously interesting. They also have the... most ironic and weirdest history ever. Just like the story about this square in the photo below. IMG_2633 This is place de la Concorde, which is commonly called the Concorde square. As you can see, there is a gold-capped obelisk pillar right at the middle. If you actually look closely, it doesn't look like anything that may belong natively to Paris. In fact, it once belonged to Egypt. What happened was Napolean was travelling around the world and "accidentally" took this obelisk back home to France. Some claim it's given by the Egyptian as a friendly gesture towards France. But ever since the obelisk "accidentally" landed here, every year Egypt's international relation has been writing letters to France hoping that the French would give them the obelisk back. Every single year, the French have said no. I think the exchange of letter lasts even until today, every year. Hahahaha, I told you the French blood coats with stubbornness.

Another irony happened during the French Revolution. Kings and queens enjoy and spend extravagantly and the public suffered to cope with breads. Before the French Revolution, the King Louis XVI invented this beheading apparatus called Guillotine where a person is to lay facedown on a set of rectangular wooden structure, then the blade suspended above would drop and cut his head. During the revolution, people were so angry that they executed King Louis XVI using his own inventment. Good for the king to have a taste of his own creation.IMG_2757 It was reported that the square was so bloody after the uprising as many died that, the horses when near the square, would go crazy and refuse to go in. Thus, around in Paris, especially on the edges of the bridges, you would see many statues with a horse half in the air, and a man on ground to pull the horse down.

Another thing, which is the most ridiculous of them all, is the size of Louvre. IMG_2834 Even though I have been inside Louvre beside, I have never been able to really estimate how big it really is. Rooms are connected to one another and you walk from one to one without realising how far have you walked. Of course la, I am not talking about the glass triangle behind. How big can that be? I'm talking about the palace at the back, where Mona Lisa is. Louvre palace has 30,000 rooms. And this isn't even the most ridiculous part yet. The most ridiculous shit is that, with 30,000 individual rooms, King Louis XIV/XVI still thought that it was too small for him so he demanded for another palace to be built: the Versailles.

LOL WTF I am happy just having 1 room. imagine having 30,000 rooms. If you are to sleep in different rooms every night, you gotta live for 200 years to do that =.=ll Well of course, now a lot of rooms in Louvre are merged for arts displaying purpose.

Back in a few paragraphs, I have talked about the superiorly patriotic spirit of the French. And it is interesting how it seeps into their daily habit. One of the most prominent social phenomenon in France is their Café culture. Have you ever noticed how all the chairs outside a Café faces the road? Well, it's a French thing, to sit outside the Café - sit and be seen! They are hoping that tourists would be looking and pointing at them like ooo look at them French gorgeous and classy and they will act like they totally don't see you taking photos of them. IMG_2869 Another funny thing about this Café culture is that, they never leave the Café. They sit there the whole day on sit-and-seen mode. Besides, don't expect the waiters to come to you the moment you entered the Café because a slow service is considered a good service there. So if you want your bill early you gotta be a little stern, or put some iron on the fist so the saying goes. IMG_2707 Some people say the French are lazy. I am not denying that. Apparently the new law that just got approved says that the working hour is only 32 hour/week. In fact, it goes as far as this: it is illegal to pick up any calls or do any work when it is out of office hour. So let's see, a person only needs to 6.5 hours per day, that is, from 9am-3.30pm on weekdays. Then when his boss calls the French can totally ask him to f*** off LOL. Which reminds me of how things are like in Malaysia.

The official working hour here is from 9am-6pm on weekdays which make up 9 hours. But ever since I have memories, I never see my dad coming home any earlier than 10pm. In fact he comes home usually at 11.30pm. Well, different world, different matters... IMG_2823 So anyway, only at my 3rd time to Paris that I found the Pont des Arts the Lover's Lock Bridge. Apparently it's right beside Louvre WTF I feel so stupid. In recent years, many couples have brought padlocks with their names written on them to lock on the side of the bridge. After locking, they will throw the keys into the Seine River so their love would be eternal. Well, according to an English friend who is always in France, the French police would take out some locks from time to time and sell them to the smelting company. The end products are made into army war heads. So yea, it just says those in love with locks are so gonna end up as enemies. I don't even know how true that is haha! IMG_2849 Regardless of its validity, almost immediately after I left Paris, the bridge collapsed because of the weight of the locks. I took offense of it because I cannot be sure whether it's the locks' weight, or mine. Either way, it just means that the weight of love is too depressing haha ;) IMG_2858 Another very interesting thing about Paris is her street performers. Some would enter the train cabin and start playing music, which gotta light up the day of even the saddest man in town. Although this one is merely playing on the subway, everybody welcomes musicians. IMG_2749IMG_2859 Then there are some creepy ones... IMG_2879 There are only some who are so atheletic that they make you go horny just looking at their bodies. Kidding, but no kidding. If you're a girl you know what I mean. While world cup was just around the corner(well, it's now), this fit guy is playing with balls at Montmartre.IMG_2680 IMG_2685   Despite being eccentric, Paris's beauty remains, and will never be put out. Here are some photos before I end the post.

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