Junie's monologues of travel adventures & daily humdrums

white christmas


la grande roule parisien. The ferris wheel of paris

This coming christmas is my first in paris, third christmas on this blog! Time really does fly,
doesn't she? I remember starting Magic Carpet Rides almost 3 years ago, before i left Singapore, before the big travel, and now, just when im rather settled in Paris, im moving again, in febuary next year to Vietnam. Im always on the move and time just simply isnt on my side, I thought of giving this blog a facelift, put a little effiel on the camel's head but since im going to be living in vietnam , maybe it should be a pointy vietnamese hat instead!

Lots have happened this year, I got engaged! yup gilles & i are on our way to getting hitched! Im even thinking of starting a wedding preparations blog to share my preparation process, lots of tiny abosolutely trival projects i'll like to undertake. This blog has rather abandoned recently, i do apologise but as soon as i get round to the habit again i'll go right back to putting em up!

Meanwhile, here are some pics of my getting ready for xmas!

my little decorated pine tree

fresh home made gift sticker tags

price of 80 cities in 33 countries


I am finally feeling grounded. After 5 months of not jetting ard, I can finally feel my feet on the ground. Great that i no longer have to get up at unearthly hours for work, no more death hazards and uncertainties abt safety looming at the back of my mind when i'm up in the air; i always wondered if i was going to lose my life that way, on a takeoff or landing accident, or some incident resulting from a cumulation of human errors. Not impossible. I blame visuals and real life survival and doom stories on National Geographic's ' Air Crash Investigations' but more so, on my own accident.

You see, I had a really bad injury from flying in November of 2006, it was a bad turbulence, so grave that all the food trays went flying up the ceiling and came crashing back down onto the floors of the aisle, leaving and assortment of food and juices smeared on the aircraft celing, religious passengers took out prayer beads and young children and babies cried. I was strategically standing at the back of the aircraft where the bumps were the worse. The aircraft literally made sudden drops of many feet in the air, and i was thrown up like a ball, and floor of the plane hit my ankle as i fell, before the nature-laws of gravity could land my body in a natural fashion on my own weight. Nope it was the impact of the aircraft against my very human body, aluminium, metals, against my bones.

SO the end result of that, deep trauma and me lying on the floor, when its over, wondering if my leg was broken since i felt a sharp sharp pain when it hit me, needless to say i was tearing from a mixture of fear and pain and confusion. I was taken off the aircraft in a wheelchair much to my embarassment , when we landed in Manila.

Our trip pattern was to stay there for two days, and i had to stay on my own in my room, since i knew no one, i had wait for medical professions to come to my room on top of the trauma. i called gilles crying, glad that i could still call him, and hear the voice of someone dear. I never tried to call home, dont wanna freak mum out since she is already very adamant that i shouldnt be risking my life flying. I was really scared too since i dont know if my ankle was broken or not, the area swelled up so much that it looked like an elephant's leg, no shapely contours, all really bloated and tender like an inflated balloon, i couldnt even place my feet gently on the ground as that will induce waves of sharp pain. I tried to go to sleep but my mind was still in trauma mode and my subconcious is in shock. when i finally doze off, i remembered feeling the up and down plunging motion of the plane in severe turbulence as though i was still in it, and i woke up to a man's deep raspy voice screaming into my right ear, 'Braceeeeeeeee Braceeeeeee' ( something that the attendants have to say when the plane is abt to land in an emergency before the real impact). The voice was so real and scary i had to slap myself to snap out of it. I wasnt dreaming since my eyes were opened and looking at the TV console when this raspy voice came shouting in my ear. Thats the first time i heard the voice of my traumatized subconscious, not a nice voice i dare say.

That episode dragged on for a good 4 to 5 months, i had to go on clutches, make regular visits to the physio-therapists, do a zillion xrays and MRI scans, gosh i hated every minute of it, also the fact that i had to stay home and not go anywhere since foot was in constant pain.
The injury itself lasted much longer, up till now, my ankle isnt fully recovered. I get hurt when i walk more a long time, i had to wear flats mostly and i am afraid to be as active as before because of this injury. If u ask me im suffering from a little bit of injury related depression or fear.

Well i paid my price to see 80 cities in 33 countries.

A tale of two cities and my cold turkey


In my recollection of thoughts occuring in the boring 3 hour train ride this morning , i discovered with nostalgia that i was quite fond,in my school days, of a certain Dickens novel with the majority of its plot taking place in the time of the French Revolution. It is from this story that i; then a nubile young girl of 16, knew of a place named paris, the french revolution and a frightening apparatus known as the guillotine.

This is the tale of two cities, a story masterfully crafted , involving perplexing characters and tragic endings, yet everything is beautifully contrasted and thematically presented, mostly in the setting of a bloody revolution. See my point already?

Anyhoo i shan't bore you with the details of this story but i'll like to share with you, a part which seems to me now as i recall 10 years after i read the book,rather curious, in a way that it prompted me to think how myself, coming from my background and culture, and the french people, on the streets of paris, on the train in saint nazaire, in the supermarkets, how different we are in our ways how different we are in our tastes, of food , of political thoughts ( im quite lacking in that area) and of life, essentially. You see, there is a part in the story which tells of how repressed and poor the peasants of the streets in france are during that time and how the aristocrats, adherent to an ancient regime are conceited in their ways and value very little the worth and dignity of the poor. The Marquis, a character in this story, potrayed as a cruel heartless noble man, famously said , "Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend," observed the Marquis, "will keep the dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof," looking up to it, "shuts out the sky."

A particular scene in the story in the story describes the spilling of red wine onto the dirty cobbled streets as a crate rolled off a transportation carriage of a wine merchant and the peasants scurried to drink it jubilantly, unfazed by the state of their own degradation.

I at this point, think two things, one, wine is precious to the french looooonng before today and two, theirs is a culture of saving and salvaging, of preservation and conservation. Ok i know these peasants were poor then but somehow this virtue of conservation lives on till today.

But seriously now, i didnt just derive at this observation from a story i read ten years ago, its encounters and exchanges with french people, albeit a very very small number still, that i realize the differences in the way of life back home. Paris is rich in history, and its apparent everywhere, the old churches, monuments, streets.. hell, even the apartment im living in IS live testimony to how old this place is, and singapore of course is a young baby of a country, not much of a bloody past except for world war two when the japs occupied our island, Singapore is just really spanking clean, sparkling new, with glass, steel concretes-hardly anything is more than a hundred years old. In the culture of the new we overlook the need to save, to salvage to conserve. Ours is a consumption culture, where our people buy and buy neverending in their search for "perfection"; yet another pair of shoes,yet another top or yet another newer phone.just cause we can. im not saying paris is any much different in this respect when it comes to buying. But people here value more the 'oldness' of things, an antique lamp, the beauty of history in an art deco chair,etc.

i admit with heaps of guilt that i indulge in wasting, in the land of dubs,too many a times, i throw many overdued food items away due to my carelessness and neglect of consuming them before its best before date, yet i accumulate and accumulate, acquiring more and more, being spoilt in my neverending ability to acquire more. Everytime i move, i shock myself by discovering the amount of nonsense that are completely useless and obviously carelessly bought and chucked away, and you guess right i had to leave them behind, to the garbage. oh the shame!!! i hope france will teach me something, it is starting to a little.

Gilles is helping a great deal, he is a saver, in all sense of the word. i need to kick this habit of wasting, cold turkey style. And it looks trés trés conducive at the moment as everything here i perceived too expensive to be worth spending on. fingers cross that im being liberated from consumption. one thing though i bought this really cool phone..... =p im sorry!but it comes in the plan ok!!!

anyway today i had breakfast, singaporean style, without my kaya toasts and teh on white ceramic kopi tiam style cup and saucer :( im suffering cold turkey of the food and convience of familarity im going to miss...

runny eggs with black sauce and pepper. mmmmm home...

fly with love


top model and cabin crew of the month

and . . .


the front of my building

And dot dot dot. thats how my life feels like at this point. Some of you might already know, I have transplanted myself yet again; yanked my half grown roots out of dubai and air-freighted my perishable body to paris and am in the process of attempting to plant it on a 7th floor apartment on boulevard raspial with no lift. well what comes after this is a true mystery, unknown to all, waiting to unfold, thus the dot dot dot. I believe i am now at the first dot. Freshly plucked, still disoriented, still in disbelief and shock; when i do arrive at the last dot, i am hoping the surroundings will appear a little more real to me. (well i better believe it damnit, cuz ready or not, i have to snap out of it, sink in and work it like a big girl!)

Anyway, this apartment, which gilles lovingly calls ' our nest' is cute. small and cosy, tastefully furnished and delightfully quiet. The living room windows faces a small courtyard and the kitchen's little skylights faces one of the largest cemetery in paris; the montparnasse cemetery. Here in their resting places are france's great personalities, writers, sculptors, artists; the artistic and intellectual elites; one of which is the french philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte who wrote scholarly and fictional works that popularize existential theory.

the entry way

At my new nest, the living and the dead are placed side by side in their respective quarters seperated by a low wall. This farcical situation seems to mock those alive, in their futile effort to run against time, in their desperate search to live life to the fullest they nevertheless will , slowly but surely wind up horizontal on the side of my famous dead neighbours.
C 'est la vie . the cycle of life as it is. Ashes to ashes dust to dust. We know the impending doom,
the inevitable end , yet we try to shut the timer off, choosing to ignore it and pretending our pleasures go on forever. Mortality always catches up with us, whoever we are, however much we are missed. At the end of the day a tombstone will mark your short existence on earth ; Living neighours will occasionally visit and ponder their own short-lived existence on earth but elsewhere, the fast rhythm of the city continues forgetting the quiet quarter the non-living. Well not me, I will be reminded everytime i look out of the stairwell window.

Im not complaining, its a good thing to be reminded that your time on earth is limited isnt it? well i think so.

entering the apartment

Darn! this post is meant to be light hearted!!! pardon my indulgence in melancholy dear readers.
On a much lighter note, the place i live in is lovely. Gilles and I got off to a beautiful start, with a housewarming party and walks ard the neighbourhood; climbing 7 flights of windy stairs everytime we forget something is no joke. i got almost got killed once in my attempt to climb the intensively waxed stairs in high heeled ankle boots with slippery soles of zilch grip.

gilles pretending to make a cocktail for the camera

I guess then i have no choice but to exercise. Nice toned derrière, here i come!

gilles pretending to drink from a glass for the camera

me on the right side of my nest

our downy bed

the birds

The cutest tree huggers in Brisbane


me with * Jaffa

Was in brisbane for almost 4 days in October. Spent my days hanging out with the fantastic crew, going shoping in brisbane central, and visiting the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary-by myself since no one wanted to go with me.
Lone Pine sanctuary was located a 40 min bus ride away from the center of brisbane.
And it is,according to them, the largest Koala sanctuary in the world.
i was told that visiting a sanctuary is a whole lot of different experience from visiting a zoo. And it sure is!

The sanctuary sign board

Athough Lone Pine is mostly a Koala sanctuary, they house a small handful of different Fauna and Flora. They have Kangaroos, Sheeps, Reptiles, Birds, Wombats to name a few.
Sheep dog demostrations or Koala bears presentations are some of the programmes lined up each day. And as a visitor one can look at a printed timetable and decide which ones to attend. I attended the sheep dog demos and the koala presentation. couldnt attend more cuz of limited time. I stayed almost 4 hours at the sancturay!

Sheep -Dog -sheep show

The Kangaroos in the sanctuary are kept in a park with ample open spaces. visitors can come into the park and mingle freely with the creatures. I found myself a log and sat down amongst a herd of kangaroos. bought some kangaroo feed and made some kangaroo friends.


don't you think he bears a resemblance to camels?

kangy's smaller cousin

Australian creatures are fascinating aren't they? even the birds are unique!

cant remember the name of this bird, anyone can tell me?

I had a rare opportunity to see the male peacock spread its tail feathers. I personally have never seen one display its feather as the one below. and i actually saw the whole process of it!
At the time of its display , i saw a turkey around the vincinity , maybe it was a female turkey?! there wasnt any female peacocks ard...

male peacock

the sleeping koala

most koalas sleep the major part of their lives away. Their diet consists of eculytus leaves and since what they eat don't give them a lot of energy , it is nature's decree that they have to conserve as much energy as they can throughout the day. So whenever you see a koala they are mostly very sleepy looking and always yawning * i know! how cute right?

the same koala a few seconds apart. she's half awake from one of her numerous snooze

my favourite tree hugger

she has a cute face doesnt she? each koala supposedly
looks unique and the keepers claim they can recognize
the koals just by looking at their faces

two sleepy koalas looking nonchalent


sleepy head

Istanbul ,Turkey



5 days in istanbul, the land of a thousand minarets. Before visiting istanbul i dont have the slightest clue as to what a minaret is. Minarets are the pointy towers that are part of the mosque.
And in istanbul you really do find quite a lot of these pointy towers. At sunset the prayers are belted out from each mosque and you hear them loud and clear, each awaiting the other to finish. It is really a cacaphony of sounds , something i find really unique to istanbul, numerous mosques are located in such close proximity that the interlude of prayer sounds are unrivalled anywhere else!

Istanbul's made up of 3 land masses seperated by the water bodies of the golden horn , boshphorous and the marmara sea. Me and gilles stayed in sultanahmet, the bottom left land mass you see in the diagram. Our hotel was pretty close to the blue mosque and the hippodrome. We put up at hotel daphne and were very delighted with our rooms which had a really nice view of the mamara sea. Close proximity to the major sights is a major plus point
however it made us more laid back than usual. And we chilled a good amount.

We each arrived seperately at the hotel, the whole experience was pretty effortless everything ran smoothly no major kinks when coming in.
What did we do in istanbul? i had my first go at a turkish bath, overdosed on turkish delights and raviolis, get mistaken as a chinese/japanese/korean/mexican/kazakstan muslim woman in the mosques, have my picture taken with real turkish muslim women thinking i exemplify the multicultural reach of islam and get patted down by adorable old ladies who seem to love that i took pictures with them. Haggle prices over items with bazaar holders and get asked where i'm from a million times, Get into a zillion meaningless conversations on the streets starting with" where are you from" and ending with "will you like to have a look at my carpet shop?" Get stranded in the airport on my last day and put up in dodgey area in istanbul taksim only to befriend a really nice receptionist at the 2 star hotel i stayed in, discussing my misfortune and our life till 3 in the morning over turkish tea and coffee. If you ask me, we did pretty well for 5 days!

About Turkish Baths. --Rated as one of the major thing you have to experience before you die, we thought we might as well do it since we are in turkey the motherland of turkish bathing.
The female and male sections are seperated thank god. We were told we had to buy an exfoliant cloth of some sort so we can be scrubbed down. I was worried the whole time that i might have to go au natural and was filled with ambivalence that we are really going through it. Gilles kept reassuring me at least i will be able to cover my itsy bits with the itsy cloth provided.
I had to take it all off! yes they were all women but since you had to go on a marble slab in the middle of the bath to be scrubbed down and exhibited i was really traumatised. Next comes a big middle aged lady, armed with the exfoliant cloth to scrub you down together with your itsy bits to the floor. Rigourous scrubbing and touching and rubbing ensued ( they call it massage though) I was traumatized. Definitely something i'll remember for life. *No images provded*

Us at the hippodrome

lady in abbaya washing before prayers

istanbul blue!

Our favourite turkish ravioli!

the yummy dish

this bridge brings you from taksim to sultanahmet

fishing is a national past time it seems

gilles with his pro-looking photographer stance

the turks love their fishies
more fishing
hagia sophia at sunset

another turkish dinner

lovely scene
the famed grand bazaar

inside the world famous bazaar

Bag stall with seller calling out 1 lira bags! (they point to an old pile of small purses on the floor
when you inquire further) price of a hanging bag, 189 liras!

pretty patterns on turkish rugs

pretty moroccan arabic glass lamps

turkish delights.mmmmm...

market stall holder

interesting market sights
a cart of bananas

chestnut seller

Finally when it comes to getting back, I suffered. Gilles had an earlier flight so we were at the airport early, he departed and i continued waiting for my flight. When it was my turn to check in i was told that all flights are overbooked and it is not possible to get on. I had to stay a night in istanbul and try again next morning. According to the airport staff from the looks of it there isnt any available flights in 5 days. called hotel daphne but they gave out the room intended for me to someone else. In the end had to book a last min 2 stars hotel which was quite expensive in taksim. I felt really muddled and just went with the flow. WHY DOES THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO ME ALL THE TIME? got to the hotel paid my due, got shown my room and hallway was so dark everything was a far cry from the previous hotel we stayed in, I couldnt sleep a wink. Went down to the reception and spoke to the receptionist who invited me to turkish tea and we chatted. Mustafa was the hotel receptionist i met admist my misfortune He was kind enough to offer to go check about the tickets in the morning the next day after his shift work was over and we did just that. finally i found a full fare ticket on singapore airlines back and i really had him to thank for it. Thanks mustafa, I found a new friend in istanbul! * cheerios

About me

  • Travel blog of Junie
  • A design-lover who also loves to create, I blog about inspirations and beauty that i come across in my daily life.
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