Friday, December 22, 2006

Fontaine Blow, "The Revenge"


What I like at examland, it's the landing part of the trip. Customs are always friendly, smily and sometime funny. The airport was full of people ready to party like crazy animals who did not see the light for severals days, and wanted to do it one last time.

The 150+ who came at Villa V. had a good time before flying off to all the parts of the world, one to Karachi, one more to NYC, the other one to Singapore, or somewhere else; to see mother land and eat father food.

After the party what's left is a trashed place, but as well a big empty space in your mind and your heart. Something is missing, the sound or the smell, the smiles or the tireness, the complicity or the tension, the new and the familiar, the speed and the slow.

I missed the place already, or maybe the people I must admit. Something special already happen. There is a strange feeling that what happen is already magic and I still in the middle of my dream and don't want to wake.

Shush .... Talk slowly and quietly to not awake youself, this is a cool feeling and you have a satisfied smile on the corner of your mouth.

Can't wait to do the next party in someone else place somewhere, somehow. But for sure I still have 6 months to make it happen, bigger, stronger, and filled my soul, mind and heart with memories that will keep me happy and put a smile on my face for the rest of the time.

Good-By Villa, be safe and drive people crazy.

Chapter 2 is closed, Chapter 3 is coming in few days, and it is going to be a blast again ! Keep it up

Cristmast at home to keep me warm, and refill batteries.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Maybe you wonder why this blog is so silent for quite some time now.

Well it is very simple, I am traveling in examland, and don't have much fun stories to tell.
Except maybe that this is the end of some tuff times where knowledge is poring like monsoon, schedule is as busy as Shinjuku subway station in Tokyo and nights are filled with shooting vitamins stars.

Soon monsoon, later tiger, borrow tomorrow, Singapore B-day

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bombaysers de Lille (*)

I will tell you soon everything on how I found Bombay in Lille.
In the meantime, I post some pictures I made during my short, yet intense weekend to Lille.

Rue Faidherbe

2 Kids on the Wall

Coffee and Chocolate

Vieux Lille

Grand' Place in Lille

Walking on Top of the World

(*) Could be translated in English into "A Lot of Kisses from Lille"

Sunday, October 29, 2006


During my student break, I went back Home to chill out and rest from my crazy Vie de Chateau here in Fonty. These 4 days and good nights sleep rejuvinate me more than what I anticipated, and give me a boost for the next schooling period. But what I wanted to blog on is what I did over there, during the stay. The family decided to go eat a gauffre in Arcachon.

When I think of Arcachon, I usually think of very sunny days, algues smell, swims in the bay, dives from the peers, late family dinners, or long lunch in my granmother house back then, walks in the forest, and silly plays with my cousins. Going to Arcachon is going back to my chillhood and opening the magic memories box, unpack them and measure the distance made since then.

Arcachon change so much in 10 years, that seeing it made me think of beeing in another city but not the one I knew. The last picture that was close to my memories was the walk to the above Jetée d'Eyrac.

All the rest changed, the sea-front, the Jetée Thier, shops, people around. This place lift up from working-class type to Bobo crowd.

But even though people change, they still doing the same thing they used to do a long time ago in my memories.

Walking along the beach, reading books on the Jetées and kissing on benches.

And finally try to eat chocolat-chantilly gauffre at the near by shop.
Mine was big and doubled chantillied, thanks to my sister who ask behind my back to doubled it, (she was video taped making the deal with the chantilly girl). I loved my gauffre but could not finished it, maybe next time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Where do I dance/drink in Bordeaux ?

This is pretty tuff to do a list of where to go around since it keeps changing all the time, but let me try anyway.

Bordeaux as a southern city, likes to have her partying done half in the street half inside.

On Thursday night better to go to Place de La Victoire where all students come and have a drink before going back home for the weekend. No point of listing all the bars around the place, but make sure you do all of them.

Saint Pierre is also a good spot to go around, where Calle Ocho and other Casa Latina are safe bet. The tricky thing will be to survive in theses places where you will calliente inside and outside. For more info on the Latinos parties in Bordeaux.

L'Absolute Loungue (14 Rue de la Devise - Bordeaux Phone: 05-56-48-80-00) is a cool jazz-electro bar to sit and drink all night.

Saint Mich' (or Saint Michel) is more working class / authentic, and you will be able to drink a minth tea and listening to Rai on the main place. Dont eat there or run fast.

On the Quai, you can find other places to party shake your butt or drink your ass. H36 was a nice and rich place to go if you are around. Not sure you should cross the country to be there, but you never know, you could be lucky and have some fun there.

The last place is a no-recommendation, but is listed everywhere in guides and books. Quai de Paludade is a new area where young peop' go to check out and check it out. A bit risky if you go alone and want to find a friend.

The list can go on and on for ever, and could be change on daily basis.
I will not do it, and let you discover the new hot trendy place in Bordeaux by yourself.
Is it not the best thing to do in a city by the way ?

Monday, October 23, 2006

What do I eat in Bordeaux with my wine?

Thinking that What to drink in Bordeaux is not a very relevant question I am putting together a list of places to visit as often as possible. Since I still have some acquaintance there, here is a good list of place to spend some time behind a chunk of wood with a fork in one hand and a piece of bread at a knife through of your fingers.

Stomach ready?


  • L'entrecote : 4 cours de 30 juillet . Bordeaux 05 56 81 76 10,
    €16 / person, classic steak house in bordeaux close to Grand Theatre. Actually this is probably your best bet when you want eat late at night. No reservation, just line up in the staircase.
  • La Tupina : 6 rue porte de la monnaie. Bordeaux 05 56 91 56 37
    A classic restaurant, and well respected.
    The duck boudin is a thick, wide disc of dark meat rich with pungent gamey flavours that floats above the well-dressed salad with apple slices it sits on. The texture is dense, as if the maker had originally made a boudin twice this size and then compressed it. The apple cuts sharply to alleviate the richness. It’s a hefty starter, but more is to come.
  • Le Toscane : 6 rue du cancéra . bordeaux 05 56 01 12 18
    This is my Mum secret place in Bordeaux. Quite Expensive, but one of the best Italian restaurant on the planet.
  • Dubern. 44 allées de ourny . Bordeaux 05 56 79 07 70
    This is an institution in Bordeaux, everyine knows Phillippe Dudern. Usually if you want to have a bourgeois wedding
  • Le Café Maritime. Quai armand lalande - Bordeaux 05 57 10 20 40
    Very Hip restaurant, world nouvelle cuisine + gastronomy cuisineThai- Indonesian Cuisine. Very select and fine cuisineIn the old vineyards warehouse on the piers.
  • La Dame de Shangaï. 1 quai armand lalande bdx 05 57 10 20 50
    Chinese Jonque transformed into a restaurant. Mixed between French food and Asian food.
  • L'Arene Catherine. 34 rue Sainte-Colombe - Bordeaux
    Simple Bistro, where you can eat as well as see, or been seen.
  • Le Jardin des Gatronomes. 1 place Saint Pierre - Bordeaux
    Bistro bar, with a unique menu, basic but classic.
  • Le Comptoir du Jazz. 58 quai de Paludate - Bordeaux
    This is a place in where you can eat well for a reasonable price while listening to some Jazz music. This is the Jazz reference place in Bordeaux and should not be missed while in town if you like this kind of music.
  • Some more Bordelais Restaurant.


  • Hostellerie Le Robinson. On the Garonne river, 15 minutes away from Bordeaux. Just the place is worse going there.I wont talk about the food.


  • Le Chiopot. 281 rue des quatre castéra - 33130 bègles - Tel 05 56 85 62 41
    One of the oldest institution in Bordeaux (Begles is close to Bordeaux)
    At Le Chiopot, chef Jean-Claude Coutenuit is known for his way with beef dishes, though many other excellent options are available as well. Try the bordelaise entrecote steak, which you can view grilling in the massive fireplace, or the house specialty, a salad of tricandilles with a zesty garlic and ginger dressing. Traditional fish dishes are also recommended, including salmon, cod, and escargot. Elegant, upscale atmosphere and helpful service.


  • Le Saint James - 3 place camille hostein 33270 bouliac Tel 05 57 97 06 00
    Do I have to present the most welknowed Relais and Chateaux in Bordeaux

Saint Emilion

  • Palais Cardinal *** (3 stars) place du 11 novembre 33330 st emilion 05 57 24 72 39
    Gastronomic restaurant, on top of the hill with a beautiful view overlooking vineyards.Very select !
  • Hôtel du chateau grand barrail . Route de libourne 33330 st emilion
    Grand Barrail Château Resort & Spa A haven of refinement and relaxation in the middle of the vineyards! Excellent concept Wine & Spa


  • Le pavillon de margaux.
    3 rue g. mandel 33460 margaux 05 57 88 77 54
    Gastronomic Restaurant, Bistro menu at lunch time with view overlooking vineyards

This is my list and reflect my opinion and should be debated on regular basis with myself. I will more than happy to change and update my list based on people input, if I am invited of (main) course.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Paris again

Paris by Day

Picture taken in Palais Royal by Lin.

Palais Royal

I love being a tourist in Paris, because it helps me to take some distance from the crazy, insane Paris and I start appreciate her for what she is worth.

The lady Paris is beautiful.

Every city is to me a person, and Paris is this beautiful independant woman mid-30s who knows what life is. She has been in love and she has been dumped as weel.

She knows it all!

When you look at her she makes you feel too young, and you probably say M'dam when she ask you a question.

Of course when you answer back to her, she start laughting and make fun at you. But you don't really care beacuse she is beautiful, and you hope that one day you will be able to know half of what she does.

Picture taken in Palais Royal by Lin.

Then later on you know her more and more, and you see her everyday, and you start not remembering that she is so beautiful and special to you.

So you don't want to see her anymore and you want to leave her.

You tell her one day at a terrasse and you leave her there, alone, with her glass of wine in a rainy day.

She does not care because she is Paris and she will have plenty of other opportunities and she will go for the next one.

Many years later you come back to her and you see her.

She is still beautiful and pretty. She makes fun of you and you still can't say a word. She makes you feel too young again.

She is in love but with someone else.

C'est la Vie!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mont Saint Michel Pictures

During the Mont Saint Mickael trip few camera-holder-lover were also part of the trip. Have a click when time at Angelito, and Lin shoots about the Mickael Hill in the middle of the bay, worth the time to chill out.

Please turn off your cellphone or pager, and enjoy the show.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mont Saint Michel

After a month of hard work of schooling, I was engage into an expedition that led me and some other members of the Vie de Chateau, in one of the most prestigious place in France: Mont Saint Michel. I was the designated organizer in this event since I have some attachments in the host country. Some 12 or so people, decided in a Saturday late morning, to head up to See the Sea. My heart was beating hard in remembering all the memories that goes along with the salty effect that might be on my lips. We all jumped into 3 cars and hit the road.

The first gang stop over on the way to Bretagne from Fontainebleau was in a small tinny French village where the post office was fighting back the unique bar-restaurant on the 10 feet large central place. We were, all of us, the 12 monkeys, the attraction of the day, and probably the topic of next Monday free market. No explanations were given in exchange of our coffee and the break gave us enough strength to push the route to Cancale.

This village is attached to the rocky coast by a stream of habits and a rope of traditions. In all the name of honor and respect Cancale is as well-know for its oyster as Rome for its Vatican. I heard of people traveling half way through our planet to taste this tinny road along the bay, and visit the lighthouse for good karma and bad luck wish away. I do only believe in the religion of food and do my regular afflictions of wine to pave my road to oven. We all eate in a restaurant facing the port, and enjoyed the local sea food, floading crab and other sea snail with a dry Chablis. The night left us enough light to road back to Rennes on time for a heavy car washed, and a salvation beers at the local bars.

The next morning was celebrated by a French breakfast on a terrasse, staring at people who stared back at us. After all, the best way to be local is to do local. In Rome do like the Egyptian. They stare, we stare!

We finish the breakfast on the way to the famous Mont, and arrive just on time between two sets of Japanese Buses. In my recollection, the Mont was bigger, wider, and wilder and less people friendly than what it is right now. But I was 11 and had no time, patience or interest in whatsoever resembling to an old stone. Today I do, that might be the years that gaining my personnel interest or the time that forces me to respect thing that I see changing in front of me.

Anyway, the Mont was there in front of us, the 5 millions tourists who were present this last sunny day of September. It did not matter for second to me that I had to share this moment with other foreign and un-respectful human being. I was happy to see smile in my 12 Monkeys friends and almost proud that such a place was present nowadays. I let them appreciate the good side of France, and they respected the way France behaved. No complain was said once during this journey, and smiles were on each and every faces.

The trip back was long and delightful, full of joke, sleep and sparks of glazes. We arrived all of us in one piece and tired of our escapade in the French country side. Tired but happy and thankful that we having such a good weekend in our hectic life.

I am sure that, that night all dreams in tha’ house were full of horses, king and old stones. The next morning I was happy to remember one of the dreams that I had that night. The magic of the Mont was on me, let it last as long as possible.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Paris is still Paris, but not the same anymore.

I went to Paris from my Fontainebleau residence last weekend. I took the train early in the afternoon on Saturday (around 6PM), and after 45 minutes of commute time in the Parisian suburb, I arrived in Gare de Lyon. Few subway station later and some accordéon in the tube, I reach Bastille at 7.30PM just on time to start the bar crawl with some friends. The night was long and full of talk and alcohol, the way I liked them. The next morning we all went to Paris Bercy to hang around on the newly renovated 12th area in Paris.

The best thing that I notice in Paris was probably the smell. Paris smells the same, even 10 years later. I like it the way it is. This is a strange mix of humidity, human smell and train oil that give a particular odour of metro Parisien. I felt at home when my nose was full of Parisian sh*t. I liked it very much.

Then, over my short subway transit, I was pushed, yelled at and more importantly stairred at. I did the same thing evaluating my next opponent for the last seat fight and try to see where would be my best spot in that case.
Few tips that I collected over my period in the big P. city.
Don't fight against an old lady; she will give you the guilty look.
Don't fight against a young lady; she will give you a kick in the knees.
Don't fight against an old man; he will give you the vindictive speech.
Don't fight against a young man; he will give you bad experience for sure.

What you have to found is a poor tourist with a lot of suitcases. You have a big advantage not only in terms of time, while he or she carry his or her stuff, you will be able to install your blanket and start sleeping. But as well in terms of language. If she or he starts arguing that it was her or his place, why not answering back in rude and really fassssssssst French. You will win at each time.

Anyway, this is the same old thing, where you run in the subway and you don't even know why. You have the sad and bad look with no smile and you wonder why people have the same. You complain all the time just by the fact you have to in order to relate to people.

BUT this place is amazing!
Each corner is a picture to do,
Each person has a long story to tell,
Each stone has a glory to make.

I love Paris for what she is, and indulge her for what people make her to become.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


The Vie de Chateau started.

I am back to school after almost 11 years of free homework and no assignment. But this time I made it in style. I am living in an almost Chateau (Pictures to come), with 8 others students. We are as diverse as the school could be and represent 4 contiunents out of 5. My first week was really difficult because I did not use my brain for so long -some say that I don't have one, why bother- and staying still for our of lecture in a 70 or so classroom for hours is still a challenge right now. "No gain no pain" (in French in the texte) like my Boulanger friend said once.

Last saturday we went in the Fontainebleau forest to do some team work. Sort of light army test where you have to walk blinfolded in the forest grabing some tools on the way in a team of 4, or climbing a rock only with your teammates help, or falling reverse from a man high hoping your new frend will save your life. It was totally insane, not because of the different activities (one month in any collective environment will fix your social bad behaviour), but because it rained 2 days before and it was hot the day before. I know that you dont really understand what I talking about, but if you were from the area you would know what it means.

The forest was full of Cepes de Bordeaux. I lost it.
Rather than participating in all these wonderfull activities, I was looking for the famous mushroom and could not do ANYTHING with. I could not grab them and cook them because we had a debriefing later on, and I did not had any bag with me (neither my teamates, what a team afterall !). What I did instead I took pictures of the different mushrooms, and I just took one, the most beautifull and smell it all day long. I was in pain no being able to collect them.

At one point a French family came over in my direction and ask me if I saw some, I honestly respond that I did not saw anything in the direction where I was coming from. This is not a lye, just a French custom of not saying where there are. French are very concern with environment issue such as mushroom in the forest (in some in pacific as weel).

At the night, during the debriefing of the day, I only thought of my mushroom and how I could go back next day, and what I am going to do with. I could not say to anyone that was a bad day for me, nobody would have understood why. I lye a second time and said that It was a fantastic opportunity to meet my teammate in such an extreme condition.

The next day I try to look for them again, and I could not.
Safe they thing there are, but next rain, I will be out there to look for them again, even if I have to make a fool of myself in class with my rain boots and my wet suit. You don't really know what I am talking about unless you had them once in yoiur life.

The spirit of the Cepes will preveal on us one day hopefully ...

Friday, August 25, 2006

La Bouffe en France

This is probably what I like the most in France.


I am rediscovering some of my favorites tastes, the ones that I forgot about. And I must say that they are very exiting in the real sense.

My first oyster was dedicated to M. because he ask me first, and my second was for K. But all the rest for me, and I enjoyed each of them.

During my 2 weeks in Bordeaux, I spend most of my time eating cheese with wine and bread. I remember now all the different taste you could have.

Thought of the week.
Once General de Gaulle said "How can you manage a country that have more cheese that days in the year". My advice to him, would be to take one cheese at a time

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Banc d'Arguin

This was on these days that you remember for a long time. A day that remind me so much of what I liked in France, and a day that show me the bright side of the sun.

The classic question you are facing when you grew up in Bordeaux is "Are you Ocean or Bassin? ". In plain English the question would be, Do you prefer going to the Ocean or going to the "Bassin d'Arcachon" (Arcachon Bay). All my life I did not know what to choose, someday I would prefer going to the Ocean over spending the day at the bay, but last Monday I really enjoy being a Bassin-lover and totally forgot about the big waves, sand, desert beach and chocolat-chantilly waffle you usually do, eat, watch when you dress up you Ocean-lover outfit.

A traditional Arcachon Bay boat called "Pinasse". The bottom is flat to be able to go anywhere in the bay.

Last Monday, Mum, Step-father and myself spent the full day at the Bassin. We took off really early that morning, 10 AM (afterall we all are in vacation), and drove in 2 cars to the Grand Piquey pier. At Claouey we stopped by and bought a whole chicken for lunch time. We reach the boat around 11:30 AM and started after some hesitation, floating to the sandbank of Arguin ("Banc d'Arguin").

The Oysters' parks under the water, and seagulls standing on sticks that delimiter the parks.

The sandbank is in front of the biggest dune in Europe (Dune de Pilat) from which people do some hanggliding over the Atlantic ocean or one of the biggest forest in France (Forêt des Landes). The sandbank is moving from day to day and should be approached with care and localisation-efficient equipments (sonar, GPS tracker, maps). But the hard work was worth the price. We arrived in the middle of the inside of the Banc, and anchored the boat close to a swimming pool like area, blue lagoon, close to all the oysters' parks. We were only a handful of people on this massive desert sand island, and we had some space around. We eat lunch on the boat. The coffee did not challenge us at all and we crashed for a quick 2 hours nap, hearing seagull songs and the lullaby sound of the sea on the boat. The boat was big enough to handle each of us lying in a corner. It was probably there that I caught my sunburn, but I did not care, everything was just perfect there. I was happy to seat on a boat, smelling my sea and watching my ocean. I was just happy.

The Dune du Pilat.

After some laughs we decided to be a bit more adventurous and we all jumped in the sandbank. We crossed it and reached the ocean and the waves on the other side. We followed the seagull's footstep to the ocean and, like Robinson on his island, we saw the ocean with different eyes. The ocean was wild and virgin, just for us. We were the first human beings there. JL, my step father, realised after some baths and some more sun burning that we had to run back to the boat otherwise the tide would have forced us to spend an extra 12 hours. I did not mind staying there for an extra day, I was quite happy there, but we all rushed back. We spend 10 minutes moving the boat stuck in the sand, and finally put it back on track, if I could say. That was the only 10 minutes of exercices that day, but what a thrill ! We flew back the few miles that separate the desert-beach-of-no-where called usually by the local Le Banc, to the pier in less than 30 minutes.

Have you notice that if you want to be cool and local you just have to shorter all the names and you become just like them? "Banc d'Arguin" becomes "Banc", "Bassin d'Arcachon" becomes, "Bassin" and "Bassin" becomes "Bas". Maybe "Bas" and could be change into "B", and "B" into " ".

The view from my cousin place.

Anyway, I am digressing, as usual, have you notice how easy it is to digress when you write a blog! In my case .............. but we reach the port at sunset, and took our time to adjust to the ground. The day full of sun and laziness was not over. We drove back to the Andernos, to visit my cousin, oyster farmer. My sister M and her boyfriend O spend the last 2 hours trying to make him open his oyster-bar in front of the ocean at the end of the pier. He did not want to do anything still hangover from the night before at 5PM ! So we helped ourself and open all the remaining oysters, drank some white wine and ate some paté, while our cousin explaind to us his entire night in details. It was still sunset and the sky was pink. My happy day had a final point on it. I was delighted by the taste of the sea in my mouth. We drove back with my mum, not saying a word, and listening to Ayo, Down on my Knees full blast cutting the night with our salty memories.

This was Monday 21st of August, and it was my Happy Day.

When was your last Happy Day?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Felow reader, I confess, I am a big fat liar.

For the last 20 years or so, I kept saying to everyone I meet that I was from Bordeaux. But I am not from this city anymore, this is not my city!

I know this is the classic cliché of an old man going back to his old town, saying old things to young people; but places that I knew are not there anymore, and places that still exist are not the same anymore. What I liked somehow in this city of Bordeaux was the constant continuity of the continuum space-time dimension, you could go back anytime, anywhere and you were sure to find the same old café, with the same comptoir, with the same garçon, with the same mirror behind him. Not anymore !

Downtown is now an all pedestrian compilation of streets full of brand new bars and brand new restaurants. The quai have been restored and are now an amazing alley to wonder around. The other side of the river, once consider the worse place to living in, is now the best spot in town to appreciate the fullest of one of the most bourgeois city in France. Bordeaux once called the sleepy beauty, eat the apple, has awake and is standing still, kicking and alive.

I am happy for EVERYTHING.

Before my bateries died, I had the chance to took some pictures of the new Bordeaux

This is the Statue des Girondins from the Grand Theatre. You can see the new streetcar on the left side, totally electric so silent. Streetcars had to make noises to avoid accident, so it has been decided that the streetcar is going to make the exact same noise as the one that Bordeaux had 50 years ago.

Of course you have a terrasse close to the Grand Theater, where people watch people passing by. This national sport is becoming easier since that the entire area has been shut down of engine and becoming a pieton area only.

This is the tram rails, with a view down to the Pey Berlan place.

Shot of the day
None so far, but Bordeaux is a paradise for camera addict.
I will add some pic as soon as I can, using my sister brand new camera.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


The first thing that I notice in Toronto after travelling for so long in South America is the absence. The absence of aggresivity. I could just walked in the city and lifted my weight of constant pain. I could walked around without thinking twice about what could happen to me.

You always see the place you are in with the eyes of the place you just left. And for me I was seeing the place with South American eyes.
I was natural in the city again. Toronto became instantanitly my city, the city that I lived in for many years now. My moving around was very fine yet tourist. I forced myself to stay in a hostel in Kensington Market, and such for 2 reasons; the first one because it is a central place in Toronto, and the second because it is one of the Spanish place in Toronto. I was having a central decompression sass for the few days I was staying in Toronto in my in-between time.

During my short stay in this city I tried to do all the thing I must have to do before leaving, and sadly enough I just manage to do only few of them. I am really sorry to not had the time for all the people that I know in Toronto and I did not see, but know for sure that I keep a big place for all you in my small heart.

I was really sad when I took the taxi back to the airport, but I was happy that I did this trip with my special person. During the trip, K. and I listed all the thing that I must remember and here it is for you a bit but for me as well a lot for not forgetting:

  • Susur, best restaurant in town
  • Kensington Market wondering
  • Bacon Sandwich at St Laurence Market
  • Gate 403 Pub in Roncevalles on Sunday nights
  • Movie at the Revue in Roncevalles
  • Sushi at Il Bun Ji
  • Celebrations at Tempo in Little Italy
  • Afternoon sunbathing at the Diplomatico’s terrace
  • Ferry boat to go to the Toronto Island
  • Shrimps with garlic mayonnaise in the patio at my Roncevalles house
  • The entire Gerard Street (Indian Bazaar)
  • Queen Street saturday shopping
  • Black Bull people watching tournament
  • ...

    For all of these reason, I love Toronto.
    Toronto is a beautiful city ... in the summer time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


When I look back to the last 3 months I just spent, I can say that I was very lucky. I had a great time traveling around, meeting people and more importantly had a chance to be in places that helped me think to be different. I know when you think you don’t usually do, but in my case I did do a lot of thinking. One should have some time off in his or her life to be able to do the thinking and then think the doing.

Let me explain you why I was lucky. I traveled in the North part of South America in places where usually people don’t go because they prefer spending times in more casual destinations. I do agree on that statement and used to think that way, but this time I try to push a bit my boundaries and change my references for a change.

I was lucky to be different.
I spend most of my time looking at things and tried to understand through my own perspectives, accepting most of the times what I had in front of me, even if it was something against my believes or my reasoning. Since I was away, I must be away from my own person as well, and be ready for the difference. I am happy to say to you that I had the chance to manage most of the time the difference propose in front of me, so be it the lack of respect, the very low weight of someone else life or the grandiose splendor of the scenery. The things that were propose to me were all the time different and change me in some ways. I can visualize now what could be the immensity, or the mystical, or the dramatic, or the questionable, or the distress. I have seen all of these with my own eyes, and added more experiences to my years. I expend my

I was lucky to be by myself.
Backpacking by yourself is a thing that should be done only in good company. And I liked being lost in places without having the possibility or the opportunity to communicate. Some people could not spend an hour without talking. I was happy to spend days without talking to anyone but to myself. Of course I had to speak to people and chitchat with them on some casual thing, like bus schedule or food menu or place to sleep, but I could not elevate my casual talking to something more profound due to my lack of motivation or lack of language domestication. I spend most of my time in this state of mine, yet I was happy and looked for it.

I was lucky.
I did not had any trouble in crossing all these countries. Of course I had some issue here and there, but nothing special. Most of the things that I took with me the first day were lost / stolen / given by the end of the trip, but I had nothing wrong happen to me. I was the witness of more serious thing, like robbery or mugging, I heard story from people who were robbed, mugged, kidnapped and rapped. I saw dead people on the sidewalk and I manage to go through without any issue. My lucky star was taking care of me during this trip.

When I think about all the things that I traveled through, I would say that the 2 things that I still can remember vividly even today are the Machu Picchu in the early morning and the bay of Rio de Janeiro at the end of the afternoon.

Macchu Picchu in Peru, for me is the time when I saw enigma.
Nobody knows why this place exist, but it is still there between earth and sky, floating in the clouds.

The bay of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, for me is the time when I saw magic.
Nobody can appreciate more Rio than from the Christ (Corcovado).

These two places are now in my heart and in my dreams for the rest of my life.
I was lucky to just see them once in my lifetime.
I am glad that I traveled to be there.

Friday, August 11, 2006

South America Photos

Out of the 1200+ photos that I took in my trip I had to select a hanfull, and that was my task of the last 2 days. I finally made a short cut of what I like the most.

Hope you will enjoy them as well.
Brasil, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia are now accessible in Mintalo.

Have a nice click.

Tag of the trip
You don' t really have signs in South America, you usually have painted walls around the cities. In one of them I saw probably the best definition of democratie. I will keep that definition in mind:
"Democracia es pan con libertad!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Adios America del Sud

Muchas gracias por todo.
Espero que podria visitar le de nuevo un dia.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Lima II, Peru

In few hours I will take my flight back to TO, and in the meantime I am surfing on the net trying to catch on the world like a maniac. I missed so many thing during my time off travelling in South America that it will take me more than few hours to go around. By the way, I would greatly appreciate any king of fast crash course to go over some of the most important thing that went by during the last 3 months.

- Europe had a hot wave, as well as North America.
- A war started in Middle East.
- Asia had few crisis, India some bombs, and Africa try to elect corrupt people.
- Few presidents were elected and some were dismissed.
- Cuba almost change, but manage to be the same, for now.
- My soccer team did not buy any players yet start with a win last saturday.

One thing that did not change that mush is the city that I started few months. Lima is the same as I left it. The thing that actually change is probably me and my backpack. I almost lost /give everything or had some of my stuff stolen all along the way. I also bought so many thing that nothing is the same in my bag.

This is what travel is for in fact, unload your bag and load it with some new idea. I will need some time to go over all my pictures, upload the best shots online and for sure think about everything that happen to me in these last few months. I am in a certain way sad because my trip in South America is now over but I am really happy to go back to TO.

I will have a long hot bath and a green salad tomorrow and that will make my day.

Spark of the day
In Lima everything could be stolen. So in restaurant, all chairs have their own purse-lock on the back of them. Weired but it´s working.

Best CD in the hostel
Anthology of Marvin Gave

My last cab ride from the hostel to the airport was quite a ride.
I was driven by a cocainoman cab driver and we drove the 20 Km in less than 16 minutes. At one point, between bumps and holes, we took over a bus that was taking over an other cab and having a car in front of us in a 2 lines road in the midle of the night. I was praying beleive it or not in Spanish. But we made it largerly in time for the line up at the one Air Canada counter. Safe and in one piece.

Gracias a Dios

Friday, August 04, 2006

Huaraz, Peru

I bought my ticket to go to Huaraz, and 2 days later I find out that I would fly out of Lima 24 hours sooner than what I was thinking. That would have left me with only 24 hours after a night bus trip, to see the entire city and all the different sites around, with a big risk of not finding a bus ride to Lima later on.

The only thing I saw, then, of Huaraz is their website !

I gave up on one more 10 hours night bus trip and book instead a 10 hours day bus ride to Lima to arrive safetly to the Hostel I started almost 3 months.

Same crowd, same music, same place and almost same stories.
It feels good to be back home, in nowhere.

Overheard conversation
I was in a long bus trip, and after 12 hours my neigbourghs were very tired spending most of the trip managing the 5 years old girl running around, trying to occupied her most of the journey. At the end of the trip, while leaving the bus, the 5 years old kid complained about her evil mother and she said very loadly so that the entire bus could heard what she had to say: "Yo soy un esclave de mi Mama, porque no puedo ser libre!"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Huanchaco, Peru

The city of Huanchaco is 12 km away from Trujillo, and is main surf spot as well. But what was interesting was the way fisher man do they job. They use the same boat as the Moche use to. It´s a long strange thing called Caballito de Totora and is made in Tortora. Don´t ask me what it is I have no clue. But it is really solid and very efficient in the local big waves.

At 6PM at sunset, all of them go out in the bay fishing for the restaurant. You can not say there that the fish is not fresh. You probably order your plate, see the guy going away, and then see him cathcing it. It ws quite interesting to see how they move over the waves. The funning thing was that at the same time we had a surfing lessons for some loud German on the side. They were not that good at standing up on the long board. But our local surf boat went trhough like a knife in a moutain of mantequilla.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Chan Chan, Peru

From dust to dust.

The great city of Chan-Chan was the capital of the Moche Empire, just before the Inka took over and annex them in bloody negotiations. The city is just outside of Trujillo and is left alone with no protection. The city that at one point hosted more than 30,000 people is estimated to have more than 100,000 structures. When you walk in this gigantic cemetery of human construction, the weight of the 20 centuries Moche culture fell on you. You move around in a ghost town full of sand. The wind shaping the left over structure will finish the job of the Spanish and the robbers who destroyed the city.

We visited the Huaca Arco Iris (Temple of the Dragon), which dedicated to the rain. It was the only temple from the Moche culture which was painted. Gold was its colour and faked the Spanish on their way to the city of El Dorado.

The Museum of Chan-Chan is just here to show that Peru still have some work to do in preserving its own culture. But the main attraction is the visit of the Palacio Tahudi (Governor Palace). The size of the edifice itself is impressive. We are talking about 4 times the size of a soccer pit, and it was his office. Wonder his house looked like.

The morning we visited as well the 2 temples from the Moche as well.

The Huaca del Sol (Temple of the sun) that you see on the picture, and the Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the moon) from where I took the picture from.

The del Sol is only a quater of what if was before and was rip off by the river near by and the spanish (again!) on their way to the pacific. The de la Luna was used for ceremony purposes and they found some human rest with no head in the cemetery. Guess what, it seems that they were not that friendly with their own people after all.

These giant structure are here to remember us that we all have our time in time.