Montreal

Montreal is dubbed as the sin city of Canada and the largest city in the province of Quebec. It is said to be the second-largest in Canada and the 8th-largest in North America. There’s so much to see and do in Montreal… it would probably take a month or so!

Little did I know that I would be in for a challenge when my Popster friend, Mydzz, and I decided to go to Montreal via train (VIA Rail) last October 9th, 2012. Thanks to Google, Mydzz found the a number of popular places in Montreal to visit in our 4-hour time frame.

viarail viarail-

 

As expected, we had several bloopers during our trip…

1. Confused!
We nearly got off at the Dorval station, one stop away from Montreal, because we got confused with the announcement for the next stop.

2. Photo oppsie!
I was taking my photo (a.k.a. “selfie”)  with the Notre-Dame Basilica in the background when a guy across the street offered to take my photo. His shouting was so loud and animated that I ended up being the center of (unwanted) attention. OMG! Mydzz laughingly walked away and pretended not to know me. O_O

montreal-notredame--- Montreal-NotreDame-selfie

It’s a good shot though…. 😀 Hmmm… better than my “selfie” on the right… Don’t ya think?

3. Train seats mixed up.
We were finally settled in our designated seats when the VIA Rail officer asked us to move. Our fellow passengers told us that there was a glitch in the online booking system that mixed up the seating arrangements.

4. So French!
The VIA rail employees were talking to us in French while directing us what car to take. All we could do was to smile and say thank you. “Car 4” was the magic word that we needed to hear to put together all the things they were saying.

5. So lost!
Our million dollar smiles opened the hearts of strangers, happily chatting with us and helping us find the best views in the city.

Below are some of our snapshots:

montreal-port montreal-port-
montreal-science centre Montreal---
montreal-chinatown montreal-
montreal-archeology Montreal-Mydz
montreal-coloredbuilding montreal-justicepalace

Notre Dame

montreal-notredame- montreal-notredame--

 

Surprisingly, we covered several tourist spots in 3-4 hours with no tour guide. Ha! We spent an hour having lunch in a Chinese buffet… we pigged out at the Jade Restaurant! :p

The trip to Montreal proved to be enjoyable after all. Until next time! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmwa!

Toronto

Toronto is an improved version of Metro Manila (Philippines) and somewhat a bigger Singapore. The malls remind me of Megamall in the Philippines and Ion (and the mall near Somerset -forgot the name- is it 316?)  in Singapore.

Toronto  is an ideal place to do some “tourist-ty” things (check out the Ontario article for more photos). My trip there did do me good because aside from completing my errand without a glitch, I was able to relax, walk around and do some fun stuff like:

  • ride the train once again (I love trains!)

with Fritchie

waiting…
  • check out Dundas Square close to old city hall
Dundas Square
  • drop by at Eaton Centre (a big mall downtown Toronto with 365 stores)

Eaton Centre
  • visit the CN Tower

CN Tower

view from the CN Tower
  • drink hot chocolate in Starbucks (fyi. i’m not a Starbucks fan)
Starbucks @ Finch
  • hunt for Korean soju in  Yonge street (dubbed as the longest street in the world!)

“Korean” Mart

Korean Resto
  • and stopover in other scenic spots!




The most memorable one was the bonding moments with my long time friend Genevieve and my little sister Fritchie (both my fellow Lormanian).

with Genevieve

with Fritchie

No matter how exciting Toronto is, I still prefer the beautiful and serene Toon City… Ha!

My Beloved Toon City 🙂

Brussels

Normally, we go to Aachen(Germany) and Liege (Belgium) to roam around, shop, and feel the cool breeze.  (See related article ->   Belgium  ) After which, we travel via train and opted to go back to Hotel Randwyck in Netherlands at the end of the day.

One weekend, the group decided to go to Brussels (Belgium) for a change. Once the group reached Brussels, we all took the hop in hop off tourist bus so that we can check out places as much as we can within the day.

We were getting hungry after our first two stops so we grabbed a bite before carrying on. There were five of us in the group (four ladies and one guy). While eating, two of our friends (lady and guy) mysteriously disappeared. The “exciting” part was, they were holding our tour bus tickets! We were very upset and frantically looked for them. We have our hand phones but we don’t know their contact numbers. -_-

It was around 6p.m. when we gave up the search and went ahead to the train station. To our surprise, our two missing friends were at the train ticketing area. We did not utter a word. We just looked at the them and our eyes said it all. :p

The next morning, they explained what happened and  our guess was right. Apparently, they went somewhere to clear up a misunderstanding (which happens frequently).

Scenario: The guy was engaged to be married in his home country and still flirting with our friend.

Ultimately, the guy broke up the engagement and ended up marrying our friend after going through the so called hiccups of a relationship .  True love does exist! Ha!

Hmmm…. Maybe it can be tag as a relationship developed in Europe… and leveled up in Brussels, Belgium…. 😉

lucky!

It was a typical morning when I set off for work. I was running late so I walk as fast as I could towards the train station. The moment I reached the station platform, I heard the familiar “tut tut” sound and the train door closed just as I was about to go in. -_-

The interval was around five to six minutes and I was fidgeting while waiting for the next train. Finally, I managed to board the next train, took a nap while travelling, and reached the train station near my workplace without fuss.

I thought all is going well but as I got off from the train, my phone dropped and a stranger helped me pick it up. After thanking the kind stranger, I went straight to the staircase because the escalator was crowded and the lift was too far from where I was.

As I climbed the stairs, the paper bag that I was holding slipped from my hand and some of the contents happily jumped off and went to different directions. It’s my lucky day indeed.

I was flustered and embarrassed but I pretended to be cool and plaster a smile on my face. Thankfully, two helpful individual assisted me in gathering my scattered stuff; to think that we were in the middle of the staircase and it was rush hour! Thank goodness, angels are everywhere.:)

When everything was in order, I silently prayed for a “normal” day. The chain of events in a short span time reminded me of the quote, “when it rains it pours”. And that made me anxious.

True enough, I got some “blasting” from my boss and still I did my best to calm my nerves and be optimistic. I went through the day with a smile as well as kept in mind that the sun shines after the rain and thunderstorm amidst the cloudy sky. And it did. Aja!

ang moh

It was rush hour at the train platform and everyone were anxious to get a seat. I was in the group who boarded the train first so I managed to have a seat without “fighting” with anyone. :p I was working on a blog entry while I was on board the train when something caught my attention.

A not so old lady, skillfully blocked the Caucasian guy (a.k.a. ang moh – see singlish article) and took the seat where the ang moh was eyeing to take. With my mind diverted, I was discreetly observing the two. The ang moh seem to be pissed off and muttered “ladies!” while shaking his head. The lady just ignored him and he went on to seat at the empty chair next to me and began reading a novel.

ang moh novel…

When the lady alighted at the next station, the ang moh looked at her, shook his head and whispered “see”. He must have rolled his eyes but I did not dare look at him. I was thinking on what’s so special about the seat that made him look so grumpy early in the morning. It must be his favorite spot while reading a novel. Hmmm…

He looked irritated as well while he kept glancing at the guy who was conversing loudly with someone. Looks like his “love cup” must be nearly empty waiting to be filled. The only thing that I can do for him was to keep on smiling hoping to radiate and sprinkle (like a magic wand) positive aura on him.

Hopefully, he had a good day after the train ride. Aja! :p

airport

After I knocked off from work, I went straight to the airport via train with few dollars in my wallet. I decided to exchange my dollars to ringgit (Malaysian currency) once I reach KL since my friend will be fetching me at the airport in Kuala Lumpur (KL). My flight was Friday evening so I thought it will be crowded at the check in counter but it was not.

At the boarding area, the officer reminded me to place my phone inside my bag. The baggage checked went well. I was looking forward to enter the boarding area to have a nap because

I was so exhausted. However, when I presented my boarding pass, the officer mentioned that I was in the wrong flight and my flight will be the next one. The officers were smiling while I muttered “sorry” and “thank you” with an embarrassed laugh.

I thought I was late so I was in a hurry. I did not check the boarding time because I was so anxious that my mindset was to get to the boarding area as fast as I could. Sigh… I went outside to wait for the boarding time. I was so exhausted from work, starving and sleepy. After about half an hour, I was permitted to enter the boarding area. When I went back the officer said, “you’re here again”, with a teasing smile.

Petronas Tower, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Once the plane landed at the LCC terminal in KL around 10:45 p.m., hurriedly went to the arrival area to meet my friend. To my surprised, she was not there and my hand phone chose to be faulty at that time so I can’t even message or call her.

I was walking for half an hour trying to search for her and when I can’t find her, I went inside the airport again (although it’s prohibited). I explained my dilemma to the first officer I saw at the same time I asked where I can find the money changer. He pointed the location and mentioned that it’s near the coffee shop.

It must be pure coincidence or a blessing in disguise because my friend was waiting near the coffee shop which was incidentally the arrival area for domestic flights.

Whew! Until next adventure…

Eiffel tower

From Netherlands we travelled for five (5) hours via coach to Paris. We all wanted to experience taking the subway and “getting lost” so we just opted to book for the coach and the hotel. No tourist guide! 🙂

As soon as we reached Paris at around 2p.m., we bought a 3-day train ticket and travelled for half an hour via subway from the drop off point to Hotel Eden (nice name huh? 😉 ). The place was very cozy and not that expensive. The bathroom came as a surprise because it was so tiny! Good thing, I’m petite.

We rested for 15 minutes, freshen up and then with the map on hand, we went straight to the ever famous Eiffel Tower! Although we did not book for a guided tour, we were able to find the Eiffel Tower. While walking towards the Eiffel Tower, we were totally mesmerized with its magnificent beauty from afar.

We took photos, bought souvenirs and then we immediately fell in line to go to the top. The queue was very long and we were all starving and exhausted. Also, we were a bit apprehensive because we might not be able to get to the top of the tower in time to see the sunset. The sunset was at 10p.m..

Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Our hardships paid off because we were able to make it. Whew! Watching the sunset from the top of the Eiffel tower was absolutely magical and breathtaking! I had an unexplainable goose bumps just by looking at the scenery and the whole view of Paris.

While pinching myself to check if I was dreaming, at the back of my mind, I was making a solemn promise to return to the same spot together with my future husband (I wonder who will he be and when will it be… hmmm). :p

After we have satisfied our Eiffel tower “craving”, one of our friends (Sonam) suggested that we go down using the stairs from the third level (topmost). It should be fine if it’s like the stairs in a building wherein you cannot see how far you are from the ground. I vehemently objected because I have a height phobia. I was scared to death! I convinced my other friends to take the lift. Thank goodness, the one who suggested was outvoted. :p

We walked around the area of Eiffel tower for a moment and then agreed to eat in an Asian restaurant before calling it a night.

That ends our first day in Paris.

Dutch angels

It’s the day of our Paris trip and we need to leave the hotel at 4a.m. in order to be at the pick up point on time. Boy, waking up at 3 a.m. and taking off at 4 a.m. during Spring is really tough (I wonder how it feels during the winter? brrrr!).

When we reached the train station, we had a problem getting the ticket from the ticketing machine. The machine requires card or coins and we only have paper bills. We cannot get it from the ticketing office either because it’s still closed.

We asked a Dutch couple (DC) if they have coins to change our paper bill and unfortunately, they don’t have. The DC were terribly concern but they were in a hurry because the wife, who happens to be a flight attendant, needs to catch her flight.

While the DC were waiting for the train, the husband, who is a lawyer, saw the train ticket inspector and discuss our plight with him. He explained that we cannot buy the tickets from the machine and we need to catch our trip to Paris.

Good thing the inspector understood our situation and allowed us to board the train without tickets. He said we’ll get the tickets in our destination. Normally, if you get caught without a ticket you will be fined or even worst, you will be put into jail. I guess, the inspector is a bit lenient to us because we were foreigners as well as students in Maastricht School of Management (MSM).

Bedankt (thanks) to our Dutch angels (DC and the inspector), we were able to reach the pick up point earlier than we have expected. It gave us time to take photos and grab a bite.:)

Next stop… the Eiffel Tower.

footwear

It’s a busy July Wednesday morning and I was doing my usual brisk walk towards the train station when I felt that something was amiss in my footwear. One part reached its longevity and can no longer be fixed by sheer ingenuity.

the culprit…

Hmmmm… Is coincidence the name of the game? I was just browsing the newly launched website of rackroomshoes.com yesterday and now my footwear reached its expiration. It looks like its high time to buy a new pair.

However, as I looked around, shops were still closed so I took off my footwear and walked as normally as I could. I was grinning because I remembered a similar scenario in a mint commercial advertisement. It’s really hilarious.:D

No one was looking strangely at me. I felt a bit odd though when I sat down in the train but I pretended that having no footwear is the coolest thing in the world! You betcha, it worked.:p I don’t want to fret about my unusable sandals so I diverted my energy by fiddling my phone and writing this blog entry to block off any negative vibes. Wise move, eh? 😉

When I was at the interchange, I found out that walking via the travelator is painful without footwear. It’s like a rough, moving pavement! Ouch!

travelator

I reached my workplace without a snag. As they say, life must go on. Time to work. Aja!

Lessons Learned:
Don’t fret.
Think of a solution as fast as you could.
Always bring extra pair of shoes.