September 7, 2014

Free Talk: On Vacation, Blogging will Resume after September 18

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning a trip to London-Paris with my mother this September. Well, it is God’s will for us to go there since we got the visas. ^^ Actually, it is a bit late, we got the French visa just the other week ago. ^^; It has been a wishy-washy ‘to go or not to go’ because earlier, a lot of people are telling us not to go since it isn’t safe and we cannot do it with just the two of us. The one I’m more interested in going, turns out to be not that ‘safe’ and that is Paris. ^^; It isn’t reassuring that before we applied for visas, there is a report of some mainland Chinese being attacked in Paris. Asians seem to be likely targets. Neither is it reassuring after reading all sorts of horror internet posts, and stories from people we know about pickpocketing, scams, aggressive beggars among other things there. I didn’t know if it is really that bad. ^^;; Or, is it? It can be said that it is common in large cities but then, being a tourist seems to be a liability.

I’m really wondering if I can still enjoy it since I always have to be on guard from bad people. Lol, we even got bags that are difficult to pickpocket that we, ourselves, have difficulty in opening them. =P And recently, it seems UK is jittery about terrorist attacks. ^^;;; So, I just let it be God’s will wherein we’ll go if we get the visas. It also took a lot of planning on my part hence, the reason why the summaries are slightly delayed these few months. It was also somewhat hectic since the visas want the itinerary and other information. The London embassy wants to compute the costs of the trip. So, more research plus the hotels, areas, etc since I totally have no idea about the places except their famous tourist spots. This will be my first trip outside of Asia and we are not joining a tour. I had to research a lot of the places I want to go, know most part of the city where this and that are, and plot out the itinerary. My mother’s wants are quite basic = pass by the important tourist spots and window shopping. =P

In order to minimize asking for help, I even had to check all of the buses/trains that we are going to ride on and map out the route to go here and there. Ah, the internet is quite useful with google maps, trip advisor, online train/bus sites of both cities, etc. I can virtually imagine the whole trip that even if I didn’t go, I think I can confidently pretend to have gone and talk about it with someone who went to both places. Lol Ah, but then, I have mixed feelings if we didn’t get the visas and all that time + energy spent on the research. ^^;; Of course, there is no perfect trip but I hope and pray that we have the energy and time to do the important parts of the itinerary. ^^ This is probably the first trip that I’ll be praying hard for everything to go smoothly and especially our safety including our money and passports. Unlike in Hong Kong, we won’t be able to blend in and I’ll be playing tourist guide to places that I also have not gone before. In short, I’m anxious yet excited. ^^

We originally planned this trip at the end of September. Then, my younger sister also kind of wants to accompany us even if she had already gone there before. We would want that since the more the merrier, and probably, lesser chance of being a target. I’ve adjusted it to the 20th when she is available. And, her son has some recital by then. So, it ended up from the 8th to the 18th. The last day is pretty much just on the airplane on the way back. ^^; It should be longer but then, the costs and worry about the places kept us wishy-washy about it and somehow, it ended up to just 10 days. Also, something came up for my sister so she ended up not coming with us. ^^; By the way, originally, the major trip for this year is supposed to be Hokkaido in July. The tour agencies, which we want to join with, didn’t have it this year. My mother casually said that we go to Paris instead since that is the European country she hasn’t been to and she thinks that the cost is pretty much the same. So, that is how it started.

We checked the ticket prices to London since there was a mention of promos for that place from a certain local airline. My mother is shocked by the cost and started to become hesitant. She casually asked my cousin about it. Another shock, the cousin willingly wants to give me her mileage for the plane ticket. Later on, it became for the two of us. Then, much later on, it included all the taxes and other miscellaneous fee. As my mother said, it is like a gift from heaven since this is a cousin, whom we are not that close with, yet she would suddenly do that. Of course, it helps that my mother works part time at their company =P And, a couple of weeks ago, an uncle suddenly dropped by to visit us. After not agreeing that only the two of us will go to the trip, he suddenly gave us some pocket money. Ah, it is really like God has been helping us along. ^^

That’s the short story of everything. Anyway, I did the summaries that I can work on before leaving. We’ll be on an early morning flight tomorrow so I have to finish packing things up today. The rest of the summaries will just have to wait until we come back. Oh ya, as usual, I’ll be activating the CAPTCHA for the tagboard to prevent spams while I’m away. If the posts had become overwhelming and deleted, sorry if I won’t be able to read them since the number of posts are limited. So, back to regular stuff when I get back ^^ We'll be back late in the afternoon of September 18. I'm not sure if I can write a summary after a 16-hour flight so most probably, I can do it on the 19th starting with the easier to do summaries. So, until then~ 

Word of the day:
Keep your soul invigorated with the fresh air of change and challenge. ‘Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth. Isaiah 43:19’ ~ 101 mottos for success by J. Richards and M.S. Fontaine.

55 comments:

  1. Paris is not that scary! Don't worry too much :-) Actually if you take a look at the record of a crimial around the world, France is quite far from being a fearful place to visit. It's just like everywhere else around the world, there're places and times where you should be avoided to leisurely walking around.

    However, the problem about pick-poketing is true. Normally if you just keep your purse in front of you especially when you're in a crowded area like in a metro, not to show around your Iphone or valuable item since it can be an invitation for a theif and it's better to walk around with only one back-pack rather than thousands of bags, if you respect this, you should be fine since the main point of pick-pocketing is to attack someone who has a valuable itemt and not on guard. I don't think they're racist and would only choose to attack asian people! ;-)

    I can understand the anxiety of travelling abroad for a very first time but, really, don't worry too much. Honestly with all the preparing you're doing (even go as far as buying a bag with 'anti-pick-pocketing'), you defintely will be fine!!! just give yourself and your mother a little treat, have fun and enjoy your trip! ;-)

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    1. Thanks for the assurance and the tip ^-^

      I see..from the reports, it seems that they are preferring Asian/Chinese. Of course, it seems that they are carrying huge shopping bags of brand names.

      Thank you ^-^

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  2. Paris isn't scary !! but be careful, if you are at Gare du Nord (lot of thieves) and just be careful with your stuff (mobile phone, money, etc...) ;) Well, it's the same thing everywhere so ! ENJOY Paris and London !
    I hope you'll like these towns ;)

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    1. Thanks, Yasei ^-^ Ya, I heard about the place though have to go there since we will be riding the Eurostar. Even almost booking a hotel near there until bro-in-law told us that it isn't a good area.

      Thank you ^-^ Hope I will ^^

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  3. Oh ! And for the Métro in Paris : http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_21879/visiting-paris/

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    1. Thanks for the link ^^ Been there already.

      Delete
  4. Ah ok, have a safe trip, and you don't need to worry about summaries, just forget about everything and enjoy yourself.
    However, about your fear from being targeted because you are Asian especially in France and London, you shouldn't worry about it at all. Racist people exist every where but honestly the French people, even though I don't like to admit it, are amongst the most civilized, open minded people you can ever meet, most of them anyway. In addition, both countries are like melting-pot societies, there are lots of French people born to foreign parents whether they are Arabs, Africans, Asians or from other European countries, so they are accustomed to seeing Asians.
    Side note: about the Chinese being targeted, well I did watch an investigative episode broadcasted on a French channel about this issue, however it only happened in communities where Chinese agglomerate and the Interior Ministry did take precautions to prevent it from happening. Pickpockets and professional thieves targeted them because well it seems that some newly-arrived immigrants would keep the money and jewelry they have on them, that is why. I remember that there were a community-based effort to spread awareness among Chinese about not carrying their expensive belongings with them etc.
    Main point: don't worry, I am sure, you and your mom will have a great time (but I want a souvenir from your trip lol just kidding ^^).

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    1. Thanks, RoseFleur ^-^

      True..there are many races there.

      I see..well, thanks for the info ^-^

      Thanks ^-^

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  5. Enjoy your trip and remember to sample lots of delicious foods.

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  6. Hi,

    Paris isn't scary but you have to be careful in the metro. It's a great city and I don't think asian people are specifically targeted but there is racism everywhere.

    I tell you : Bon voyage et profites bien de tes vacances !!!

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    1. Thanks for the tip ^^

      I see.

      Thank you ^-^

      Delete
  7. well, chinese tourists are not targeting because racism but because they spend a lot of money in paris, that's why !

    As you see kat, there's a lot of french readers on your blog ^^

    I hope you will have a great time in london and paris ♥

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    1. Hehe, ya...I know. ^^ I just fear that they might mistake us for being 'rich' though my mom said, we won't. =P

      Thanks, I did ^-^

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  8. Have fun at Paris.
    Thank you for your testimony about how the Lord help you get those stuffs.

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  9. Enjoy your trip!!! Have fun!!!

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  10. Gonna miss the summarys, but hope you have tons of fun in your trip!! Enjoy it!!

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  11. Paris isn't that scary. It's true that there are thiefs, but if you're on guard and don't show your valuable belongings (phone, jewelry...) no one will target you. About racism, I think it's more against other ethnicies than Asians because as an Asian myself, I never experienced any serious racism. If you have time, you can go to the 13th arrondissement of Paris, there is an Asian district so you can enjoy Asian food if you miss it ^^
    The only thing you should worry about is how to travel around Paris, there are many subways, buses and trains (called RER) so be careful not to get lost ! Ah also, I hate to say it but many French people don't speak English well so it might be useful to gesture your words too.
    Have a wonderful trip !

    A French reader of yours

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    1. Yup ^^ Apparently so.

      Ah, we only stick with the tourist spots. ^^; Maybe next time ^^ Though we ate at a Japanese restaurant run by Chinese =P

      Only slightly got lost since I already did a lot of research..which bus/metro to use and in what station near what street. Ratp site is very useful ^^ We mostly stick with the bus though and it is quite fun ^^

      Thanks..so far, we tried a bit of French when ordering crepe and they don't understand what we said..so ended up speaking English and they understood. ^^;;

      Thank you ^^

      Delete
  12. I'm French and I'll just confirm everything the others aleady said. I've been to Paris several times alone, Rome with my class, London with a bunch of friends, and Edinburgh with my best friend: no matter where you go, as long as you are polite, well-prepared and careful enough, there's absolutely no reason for you to run into trouble. Big cities are quite similar when it comes to security, there are safe and dangerous places, good and bad people.
    My advices:
    1) be self-confident and firm (while staying polite): if you don't want something, then you don't want it, don't let people bother you --> when someone tries to sell you something you don't want (be it an object or a "service" like guiding you somewhere), just keep walking and say you're not interested. Same goes with people who want you to sign some kind of petition, just ignore them.
    2) life in Paris can be really expensive, but when it really seems insanely expensive, it might be a scam (apparently, some chinese tourists are ready to spend a lot of money while they are in Paris so there are people who try to take advantage of it and target Asian tourists --> no need to be paranoid though, not everyone is like that ^^).
    3) you must always watch your belongings, be it in Paris or in London. Thieves are basically everywhere so wherever you are you might run into them. So use a padlock to close your suitcase if you can, keep your pockets closed too, and hold your bag firmly. Same goes with your cellphone and camera. If you take them out, make sure you have a good grip on them and hold them close to you. That way, it will be harder for thieves to snatch them from your hands.
    4) If you're lost, don't hesitate to ask your way (and you should bring a map with you depending on where you want to go, it can really come in handy)
    5) and last but not least, don't worry too much and fully enjoy your trip ! Paris and London are wonderful !

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    1. NB: and people aren't particularly racist in Paris, at least not towards the Asians so I'm pretty sure racism won't be an issue at all for you and your mom.

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    2. Apparently so ^^ Never run out of 'thank you', etc.

      Thanks for the advice ^^ We did most of those. As in any place, some people are more helpful than the others. There are even people offering their seats to my mother. ^^

      True, and in a way, maybe we would be less of a target since we aren't carrying any 'branded' shopping bags like the others. =P

      Thanks, I did ^-^

      True, around us, I can easily tell which East Asians are from which countries based on their language = mainland Chinese, Japanese, or Koreans. And there are lots ^^

      Delete
  13. enjoy your trip kat-sama


    Sebastian

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  14. You will be fine!!!!! I'he worked a lot in Paris and traveled in london for work and holidays, both are beautiful and melting-pot cities! And I never sees thieves or Asian in difficulties...
    enjoy your trip!

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    1. True, Aude ^^

      Everything went smoothly and thanks ^-^

      Delete
  15. Have fun with your trip, Kat!
    <3 <3

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  16. Enjoy your trip....relax & take care =)

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  17. I think we are fine here in London. That advisory is a month or so old. Weather is still good even if it is the end of summer here. Can be cold sometimes but bright. But this is London. We have four seasons in a day. Travelwise we are well connected overground or underground.

    We have a very multicultural soceity hence the teeny tiny threat.

    Its my first time to comment here but the first to lurk on your site.

    If you have any questions or problems just let me know.


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    1. Thanks and apparently so, tambok ^-^

      Yup, weather is pretty nice when we were there ^^ Sunny or cloudy only ^^

      Indeed..used trains and bus to get around ^^

      I see..well, airport security can be a bit 'too strict'. I'm not sure if it is protocol to engage in some conversation before being let in..somewhat like a background check?

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  18. Enjoy your trip and have a lot fun!.I'll be praying for your safe return!XO.
    Elena

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  19. PARIS!!! s'amuser! faire attention à! le souvenir.. ^_^

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  20. My sister and I are Asian, and she lived in Paris for six months. There wasn't too much for her to worry about in terms of assaulting or anything. The only thing you should be worrying about (like in all places) is having your stuff stolen. SO, just watch your things, keep your important documents secure, and be polite, I guess.

    It'll be fun!

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    1. Thanks ^-^ It seems that theft is the main worry there but we did keep things secure and everything. ^^

      Delete
  21. have fun there is only one life ticket so we better en joy it have fun a take lot of pictures

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  22. About Paris, it's true that pickpockets are quite common in the subway. And I agree that if you don't show your belongings, you should be safe. Also, don't wear expensive clothes when you go out, to avoid catching the robbers'attention. As for Asians being a particular target, it can be true in some cases. When they are those kind of tourists shopping around in large groups, for example. Robbers know that they go in luxury shops like "Les galeries Lafayette" and have money.

    So if you're just with your mom, you should be OK. Just keep your hands on your purse and phone :)
    It's not that scary. I live in in the suburb of Paris...

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    1. Thanks for the advice and we pretty much did what you've mentioned ^^

      And yes, it wasn't scary as mentioned by others.

      Delete
  23. Have a wonderfulll trip and enjoy it . Paris and London are safe as long as your street wise you and your mum will be fine .Do visit Buckingham palace its really cool and you can have tea or coffee in the Queens back garden ,its
    fun to watch people take photos of their food too. People in London are very friendly and will help you if your stuck .

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    1. Thank you ^-^

      We did went to the Buckingham palace ^^ We had afternoon tea elsewhere.

      Lol, is that so. Well, it includes me. ^^

      That's right..there is even a guy who asked if we need help even if we didn't ask. ^^ I must have a clueless expression and holding a map. =P

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  24. Hello Kat, I'm from Paris and I can tell that you can calm down a bit, Paris is a beautiful city. But it's true, you're not safe of pickpockets as in a lot of touristics cities. Don't use too much your phone in the subway, keep your closed bag close to you and enjoy your trip !!!
    Have a nice travel with good memories.

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    1. Thank you, Gildaen ^-^ Indeed, it is very beautiful ^^

      Hehe, didn't use the phone at all when outside. ^^; And always double check if bag is closed. ^^

      Delete
  25. Traveling mercies be upon you and family
    ~m

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  26. Firstly, stay calm. Secondly, learn some basic french to declare a firm yet polite negation toward services or objects that you do not require. Further, you may want to wear a cross body bag which you can wear on the inside of your coat/mac. How about a money belt? Further, you may want to store any shopping in beige canvas bags: they don't attract undue attention. Regarding charitable donations, it's against the law in the UK to give money to beggars/homeless people so if you do want to make a contribution offer it to a registered charitable trust. Secondly, people aren't usually aggressive when stealing, it's usually swift and sly so don't expend your anxieties in this regard. Lastly, enjoy yourself. I'm going back to Paris for a repeat trip shortly; although, I wanted to travel independently around France my sister insisted upon tagging along. I don't mind her accompanying me but she's very high maintenance and expensive; at least your mother seems low key in that regard. Finally, don't worry; enjoy yourself and create some enduring yet pleasant memories.

    Take care and God bless.

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    1. Thank you for the tips ^^ True..I did learn a bit of basic French though didn't get to use them. I tend to ignore or walk away fast. Thankfully, not much of a bother.

      My mom has the cross body bag while I have a backpack..those are the ones that have 'locks' that are difficult to open..even we have a hard time opening them. Lol

      Oh, is that so. Didn't know that..couldn't recall if I saw beggars in London though.

      Ah, hope you have a nice trip ^^ True, it would be nice to travel independently ^-^

      Thanks again ^-^

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