Visiting World Wonders: The Eiffel Tower

Let’s talk about my experience with the Eiffel Tower today.

Hi! This is an introduction to help you understand the context of this post and why I suddenly have so much to say about the Eiffel tower. So, recently, I was really missing my vacation from last summer and decided to look through the pictures from it, to just reminisce and feel properly nostalgic. Somewhere during doing that I realised how extremely fortunate I am to have seen so many world wonders in my extremely short life. I also realised that these are memories I want to preserve forever and share with the world and thus, I throw at you this little blog post series where I talk about my experiences with world wonders, iconic sites and probably the best moments of my life. That’s all, here on out its all about la Tour Eiffel, as the French call it.

The very first time I saw the Eiffel Tower, technically, was from 12000 ft. high as our aeroplane began its descent into the Charles De Gaulle airport, Paris on 2nd June 2017. It was a tiny smidge, a minuscule A almost, shining to my hunting eyes through the fog and mist. It was almost fairytale, that little moment, the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower.

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For your reference: Drop the straight line down the end of the wing and you should be able to spy the mini Eiffel Tower, as I saw it.

My next tryst with it was the very same evening when we, fresh and awake drove out of the hotel to the city and I realised why the Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris. It conquers the Parisian skyline and is visible from LITERALLY everywhere. No hyperbole here. (I later learnt that this is because there are no high rise constructions allowed in the city. Just some facts for the cynical.)

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We were headed to our cruise down the river Seine and thus, here comes the whopper. I saw the Eiffel Tower from the sky, the road and the water all in one day. Makes you think of point of views, huh? The boat view though wins by far. I had the most majestic views of the Eiffel tower on our cruise and somewhere on the river Seine around the Statue of Liberty(Yes, like the one in New York but in Paris and smaller.)and gazing at the Eiffel tower it hit me. I was actually in Paris. The French capital. Abode to Aphrodite. The crowning jewel of romance, beauty and love.The one I read about in books and watched in movies. It was a very memorable feeling, one of a dream coming true. I like going back to that moment and just feeling little slivers of that feeling till. It was and remains, extremely precious.

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I really like this picture I took while on the cruise. I feel like it captures the perfect blend of modernity and antiquity that Paris is.

The second day we got real up close and personal, me and the Eiffel. We were going to go up the Eiffel tower to see Paris from the point where its glory shone the brightest. The tower has two levels, one kinda midway and the second at the very top. I’m happy to report we went to both. It was a very nippy, windy day, and thus, we threw on our jackets, braved the wind and chill and marched on, for the view of the city spread out from of the highest vantage point in Paris (I am merely guessing here, so could be wrong please don’t throw baguettes at me) and more importantly, the pictures. (Just kidding. Those didn’t turn out too great though, the wind threw all hair haywire and the bundled jackets all aesthetics)  We only lasted so long, I mean I was wearing a skirt, cut me some slack, so that stay didn’t last long but we did get to see the chambers Gustav Eiffel entertained Albert Einstein in. (How COOL is that!) You know what the best part is? Now, I get to say that I was once in my life at the very top of the Eiffel tower.

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The City of Paris as seen from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

 

My second encounter with the Iron Maiden was from afar,a famous photo point for the Eiffel Tower,the Trocadero Place(And one that I highly recommend, it was a great place to take pictures!) so we could take pictures that actually had the whole tower in one frame and importantly, the typical very important Paris pictures to announce that we indeed were in the French capital. This photo shoot, owing to the lack of wind, was a great success.

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My last and favourite encounter with the Tower was at midnight on our last night in Paris. We made the spontaneous decision to just grab a cab and watch the 4 minute light show on the Eiffel tower that takes place at midnight because hey, you only live once. So, with our hotel cab ( A delightful Mercedes Benz, Y’all) we whizzed through the city at night and that in itself is an experience. We reached the Trocadero Place again and soon the stars were dancing on the Eiffel tower. The show was magical and despite the early morning departure the next day, the hour we spent on the Trocadero Place, watching the lights twinkle on the Eiffel tower and eventually just the yellow lights glow as the city of Paris shined it seemed, for me, is what I consider my ” Paris” moment. It is my fondest memory of the city and something I would love to do again and again.

(Just a disclaimer/PSA: The lights on the Eiffel Tower are considered a work of art and are protected under copyright law and thus, while I did take pictures and videos, I don’t have the rights to share them here. (And I’m a little bit mad because I’d love to show you, but the law is what it is.))

And that’s it, folks! That’s all my Eiffel tower stories, anecdotes and encounters. ( For now, I hope.)It makes me so happy to be able to write this because this was such a major bucket list item for me and a life goal coming true. I am very fortunate to have been in the presence of Madame Eiffel and I’m very grateful for it. Here’s to fulfilling more life goals and ticking off more bucket list items! Cheers!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you ever been to Eiffel Tower? What do you consider your fondest memory of it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

For the next post in this series, click here.

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Up In La La Land.

Let’s talk about La La Land today.

” So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays

And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make.” 

-Audition, La La Land.

Today we are discussing a cinematic marvel, a masterpiece of the celluloid and my favourite movie of all time, La La Land. I’ll talk about how and why I love the movie so much and am dedicating this post to this brilliant movie and the affection I have for it.

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I’ll discuss the movie in depth so if you haven’t seen it already, go change your life and watch it now! (A minor hyperbole, but no really.) Go, watch and then come back and we will discuss it and you can marvel about the movie better. In any case, be warned. Some spoilers ahead.

La La Land is a 2016 Academy Award Winner gem of a movie. It is a burst of colour on an otherwise usually bleak landscape(A.K.A. Hollywood), literally, as the movie is as colourful as it is picturesque. It is a work of genius and Damien Chazelle has absolutely outdone himself. The elements of genius shine everywhere, even the title is a play on both the moniker for the city of dreams, Los Angeles where the movie is set and the musical as well as the dream-like aspect of the movie.

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I first watched La La Land while I was on a 6-hour flight from Rome to Dubai, in the summer of 2017. It was love at first watch and I was impacted so greatly, it took me time to snap out of it. I last watched it yesterday to refresh for this post. It still takes me time to get out of the frame of mind the movie puts me in.

It feels like and is, a modern blast from the past and that’s one of the things I really love about it. Filmed on Cinemascope, it has the old-timey feel, with the bright colours, the inspirations from old iconic movies, the old Hollywood vibe of the entire movie and of course, the many parallels such as the one from Rebel Without A Cause and Griffith Observatory.

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La La land is a treat for the eyes. Right from the superbly colourful opening sequence on the highway, the beautiful popping colours, the stunning visuals, and the creative cinematography make you feel like you’re within a dream and yet, it is just a different view on ordinary, real, everyday things. The colours vary with the season and the mood of the film and symbolism has been used well throughout. All in all, this makes La La Land a beautiful piece of art to behold.

 

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I have a special fondness for musicals and this is an exceptional one. Music is, in my opinion, the third lead character in this movie and possibly the strongest one. The power the music holds, with Mia and Sebastian’s theme or the music setting the mood for the season in which the scene is set, the dancing, the songs and their placement makes the movie a visual as well as an auditory delight. I am also very fond of jazz and this movie is quite literally, a homage to it. This movie brings old, pure jazz to the spotlight and thus, the music in La La Land is a work of genius in itself.

The acting and the direction only raised the pedestal the movie was already on higher. The raw, poignant emotions of the characters amazingly executed by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in line with Damien Chazelle’s vision, of course, made this movie extraordinary and makes me more invested in the characters, the story and the movie itself, each time I watch it.

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I can’t, of course, appreciate the movie without appreciating the wonderful story that it brought to life. The story was one beautifully written, with many many gorgeously written songs and quotes throughout, that I, as a lover of words, have to appreciate. It is an extremely quoteworthy movie(Like the quote I started this post with, for instance) and words have been honoured throughout the movie. The story was unique, dreamy yet real, hard-hitting and honest. The juxtaposition of reality and fantasy, of dreams and the truth, of the way life is magical yet not perfect, is what makes this movie special and is probably my favourite aspect of the movie. The heartbreaking ending sequence, the what-if, really drives the idea home and as much as I hate it, I love it more.

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In conclusion, La La Land is my favourite movie because I feel fortunate to have seen it come out in my lifetime and honoured to have witnessed the beauty, the genius and the magic that is La La Land.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you seen La La Land? How did you like it? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Thoughts on Airports.

 

Let’s talk about airports today.

Airports. Grounded gateways to aerial escapes to a different world. A new city, a new country, a new continent. Ah, how I love them.

In my lifetime, I have taken a decent number of flights. In the last year though, I have racked up some crazy flying miles, what with my vacation across Europe and flying to and fro between home and university. All this flying has meant I have spent a rather significant amount of time at airports too. Hence, this post dedicated to airports, paying a homage to the unsung holder of all things duty-free.

The thing about airports is, they’re essentially a test of a person’s patience. A lot of the time spent there is in wait. Waiting for check-in, waiting for security, waiting for your mom to buy the entire batch of duty-free candy or waiting for boarding. The human mind does not bode well for waiting and when in wait, it wanders. All this wandering has led to a lot of thinking and a lot of thoughts many of which I wrote in the notes app on my phone and I’ll try to consolidate in this post.

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Airports hold so many people. People from different walks of life with different goals, ambitions, dreams. It amazes me to no end when I stand to wait and look around to see all the people who have a different story yet at this epoch they all intersect, right here at this airport. Perhaps, someone is going home or going away from home. Maybe, there’s a new baby in the family. Maybe, god forbid, there’s a loss. Maybe, they’re going to their dream job, maybe they just missed out on it. The possibilities are endless and I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around the extent of these.

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One thing I have also always noticed about airports is that time is seemingly not a construct in there. Any notion of day and night is only expressed through a peak outside. Inside, its always moving, never stopping. Airports are the land where time stops or rather, becomes irrelevant because there are people taking a flight to somewhere or from somewhere at just about all times and airports are always full. This led me to the very serious realization that an empty airport with no movement and no hint of day or night makes a fabulous setup for a dystopia or post-apocalyptic novel. Huh, maybe, I’ll write that, someday.

In all the airports I’ve been to, I’ve always seen a tiny glimpse into the culture of the city or country. All airports show little pieces of the personality of the place they are in. Be it the futuristic installations at Changi Aiport, Singapore or the grandeur of the airport at Dubai or even the wonderful food at the airport in Rome, it’s a little slice of what the country or city has to offer. Taking the phrase, “First Impressions are the last impressions” to heart, more often than not, most places put their best foot forward in the airport and thus, exploring an airport will almost always show you the best of what the place holds.

 

Airports are thus, apart from housing great candy and the best books, a building full of many many human emotions. There’s hope, there’s nostalgia, there’s joy, there’s sadness, there’s dread, there’s anticipation, there’s wonder, there’s  marvel. And for me, right there, wedged in with all the billion emotions, it’s almost like, there’s home.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: What are some of your airport thoughts? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

 

The Sad Truth About Going To Disneyland As An Adult.

Let’s talk about going to Disneyland as an adult and why that’s sad.

I went to Disneyland(Any Disneyland that is) for the first time on 4th June 2017 at the age of 18 years,2 months and 24 days. The one we went to was Disneyland Paris, the day was an unfortunate long weekend Sunday. I went on 5-6 rides in 10ish hours, saw the evening parade and 3 shows. It was disappointing.There, I said it.

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So, now that you have your pitchforks out and mouse ears on ready to attack me, let me finish with my explanation of as to why. If after that, you still feel compelled to chase me around with digital pitchforks you’re more than welcome to do so. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Now, shocking as I bet it is for some of you, I never went to a Disneyland before I was an adult. (Yes, some countries don’t have their own Disneyland, imagine that!) I had gone to a theme park before,i.e. Universal Studios, Singapore and had the best time ever. We all had fast passes and Universal was such a breeze that I had higher expectations for Disneyland simply because it’s Disneyland. It’s the OG theme park! It’s where wishes come true. C’mon.

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Instead, I found huge crowds and desperately long lines and  rides I really looked forward to and waited an hour for shutting in front of my eyes as I finally reached the front of the line. It had been my childhood dream to go to a Disneyland. I wanted to feel the Disney magic and carry some pixie dust back with me to soar and fly in the world of my imagination. Instead, I was exhausted from waiting in line, went to barely any rides, had to stand on my toes to watch the shows, was jostled in the crowds and was melting in the sun. Of course, I was disappointed. Wouldn’t you be?

Now, I’ll state factors that I concurred led to this letdown. First off, it was a Sunday. Secondly, it was a long weekend. Thirdly, we did not have fast passes. Fourth, it was a hot day for Paris. Three of these were in my hand. I give you that. I will still feel disappointed because this was a childhood dream and I refuse to be fully logical here. Call me stubborn or call me a child.(How I wish for the latter!) The bottom line is, right now between Disney and Universal Studios, I choose Universal because me, the young adult , enjoyed Universal much much more.

Now, to clarify, I did not think Disney was horrible nor have I written it off for life. The magic in that place is so strong, it doesn’t die out this easy. It only diminishes with the number of people entering the park and the intensity with which the sun beats down on our heads. I liked the rides I went on. I liked the shows. I really really loved the parade. I also realised that I would have loved all the things so much more as a child. It was almost sad, realising I was too old to love things I would’ve once loved so much.

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I would, for sure, come back to Disney, for a better, more magical experience. We all chase magic, I’m no exception. I feel sad merely because my first experience, my mythical changing is tainted by adult things like crowds and waiting too long for human beings to wait. It’s also the loss of my childhood innocence, of being able to see too far, not feeling wonder or curiosity as powerfully, knowing too much and losing sight of the magic that everything holds. That’s all.  Are your mouse ears still on? Can I put mine on too, to match?

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I found this picture on Pinterest but couldn’t track the owner of the picture. Let me know if you know who it is.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Have you ever been to Disneyland? How was your first Disneyland experience as an adult or otherwise? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

Half Yearly Bullet Journal Update.

Let’s talk about Bullet Journaling and how my Bullet Journal looks, halfway through the year.

Hi everyone! If you’ve been around a little bit, you might be aware that this year I kept a Bullet Journal. If not, well, now you know! ( Have a look here for more on the thought process behind it.) I’ve made a few Bullet Journaling related posts since I started and have tried to take you along on this journey. So, here’s another one, to keep you in the loop as to how things are looking.

Now that that’s cleared up, getting back to the topic, this is the Half Yearly BuJo Update. How its going, what I like, what I dont like, how it looks, all that jazz. Yes, shockingly we are halfway through the year of 2018 already. It makes me uncomfortable too. Just a heads up, I’m going to try my best to be super honest because I’m not an artistic person and so my Bullet Journal is not something that is easy peas lemon squeezy for me. We’ll go covering all the little aspects of the Journal and I’ll try to update you on each of them.

The Year In Pixels

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So, my year in pixels is pretty red, because life is usually just okay and that’s okay. I like the Year in Pixels because that way you can look back and see good days, bad days, okay days, amazing days. Its a great jog down the memory lane but I admit that it’s not much of a help as an organisational activity. Its a hassle to keep up with too. I have had days where I forgot to colour in on that very day and did it the next day instead. Would I like to have it in my future Bullet Journals? No, I don’t think so. It makes for a nice memory box but with the compulsive picture taking habits I have, I pack them in just fine. It’s still a fun way to look at your entire year and how it went.

Book/Movie/T.V Show Tracker

The first thing you might have noticed is that there is no picture of a book tracker at all. That is because, as I shamefully admit, I haven’t got through an entire book this year yet. Blame it on long or boring books if you will, but the truth is, at one point in time I could get through 4 books a month easily and I have lost my momentum completely. It’s very sad and I will make a blog post about it soon because I NEED to fix this and that empty book tracker woefully reminds me of this tragedy every day. Movies, I watched many. I’m happy with the number. T.V. Shows, I didn’t do so well with but that’s because I keep binge-ing things I’ve already seen. I blame me. Are these trackers fun? Yeah, absolutely. These help me keep up with my goals for the year so if I have similar goals the next year I would continue having these trackers.

Monthly Spreads

I do monthly spread a tad differently because for me the idea was tracking my progress over the month and things I do. I have the name of the month, a quote I liked that month, a little “Hello” to the month with the significance behind the name of the month and an explanation for it all on the left page. On the right, I have a “Firsts” box to write whatever new thing I did that month and little boxes for updates on various other things like the blog or my end terms. I like doing monthly spreads a lot, though being artistically challenged makes it a little bit frustrating many times. Or, not having done much to document over the month, not all months are that productive!

Exam Schedules

An exam favourite! I draw out my midterm and endterm schedules as soon as I get them in the journal and the happiness that ticking the boxes next to the exams gives me is unreal. It helps me see how many are left, times, dates and is just a great planning and motivation tool during dreary exam days. I would definitely keep these in future Bullet Journals.

Birthday Pages

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I loved doing these too! It is a great thing to look back on and a practice I plan to continue, a little letter to self every year with goals for the next year, praise for the progress and acceptance of the shortcomings of the past year. I talk about these in depth in this post.

Half Yearly Goal Update

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I made this little goal progress check for myself writing down the exact goals I wrote at the beginning of my journal for the year and how the realisation of those goals is coming along.  It made me realise what I needed to work harder towards, reaffirmed my goals for the year and was a great reality check. I would definitely do this again as I found it quite useful and informative.

Quote Pages

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I make quote pages like this one when I am free and have another quote that really inspires me that month. I am someone who is very moved by words and for me and my abysmal lettering skills, this is also great lettering practice. I like doing these because its entirely up to me if i want to do one and the flexibility is relaxing.

And that’s all for the half-yearly Bullet Journal update! I hope it was helpful and I was able to keep it real. I really tried. Have a good next half of the year!

THIS POST’S QUESTION: How did your first half of the year go? What are your hopes for the second half? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!