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On our second in Paris we woke up a bit later than planned, thanks to the thousands of Uber drives and walking and general wondering where we were, which wasn’t all that bad considering we got so tired and sleepy early the day before. We needed the sleep.
On our last day in Paris we made sure to tick off the remaining boxes in our list and make sure that we get everything seen, bought and done before our cab came to our hotel for our 8:15pm flight back to Gatwick Airport.
Day 2 of our Paris trip found us gazing lovingly at l’Arc de Triomphe, one of my favourite landmarks of the entire city.
I actually found the Arc de Triomphe to be my favourite landmark in the whole of Paris, maybe because I was unprepared by its beauty and detail. @valombao was so excited and was raving about it even the day before, much to my confusion. All that time I thought the Arc de Triomphe was just like the Marble Arch in London. MAN, was I in for a surprise!
Maybe it was the innocence and lack of momentum that made me believe that this monument, one of most famous monuments in the Champs-Élysées and in all of Paris became my most favourite part of the entire city.
Since we had a normal picture with the Eiffel Tower, here’s a more accurate shot of our friendship in front of the Arc de Triomphe. The weirdo, the always loading and the blasé one. Est 2011!!!
Here’s a rainy shot of the Notre-Dame de Paris. I was expecting to see Quasimodo talking to his gargoyle friends while Esmeralda does a magic trick to entertain tourists around. But I did get to see a homeless man with two canine friends who both wore little berets while sitting on a mat, probably in hopes of luring tourists to take pictures in exchange for money.
I have to be honest, getting lost in Minérales do brasil was my preferred way of buying souvenirs from Paris, one of the few crystal shops I managed to track down in Paris. Apparently there was one inside the Louvre but because we didn’t go inside we never got the chance to see it. Turns out, after researching, the store was on the upper side of the price scale and we probably wouldn’t have eaten anything if we bought anything there!
After letting yourself in the huge gold door, you’ll find yourself in a very secluded area, which felt like a small estate area, with an open garage where a monsieur was washing his car. There were perfectly trimmed flowers and symmetrically placed windows everywhere.
Walk deeper inside, past the tunnel and to your left is the entrance to the crystal shop. It may be a small shop, but don’t let this get to you. The shop is FULL of crystals, with clusters upon clusters of amethyst the stone of their particular preference. As I always do in crystal shops, the energy gets me so high and fizzy I forget to take pictures. But here’s a shot of the ones I did get.
Malachite Lion and Cat carving, a Celestite tumbled (because Parisian vibes are that exact shade of blue), Green Garnet tumbled, a Zebra Jasper that looks like an actual zebra’s head, a Chrysocolla tumbled and a black tumbled stone whose name I sadly cannot remember. I might need to study more on that.
Paris never really gives you the impression that it’s a busy, cash cow city that makes you feel like you need to rush around and make sure you don’t miss your train. It’s very obvious this is where bohemianism first really originated, where you can find literary, musical, theatrical and artistic enlightenment and herds upon herds of gypsies roam the city with new techniques of scamming people under the backdrop of such famous names like the Arc de Triomphe, the Mussee du Louvre and of course, the Eiffel Tower.
All in all, Paris left me with inspiration and, most of all, love.
Shout outs to birthday girl Val for taking us to the Catacombs and all the Uber libre and to Kristine for always pointing out all of our faults because you’re so perfect and for making this all happen; you are the Bruce Wayne of this KUC Trinity! Love to my Gemini quadruplets!
I’ve got a new poem published out!
It’s somehow kismet how this entire thing turned out.
I had met Filipino singer-songwriter June Marieezy this time last year during her London debut performance in Hackney and was, to be quite frank, changed by our short but sweet interaction. One of them involved me writing a poem based on that and everything else that I’ve learnt from it, resulting in it coming out through the 32nd issue of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.
“Soul Child” is part of the Distance section of the issue, which is in collaboration with Health in Action, a Hong Kong charity that promotes community health and wellbeing through the empowerment of the underprivileged. The publication of this special section will coincide with Health in Action’s Refugee Week Art Movement (week of 20 June 2016) to raise awareness for asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong. (20 June 2016 is World Refugee Day.)
Funny how this poem was also published in June, the month which a lot of people on Twitter refer to as June’s month.
“Soul Child” by Troy Cabida
I hope you all enjoy reading my poem (alongside the rest of the beautifully crafted issue) as much as I enjoyed writing and living it.
Shout outs to the team of Cha: Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Reid Mitchell, BBP Hosmillo, Mag Tan and Eddie Tay. And shout outs to all my fellow contributors; I’m stoked to be a part of an issue which features a lot of fellow Filipino literary artists!!!
If you were to tell me a year ago that I’d be walking around the streets of Paris while wearing breton stripes in late spring, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, turns out, in the last warm days of May, I found myself doing just that, thanks to the perseverance, spontaneity and extreme levels of energy and enthusiasm from my Gemini quadtruplets @valombao and @itskristiineee, the other two sides of the #KUCTrinity. And after the two and a half days wandering around the city, coming back to London filled my heart with a whole lot of love and a plan to return to the city of lights as soon as possible.
After landing in Paris through Charles de Gaulle Airport from London Gatwick, we taxi-ed our way to Hôtel Parisiana, near Strasbourg Saint-Denis Station, which we spent the night watching French adverts, BBC News Asia in English among others things (#Oops2016). The rest of the evening actually flew by because I slept like a baby! Paris, you were a dream from the beginning.
Doesn’t that just remind you of the first song number from the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast? How does that one go again?
[Belle:] Little town
It’s a quiet village
Like the one before
Full of little people
Waking up to say:
Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour!
Mornings in Paris were something to behold. As I looked over the window I could see empty streets being coloured by rays of sunshine like spilled liquid gold and a lone person walking about. The rest of the street may have become busier but it’s still pretty easy to fall for the mystical lore of Parisian romance that seeps through the corners of Rue Chabrol. And waking up to that seemingly boring view of the old windows and cement walls was actually an added bonus; I looked forward to absorbing the vibes of their architecture and history.
In the morning, which greeted us with gleeful blue skies in an already busy street with cafés, market stalls and used electronic stores that reminded me of Kilburn High Road and North End Road Market, we met our first monument: the Porte Saint-Denis. Like the arch we see in Marble Arch: presence powerful, detailed and for some reason totally fits in with the contrasting surrounding of marketplace and leaking sewage water.
We made the Eiffel Tower our top priority that morning. After taking the Metro for nine stops, we realised how much we take the London Underground for granted. Maybe because it was early in the work day, but the Metro was packed. We thought to wait for another one after realising we couldn’t get in due to the amount of people already squeezing themselves in (“dapat kasi hindi pinagsisiksikan ang sarili kung hindi naman talaga nakalaan para sa iyo”), but after three more trains we decided to give up and get on one at last.
If you want to visualise this scene, think of Westfield Stratford days before Christmas. On a Sunday afternoon.
But despite this, the people on the carriage with us were never loud or irritated by the compactness and the sweatiness; they actually made us look like spoiled cavemen during rush hour on a Tuesday morning with their ease and politeness, save for one woman who chose to lean onto one of my friends and give all of her body weight to her.
The Eiffel Tower, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with.
I actually had the deluded idea that people who talked about The Eiffel Tower with such googly eyes were just being tourists recounting a dazed dream, romanticising the life out of the 1887 French monument. But I was wrong.
Upon arriving at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, we were taken aback by its sheer size, first of all. Just by trying to look at the very top you felt dizzy and like you weren’t on the ground already! Even at ten in the morning, the Eiffel Tower was astonishing. It amuses me how people actually hated it when it was first built, calling it ugly and “not fitting in with the rest of the city”.
Photo by @valombao and her trusty sidekick slash “travel buddy”, her selfie stick!
BTW: If you’re going to go to the Eiffel Tower, be ready to ward off people who ask you to sign and donate money to “help the blind and the deaf”; it’s a well-known scam in Paris to get money off of you so don’t fall for it. Just ignore them completely, or if this is something you find too rude to do, simply say no firmly and move on to whatever it is you’re doing. There’s usually policemen and signs around the tower saying that these people are gypsies and should not be entertained, but always be wary of your things being stolen.
After taking another Uber to the Louvre (and passing the River Seine), we decided not to go inside because of the long line and just chose to take pictures around the terraces and with the huge glass pyramids. Who knew French orbs were a cool, suave sky blue?
After The Louvre, we found ourselves eating really delicious Japanese food in Sanukiya, which was just a few minutes walk from The Louvre. I had the Kamotéri-Don, rice and caramelised duck.
Walking around + heat + chill Parisian vibes = tired Troy
Le Lion de Belfort was like the four lions that patrol and reign over Trafalgar Square, but this one had more soul and movement to it. It had a strong, enormous presence on the roundabout and I was both disappointed and relieved people couldn’t come close to it to the point of riding and taking close shots of it because it had no pavement around it. That meant people couldn’t tarnish it or even vandalise it even if they tried because they’d be run over. It is a smaller version of a bigger statue in the French city of Belfort.
Through out the day walking around the city and taking Uber cab on top of Uber cab, it quickly dawned to me: Paris doesn’t feel like a capital city. Or at least the kind of capital city that I grew up knowing. It didn’t feel as condensed and stressful as Manila or as work-oriented and corporate as London.
Instead, every inch of the city, garbed with colourful street art, highly maintained landmarks, street performers and even random book stalls all around the city, painted the city with artistic satisfaction and a breath of fresh air from men suffocated in suits and women trying to function under pencil skirts on their way to the office.
How kismet is it that we would find a book stall selling huge books on individual star signs? Each for just 3€! Time to brush up my French, I guess!
Here’s another shot of the Eiffel Tower at night. I think this was about 9-10pm. We went back after taking a few hours rest back in our hotel room with our friends KFC, M&S and the very very cool aircon.
Every turn of the hour the Eiffel Tower has lights dancing around it for about a few minutes. If you lived in the city, you’d think you would have grown tired of this dancing lights extravaganza, but at around 11pm and the third dancing lights session, every Parisian drinking and lounging around the park cheered and sent the love back to the Eiffel Tower, which cemented my idea that French people were officially the chiller group of people.