Tag Archives: Belfast

Day 27: Versailles and some expensive Mexican food


posing in front of Versaille with the Daily Pilot

posing in front of Versaille with the Daily Pilot

Today my mom and I took the RER C out to Versaille for a day of touring the opulent palace and gardens that go on forever–and we walked most of that forever! 

The last time I visited Versailles, which was in February (2004), I have to say, I was not that impressed. Thing is, big, fancy summer homes are not my thing–unless, I guess, I get to vacation in them…

This time, though, the fountains were on in the gardens and it was a pretty spectacular sight. I’m still not that into the inside of the palace, but my mom and I spent about three hours walking around the gardens, to the far corners, seeing Marie Antoinette’s area, which was actually quite beautiful. 

We did make sure to take our picture with the Daily Pilot (our local paper), in hopes that we might get it published, as they print photos of Daily Pilot readers from around the world. 

After a long day at Versaille we had our hearts set on a Mexican food place, La Perla, that I had seen recommended and that we had walked past a few days ago. Let’s just say, $50 later, it was the most expensive Mexican food we have ever had, and definitely not the best…

I know, I know, who goes for Mexican food in Paris anyway?! I guess I had gotten cocky after having great Mexican food at Miguel’s in  Chiang Mai  and at Boojum in Belfast.

Day 22: donkeys, craic, and wick




Today is my final day on the Emerald Isle…packing up the backpack, (which seemed to explode its contents in the guest bedroom at Stuart and Julianne’s) and preparing to head off to Paris in the morning, by way of Dublin. I had initially thought I’d be in London tonight, which would have been interesting, considering the G20 related activities. But, when I looked into flights, and thought about it, I realized staying in Belfast would work out better and be nice to get one more day with Stu and Julianne.

In honor of my departure from the north of Ireland, here are a few of my favorite new Irish words/phrases: 

  • Donkeys: “It was great to see Stuart in Julianne–I hadn’t seen them for donkeys.” 
  • Craic: “What’s the craic?” “Give me your craic!” “Any craic from Belfast?” Meaning, what’s the news, what’s the latest…digame, in Spanish
  • Wick: “That’s wick!” “That tv show was wick” Meaning, bad, terrible. 
  • Yous: the plural of you
  • So it is: “It’s raining, so it is.” “It’s a lovely place, so it is.” Sort of a nothing phrase, to add to pretty much anything
  • 15: A sweet with marshmallows, digestive biscuits, and other scrumptious flavors, cooked in a pan and served sliced

Day 21: Irish impressions

guinness group photo reflection

guinness group photo reflection


This being my 3rd visit to Belfast (and Dublin) these aren’t exactly ‘impressions’– more like ‘highlights’ — but I thought impressions sounded better for a title…

It also may seem as though all I have done during my time in Ireland is eat and drink, which is completely untrue. While eating and drinking, I’ve enjoyed having good craic with old friends Stuart and Julianne as well as newly-in-person-but-previously-on-facebook friend Sara. See, so it’s not just eating and drinking…


Okay, so, we did do a lot of eating and drinking, but so much fun to do so while catching up with good friends!

Day 20: sunny day in Belfast

blue sky in Belfast

Day 18: Belfast!

me, Stu, Julianne at the dome in Victoria Square

me, Stu, Julianne at the dome in Victoria Square

How fun it is to spend time with good friends…!

I arrived in Belfast last night, to stay with Stuart and Julianne for a long weekend. We met when we were all living in St. Andrews, Scotland, and enjoyed many a meal, a movie, and conversation together.  It’s been three years since I’ve seen them, so it is really fun to be able to spend the time together, and to see them before the wee one comes (in June–I’m pushing for my birthday, the 24th). 

This photo was taken up at the top of the new dome in Victoria Square, after a leisurely day of brunch and hanging out in Belfast.

Bonjour from Paris

Though I have found free wireless internet access in Paris, it happens to be on the front steps of a church, outside along the street. This would be a bit odd to passerby, but otherwise fine, except that I think it is beginning to sprinkle…

But while I had the chance I wanted to say that yes, I made it safely out of Malawi and had a wonderful trip. I have a selection of my pictures posted.

The other big news is that my friends Stuart and Julianne and I all successfully finished the Belfast Marathon! The course was a bit random…including a jaunt by the city dump, a finish line hidden along a winding path through the Ormeau Park, and a remote stretch of no spectators and no water stations from miles 18 to 22 (when we definitely could have used both!) but we had fun and we did it! Pictures from the marathon (I bought a disposable camera and carried it along our way, and Stuart’s parents came and cheered us on and took photos at three different points along the way) as well as some other Northern Ireland adventures are also posted.

On Saturday I flew into Paris to begin my ten day photography course here. (I have to say that a man just walked by and said something to me in French—keep in mind, I am just sitting along the street, on the ground! I looked at him, smiled, and didn’t say anything back (I know more Chichewa, the language of Malawi, at this point than French) and he caught on and said ‘addiction’ pointing to the laptop…who me, addicted to the internet, sitting on the ground in the almost rain? Nah.) The course is taught by an American who lives in Paris and there are twelve of us in the course, all Americans (it is an American company that offers these workshops around the world). There is one guy from San Diego in the course, another woman from Vermont whose family lives in Huntington Beach, and another man who lives in NYC, Jewish, and very involved with the Israeli/Palestinian issue, so much so that when I said I was Presbyterian he responded by giving me an earful of the Presbyterians recent discussions on divesting from companies that support Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Needless to say (which Jack says is a pointless thing to say…if it is needless, why say it?) we had quite an interesting dinner conversation last night, given my recent experiences in Israel and Palestine.

This morning as I was heading out to shoot (photos) I met a guy from Bosnia who asked me about the situation of Muslims in America. Yesterday I met a guy from Sudan who has come to Paris to find work, due to the horrible conditions of life in Sudan. This morning I also talked with a man from India and two from Senegal who were selling Eiffel Tower key chains. I did talk to one woman, who I asked for directions to Rue Cler. She shook her head and said something that sounded like Spanish, so instead of my faltering Bonjour, do you know where Rue Cler is, I switched to ‘hablas espanol?’ She was from Columbia and gave me great directions to Rue Cler, in Spanish.

So, so far I’ve got Bosnia, Sudan, India, Senegal, Columbia, oh, and the guy who works at my hotel (more about the hotel in a minute) is from Morocco, a few New Yorkers, Vermont, California…maybe soon a Parisian?

Just a word about my ‘hotel.’ It was the cheapest thing I could find. It did mention that the bathroom was down the hall. I was prepared for that. What it did not mention was that the shower was down the hall, separate, and requiring a key. The key is stored at the reception desk. This is better than the hotel I stayed in in Venice where the actual bathroom was behind the reception desk (I vowed to never skimp on an ensuite bathroom again…til now) which meant going with your towel and toiletries and saying hello to the people waiting to check in… The shower key issue was marginal when I was on the 2nd floor (really what we would call the third, as they start with zero). But the room on the second floor opened out to a very busy street that did not quite down until about 4AM. After three nights of trying to acclimate to the trucks, cars, drunks, tow trucks, motor bikes I realized acclimating wasn’t happening and switched rooms. The only catch was that the only other single room available was on the 6th floor…remember the shower key? Oh yeah, and the other disclaimer, when I was booking the room, along with the showers being down the hall, was that there is no lift. Let’s just saying showering frequently might not be all its cracked up to be…

The sky seems to be darkening, so I will end this for now. One other thing—for those on the west coast you may get this in time to know that the Today Show is broadcasting live today from Paris! Apparently it is in honor of the Da Vinci Code, which opens here tomorrow.