Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Murals of Lyon - More than Wall Graffiti

lyon river

Hello Lyon!

After finishing my journey through Spain and Portugal, I decided to pop by Southern France for a walk-about before heading back up north.

portugal to france

You see, many years ago, I visited Paris, several times, and didn't quite like the experience I had while I was there with the people. Well the city was fine, food was great, culture... divine. But I always had issues with the locals, they're always seemed a bit mean to me; rude, ignorant, indifferent, whatever you call it.

Many have told me to get out of Paris, get far away from Parisians; and then I would truly experience the real beauty of France, and the French.

"Go South" they said.

So I did.

Well... honestly; I still found French the same I did many years ago. Nothing has change my opinion and experience with them. I've tried, I've given them the benefits of the doubt, several times; and the fact remained: I did not, do not, and will not like French.

A reader (French) wrote me a long email one day clarifying the reasons behind the actions of his nationals. Well, in a way, I kinda accepted it. I might post that long email here one day.

But in the mean time, Lyon was nice.

The city was lovely, full of lovely little cafes and bakeries with the most mouth-watering pastries, the buildings, the river, the bridge of the river in the city; everything (cept its people).
La Mur des Canuts Lyon
La Mur des Canuts

One thing, or rather 150+ things, exceptional about Lyon was its magnificent murals (painted walls) spread all over the city. It's the famous thing about Lyon. Some people even made it a point to hunt as many of them down as possible.

I was one of those people.

climbing the steps on Lyon mural
"you need direction sir?" see I'm nice to tourist

And determined to blend in with all of them on camera.

posing at La Mur des Canuts

Nicolekiss at La Mur des Canuts

Here are some of the other murals I've found. Most of which I don't know names of, the ones I know of I found them on the internet.

mural bank
robbing an ATM?

nicolekiss and mural workshop
walking into a workshop

mural dog
sitting with the mechanic's dog

little prince in lyon - La Fresque des Lyonnais

La Fresque des Lyonnais is one of Lyon's most famous painted walls, featuring over 800 square meters of 31 famous people, dead, fiction and alive, that's from Lyon. For example: Le P├ętit Prince; aka the Little Prince (you know, the book); if you look closely, he's standing on the balcony on the second floor close to the windows on the right.

nicolekiss in lyon
stealing a sip of the display wine outside a restaurant

staring up
just waiting

library mural
walking by a bookstore

library on a graffiti wall - La Fresque des Lyonnais

nicolekiss and wee pin
me and wee pin, my host in Lyon, she speaks fluent French after seven years studying in France.

rue de la Martiniere
La Fresque des Lyonnais lies on Rue de la Martiniere ('rue' means street)

sneaking up on a pastry cafe
drooling at the food display outside a bistro

lyon lion 2
You've seen this one. Lyon's lion.

la biblioth - lyon mural
La Biblioth - placed across the famous book market in Lyon.

It's a mural of 500 literary authors and their references: all born in Rhone-Alps, found on quai Saint Vincent (street).

La Fresque des Lyonnais

quai st vincent
the street wehre La Biblioth is at

There's a story behind every mural in Lyon, if you're interested, you can google them out. It's really fascinating walking through Lyon and learning about its culture, history and background through these murals.

Here are the rest of the murals. Enjoy the photos: with me inside fooling around, of course. :p

3d mural of lyon
a 3D mural!

3d mural in lyon

pastries mural

wee pin and lyon mural
short comic strip of Wee Pin. lol

chilling against a mural

Posing with a mural never gets old. He he.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Crazy Art

I realised I haven't posted a professionally taken photo of my biggest art work thus far.

Crazy Art.

You know, the one that got auctioned off.

Well, more story ahead.

Apparently I got called in to appear for Bella on NTV7, for the second time last month, to talk about my art (not for the second time).

Anyway this is the piece.

no10 (crazy art)30x40

"Crazy Art"
Acrylic on Canvas

When I was invited as a guest to talk on Bella NTV7, I knew I just had to bring this piece to show. None other than my first auditioned piece of art.

So I contacted the buyer and had the painting delivered to the studio.

photo 1
the other guest talked about taking up art as a hobby. She paints on shoes and sells them online. Pretty cool.

My hosts that day were Liza Wong (who was really friendly) and Elayne Daly; both really professionaly interviewers; and really hot to boot.

photo 3

photo 2
slouchy mindless laugh while we're between commercials.

It was fun talking about art on air, not to mention the immense satisfaction that it was piece of my own. The experience certainly gave a boost to my confidence on what I want to do for a living, or as a hobby.

The painting is now hanging on the wall of the meeting room in Veritas Design Group. ^^

In the mean time, I'm now working on a big piece, which I hope will be done before I fly off to India next month.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

United Buddy Bears Charity Gala Dinner

photo 5

Soooo... I've been absent.

Been too engrossed with my new form of life lately, meeting up with friends, hanging out, attending events, gala dinners, painting, shopping, etc.

It's so surreal I felt almost disconnected to this internet world. What is this internet? I heard about it once upon a time. Lol.

Okay la, not bad la. I still update my instagram on a daily basis via my phone; which links to my twitter and my facebook.

A quick update on my life: I just got back from Singapore; heading to Ipoh 3D2N for a drum festival this Sunday; going on a local radio tomorrow morning; have a dinner to organise with the girls this Friday; a shooting/filming thing going on this Saturday; a big painting to complete before the end of the month; a trip to plan before I fly off to India for three weeks early next month; a laptop to review (a super fast and even lighter laptop); amongst other boring things.

This post I want to talk about a recent charity gala dinner I attended at JW Mariott.

Bet most of you KL peeps are familiar with the United Buddy Bears placed all over in front of Pavilion for the past three months;

photo 7

well they've been travelling the world and Malaysia is the 16th country they've travelled to. Promoting unions and friendship and peace around the world, and also raise funds and host charity events for the countries they visited.

photo 9
Malaysian Buddy Bear! Have you seen it?

The charity gala dinner that was held in JW Mariott last week has its seats sold at RM1500 per pax, where guest of honor Sultan of Selangor was present, along with famous singers like Dan Hill (one who sang "Sometimes when we touch").

photo 10
all rose for the Sultan

Like every charity dinner, there was auction. They auctioned off three 1-meter buddy bear and few more miniature buddy bears.

And like most big charity dinner, there's always the generous contributors.

This bear went for RM30k. Second piece!

photo 6
KL skyline

The smaller ones went for RM2-10k indivually. Which was pretty impressive.

photo 8

photo 19
funny emcee that was the life of the evening

photo 16

It was an impressive event, efficient, generous crowd, fast servings, funny emcee, good singers, the only thing I had to complain was the food.

It was bla~

For an invite as expensive as one and a half grand, the food was pretty mediocre. If it meant more going to the proceeds, then I was fine by it.

photo 11

photo 12
the only yummy dish

photo 13
so bland... pea soup? Where's the pea taste? and what truffle?

photo 14
tender, but bland as well, needed salt which the table doesn't have.

photo 20
dessert was pretty good. But I can't handle food that's overly sweet these days. The coconut creme brulee could do with less sugar, despite it being really delicious, I could only manage two mouthfuls.

I suppose by now the buddy bears are gone (or disappearing slowly), and the next city they're visiting will be New Delhi! The city I'm visiting next month! Unfortunately they're only going to showcase on the days I'm leaving delhi. :(

Would be cool to see them in another country again.

Here's a photo of me to end the post abruptly. :p

photo 17

All photos taken with my iPhone so pardon the blur-ness

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An article - A Place to Lay My Heart

A friend sent me an article that was so heart-felt to me, I had to share it.

I could relate so much of myself in this article, in the thoughts of the author. She has answered all the questions my friends have thrown at me the past couple of years, on the decisions I've made and the life I was giving up; voiced out the wants that was lacking in my life most have taken granted for: a dining table, a sofa, having friends over; in replacement of complete freedom to roam the earth.

Of the most retalable lines: "Traveling for the fun of it was morphing into traveling out of sheer momentum."

For all my travelling friends around the world, and for all those who envied the life of a wanderer; this is the article.
I've Ctrl-V the whole entry here for you to read.

A Place to Lay My Heart

WHEN I met Joe, he told me he was trying to decide where to live. At the time, he lived in — well, that was hard to say.

He was from New Hampshire, but after stints in various United States cities, he had moved to Paris, where he had been based for 10 years.

But “based” was a loose term. There had been six months in South America and a lot of time in Sicily. Once he’d moved to Barcelona on a whim. The last couple of months he had been in Seattle.

And here we were, meeting on a bus in Guadalajara, Mexico. We had come as journalists to write about tequila and were on our way to a distillery. In terms of expertise, I had no business being here, but he wrote often about food and drink. A photographer, too, he flipped open his computer to show me close-ups of Sicilian grapes. Later, as we whiled away the ride, he spoke enthusiastically of a Catalan tradition in which he and teammates built castles by standing on one another’s shoulders.

I was immediately attracted to his dark eyes, lean 6-foot-1 frame and sunny demeanor, and to a chivalrous streak that had him helping an older woman off the bus.

But his geographic dilemma and its lack of resolution discouraged me from considering romance. I was settled in New York and had just accepted the kind of job where they expect you to show up every day. He was a freelance writer, flitting around the world. I reminded myself that wanderers were bad bets. I had reason to know: I had been one myself.

Traveling was my first love, and plunging into a foreign culture (the more different from my own drab Northwestern existence, the better) had been my greatest thrill.

And so my university years took me to study in Egypt, backpack around the Middle East and work as a State Department intern in Pakistan. After college I settled in Seattle and tried to see my ensuing engagement, mortgage and office job as their own sort of adventure.

But I felt stifled by the weight of expectation I’d brought on myself: by the trips to Home Depot and earnest requests from family and friends to know when the wedding would be. Running from what I had just embraced, I broke off the engagement, with guilt but also with excitement. It was as if my horizon had narrowed to a tunnel and then suddenly expanded, giving me back the whole world. I traveled around the South Pacific for a year. I moved to New York for graduate school.

As Joe and I sat together on the bus that day, I told him a little about my trajectory, and for the first time in years I didn’t find it difficult to explain. To him, it all made sense.

During my traveling years I wasn’t exactly running from relationships, but the pleasure I took in moving dovetailed neatly with my fear of them. My unhappy years of domesticity in Seattle had left a scar. I was suspicious of myself, never quite sure that I could stay committed.

The years during and after graduate school had taken me to Jerusalem, Peru, London, Mexico, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Paris, Syria, Poland and New Zealand, a nearly complete list in more or less chronological order. I became a travel writer, which gave all the peregrinations more of the appearance of a purpose. Every romantic entanglement was a long-distance one.

But a few years into my 30s, ambivalence began to creep up every time I bought another plane ticket. Traveling for the fun of it was morphing into traveling out of sheer momentum. I felt the first tickles of envy for friends who were rooted. They had a gravitational pull that I lacked, drawing people to them, to their homes and dining room tables.

I wanted a dining room table, I realized. I wanted a dining room. Living in Paris at 34, I had awakened and realized that I wanted to go home, only to discover that I had no home to go to.

I began to fix that, first with trepidation (was I cut out for a stationary life?) then with zeal. It was a slog, though, because while you can take off in an instant, going back takes a long time. I saw that my faraway friends had made daily lives that didn’t include me. And I learned that a rooted life means making the kind of choices that I had avoided for the last decade.

Part of my impulse to travel came from never wanting to commit to just one thing; I had created a life that afforded me the illusion of endless choice. I could work for this freelance employer or that one; choose spontaneously to live in Hong Kong or the Outback. The “or” was what mattered. The “or” is what I was giving up by settling down.

I chose New York City, where I had friends and potential employers, and which contained worlds upon worlds of its own. I got a staff job and tried to become a center of gravity in my own right.

When I signed a lease, I felt a shiver of worry, but it passed. I bought not only a dining room table but also a sofa that visiting friends could sleep on, karmic repayment for all the times I had been the nomadic guest. I confined my traveling to vacations and occasional assignments.

When I met Joe I felt as if I was hearing my own story told back to me. I had to learn, late, to make certain big life decisions, and now he did, too. He had narrowed his options to three cities: Paris (which was familiar), Seattle (where he had family) and Barcelona — there had been a girlfriend there; that was over, but he loved the food and his Catalan friends.

Love can be narcissistic in that we often fall for a person in whom we see ourselves. Still, even though Joe captivated me, I was wary. New York was notably absent from his list. And when I chose to settle down, I resolved to avoid long-distance relationships, with their soaring highs and dismal lows.

In Mexico, we talked about his decision over steak and tequila. We talked about writing, photography and the mysteries of the blue agave plant, of which I was becoming increasingly fond.

Later we mapped out a year-by-year geographical overlay of our lives and learned that we had unknowingly crossed paths in Seattle and Paris, and I enjoyed imagining that I had passed him in the Metro.

We played the name game and came up with an acquaintance in common; again I envisioned the what-if. Might we have passed at the door to the same party? I was knitting a shared past where there wasn’t one. Although, in a way, there was.

We kissed goodbye in the airport in Houston, with no promises or plans. A week later I asked him to come see me in New York (I was grounded by my new job, so I couldn’t go to him). Extending that invitation gave me a strange new feeling. In relationships of all kinds, the wanderers are always assumed to be the flexible ones, the ones who will go wherever you tell them to for Thanksgiving.

Now I had become the center of gravity, with an irrefutably fixed address and a permanent job. The downside was that my new wandering star could just say no and be pulled in some other direction.

BUT a week later he walked into my apartment with a suitcase and a bouquet. I was heading into long-distance love, I could see. But being rooted firmly in place, I was able to take the leap of faith. At the end of his five-day visit, he invited me to the sofa and said, “We need to have a talk.” I knew he meant, “We need to find a way to make this work.” We plotted who would visit whom when, and talked about trips we could take together.

“How about driving from Alaska to Baja?” I proposed.

“Sure,” he said, just like that, as if I’d said why don’t we order sushi? He took these kinds of suggestions not as fantasies but as first steps.

That was 13 months ago. In April he moved in, bringing with him a beloved Peugeot bicycle, a collection of top-notch kitchen knives and not much else.

When I realized he was going to ask me to marry him, I wondered again if some part of me would seize up, if I would fall back into my old patterns. But since my decision to move to New York, through the four years during which I bought an apartment, was promoted at work and settled into routines, I had slowly become ready. And with this man, I saw, I wouldn’t be tied down so much as tied together.

When he asked, the choice was easy.

Tequila will be served at the wedding.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pink Coach Sneakers

I had a friend brought in some sneakers from the states for me lately.

They're from Coach!

pink coach sneakers

I'm so totally in love with them now. They're the most comfy pair of sneakers on the street!
They're also very fitting so your feet look small in them. I'm a size 8.
But most importantly... this one's in PINK!

pink coach sneakers 2

pink coach sneakers 3

Thanks Shopforlove!

I also got another pair in grey.

silver coach sneakers

I posted on my twitter and facebook before (& instagram).

photo 3
with filter (instagram)

photo 2
without filter

Aren't they gorgeous?
What's your favourite pair of walking shoes?