Tombstone cats

Cimetière de Montmartre, or the cemetery in Montmatre is well known for it’s resting place of many famous people from French history. And Jim Morrison.

But, lurking the rows and rows of crypts are cats of all shapes, colours and sizes. Being cat fanatics, we couldn’t pass up the chance to capture some of these beauties.

Graveyward kitty

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Napoleon’s resting place

Les INvalides officially known as L’Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids). It’s a short walk from the Eiffel Tower and is the resting place of Napoleon.

It’s a remarkable place and one gets the sense of what the French military was like at its zenith – a formidable force capable of sweeping all before it. At least that’s what Napoleon thought… Russia had other ideas, as history has proved it often did.

Les Invalides

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    Austin Healey contrasts in Paris

    We came across this awesome car in Paris while getting lost one day and getting denied entry to the Musee Marmottan owing to our stupidity not reading French properly.

    Anyway, the side streets are a treasure trove for the wandering photographer. We were wandering. We had our cameras. This car was in the street. A bit of computer trickery and below is what I saw initially. What a lovely car!

    Austin Healey at home

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      Paris and the Eiffel Tower

      The Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris. No question. Even more interesting though is going to the Eiffel Tower to watch people looking at the Eiffel Tower. And the surroundings aren’t half bad either.

      This is the merry-go-round that you’ll find leaving the Trocadero on the way towards the Eiffel Tower. It’s pretty in day light, but at night, it’s a wonder…

      Merry-go-round

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        Kata Noi – sunset splendour

        Kata Noi is situated right at the very south western tip of Phuket. We chose the western side of Phuket thinking it’d be far more user friendly to have sundowners while watching a sunset than getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the run rise.

        However, our trip coincided with the start of the monsoon season, so haze, clouds and some rain thwarted our efforts on most days. Except for one… We waited and waited and the clouds appeared and it was truly magical. This is what we experienced.

        Kata Beach - Thailand

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          Patong Beach by night

          By day, Patong is a mad thronging of people, tuk-tuks and scooters all trying to get through the day, going about their business. This is mostly tourist-related. Not tourism. This business is aimed squarely at the tourist. And trying to get them to part with their cash, for good or services. These range from tacky trinkets, to taxis fares, to suits (made in 24hrs by a tailor no less), to tours in other parts of Phuket. There nothing sinister at all and if you’re not buying, the sale isn’t pushed and both parties go about their business. One can also seek refuge in the Jungceylon mall (supposedly HUGE, but it’s not really) for peace and quiet. But, mostly because it’s airconditioned and there’s a vendor downstairs that sells the most delightful coconut ice cream.

          However (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?), after nightfall, Patong loses all inhibition (if it had any to start with) and becomes quite mad. Bangla Road is closed to traffic, though scooters zoom up and down at will, and foot traffic takes over. The bars, clubs and go-go bars become brighter and louder (how is that even possible?) and denizens of the night ply their trade. If the suit traders were numerous during the day, they are outnumbered at night by all manner of people trying to get one to buy watered down drinks at inflated prices, poor quality Euro food or worse, a seedy ping pong show. As crazy as it seems, one can extract themselves from the mayhem and be a spectator on the fringe.

          I’d hasten to add that this place isn’t for everyone, especially at night.

          Bangla Road

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            The Shore at Katathani

            A mere two hour taxi ride down the west coast of Phuket, and we were checking in at The Shore at Katathani. It’s a tiny hotel, and we noted this but the small number of tables at the restaurant. They claimed to be full while we were checking in, but not even a third of the tables were taken up at breakfast time. This was a low-key affair just a stones-throw away from the beach, with only a rim-flow pool and the obligatory Indian Mynah between us and the azure Andaman Sea.

            Last night’s sunset was the first we’ve seen, as while the monsoon season may not be bringing any rain at the moment, it IS bringing clouds every afternoon, and being equatorial, Phuket offers sunsets that are over in a flash. In this case, the flash was one of splendour. This was taken sitting on the floor in front of our bed… Simply stunning!

            Room with a view

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              Naithon Beach – Thailand

              We’ve come to Thailand in the middle of what seems to be monsoon season. This is the time of year when clouds gather, storms brew and the rain falls in sheets from the sky. One looks at old movies of ‘The East’ and imagines that the monsoons are a non-stop torrent of rain that falls 24/7, beckoning Noah’s Arc, but none of that has happened. So far…

              Yesterday’s rain found us in the pool. The pool was a large granite-lined one filled with warm water, and we found it rather pointless measuring it in metres, and thought that hectares would be more suitable. Anyway, the water was warm, the rain was cool, so it made sense to be where it was warmest seeing as we were going to get wet regardless. It was quiet a surreal experience, and something I’ll never forget. Which is what I find travel is all about for me… gathering experiences. These last a lifetime (or at least what’s left of mine) and cannot be taken away. This is what travel brings to my life at least.

              Naithon Beach01

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                Day at the beach

                Paternoster (Our Father in various Latin-based languages) is a small sea-side town up the west coast, north of Cape Town. It’s a great place for a day visit, though it’s a fair distance to travel. We spent 3 days over our anniversary there, and had the luxury of being out and about on the beach once all the day visitors had left for home. It’s at this time that Paternoster becomes a sleepy place where times seems to stand still and the tide decides the same.

                This gentleman (for want of a better word) had set up a beach chair and let the tide lap around his feet. And around his coffee mug while reading a book.

                To me, this epitomises Paternoster…

                Day at the Beach

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                  Such peace…

                  Out visit to Angkor Wat was amazing. The temples are exactly what you’d expect – majestic! Their engineering is absolutely astounding. No surface is unadorned with some of the most intricate carvings around. Many of the temples are being ‘rescued’ from Mother Nature, as the forests have been left to almost overrun the temples in some places. But, they show a darker – the Khmer Rouge used the temples as strongholds and fortresses and the temples testify to this with many edifices pockmarked by machine gun fire.

                  Please has returned though, and many of the temples are actively used by Buddhist monks who arrive daily…

                  Angkor Wat buddist monks

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