Le Pinay in Dubai… :)

Welcome to my world! My happiness.. my favorite things… my travels… my journey… My life. :) I’m a rookie housewife in Dubai- trying to be a domestic goddess! “JOIE DE VIVRE” – (FRENCH for joie, “joy”; de, “of”; vivre, “living”; “THE JOY OF LIVING”) is a term sometimes imported into English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit. Joie de vivre, as one scholar has written, can be a: JOY OF CONVERSATION, JOY OF EATING, JOY OF ANYTHING ONE MIGHT DO…

Cruisin’ Together (Stockholm, Sweden) September 17, 2008

Stockholm was definitely a part of our itinerary for September 12-14… and I was kinda freaking out that we still hadn’t booked for the trip 2 days before our departure.. My hubby’s contact person wasn’t replying… some of his officemates wanted to join but were still undecided, etc… After about 2-3 days of pestering him with  “babe, can you please call up Viking Line…. now??” (coz I didn’t know his officemates’ arrangements), he finally gave in. And thank God for my persistence, coz we got the very last available cabin!!! It didn’t matter anymore that the cabin was below water level, as long as we could leave for Stockholm Friday…

 

Stockholm is very beautiful and has a different character than Helsinki… I’d say that Helsinki is “masculine”, and Stockholm very “feminine” in terms of architecture and charm. We had a limited time in Stockholm so we prepared an itinerary:

 

Gamla Stan (Old Town) – it’s a small island in the middle of Stockholm. I loved the old buildings and the little shops. Picturesque view! We also posed at Stockholm’s narrowest alley, Marten Trotzigs (less than a meter wide)… My hubby and I were joking that some eskenitas back in the Philippines were even narrower than this… 

             

 

 

Royal Coin Cabinet – we saw the largest coin in the world! Strange though, that it’s rectangular, almost like the size of a laptop… solid metal so it’s much, much heavier!

 

 

Royal Palace (Royal Crown Jewels, Royal Carriages, Royal Armoury  late 14th-18th century collections)

The Royal Palace has different museums, but we went only to the top 3 that interested us. I must have said “WOW!” a hundred times – each one louder than the previous – as I ogled the 15th century Royal Crowns, Scepters, Orbs, Knights (and horses’) Armours, royal clothes, boots, sleepwear.. and the Royal Carriages!!! I didn’t expect that they would actually look like the ones in fairy tales – with fabrics and threads of silver and gold! The gems on the crowns were unbelievable and must be worth hundreds of millions… the diamonds were huge (and so many!).. and the details very intricate. For example, from a foot away, you’d see a tiny dot on the crown… but if you peer closely, you’d realize that the tiny dot was a sculpted face, with a body, a crown and scepter with little jewels! Too bad we were not allowed to take pictures of the crowns… I just got myself 2 books on Royal Crown Jewels and Royal Armoury and Carriages… It was truly was an honor having seen those collections. It gave me goosebumps!!!

      

After that, we headed to a mall, then a small museum called “The Medieval Stockholm”, but after everything that we’d seen in the Royal Palace, we were bored with their stuff. We just went around the market stalls in the plaza and got some smoked cheese and marmalade cheese (yup cheese with marmalade mixed in it! Yum!), had some sausages, Dutch pancakes, coffee… and guess what, we found a Fisheye2 Lomo at a camera store along Gamla Stan… we just had to get it for our Paris trip, especially for the Eiffel Tower… yipee… 

Too late when we realized that we forgot to go to the Army Museum where the Viking collections were. I would have loved to go to the Museum of National Antiquities and Vasa Museum too if we had more time, but as hubby said, it was a reason for us to go back someday… I had a wonderful time in Stockholm, and I’ve fallen in love with the Royal Palace collections…

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Holga Disaster September 12, 2008

Filed under: lomography,Uncategorized — joiedevivre79 @ 11:51 am
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Ok, I learned a very important lesson today…

Read instructions carefully, word by word… check – and recheck –  if you have understood it clearly until there’s no more room for error.

I mentioned before that it’s my first time to use the Holga 135, and I wanted to share some lomo pics from Helsinki… well, goodbye to my Helsinki shots… the whole roll was exposed… each and every shot I lovingly took… all because my hubby and I overlooked one important word — “bottom”.

The instruction said: Push and Hold the Rewind Button on the bottom of the camera. Spin the rewind crank clockwise until you feel the tension drop off.

There was a rewind crank on top (so we thought that was it!) and yes, we felt a tension while rewinding so we thought we were doing it right. And then there was no tension anymore… we opened the camera… it was too late when we found out that we had actually forced the film to snap out of the roll, exposed under our bright cabin lights… darn… 😦

I badly wanted to see those shots… they were supposed to be my “baby” shots… 36 wonderful Helsinki moments down the drain. Shucks.

 

Strolling around Helsinki September 11, 2008

The weather was nice yesterday… for the first time since our arrival, it didn’t rain! So I had the urge to go out and explore Helsinki alone. Armed with videocam, digicam, and my sweet Holga 135, I went out and clicked away… I hung on to my city map (and kept an extra one in my pocket- just in case)… It wasn’t very easy navigating my way to the tourist information and City Museum.. yes it was just about 10 blocks away, but it was hard reading maps with streetnames like Kalevagatan, Mannerheiminite, Pohjoisesplanadi, Aleksanterinkatu, Keskuskatu… I must have looked disoriented and hopeless as I peered closely into my map, that an old Finnish man approached me and asked if I needed help.  For a split second, I wondered if I should talk to him or not, but then I needed anybody’s help… so “YES!”. He was very kind to help me figure out where I was in the map (told ya Finnish people are very nice and friendly!).. so I finally found the City Museum and the Tourist Information Center. 

 

HELSINKI CITY MUSEUM (Free Entrance)

 It was a small museum, but very informative. I loved the old stuff displayed… we were only a few people so sometimes I would get a creepy feeling when I’m alone in a dark corner, surrounded by old stuff (though not as old or ancient as I wished), and some mannequins in old costumes… It was different in a way, that there’s an area dedicated to some “not-so-old” stuff…  things I kinda not expected to be displayed in a museum, like some not-so-old dentist chair and bicycles? I must have missed reading the special story behind it.. hmm…  Anyway, it was a good trip… 

 

 SEDERHOLM HOUSE (Free Entrance)

The map says “Visit the oldest house in central Helsinki from 1757… very interesting… it’s just near the huge white Lutheran Cathedral. I was expecting a really old house… but when I got there, it looked so new to me! The walls were newly painted… everything was intact… it was nothing like a 1757 house… the old soul in me was disappointed… (I grew up in the Philippines in an ancestral house made in the 1800’s, great condition, but it has maintained its antique look) so it hurts me that they have made this supposedly 250-yr. old house look new. But anyway, it’s still pretty… the house led to different rooms, showing pictures of Finnish festivities and celebrations. Apparently, Finns had lots of them (and they loved eating)! The house was like a maze, and again, gave me an odd feeling, being the only person in the second floor, amidst the old furnitures and costumed mannequins… so I walked around the rooms, hearing only the thuds of my boots (and an occasional suspense movie soundtrack in my head) and then… EEEEEEKKK!!! At the end of it was some huge, black, monstrous-looking creature (uhmm let me correct that, it was a HUGE, BLACK MONSTER, period.) hanging in the hall!!! I shrieked loudly (I was alone, remember?)… and was embarassed to see a Finnish man behind the wall… why the heck did they hang it there?!? Whatever it was, it’s my first time to see such a thing, maybe it’s a Finnish monster… Haha, I think I got it on my videocam, together with my shriek… hehehe…

 

KORKEASAARI  ZOO (12 Euros with boatride)

Well, the port was just a couple of streets away! So I thought, why not check out the schedules for the boat trip to the zoo… and what do you know, I  arrived exactly on time and had only about 5 seconds to decide if I’m coming or not.. and so, Miss Spontaneous jumped on the boat… And then it struck me, “why am I the only passenger here?”… The pretty Finnish assistant told me, “No, no! There are other guests!” and pointed to the lower dock… and there I found a couple sitting at the very end (obviously not wanting to be disturbed) hehehe… Oh well.. I should enjoy this trip… so we arrived at the Korkeasaari Island Zoo.. there were about 6-8 other people in that huge zoo… so just imagine going around (most of the time alone coz the other people are somewhere else)… sometimes there were beautiful peacocks walking around (at first I thought they accidentally got out of their cage, but I realized it was normal when I saw 3 of them perched on the restaurant porch).  

Of course they had camels, leopards, tigers, lions, etcetera… but what I really loved were the reindeers!!! As in SANTA’s reindeers!!! I loved watching them… (Ohh I haven’t mentioned, Santa Claus lived in Lapland, which is in North Finland… so I’m in the home country of Santa Claus!)

Going back to the zoo… ok, a couple of huge cages away was supposed to be some kind of owl. (Now I really have to tell you about my bird phobia… I had horror experiences with my pet lovebirds when I was a kid -i saw the birds die horribly- so I grew up disgusted with birds or anything with feathers, having nightmares, and for some reason, I usually encounter dead ones)…  Anyway… so this cage was supposed to have some kind of owl.. but I couldn’t see any… so I looked around some more (some animals are shy).. and I saw a big rock on the ground.. and saw something… I peered closer… and eeeekk… it looked like a mutilated bird.. so I thought… no it can’t be… it must be my imagination acting up again… I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t what I thought it was.. and ended up staring and staring at it… and it really was “that”… I don’t know… maybe it was the owl… or maybe it was the owl’s meal?! Ughhhhh!!! Well, there’s a saying that “what you resist, persists“, and the things that you absolutely abhor shows itself to you the more you resist it… It IS happening to me… !!! Ok enough of that, I must be grossing you out… Well, it was another experience to laugh about with my husband. Aside from the fact that I got lost in the zoo. I was diligently following the map and looking for the seals, when I got lost… It felt like I was in Blairwitch project hehe… it came to a point that it wasn’t interesting or funny anymore.. Later on I found out that I was walking on the other end of the island… behind the zoo! So the only way I could find the port entrance was to trace the edges of the island, praying that I’d end up back where I started… I was very thankful that I found my way back to the port, coz I read just now that the zoo island was 22 hectares. Whoaaah!!! Hehe… you must be thinking that I didn’t enjoy those trips… true I had some creepy moments, but well, that’s why it’s called adventure… it’s something to look back to and smile about. 

And so, I rode the ferry back to Helsinki. BRRRRrrrr… it was sooo cold.. but it was something I should embrace and experience while I’m here… so I sat on the top deck, and however uncomfortable, decided to enjoy the cold 10ºC air  … 

 

Moi! Moi! (from Helsinki, Finland) September 9, 2008

Filed under: travel,Uncategorized — joiedevivre79 @ 9:28 am
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I just relocated in Dubai a couple of weeks ago to join my hubby who works there.. but sorry no, I’m not writing about Dubai yet… I tagged along with hubby to Finland coz he has to attend a training. Lucky wifey… hopping on an airplane again, so soon..  I feel so blessed… plus.. we’re going to Sweden and P-A-R-I-S too! Ahhh… suweeeeet life…. 

 

We’re in Helsinki, the home of Nokia mobile phones. My impressions of the place — it seems to be very quiet, peaceful, charming and hmmm… very orderly. And of course it’s beautiful, it’s Europe (though not as amazing as Italy)… It was my first time to ride a Volvo taxi with a Finnish driver who politely carried our heavy luggages (quite a change for a Filipino like me!). I heard the taxis here are only either Volvo, BMW, or Mercedes Benz!!! Well, I guess it’s just right.. taxi cabs here are more of a luxury… we had to pay 33 Euros for a 30-minute ride to the hotel. The cab drivers must be earning a lot. ;-p

I like the people here, they’re very friendly!  It’s so cold at 8ºC (especially to me, who has super poor threshold for low temperature).  Good thing I brought moisturizers with me coz my skin was drying up really bad. People here seem to be very careful drivers… cars and trams pass on the same narrow cobblestone roads, that’s something new to me… And I can’t imagine anyone being in an accident coz they all drive sloooow, hehe. 

 

We’re staying at Sokos Hotel Torni – a cozy hotel in the city centre, for 11 days… I’m on my own from 8:30am-5:30pm while RJ attends his training, so I have plenty of time to explore the city. I haven’t explored much though coz I’m… uhmm.. “direction-challenged”, haha! I’m supposed to hop on a boat today to check out the Helsinki Zoo, but I decided not to go out after having a bad case of lactose intolerance last night from Café Java’s (their local Starbucks) tall glass of Javanese Mocha. Good thing though, coz at least I was finally able to start this blog! Will post pictures soon! It’s my first time to use my Holga 135 lomo camera, so I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to get a few good shots that I can share too with you.

Meanwhile, here are the Helsinki Tourist Spots and tour programmes that I looked up:

National Museum of Finland

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Helsinki City Museum

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Old Porvoo

Korkeasaari Zoo

Linnanmäki Amusement Park 

Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Mannerheim Museum

Sea Life Helsinki

Temppeliaukio Church