Honouring the fallen on Armistice Day

This parade happens every year in my neighbourhood. Our apartment is directly opposite a historical monument, Place Winston Churchill. Along with the numerous other parades that take place in and around Paris on this day – most notably the one on the Champs Elysées – to honour the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany, a commemoration takes place in Neuilly-sur-Seine annually.
This year was no different. It is a brief, yet solemn event. These photos were taken last year, but the event was no different this year.

On identity: Am I still South African?

I always know when there’s something bothering my children. The indicators are fairly simple really: like the flurry of questions or the rhetorical statements made the minute they walk through the door. My son’s most recent bother was one that questioned his identity.
“Mommy, am I still South African?” was the first thing out of his mouth- before he had even put his school bag down.
“Of course you are! Why do you ask?” I cautiously ventured, hoping it was not going to be one of those answers that required a clinical psychology degree. Sometimes I simply do not know how to make his hurt going away, and worse still at times I just do not have the answers, and yet in my son’s eyes I am the well of all knowledge – me and Wikipedia.

Books: THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA by Hanif Kureishi

Title: The Buddha of Suburbia
Author: Hanif Kureishi
Published:1990
Genre: Fiction

I recently saw an interview on France 24 with Hanif Kureishi discussing his writing. I remembered that I had one of his books, The Buddha of Suburbia,  which I decided to read again. Funny how one’s impression of certain books is influenced by so many other factors: one’s age; current emotional state; country of residence; reviews read about the book…This one felt like a completely new book to me. I can’t even remember the last time I had read it. This time it resonated a whole lot with me. Maybe it is living in France, and that feeling of always looking in being the observer; or it is watching the French tackle multi-culturalism; or maybe even raising my children in a country that is not their own. Whatever it was, I loved how Hanif Kureishi’s observations on multi-culturalism in the UK then, circa 1970s, remain just as relevant now.

Books: STUFFED – Adventures of a restaurant family by Patricia Volk

7b6eb-x18716Title: Stuffed: Adventures of a restaurant family
Author: Patricia Volk
Published: 2002
Genre: Memoir

I have read some scathing reviews about  Stuffed, and must say that as accurate as some are in their take on Ms Volk’s memoir of her family’s restaurant business, there are still some elements worth reading. Personally, I enjoyed reading about some of the misadventures of her family in their restaurant business; about the eccentric aunts and uncles; the family history – all of it.

Wheeling it through Prague.

We decided that exploring other slightly off-the-tourist-trail paths was required during our stay. So we succumbed to the sales pitch of the Segway guide and booked a tour for early Saturday morning. He arrived at out hotel before 11am – gave us our ten-minute tutorial, ran through the safety guidelines, and we were good to go. My son, who is eight and had has his fill with ‘walking’ Prague was overjoyed.

Gastronomy in Prague: Ginger & Fred

Having recently written about Frank Gehry’s newest architectural marvel in Paris, I was eager to see the building he has designed for the city of Prague, and as it so happened, the restaurant we had chosen for lunch is located in a building designed by him.  I have decided that the next exhibit I see will have to be at the Pompidou Centre where there’s a current exhibition on Frank Gehry. I may as well take it all in while there’s still all this attention on him.

Exploring Old Town, Prague – A Photo Tour

Exploring Prague’s Old Town was a morning filled with the sights and sounds of a truly vibrant city. Armed with our list of places to visit, we headed out early to avoid other tourists. We walked along the famous Charles Bridge, so named because it was commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357. It is a cobble-stoned pedestrian bridge that spans the Vltava River and is a very important part of Prague’s history. A sighting of the Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square saw us competing with the hordes of people also out to do the same thing: view the hourly chiming of the clock with its moving figures, a marvel really, given that the mechanism dates back 600 years.

On Prague Castle, the Changing of the Guard and…Starbucks

Fuelled on a huge breakfast, we decided to walk through the city and make our way towards Prague Castle, loftily situated up a winding road, and overlooking the city.
First off though, we spent an inordinate amount of time inside St. Nicholas Church – with some of the most impressive interiors of any church I have ever seen. From the frescoes to the statues, we took our time taking it all in. Who knew that spending time in a church would hold everyone’s attention that much. The church is still used for masses, and the solemnity within probably explains why we didn’t rush the visit.