Brighton isn't only associated with the Brighton Pier. Another thing this coastal city is known for, is its long rows of colourful huts located near the beach. And when everyone asked me "what else is there to do in Brighton?" I just went "Lets find the colourful houses!"

Brighton Colourful Hut Houses

Well...This got a little confusing for me.
See, Brighton is also a name of a city in Australia, which ALSO has cute little colourful huts. When I googled "Colourful Houses Brighton", images for Australia appeared, and I thought, "Damn. Did I get it wrong? Are there no colourful huts in Brighton (England)?" 
For the first half of the day in Brighton, I couldn't locate the colourful houses on the map that the tourist centre gave out for tourists. I was close to concluding that I was misinformed and got confused with Brighton in Australia.

Brighton Beach Brighton Pier

Then, by some awesome coincidence, whilst we were walking along the brighton beach, we found a shop selling postcards. Below one of the cards with an image of the huts, it read "HOVE". 
It was like a revelation at that point.
Turns out, Hove is a town that is probably about 30-40 minutes walk from the Brighton Pier.

This was why when I was reading articles/travel recommendations online they were being titled "Brighton and Hove". Silly me thought they were 2 different cities, just within close proximity, when in fact the two towns Brighton AND Hove both make up ONE City - according to Wikipedia.

Brighton Beach
Walking towards Hove, we were able to admire the beach and the waters, run along the rocky beach, and see boats that are lined up along the coast. It was quite enjoyable running along the rocky beach. Tiring, from the added friction as oppose to walking on land, but fun.
What's great about it, is you don't have to worry about sand getting into your shoes - my greatest pet peeve with sandy beaches.

Boats along brighton beachcolourful huts hove souvenirs

After chattering amongst ourselves and walking for what seemed like 30 minutes, we saw THEM. The Colourful Huts!
So, like little kids, the group of us started happily taking photographs of the rows of colourful huts. And being #tourists, we took photos WITH it as well. The walkway where the huts were along had loads of people; tourist, kids on scooters and bikes, couples walking their dogs etc.
Daryl and I met a really cute and friendly puppy which was on its first walk by the beach. Naturally, the little puppy was extremely excited. It kept jumping and standing up against us.

colourful houses hove england brightonbrighton sunset along hove

After a while, we got tired of taking photographs, and tired of walking, so we sat on a bench facing the sea and just chilled out, ate snacks and watched the sun set. As the sun was setting we started talking about the different rays - nerd talk initated by Daryl! Hahaha.
After some discussing, googling, and learning about the different sun ray terms, we were all hoping to see some Crepuscular Rays when the sun was setting, and Anti-Crepuscular Rays when it passed the horizon. Seeing Crepuscular Rays is common, but sadly, the sky wasn't clear enough for the Anti-Crepuscular Rays.
Hopefully in the spring or summer we would go back to Brighton (or another coastal city) and we'd have more luck with them crepuscular rays.

P.S. I am very tempted to look through all my different sunset photographs and see if I can spot any anti-crepuscular rays in action!

Crepuscular rays Brighton england

Searching for Colourful Huts in Hove

27 November 2014 Hove, The City of Brighton and Hove, UK

It was a really hot weekend the other week (I have since lost track of which week it was, thus the OTHER week) Decided to head up to Centre Pompidou and walk around alone, visit the Hôtel de Ville, and just explore the area up to Quai de la Seine, where Paris Plage was held at.

The main area for the City Square. I liked the rows of fountains. 
Unfortunately, it was really hard to capture that on camera under the BLAZING sun, plus I was too short to get everything in a properly framed shot.

Little pop up fashion store/area - love how such things are just there, and people walk by like its an everyday affair (well, I guess to them it is!)

Occasional cute cartoon stickers on the walls, they are always just there alone and unaccompanied.

POZETTO - My awesome pistachio and dark chocolate gelato that was melting from the heat, but so good nonetheless!

Can I just say, I LOVE THE RANDOM STREET GRAFFITI. I mean, just look at that! Especially the one of a man's face that goes all the way up to the top of the building! I mean, how do people do that?! Its just amazing.

Stravinsky Fountain. I expected it to be grander, and livelier though :( Was way more interested in the graffiti in the area than the fountain.

More AMAZING Street Art. The artist leave a bowl by the drawing on the floor, and I guess, its free for anyone who wanted to donate. Alternative way to earn $ in Paris indeed. 

Fontaine des Innocents

I love how people just sit around the fountain, chilling, listening to baskets along the streets, and people watching. Interesting how these people spend their saturdays relaxing and being all hipster-ish haha!

Ile de la Cite from one side (Im assuming, I really cannot remember)

Golden Angel Victoria

Since that day happened to be the first day for Paris Plage - an event where they import sand and awkward palm trees and line them along the river, mimicking a "beach". Its supposedly for people who don't have the luxury of travelling out of Paris to the coastal cities during the holiday month of august. So they create this fake beach for people to suntan, with games and activities for them to have a feel of being at beach on a vacation.

Minature red eiffel tower. Spot the real Eiffel tower!

When I was walking along the "beach" I had a really weird encounter with some guy. Its really hard to tell when people are just being friendly, and when they are not. I mistook his advances and thought he was being friendly - because compared to asians, parisians are really really friendly - but he was unfortunately one of those guys Caucasian guys that enjoy chatting up asians, and I don't mean it in a nice way :(

So I excused myself and said I had a dinner appointment with a friend. Normally don't tell lies like that, but there's a first for everything! Hahah! So here was my dinner with(out) my friend.

Japanese food in France isn't too expensive. I was pleasantly surprised by the meal I had, because I went to a restaurant with like nobody, and they didnt seem famous or anything. The food was not amazing or anything, but certainly comparable to sushi chains in Singapore.

On a side note, I FREAKING MISS the food in Singapore. The variety that we have is incomparable. multiple options from western to asian food all within 200m in the same place, is something I most definitely miss. 

City Beach

12 August 2014 The Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

This is so long overdue, but I guess thats alright since I haven't been visiting many new attractions.. I think. Time passes so fast here that its kind of hard to keep up.

Just had a wonderful weekend with Jovian and Germaine coming in for a short visit :) More about that next time! Its nice to revisit attractions again with friends. Even though i've seen them its a different experience when there are others around!

Okay, back to my Normandy Trip. Here are the photos of the D-day beaches that we visited :)

The walk up to Pointe du Hoc

The guide was telling us how this was one of the guns/launchers used during WW2, and this little guy, probably 5 years old went: "THATS A GUN?!" to his mum and repeated the question twice because he didnt believe his mother's "yes it is". Adorable.

German soldiers would hide/take cover here during the war, or like use it to store ammunition or something.

Pointe du Hoc over looked the English Channel. It was such a view. Plus the historic events that was attached to this place, after watching videos/looking at images from the war memorial, its as though you could picture the warships coming towards the shore.

This was Omaha Beach

This area is so unoccupied, and its probably just me, but it was nice to see beauty and flowers grow in places that bombs used to be dropped, where there were holds in the ground formed by the the shells of the bombs.

The Pointe du Hoc

Place where the german soldiers went to watch/guard the area. From that high up, you could literally see any military ship coming in from MILES away.

More places where soldiers would take cover.

The area was so open and vast, that if bombs were dropped, there were just so few places soldiers could hide, hence the insane death toll numbers.

Country side houses on our way to Juno Beach

Flags mounted along the walkway near Juno beach in remembrance of the people, the lives that were lost, and the events that took place here.

Juno Beach

On this structure names of those who sacrificed their lives were carved, and at the foot of it you can see how their relatives(?) people in general left things in remembrance of them.

TOURIST DOING THEIR THINGS. LOL. This is one of the tanks that were used during the war.

We also visited the American Cemetery and Memorial. That place was just so serene, so peaceful. The grass were perfectly cut, the trees were as green as can be. Everything was so neatly lined up and well maintained.

This is known as The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves 

Behind the statue, it was this huge area with 150 000 names of the soldiers whose bodies were never found

Their names and rank were carved in alphabetical order on the walls around the perimeter of the area.

Flowers at the foot of some of the panels.

The most heart breaking part was seeing the words: 
Carved above the 150k names. The average age of the soldiers was 19/20. Same age, different era, different place, such different lives.

A map showing how the ships came in from the different beaches and the military's route of attack

Those whose bodies were found were burried on this plot of land with white crosses lined up in PERFECTLY straight rows. It was such a surreal sight. It actually felt a little uncomfortable and disruptive/disrespectful to walk on the grass and take pictures.

The tour guide said there there were a few brothers that fought the war together and were buried side by side on this plot of land. And a 6 sided Star of David  in place of a cross were given to the Jewish-American Soldiers.

There werthree recipients of the Medal of Honor. Those crosses, like the one belonging to Theodore Roosevelt Jr. were carved in gold lettering. I didn't walk through all the crosses to find them, but here is a picture of it on wiki.

Overlooking the Omaha Beach

A high point on Juno Beach where soldiers could watch if there were military boats coming in

It was nice being in the country side. Nice to take a little trip to experience another sight of France and to indulge a little in its history. 

Canadian flags lined up seen from afar.

Juno Memorial

More names of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives

And that ends of the D-day Landing themed trip to Normandy. Historic trips always make me appreciate life alot more. I remember I used to hear stories about Japanese Occupations from my grandfather, and the things they did to survive through the period.

Seeing the suffering and events that took place in France (Europe) you realise how damaging and scarring that period was, and how this place is such a sacred ground for the Americans, Canadians, French etc.

While I was just reflecting alone about how hard life used to be during world war 2, and how much torture and hatred there was during that time, it just hit me, that these things that we see at memorials, the pictures of the wars, these images are some peoples' reality. The unrest going on especially in the middle east, ukraine, and other parts of the world... It was just a heartbreaking thought.
I'm not one to be very vocal about such things, plus I'm pretty ignorant about politics and world events. But at times like these, you slowly realise that people are only humans, finite, and broken.

On a more personal note, it was nice to meet the people on the trip. The average age group of the people on this trip was probably 40. And I think there were 3asians, including myself out of the group of 50 people. It was nice to talk to these older couples, hear what they've done in Paris, tell them about my life, school, and what I'm doing at work. Their ideal traveling includes having a great meal, taking things slow, enjoying the moments, so unlike us young people - we pretty much rush through everything just to SEE IT ALL.

Another thing, growing up in Asia, its always about working hard and doing what you're suppose to do, what will make your parents proud, what would get you the best CV, the best grades etc. 
Meeting people from The States and Canada, it was nice to hear things like "Your course gives you a wonderful opportunity!" as much as I have almost no expectations/faith in what is promised in my future by REP, hearing somebody from across the world say that, somehow seems to validate (just a little) the hardwork and struggles/uncertainty.
They also told me to "Enjoy when you're young", "Keep chasing your dreams" and "Study hard!"
It was nice especially when they said to me  "good luck in everything and keep chasing your dreams" its probably the first time somebody has ever told me to chase my dreams.

Even though at this point, I still think i'm probably going to live the life I'm SUPPOSED to live for the rest of my life, its nice to have hope that one day i'll have a dream, and that I could actually chase after it. Its never too late to have new dreams isn't it? Or have we lost the opportunities? Have we already gone down the wrong path and there is no turning back? I'd like to believe not. I'd like to believe I still have the ability to dream.
Technically, living in Paris IS living my dream. My dream when I was a young teenager: To live alone in another country, to visit Paris, NYC, London, all the great cities. I sort of let that dream die the moment I stepped into college. After certain failures/setbacks. Thinking that i'll just do what gets me decent grades and live the typical life.
I guess being in REP, though has brought me a lot of agony and dragged my confidence down to the pits, right now, it has just made my dreams come true. Sure living in Paris is not like what my 13 (even 15 or 18) year old self would imagine, but its great. Its wonderful. Its really an enriching experience, to be out of my comfort zone AND in a different country. This is a chance to decide how my life will go in the future, learn to accept myself (i think this is going well!) and learn to love myself/be proud of myself.

It isn't about pleasing everyone, it isn't about getting the first class honours to make your parents proud, it isn't about getting straight A's so your siblings will think you're a good example. Its about being proud of yourself, and being happy with your own achievements. Because that can never be taken away from you.

Normandy Trip - Part 2: Beaches + American Cemetery and Memorial

2 August 2014 Normandy

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