Cote d’azur Part II

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Marseille

Initially when I arrived at Marseilles airport first thought was to dude lets explore this thing, after all this was only place I had heard about before barring Nice and Monte Carlo. Also the word was around that they have anointed Marseille as 2013 European capital of culture. Yet as it happened I moved to La Ciotat and it was just an tangential touchdown. Little did I know, yeah I know I tend to overuse this phrase, that I would get ample opportunity to explore this city.
It started with quest across the old city, La Paine ___ , only sad thing the instructions were in French. I somehow managed to use english and latin etymology. In France you would never fail to notice graffitti and coming from Singapore where you get caned for graffiti this was a true wah-lau moment for me !!
Too bad that I cant leave this post to be finished as photo essay, bloody technology upgrade to iOS 7, made me loose my pics. #Laments And all I have now is social media album and whatsapp. Nonetheless, #RegainsEnthusiasm , I decide to be unperturbed by these hiccups.

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It was also awesome feeling to see catch Ulysses and his some twin brothers, <I wanna go to Dublin… on Joyce’s day >. The quest took longer than expected and left me drained with that sweet pain in legs, and yet I proceeded to newly opened Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM)  http://www.mucem.org/#.
Well it wasnt exactly a museum but more of architecture museum, made to likes of an old Mediterranean town. And voilà ! it felt like that. It offered majestic view of the vieux port and palace for Napoleon’s mistress across the small strait that ended in Mediterranean. And of-course the highest zenith in Marseille, Church the Notre-Dame de la Garde

 

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Aix en Provence

They say that its city of fountains, well there were fountains at every square but…
The whole city had an aura of peace, and a long history dating back to 425 BC, no wonder its the capital of Provence. We happened to chance upon the saturday market, and it was great seeing folks coming in their station wagons and putting up temporary stalls. We reached bit late and most of the stalls were packing up. We proceeded to lively part of the Aix-en-provence, yes you guessed it right – old city !
I would have described the french crepe we had, but I think I can capitalize on it for another blog post. You see most of the time I am lacking ideas to jot down and travel gives you a lot to write about. So why not ?

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Baux en Provence
Hmmm….baux-en-Provence, pronounced ___ . The old gang turned up after initial “dude we were going to Cassis, we even got the boat reserved. ” But alas it was Aix-en-Provence and baux-en-provence. And I know no one is lamenting about Cassis now.
There was this castle on top of a hill, and it was a beginning to feel like a deja-vu after eze. But lo and behold, what do we see !! Trebuchet ! No fucking way, it’s a real trebuchet !! The feelign that age of empires fan would get seeing a real life Trebucher is undescriable. It was single nasty piece of weapon that sent shudder across opponent’s army.
-He has got swarm of Trebuchets, we are royally screwed.
And as if Trebucher wasnt enough we saw other weaponeries, (aaarghh my lost pics #Laments). The view from the top was uber and all we could see was farms which would produce, huile-de-olive ____
All hail the mightiest strategy multiplayer game of all times, Age of empires !!

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Some more villages…
On our way back to Marseille aeroport, we had lot of time to kill, so why not explore adjoining areas. We were able to catch Calas-Cabries and Les Pennes Mirabeau, but nothing great about them to jot down. Calas had a small, like really small castle on top with a courtyard and in Les Pennes we did not even bother to get down.

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 Marseille Aeroport

And then return flight from airport, and Starbucks did not offer free wi-fi, infact no wi-fi at all. Huh ! Managed on 20 mins of free airport wireless and half hearted attempt to change MAC ID for a renewed session, and 20 minutes are kinda enough for chatting on viber/whatsapp/gTalk.  How ubiquitous communication has become in this age (:

Tweets of a coffee ninja

I think I have been updating about how the caffeine is the new addiction for me.  (Caffeine addict )

These days I have been in coffee ninja training, and I have already accumulated a formidable collection in my quiver. I have now access to premium espressos, lungos and ristrettos. I have already started day dreaming about my life as a barista. Last year when I applied to starbucks, they rejected my application. (may be they didnt expected electrical engineer brewing coffee !), but now I can see some light on the distant horizon. Coffee Ninja !!

Other than having premium espressos I also have access to “kopi luwak”. Yeah it is one of the costliest coffee in world, sells at $60/cup or some 700 bucks a kg. But one has to taste it to get its flavor. Its splendid !

And since I just discovered how to embed tweets in wp…

 

Confessions of a caffeine addict…

This tribute has way too long shot its deadline.
Whenever I am mesmerized by the aroma of coffee beans, I promise the writer in me, “Come on !!you cant ask for a better afflatus.”. (I know the title is cliched, but who cares !!)

May be today is the day, especially ever since I sipped the south Indian filter coffee…
That nanoseconds of orgasms, when you are drowned in aroma and your palates send first pulse to brain. That is THE MOMENT. No past, no future

Nothing beats afternoon cold kapi @ Singapore’s kopitiam- a black coffee with lots of ice. Or the urbane espressos at America’s finest Starbucks.Thanks to the flat world of Friedman, you can enjoy the authentic south Indian coffee @ Hot chips/saravana bhavan/Murugan. But then too you will miss the roadside coffee they serve in wee hours of morning at Chennai’s roadside.

Even those school days in Varanasi when I waited weeks to enjoy the thick cold coffee of “the kerala cafe”, it always had something in offing. It kind of marked my days of teenage coffee fan. Or even the famous VT’s cold coffee @ BHU, Varanasi.

 

Then came the days of undergraduate days of Himalyan odyssey, those four years went pretty caffeine-less sans the last year, when I started brewing coffee from CCD coffee beans. Man !! It was an joint effort, when you struggled with electric heater, white cotton kerchief as sieve, and aroma filling up whole of corridors after midnight. Other time we usually made hay with nescafe machine coffee-which was like a cheap B grade bollywood flick. Baker’s cafe at Gangtok provided some respite once or twice a month.

Then came the corporate days, which were lost in cappuccinos and frappacinos and macchiato of CCD and Barista in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Delhi. But then cold coffee was my childhood fav, could not give up on that.  And once I caught a entrepreneur lost in “How Starbucks saved my life”, I got fascinated in a conossieurs way, and bought Howard Schultz’s “Pour your heart into it”. I have been pouring my heart ever since 🙂
I thought not giving a mention to shots of espresso will be blasphemy.
It wasnt until I arrived in Chennai- Heart of south India, I tasted the filter coffee, and that’s it !!

 

PS: sequel on hold till I visit Baristas in Italy or if I win World Barista Championship or another afflatus !

 

 

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place.

Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind.  The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters.  Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.”

-Honore de Balzac, “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee”

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