"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Trip with Jiekai - Part 4
Day 2 - Paris (1/4) - Conciergerie, Sainte Chapelle, Napoleon's Tomb (Hotel des Invalides)

supplemented with some of Jiekai's pictures in lieu of mine, which have been lost for eternity due to his cockitude

We then visited the Conciergerie, a former Revolutionary and Monarchical prison.

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Expiation Chapel, formerly the cell of Marie Antoinette
I had a better version, but it's been lost for eternity due to Jiekai's cockitude


Cell for richer Conciergerie inmates - they got beds.


Women's courtyard in the Conciergerie, Paris

Somehow had raved excitedly to me about the Conciergerie, but personally I wasn't too enthused about the place. Among other reasons, my feet hurt, I'm not a French Revolution buff, almost everything was in French, the place was poorly and confusingly signposted and laid out and there wasn't much to see both in terms of artefacts and in terms of how much of the place you can see; I'm sure much more of the area than was public exists and is historically significant (for example, almost everything related to the Revolution - what about how the place was used in Monarchical times?) - even Jiekai, a Revolution buff, was disappointed. Hell, even the facade of the place was unimpressive, and the entrance hardly marked and tucked away at one corner, below street level.

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Sainte Chapelle exterior


A walk through Sainte Chapelle

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Sainte Chapelle altar

Pictures truly cannot do Sainte Chapelle justice. It must be the most elaborately decorated place of worship I've ever seen, with gold gilt everywhere, thanks to its use as a royal chapel. The stained glass is beautiful (and the sunlight that day didn't hurt).

*Picture of an angel with wings being tortured (?)*
Jiekai, a "quasi-Catholic", called this "S&M of a Saint", angel wings notwithstanding

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Hotel des Invalides

We then proceeded to the Hotel des Invalides where, among other things, Napoleon is buried. Walking down the boulevard to the building itself, you get a great feeling of grandeur.

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Courtyard

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Statue of Napoleon

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Interior of the Soldiers' Church

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At one part of the ticketing centre there were shelves of cute soldier miniatures from the Celtic period to 1792. There was a very cute one of a soldier with a huge hammer.

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Tomb of Napoleon
I had a better version but it's been lost for eternity due to Jiekai's cockitude

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Dome

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Altar

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Outfit Napoleon wore on St Helena

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Tomb of St Jerome

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Sword Napoleon used at Austerlitz

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Sword Napoleon used at the Battle of the Pyramids (IIRC)

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Why this tomb has Arabic letters on it, I do not know

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Turene (?)

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Napoleon's Tomb

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Cock

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Cock

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Sculpture commemorating the Napoleonic code

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Napoleon standing over the remains of Napoleon II (according to Jiekai)

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Marshal Foch

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Coronation of Napoleon - in miniatures

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Joseph Napoleon's tomb

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Facade of Napoleon's tomb


It was great to get free public toilets again in Paris.

Many (all?) of the cars in the Paris subway have big rubber wheels. This means that the so-called Metro is really just a glorified underground bus service instead of being a real subway.

From Friday evening till mid-afternoon on Saturday, all we heard was French music (in contrast to the rest of Europe, where music in English is widely listened to). And then we heard our first song in English - Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On". Bah.

One of the mysteries of life - why're batteries so much more expensive in Europe than in Asia (more so than other products)?
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