This article is part of our Europe Trip series:
1. From Singapore to Paris via Dubai
2. Châtenay-Malabry, Eiffel Tower, Seine River Tour
On Tuesday morning, 2 June 2009, a Kide dropped us off at the nearest RER station around Châtenay-Malabry, Robinson (pronounced: ro-bang-song). Our first destination for the day is the centre of the Paris: the Île de la Cité island and its most famous attraction: Notre-Dame cathedral. Since we enter the Robinson station from the side entrance, we had to use the automated machine to buy the tickets for the RER train, using Euro coins since the machine doesn’t accept notes. Luckily, we had enough coins. Only couple of later then we found out that at the main entrance, there’s a ticket counter where we can buy tickets using notes. :P
RER trains charge by zones, so we had to check on which zones the starting and destination station are located, to ensure that we purchase the correct tickets according to the number of zones travelled. We can either buy single-trip (one-way) tickets, return tickets or a carnet of 10 tickets (with discounted price) which can be shared by different passengers. If you’re not sure, you can just go to the ticket counter and inform the staff your destination station, and the staff will advise you on the price.
The Robinson station is on a branch’s end of RER line B, so we took the train towards the city and we alighted at St. Michel – Notre Dame station, the RER station closest to the Île de la Cité island. It was the first time we used public transportation in Paris, and we enjoyed it very much. The RER trains are similar to Kuala Lumpur's KTM Komuter trains, slightly bigger than Singapore’s MRT trains and it’s quite convenient, provided it’s not too crowded.
From St. Michel – Notre Dame station, we crossed the bridge across Seine river to Île de la Cité and walked towards Notre Dame cathedral. We took our time taking pictures in front of the cathedral, near the statue of Charlemagne and at Point Zero, the “real” centre of Paris where distances to other locations in Paris (and perhaps France?) is measured. From there, we proceeded with our walking tour around the island, covering Pont d’Arcole and Hotel de Ville across the Seine river, Hotel Dieu, Pont Notre Dame overlooking the Tribunal de Commerce building, Place du Chatelet and the gloomy Conciergerie building, before reaching the Palais de Justice and Sainte Chapelle buildings.
After taking some rest in front of Palais de Justice building, we then left the island by crossing the Pont St Michel bridge, and walked along the Seine river towards Pont Neuf. After taking some pictures and having another rest in front of Institut de France building, we then crossed the Pont des Arts bridge and walked towards Louvre. We bought some ice creams at the end of the Pont des Arts bridge before entering the Louvre via its Sully wing. Since it was a Tuesday, the Louvre museum was closed for the day, so there’s not much people traffic there, allowing us to enjoy taking the photographs near the Louvre pyramid and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
We then met mbak Enik near Louvre, and we proceeded to have lunch at McDonald's which is located along Rue de Rivoli, one of the most famous roads in Paris, not far from Louvre. After lunch, my wife, my mother and mbak Enik then visited a duty free shop around the area, while I took Irza and Inka for sightseeing around the area. We walked past Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel monument towards the Jardin du Carrousel garden behind it. After taking pictures in front of the Joan of Arc statue at Places des Pyramides, we then walked north towards Avenue de l'Opera.
Our next walking destination was the Palais Royal and the garden, Jardin du Palais Royal. Passing through the garden until the end, we exited Palais Royal complex through its back entrance and walked along Rue de Petit Champs, located around Paris' 1st arrondissement to go towards Avenue de l'Opera again. Our next destination was the famous Opera National de Paris Garnier building. By that time, we have walked several kilometers and myself and the kids were also very tired, so we decided to take the public bus back to Rue de Rivoli to meet my wife and my mother.
That was the first time we took public bus in Paris. :) Since we haven't purchased our carnet of t+ tickets yet (will share about the advantage of buying the carnet of t+ tickets later), we purchased the tickets on board of the bus from the bus driver, and pay in cash. The ticket purchased from the bus driver can only be used on the bus itself and doesn't allow transfer to other mode of transportation (e.g. the metro train).
More pictures can be found here and here.
(To be continued)
Photo: My Sony Ericsson Xperia X1
After almost a year using my Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 mobile phone, I have come to a conclusion that its sliding keyboard is a design flaw. If you really a heavy user of the keyboard, I would not recommend the phone at all. On the other hand, people normally choose Xperia X1 because of the keyboard, otherwise they would opt for other cheaper phones such as HTC Diamond or Samsung Omnia. Therefore, it’s not worth spending your money for that expensive phone. For Xperia X1 wanna-be user, I would suggest you buy another phone instead.
I bought the phone on November last year, and after becoming a happy user of the phone for just several weeks, I have started to experience the problem on its sliding keyboard some time on late February or early March 2009, which was just several months after it was bought. I will not go into details on the problem, you can just click the above-mentioned hyperlinks for more info about the problem. In short, the problem was fixed after I sent the phone for repair some time on July 2009. Basically, they changed the keyboard with a new one to fix the problem, although since they confirmed that it was a hardware issue, I had concerns that the new keyboard would eventually have the same problem when the time comes.
And… guess what? My concerns came true. Since last month, again I started to experience similar problem with the keyboard. And yes, it *is* the new keyboard which is having the same problem. And I am not alone, many other Xperia X1 users experience the same problem after several weeks or months using the phone. With even new keyboard experiencing the same problem, I conclude that the problem is due to a design flaw which will cause the keyboard to have the problem after several weeks or month of usage, depends on how often the user uses the sliding keyboard.
I brought the phone to the Sony Ericsson Service Centre at Wisma Atria again last Sunday (1/11). Since the warranty period is nearing the end, the customer service officer said that the service will be chargeable, even though I brought the warranty card, because I was unable to provide her with the receipt as proof of purchase. She said that she was not able to determine the exact date of purchase because it was not on Sony Ericsson’s database.
She advised that I can try calling SingTel Mobile’s customer service and get them to fax the copy of my mobile contract to Sony Ericsson. When I called them, they said that they can provide the service, however it would take 5-7 working days and it costs me $30. The SingTel’s service officer advised that I might be able to get the copy of the mobile contract from the shop I purchased the Xperia X1 from. Sigh, I ditched the idea and decided to search for the contract on my pile of files at home on Sunday night. Alhamdulillah, thank God, I found it after almost two hours combing my files, and I have faxed it over to Sony Ericsson earlier this morning to ensure that I don’t get charged for this service.
No More Sony Ericsson Phones For Me
With such an experience with a lousy phone with a lousy service from the service centre, I have promised myself that I will never buy another Sony Ericsson phone. Well, some might said that since Xperia X1 was built by HTC for Sony Ericsson, that means the design flaw might be HTC’s fault, but I have friends who have HTC Touch Pro and the newer HTC Touch Pro 2, and they are happy users of the phones. My friend Arga suggested me to upgrade to the upcoming Xperia X2 phone which will be released this month, or even the future Android-based Xperia X3, but how can I ensure that similar design flaw will not apply to the newer phones as well?
Photo: HTC Touch Pro 2 (courtesy of gsmarena.com)
Photo: Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO (courtesy of gsmarena.com)
Photo: Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 (courtesy of gsmarena.com)
Photo: Nokia N97 (courtesy of gsmarena.com)
Yes, I intend to replace my Xperia X1 soon, if the problem still happens again after this second round of servicing. But I’m still not too sure which phone I should buy. It has to has a sliding keyboard, and it cannot be another Sony Ericsson phone. :P So, Xperia X2 is definitely out of question. I was considering Nokia N97 before my friends advised me that it’s not really a good phone, since it hangs quite frequently. I am currently considering either HTC Touch Pro 2 or the new Samsung B7610 OmniaPRO (the sliding keyboard type-one, not the Blackberry-alike OmniaPRO B7320). Do you have any other phones I should consider? :)