Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: rain

October 2018

Since August this year, I’ve been posting a series of photos on my WeChat Moments at the end of each month to sum up the month. Unfortunately I don’t have the original photos for August and September anymore, so I will begin by sharing the October series here. November series coming very soon…

Trip to the Three Gorges Waterfall in the Three Gorges scenic area near Yichang in Hubei province, China, during the National Day week-long holiday. This is not the actual waterfall (which is huge at 102 m) but a small cascade that was on the way to the main attraction itself.

Dew drops on a leaf on the morning after a rainy night – the beautiful wonders of nature never cease to amaze me and bring joy to my routine everyday commute!

Fresh morning air – perhaps the only time that the air could be fresh in this polluted city.

Night in the Optics Valley area.

A fancy fountain pen set that I saw at a new bookstore that opened close to home. Normally I would probably have bought it – and I was tempted – but it was way too pricey to be anything close to worthy.

A collection of doorplates and road signs plastered on a block in the corner of an intersection in the Hankou district of Wuhan.

A dark and foggy morning – drivers would not be able to see farther than 5 m in front of their cars.

Qiaokou Road station on subway line 1, in the Hanyang district. There’s a stretch of line 1 that is completely overground, and being able to see the city outside the windows made the usual subway rides a lot more interesting and bearable.

A walk around Yujia Lake, and as it’s close to where I live, I’ve become quite familiar with it. A rare sunny day – not too hot and not too cold – meant that many people were out and about enjoying the weather before winter truly settled in.

Chinese food and Chatime in Manchester?!

Earlier this week I was in Manchester for a work collaboration. I stayed two days in the city, mostly spending my time in the lab of my collaborator trying desperately to get preliminary results from a new experiment (which didn’t work, boo). I didn’t get much time to explore the city, but after dinner on the first night, I figured I’d just take a quick stroll around the city centre, even though it was raining. Oh, dear. At least the rain was light and the sky was still bright, so although I didn’t have an umbrella, I didn’t get soaked (unlike that time in Antwerp…) Taking photos in the rain proved to be difficult, but I gave it a try…

Without an umbrella, I wandered into the centre of Manchester in the rain so that I would at least see a little bit of the city. This part of Manchester, which was close to the cathedral, reminded me of Rennes and Strasbourg in France. I would have never thought that this was a place in England if I only saw its photo.

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Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow…the sun is hiding, perhaps. I am not kidding when I say that I haven’t seen the sun in almost three weeks. Well, it comes out once in a blue moon after the rain, but always for a very short period of time and always behind heavy, grey clouds. What I ought to say is that I have forgotten what blue sky looks like 😦 Oh Glasgow, must you do this to me?

I guess you win some and you lose some, or the other way around. If there is no rain, then who could experience and appreciate the beauty of the rainbow? Thinking of this made me realize that rainbows are one of my favourite things to photograph, though I obviously don’t have as many photos of rainbows as I would have liked since it depends a lot on timing. Still, here is a compilation of some of my favourite rainbow scenes captured throughout the past years.

I can’t stress enough my NEED to get a window seat when I travel on a plane. The only exception is when I have to make a connecting flight within a short period of time, in which case I would compromise and go for an aisle seat. Then I would miss views like this. It was raining as the plane took off from Glasgow last December, and without high expectations of seeing anything glorious, I looked outside the window, just in time to see the opposite of the expected – a semi-rainbow hanging from the sky. Perhaps then, I loved rain a little bit more, even if it were just for a split moment.

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Settling down in Glasgow

I survived week 2 in Scotland, yay! I am still temporarily renting a room, but accommodation has been (mostly) taken care of and I will be moving into my new place in December. Work has sort of commenced as I had begun working at the lab – or mostly at the office for now, haven’t done any lab work yet. Other than that, life is good…I think?

Well, not everything went as smoothly as it sounds, truth be told. The search for housing has been disastrous and painful and I will probably write about it after I actually move into my new flat. Moving to a new city is difficult, and whichever city it is, it takes quite a bit of time to become familiar with the ways of the city and blend in with the people who live there. I had done it before when I first arrived in Bordeaux, and whenever I am suffering from fear or panic here in Glasgow, I always tell myself, “I did it in Bordeaux, so I can do it again.”

And alas I am doing well, after two weeks in Glasgow. Better than I had anticipated, actually, mostly because of the help and support I’ve received from the overwhelmingly friendly people in the city. That’s gotta be a good sign! However, there were just a few things that I needed to get used to upon first settling down in Glasgow. Some were more expected than others, but each of them gotta be confronted with head-on, one way or the other. Here goes.

The Glaswegian accent

I don’t know how this managed to be the single most difficult obstacle to overcome, and it is ironic because they speak ENGLISH here. I thought, if I could get through three years in France and Belgium, then I will have NO PROBLEMO in Glasgow! 😀 WRONG. I had been “warned” about the Glaswegian accent before I came, being told that the Scottish accent is more difficult to understand than the British accent, and the Glaswegian accent is even MORE difficult than the common Scottish accent. Uh. How is that possible? I dismissed that claim and happily hopped onto a taxi on my first day in Glasgow and realized that I didn’t understand a single word the taxi driver said. I am not exaggerating.

Then all hell broke loose. The cashier at the grocery store. The HR guy. The agent that opened my bank account for me. The waitress at the burger restaurant. I felt so ashamed that 50% of the time (maybe more) I couldn’t catch what they were saying. And you see, if this happened in any country where the main language is not English, I would not hesitate asking them to repeat. But this is English here (it is…right???) and I feel really rude for asking them to repeat when I should be able to speak English perfectly. Come to think of it, I am the foreigner with the funny Canadian/American accent. How dare I ask them to repeat! Hah, that was and still is my mindset when speaking with Glaswegians with that thick accent that I cannot comprehend. I am sorry, I truly am. Please be patient with me and I promise I will try my hardest to get accustomed to it!

On a side note, it has been exponentially easier to communicate with my colleagues as we are a very international group. One of my supervisor is Spanish and the other is English (so much more comprehensible than Scottish… 😛 ), and my colleagues come from places like Italy, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Finland, and Chile. They’ve reassured me that I am not losing my English language abilities. Phew!

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The humble Swiss capital

The capital of one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, Switzerland, is not its largest city Zurich nor the internationally renowned Geneva. It is Bern, comfortably and humbly tucked behind other more popular Swiss tourist destinations. It’s true. One doesn’t usually make a stop in Bern aside from making a transfer, and I guess…that was exactly why I went. I mean, there has to be SOME reason why it’s the capital of such a magical country, no?

It would also be the final stop in my week-long trip in mid-January and the final Swiss city I visit before I leave Europe. The night I arrived, it rain. It rained hard, and it was the first time that I saw rain during the entire week of travel, thank God.

Instead of staying at a hotel or hostel, I decided to go for Air BNB after hearing great things from several friends. As I was arriving in Bern rather late, Air BNB seemed to be the most convenient and budget-friendly option. I found my host Slawek’s place, after getting slightly lost around the train station, soaked all over. Thankfully my host provided a very warm and cozy night’s accommodation, especially as I was exhausted near the end of the trip. In the morning, I felt well-rested and ready to tackle the last day, exploring the humble Swiss capital.

The old town of Bern is very compact and could be easily navigated on foot. There were light drizzles in the morning and no snow as predicted in the weather forecast, but that didn’t dampen my mood. I started out down the main street in the old town and followed a map on a fountain hunt (which I will talk about in the next post), passing by the Zytglogge (Clock Tower) on the way.

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