Top Things To Do In Bali! | Excursion #2

At the end of last year I went to Bali for the first time, from December 23 to 30. It was also my first time in Indonesia for the record! I wanted to share with you some of the things I did which I can now recommend, in no particular order!


1. Visit Ubud, the Cultural Nerve Center of Bali

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I think that coming to Bali has to be accompanied with visiting the cultural nerve center of Bali, located in the town of Ubud! This small town was indeed packed with tourists but also with temples at every street corner, and some of the best restaurants I tried for the whole week! One simply cannot come to Bali without coming to Ubud, and seeing some of its sights 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / exploring is free.

2. Visit The Sacred Monkey Forest

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I went to this jungle forest packed with wild monkeys everywhere and it was the best thing! Yes there were baby monkeys 🙂 – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 2$.

This definitely was a highlight of my stay in Ubud, because I’d rarely had the chance before to get so close to monkeys, especially wild monkeys. Even if you’re afraid of monkeys don’t worry: they rarely climb people, and if they do it would be because you brought food with you (which they can smell from the other side of the forest).

I took some beautiful pictures there, green was everywhere!

 

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3. See a Traditional Balinese Dance Show

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This definitely was a highlight of my stay again: I went to see a traditional Balinese dance show, which I believe is held every night, at 7 p.m., in the center of Ubud, at the Palace.

Despite the many many (many!!!) flying insects everywhere due to the humidity and the lights, the show is absolutely beautiful and the music enchanting.

If you’d like to be bewitched into Balinese culture, this show is for you! – At Ubud, 2hr-drive from Denpasar / entry: 5$.

4. Go And See Various Temples

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Crazy fact: Bali counts around 20,000 temples.

During my stay I went to see many temples – they are literally everywhere on the island! Each of them has something unique, so I’d say they’re always worth exploring.

I had the chance of going to Bali during the week of celebrations for the new year which is called Galungan 🙂 The whole island is on vacation, and decorations fill the streets and the temples: the main decorations, called Penjor, were very high bamboo sticks hanging above the streets. – Find more info here.

Visiting the temples is always free, but as the most famous ones are dispatched everywhere on the island, therefore accessing them is not always easy. You can either go by taxi (always ask the reception of your hotel) or scooter. – more info below.

You can find a list of the most famous temples here!

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5. Witness A Religious Ceremony

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In Balinese tradition, Galungan is the time of year when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. For that occasion, the Balinese people gather in temples almost every day to bring offerings and pray altogether. – Find more info here.

The atmosphere created by the celebrations was truly awesome. It had a very authentic vibe, which was missing from the island otherwise, since it is overflowing from tourists. I strongly recommend going to Bali around this time of the year!

You can find a list of the most famous temples here!

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6. Go to a Spa And Get A Balinese Massage

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Going to a Spa is just part of the Balinese experience: you have to get at least one massage. Why? 2 reasons: it is so cheap you won’t believe it’s real, and the Balinese traditional massages are the best! The masseurs (generally female) carry just the right amount of pressure, although you can also ask for less or more pressure.

The beauty treatments are just amazing too, whether it be getting a manicure/pedicure, hair removal or a skin treatment, I assure you this will be a highlight during your stay! I did the best avocado hair treatment ever, which left my hair feeling sooooooo sleek I could not believe it. – 2 to 3 hours at a Spa / around 30$.

7. Make Friends!

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People on this island are some of the friendliest I’ve encountered. They smile all the time, they are happy to live, and they laugh a lot!

As soon as you get used to the indonesian accent, you’re up to go. Everyone speaks English 🙂

This picture was taken right after I climbed down Mount Batur, the most famous volcano of the island. I befriended my guide, the girl at my right, who I taught a bit of french since she was asking 🙂

On her left is the very friendly and funny driver I had to take me to Mount Batur, who also wanted to be on the picture, looking fab’ with his sunglasses!

8. Climb A Volcano

 

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Warning: if you’re afraid of heights like me, do not attempt this.

It was my first time climbing a volcano, and my first time going on a trek altogether.

Mount Batur is the second active volcano of Bali, the first one being Mount Agung which apparently you can’t climb anymore.

Climbing up Mount Batur is all fine since you do it during the night: however climbing down is a whole other matter! You don’t realise how far up you’ve gone until the sun comes out in the morning and you actually see the extremely steep slopes on both sides of the path (lacking barriers…)!

Hopefully I had a guide (which you’re obligated to have anyway if you want to climb) and she helped me go down when my legs wouldn’t support me anymore due to the fear.

However, I’m proud to have done it and I still encourage you to do it! – 2am to 7am / 10$ / ask your hotel reception for a ride there during the night.

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9. Take Some Of The Most Beautiful Pictures Ever

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Bali is of course one of the most instagrammable place of all time 🙂 Pictures speak for themselves, beauty stroke me everywhere I looked and of course I couldn’t resist!

Be aware that everyone wants his/her picture, and sometimes the sights are crowded of people who are here just to get their Instagram shot! Try not to get annoyed by it, it’s all part of the experience. 🙂

10. Relax And Enjoy Your Time There

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Bali is known for its relaxing atmosphere, its yoga retreats and its magical sights.

If there’s one place where you can forget everything and actually relax and enjoy the present, it’s there. Take time to breathe, you will not regret it.


Info:

Hotels are cheap in Bali. You can get a 3-star hotel for 20$ a night. Spend some time on the internet beforehand to check the best deals.

Getting around in Bali is pretty easy. You can either book taxis at your hotel reception (to avoid getting ripped off by taxi drivers in the streets) or renting a scooter for a day or a few days in a row. Any way, it will cost you around 10$ a day to go everywhere you like.

Balinese food is amazing although it is very much the same everywhere. You can get very big meals for around 5$ per day.

Activities can be pricy: it really depends on what you want to do and how big in a group you are. You will usually spend around 20$ a day for any kind of activities, per person.


This concludes my blog post on my stay in Bali, and if you want to know more, you can go and watch the vlogs I did while I was there! Here is the first part, and the second part 🙂 Do subscribe to my YouTube channel if you liked them!

Balinese kisses,

Lilly

aka The French Hat

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Bali Vlog (Part 1): Exploring Ubud!

MY THIRD VLOG: EXPLORING UBUD!

On my YouTube Channel Lilly Out And About!

Don’t forget to go and subscribe to it to support me 🙂


MON TROISIEME VLOG : J’EXPLORE UBUD !

Sur ma chaîne YouTube Lilly Out And About !

N’oubliez pas d’aller vous abonner pour me soutenir 🙂

The Ultimate Travel Tag: 50 Questions

Tag: noun. Internet term referring to a list of questions to answer, designed to get to know better the person answering them.

Created by people on the internet for other people on the internet, a tag usually has a theme which can revolve around general or more specific topics such as food, friendship, culture, movies, seasons, travel…

Usually, a person answering a tag will take that occasion to create some new questions, and ask other people to answer the tag on their platform as well, in view of spreading the tag.

Has been seen on: YouTube, blogs, Pinterest, Twitch, Instagram, Twitter…

Derived from: To tag: verb. To link a person to a picture or video on a social network.


MAP OF THE WORLD

1. How many countries of the world have you already visited?

I’m originally from France, and so far I have been to Ireland, England, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, the USA, Japan, Singapore and at the time this blog post will go up, I’ll be spending Christmas 2018 in Bali, Indonesia! So, 10 countries so far! 🙂

2. Which destination is the number one of your bucket list?

Oh my Gosh, this tag is already getting to hard to answer… Well, in fact my bucket list was all reshuffled after this summer 2018, because I went on a world trip with my parents for my 25th birthday/ end of studies/ life turning point and got to visit the USA and Japan, which were ex aequo my two ABSOLUTE number one destinations on my bucket list! You can read all about this mega-trip here 🙂

Therefore, now that two of my absolute dream destinations have been crossed off the list, I would say the number one on my bucket list now is be Australia. I’m actively looking at prices on Sky Scanner to see when it would be the best time to go there from Singapore!

3. 3 other places at the top of your travel bucket list?

Well, I’ve already written about the 10 Incredible Destinations I Want to Hit Before I Kick It, and from this I will say the other 3 are:

  • China
  • Egypt
  • South America

4. What does the ideal holiday look like for you?

Ummmmm… Let me think about it.

It would for sure be long, a month or two, and it would include discovering a new country and experiencing some kind of a culture shock. Visiting cities, but also incredible untouched sites, with preserved nature. And it would be either with one loved-one, or alone.

5. Favorite picture you’ve taken during a trip?

The two pictures I cherish the most are those two shots that my mother took of me in New York this summer…

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empire view

Both those shots are absolutely perfect to my eyes, and bring back so many memories of us being in New York, me for the first time ever, my parents for the first time in 27 years: they spent their honeymoon there before I was born…

It was my absolute dream to go there, for as long as I can remember, and both pictures represent the fulfillment of this dream of mine and make me remember how lucky I was then, and how lucky I still am to be able to continue fulfilling my dreams now.

6. Have you had to travel for work so far? If so, where?

Yes, I have had to travel for work on several occasions: when I was on internships in law firms during my law studies, I have had to travel to other courts or tribunals in France, for court hearings.

Since I’ve graduated as a lawyer in France, I’ve been working as a junior legal counsel for the Singaporean office of a big french company. So for my first job, I actually moved abroad, to Singapore.

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7. With who would you like to go on a vacation sometime?

With each of my loved-ones. Where? I don’t know, where the wind will take us 🙂

8. Who or what would you take with you to an uninhabited island?

For the person it would have to be a loved-one, and for the object it would have to be a knife, because I believe you can achieve anything with a knife (fire, create a shelter, make clothes, prepare food, etc.). But the real answer would be something intangible: knowledge about how to survive and nature in general.

9. Would you rather go to an amusement park or a zoo?

Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely love amusement parks. For example, I have been to Disneyland Paris more than 30 times (I’ve had a One-Year Pass allowing me to visit for free).

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I also like going to zoos, but it really depends on the zoo, and I’ve visited a lot of zoos in my life actually, I’m guessing 20 different ones. In France, Ireland, Japan, the US and Singapore.

In France, you can have really nice open-air ones, where animals live freely in reserves, and most importantly not caged. I especially think about a bird park I absolutely love in Villard-les-Dombes in South-east France (website). I also remember visiting a domain where wolfs lived freely but were fed by humans, which allowed visitors to see them during lunch time. This is the kind of “zoo” I like, but it depends on what you’re calling a zoo really.

All I know is that when I see an animal caged and obviously looking like it’s gone mad, turning in its cage, desperate, it brings tears to my eyes. I can’t handle it.

10. Mountain or sea?

Sea. I’m a beach girl, have been going to the south of France and the Mediterranean sea for all my holidays from 0 to 17 years old.

11. Which country(ies) will you visit this year?

Well, 2018 will end in one week, but in fact I still have one country to go to this year: I’ll spend the last week of 2018 on the Indonesian island of Bali 🙂

I cannot say anything about 2019… you’ll see 😉 but stay tuned for my adventures to come, because 2019 will probably be the year I visit the most places, ever!

12. Where would you never visit?

Well, never say never, but I can think of places where there is a war going on, or countries under dictatorship. I can say I’ll probably never go to North Korea.

13. Which place did you think was so special that you wished to come back to it immediately after leaving it and still want to revisit now?

Kyoto, Japan. 100%, didn’t even need a minute to think about it. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW.

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14. A place you’ve been to where you would not go back to and why?

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Will not go back unless forced to, and you can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8

15. What was the last country you visited?

Well, it was Singapore, because we ended our summer world tour with Singapore, and three months later I was back: now I’m living there 🙂

16. What is your favorite place on the planet that you have been to?

Japan. 100% again. Hands down. Not joking. If you’ve never been, PLAN YOUR TRIP RIGHT NOW!

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17. Favorite place in your home country?

Wherever I felt safe, at home, and with the people I love. It has never been attached to a place in particular.

18. You’re in an airport, and you know you can choose whichever destination to board a plane right now: which part of the world would you choose?

This situation only happens in movies… how nice it would be though! Well, to be really honest with you, I’ll go back to Japan, so the destination would be Tokyo, Narita Airport.

19. What’s your cup of tea – tropical island getaway, snowy ski break or city exploring trips?

Either Tropical island getaway (which will be what I’m doing for the last week of 2018, going to Bali) or City exploring trip!

20. What are your top 3 hand-luggage must haves?

A water bottle, a book and a blanket. It’s only with those 3 things that I can survive a 14-hour flight.

21. What 3 things would you take on holiday/travelling if you could?

All my books, my piano, and really nice camera gear.

22. Any travel tips to share?

Don’t prepare every single thing in advance of a trip: allow yourself to get lost, to explore whatever you wish to and to be surprised!

23. What is your most pleasant trip memory?

What I felt arriving in New York City for the first time in my life. I almost cried of happiness, feeling like the luckiest person ever.

24. What is your most unpleasant trip memory?

Being sick for two days straight in Tokyo, not being able to get up.

25. Most surreal travel moment?

The moment I left France again, to go and live in Asia. I cried, and in fact I’ve filmed it: you can watch my departure vlog here!

26. Most embarrassing moment abroad?

Well I can’t remember one in particular, but it always has to be with not understanding what a person is saying to me, usually talking in English but with a strong accent from somewhere.

27. Biggest disappointment?

Las Vegas, again. You can read all about the reasons why in this blog post: Why Las Vegas Was A Downer & Discovering Sin City | World Tour #8.

28. Nicest surprise?

San Francisco, California, USA! I’d never really thought about this place, but staying there and exploring this city was actually so nice! I’ll definitely go back to California in the future.

29. Favorite food discovery during a trip?

Well, this is a hard one because I’ve been eating food from all other the world since I was a child so for the moment I didn’t discover any food during a trip. However, I recently discovered Chinese Bao, at the Yam’Tcha teahouse in Paris, the small restaurant of Adeline Grattard’s husband, as seen on the third episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table: France.

I loved the baos I ate there, and I’ve seen lots of restaurants specialised in baos here in Singapore, so I’ll definitely eat some baos again!

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30. Why do you travel?

Probably the hardest question of this tag. I will give the short answer, because I’d really like to extensively express my deepest thoughts on this topic in the future, on this blog.

I guess I travel because I’m looking for something, which I haven’t found yet. A place, someone, peace within, answers to my questions, truth? I don’t know.

31. Have you picked up any phrases from travelling?

I’m already getting so used to Singaporeans “Lah” to mark the end of their sentences, and “Can” or “Cannot” instead of answering yes or no, I’m sure I would have picked those in about a month!

32. Your dream travel companion?

A special someone I haven’t met yet.

33. Favorite city or country?

City: Kyoto, so far. Country: Japan, forever. (repeating myself here, am I not? Have you booked your trip there yet? What are you waiting for?)

34. Best item purchased abroad?

All the hats I own. They’re from all other the world, and I love them all.

35. Advice for those who want to travel but think they can’t?

If it’s a lack of money, then take time to look at all the budget travel tips available on the internet today: you won’t hesitate after doing that.

If it’s a lack of time, then really think about it: I am 100% sure you can find a way to take some time off whatever is keeping you from traveling (work, family, life in general).

And if it’s a lack of courage, which probably is the main reason for everyone, then meditate every day over this quote:

In the end, what you will regret aren’t the things you did, but the things you never had the courage to do.”

36. Travel accessory you always pack?

Taking aside the obvious (identity papers, phone + charger and money), I would say a travel guide or a physical map.

37. Your most treasured passport stamp?

My passport stamp from the US.

38. Can you recite your passport number from memory if asked?

Oh yes. Along with its expiration date.

39. Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or cars?

Cars, 100%. I’m all about road trips, even though I absolutely love planes and trains as well. I also cherish boats, and buses. Any kind of transportation really.

40. Hostel, hotel or AirBnb?

Hotel or AirBnb. Sharing a bathroom and a bedroom with strangers is my idea of hell on Earth, so hostels are NOT for me.

41. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

I’m both. I want to go to all the places I’ve never been to, but also come back to my favourite places.

42. Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?

I read a lot about the destination, its culture and history, but I don’t plan the exact things I’ll be exploring or doing when I get there.

43. Favorite travel website?

I don’t really have one. What I’m all about are vlogs on YouTube, from youtubers like Louis Cole (Fun For Louis) who’s been to almost every country on Earth. I’ve been watching his vlogs around the world for almost 7 years.

Otherwise, I look at travel guides, and read travel blogs when I need information.

44. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city and why.

Tokyo, Japan. Because anyone from anywhere in the world will for sure be getting a huge culture shock in Tokyo. This place is absolutely incredible, and it can be everything you wish it to be.

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45. To which destination did you first take a plane to?

Dublin, at the beginning of September 2011, when I was 17 years-old, to go and live there for 2 years.

46. Suitcase versus backpack?

Backpack. So much more convenient.

47. Is there something you do on every trip?

I always go out of the place I’m staying at, choose a direction, and walk or take transportation in that direction not knowing what I will find. This is how I’ve stumbled on amazing sites, discovered amazing restaurants, met locals, etc.

In fact, this is probably the best travel tip I could give to anyone, but to do this you’ll need to be absolutely care-free.

48. When traveling do you talk to locals easily?

Yes, and I make a point out of it. I need to connect with locals, because this is how I like to travel. Otherwise there would be no point to explore the world for me.

49. Do you feel like you’re different when traveling?

Yes: this is the time when I’m most feeling whole and complete, and not wishing to be somewhere else. I live in the present and am fully aware of the peace I’m feeling inside.

50. What is the greatest travel-dream you would like to accomplish before hitting your next big life-turn?

I would like to experience 3 to 6 months of living and working in different places, in one country or many… and I can’t tell much more because nothing’s settled yet. 🙂


Until next time,

Keep Calm & Travel!

Lilly,

aka The French Hat

S’expatrier en Thailande sans préparation : Elo l’a fait ! | Expat’Interview #6

portrait ELO

Salut Elo ! Alors dis-nous en un peu plus sur toi : où es-tu expatriée et depuis quand ?

Je suis expatriée à Bangkok en Thaïlande, depuis déjà 2 ans !

Et tu fais quoi là-bas ?

Je travaille en tant qu’Ingénieur packaging, en tant que responsable de recherche, dans une entreprise thailandaise basée sur Bangkok.

Est-ce-que tu es expatriée en solo ?

Maintenant oui. Initialement, j’y suis allée pour suivre pour mon ex-copain, mais la vie thaïlandaise m’a convaincue de rester !

Dis m’en un peu plus sur ton chemin de vie. Comment ça se fait que tu es maintenant expat ?

Je dirais que c’est un peu du hasard. Je n’avais pas pour ambition de vivre à l’étranger. Il y a 2 ans, mon ex-copain a eu une opportunité de poste sur Bangkok et comme mon emploi de l’époque ne me convenait pas, j’ai décidé de démissionner pour le suivre. J’ai eu une superbe opportunité d’obtenir un poste équivalent en moins de 3 mois.

Et, peu de temps après, je me suis retrouvée célibataire, mais comme je débutais un travail, je me suis donné au moins une année sur ce poste avant de revenir en France… Et puis j’ai découvert une superbe vie sur Bangkok, en créant de jolies amitiés, en profitant de la vie nocturne de Bangkok, en voyageant beaucoup, et en gardant le soleil toute l’année. Alors pourquoi revenir en France ?

Ah oui, donc tu n’avais pas spécialement envisagé la vie d’expatrié avant ça… Quelle a été ta motivation première alors ?

C’est compliqué à dire… l’amour m’a fait venir, mais ma passion du voyage et la jolie vie que l’on peut s’offrir en Thaïlande (en tant qu’expat) m’ont fait rester plus longtemps que prévu !

Quel a été le point de non-retour, après lequel tu as su que tu partirais ?

Je dirais qu’il y a eu plusieurs points de non-retour :
1/ le départ sur Bangkok : une grosse déception pro (et perso), qui m’a motivée à démissionner.
2/ lorsque j’ai su que j’allais rester : j’ai reçu une jolie proposition d’emploi pour revenir en France au bout d’un an… mais je n’ai pas mis longtemps à me rendre compte que je n’étais pas prête à ‘revenir à la vie normale’ et à quitter cette vie ‘hors-norme’ ! 😀

Tu dirais que tu as ressenti quoi à ce moment-là ?

Tout est enfin devenu plus clair pour moi.

Qu’est-ce-qui t’a fait choisir cet endroit dans le monde en particulier ?

Je n’ai pas vraiment eu le choix: mon ex-copain a eu une opportunité en interne pour un poste sur Bangkok. Et, honnêtement, j’ai fait un tour d’Asie en mode backpack il y a 4 ans… et la Thaïlande était de loin le pays que j’avais le moins apprécié, très certainement à cause du coté ultra touristique. Mais pour y vivre, je pense que Bangkok est l’un des meilleurs choix en Asie:
– une ville internationale, donc c’est pratique pour continuer d’avoir des amis européens, voire français en cas de manque;
– une superbe ville pour faire la fête;
– c’est tellement plus simple de voyager en Thaïlande lorsque l’on parle un peu la langue locale;
– le faible coût de la vie;
– les accès faciles à de nombreuses plages paradisiaques !
– de même pour les parcs naturels;
– l’absence d’hiver;
– et on se régale avec les plats thaïlandais !

Tu parles combien de langues ?

1/ Français de langue maternelle
2/ Anglais, développé depuis que je vis sur Bangkok
3/ Espagnol, d’un niveau basique
4/ Thailandais, que j’essaie d’améliorer au quotidien!

Du coup tu connais les langues officielles du pays dans lequel tu es expatriée, en quoi ça t’a aidée dans ton expatriation selon toi ?

C’est plus simple pour le quotidien d’avoir un niveau basique de thaïlandais : plus simple pour faire des courses ou parler au taxi, et également pour s’intégrer au travail. C’est aussi très pratique lorsque l’on voyage dans des lieux moins touristiques.

Est-ce-que tu conseillerais d’apprendre la langue avant de venir ?

Oui

Quelles ont été les difficultés que tu as rencontrées en Thaïlande jusqu’à maintenant ?

Tout d’abord, me faire des amis, et trouver un cocon dans cette nouvelle ville ! Puis, l’intégration avec les thaïlandais n’est pas facile, cela étant dû à une différence culturelle.

Quelle a été la partie la plus difficile de ton expatriation ?

Le manque des amis et de la famille en France 🙂 !

Qu’est-ce-que tu aurais fait différemment pendant ta préparation à l’expatriation ?

Mon départ en Thaïlande n’était pas du tout préparé… Et j’ai survécu 🙂 ! Je conseillerais simplement de commencer à chercher un emploi avant le départ, et de se renseigner sur les quartiers.

Qu’est-ce-que tu aurais fait différemment à ton arrivée sur place ?

Je ne suis pas une pro de l’anticipation… je ne pense pas que j’aurais mieux fait différemment. Au final, c’était un peu de découvertes au quotidien !

Où as-tu trouvé le plus d’infos et les meilleures infos sur la Thaïlande ?

Sur les blogs !

Le jour où tu es arrivée, est-ce-que tu t’es sentie perdue ?

Pas spécialement, mais c’est toujours plus simple lorsque l’on arrive dans une ville à deux!

Est-ce-que tu as réussi à te faire facilement des amis ?

Oui, j’en ai plein !

Est-ce-que ce sont plutôt des locaux ou des expatriés comme toi ?

Plutôt des expatriés.

Est-ce-que tu dirais qu’il est facile de se fondre dans la masse en tant qu’expat en Thaïlande ?

Non. Je travaille dans une entreprise thaïlandaise, en étant une des seules blanches. Donc dès que l’on fait quelque chose qui “sort de l’ordinaire”… qu’est-ce que ça gossipe ! 🙂

Quels conseils tu donnerais à quiconque voudrait venir vivre en tant qu’expatrié là où tu es ?

Rester ouvert d’esprit, et toujours être respectueux.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la nourriture ?

Oh oui, la nourriture thaïlandaise est épicée! Il faut un peu se ‘forcer’ au début, mais le corps s’habitue naturellement assez rapidement!

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster aux gens ?

Oh oui, surtout dans le monde du travail : être toujours souriant, ne pas être trop direct, ne pas placer un mot plus haut que l’autre, toujours respecter les ‘anciens’…

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la législation ?

Pas forcément, il faut simplement être en règle pour le permis de travail.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster au climat ?

Oui, mais c’était facile ! Le climat est chaud toute l’année, il faut s’habituer à suer 😀 ! Le plus ‘compliqué’ est la saison de mousson, où l’eau peut facilement arriver jusqu’au mollets !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à l’habillement ?

Un peu dans le monde du travail… en oubliant les jeans, en me couvrant les épaules, et en m’habillant de manière plus formelle.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster aux coutumes ?

Non.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la façon de vivre ?

Je prends bien plus de snacks qu’en France… Sinon ça n’a pas trop changé 🙂 !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la façon de travailler ?

Etre moins directe, et bien plus courtoise, ce qui n’est pas plus mal 😉 !

Le mot de la fin ? 🙂

Si on attend le bon moment pour devenir expat… on peut attendre longtemps. Alors foncez !


C’est avec un immense plaisir que je vous livre aujourd’hui l’interview d’Elo : cette fille est géniale, et je la trouve hyper inspirante et drôle ! A elle toute seule et en seulement deux ans elle a réussi à faire ce que des milliers ne parviennent pas à accomplir durant leur vie entière : construire sa vie à l’étranger ! Elle raconte ça sur son blog alors n’hésitez pas à aller voir et vous abonner 😀

Son blog : EloditHello

Son Facebook : lectourebangkok

Son compte Instagram : @elodithello.blog


Si toi aussi tu es expat’ ou que tu l’as été, participe à mon projet et raconte ton histoire en remplissant le questionnaire qui se trouve sur cet article pour avoir l’opportunité d’être publié sur mon blog !

On Top Of The Californian Hills | World Tour #7

Our second day in San Francisco started with a huge Starbucks latte in hand, which was fortunate in light of the day we had ahead of us.


Coffee At Alamo Square Park

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Ahhhh, the Painted Ladies. What a beautiful sight! I’ve taken many more pictures of them than those two, but I can’t overload this blog… I was finally being able to see them with my own eyes!

Their colors were indeed so vivid and each and every one of them was completely unique. To think that people actually live in them blows my mind as those may well be the most photographed inhabited houses of the world!

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We then went to take the bus that would take us west, to the Golden Gate Park where fun would never end!

A Morning At The California Academy Of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences
© California Academy of Sciences / San Francisco

Although it was sunny until then, when we arrived at the huge building of the California Academy of Sciences it was almost raining. Ahhhhh the joys of being in a oceanside town…

Anyway, we rushed inside, to discover an ENORMOUS T-rex squeleton, welcoming us right at the entrance! We took some maps of the Academy and began the exploration.

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This wasn’t a museum, nor anything we’d ever visited: this truly was a temple for Science! There were so many things to see we didn’t know which one we would choose to start!

  • An Aquarium
  • a Planetarium
  • a Rain Forest
  • and a Natural History Museum !
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The Bio-Dome

We began the visit with the Rain Forest Dome, which was absolutely amazing: there were birds, fishes, turtles and butterflies everywhere inside !

About the Dome : Housed within a spectacular 90-foot-diameter glass dome, our rainforest exhibit is the largest of its kind in the world. With temperatures of 82–85°F and humidity at 75% or above, it will instantly transport you to some of the most biodiverse places on Earth. (source: California Academy of Sciences website)

It was a one-way path: you had to climb up a sort of sloped access ramp that was going all the way up to the top of the dome, and then you had to take a lift right at the middle to go down again.

So right after visiting the dome–and dodging hundreds of butterflies– we took the lift to go to the “Water Planet” area: it was still on the RainForest “journey” but focused more on species found in water.

inside rainforest water planet

It was amazing, AGAIN. There were all sorts of fishes, turtles, insects, snakes, lizards, frogs and toads… likely to be found in a rainforest, such as the Amazon Rainforest or the Congo Rainforest.

To stay on the water side, we then pursued our visit at the Aquarium.

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
The underwater way

And let me tell you, I had never seen so many species at once. Again, so many types of fishes, sharks, mollusks, shellfishes, corals, jellyfishes and so on!

Also, I really want to say that this aquarium was beautifully built: every fish tank was amazingly showcased, in a particular light for each one of them… A lot of work has gone into making this aquarium one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen.

We took some beautiful pictures in front of the fish tanks:

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And gazed at the huge, magnificent coral reef for a long time…

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And when we got out of the aquarium space, we came face to face with Claude, the Albino Alligator of the Academy!

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It was already midday by then, so we had lunch at the Academy’s restaurant, and we sat outside because the sun had made another appearance and we weren’t going to waste it!

And then we rushed the visit of the Natural History Museum, wanting to see the Planetarium as soon as the visit would open, but there were way too many people so gave up and didn’t end up seeing inside the Planetarium. Until next time!

Japan In California: The Japanese Tea Garden

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Right next to the California Academy of Sciences was a closed area that I wanted to see: the Japanese Tea Garden. The entrance fee was $9–for non-residents adults, and we stayed for over an hour.

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We enjoyed the calmness of the park despite the crowds of people, and took some of the coolest pictures of the whole trip!

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San Francisco Beach

Yes. We went to the beach. But it only had the name! Forget what you have in mind about Californian beaches… San Francisco rather looks like a French Normandy or Brittany beach!

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And we actually FROZE TO DEATH on this beach! haha That chilly wind though! The parents were muffled in their coats but I wasn’t feeling too good myself!

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After walking all the way to the ocean front, we went all the way back to the road to take the bus again.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Again

Yes, we went to see it again, but as the day before, it was literally wrapped up in fog, so we didn’t get to see it very well. But again, until next time!

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Lombard Street, Or The Crookedest Street In The World

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You can’t come to San Francisco without going to see Lombard Street: even on foot, we struggled to go up the hill right behind it (to arrive at the top of the street) and it was hard to climb down!

Yes, because there were many people, but also because the slope and the stairs were quite steep!

And I found the sign explaining a bit more about the street:

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And there were beautiful houses on that street, the blue one with the magenta flowers being my favorite one…

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The Cable Cars

To sum up this wonderful day of exploration and to come back downtown where our hotel was, we went to take a Cable Car (also because it was included in our CityPasses!).

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We waited for over an hour in a loooooong line outside, but it was worth the wait: the experience was amazing (I know I say this a lot, but really, it was!).

In fact I filmed the whole trip up and down the steep hill on the way downtown and will be posting that on my YouTube Channel as soon as I get the chance to edit the footage!

India In Our Plates

All in all, and from what I can tell, the best food of all the United States was in San Francisco!

The restaurant we went to to eat dinner was The New Delhi, and we very much enjoyed the food! It was delicious, and beautifully served.


Annnnnd that is a wrap for San Francisco! All in all, we didn’t stay very long, two full days and three nights in total.

The next day we went to the San Francisco International Airport: my mother took a flight to come back to France, and my father and I took a plane to Las Vegas. And our journey continued…

With love,

Lilly

aka The French Hat


Want to know what happened next during our summer trip around the world? Keep up with our adventures in my World Tour series!

La vie en Suède, c’est comment ? | Expat’Interview #4

portrait Marie suède

Salut Marie ! Alors dis-nous en un peu plus sur toi : où es-tu expatriée et depuis quand ?

Je suis expatriée à Göteborg en Suède, depuis 3 mois !

D’accord, ça ne fait pas très longtemps ! Tu t’y es installée ?

Oui, mon mari et moi souhaitions changer de vie, pour être en accord avec nous-même, dans un pays qui nous permettait de vivre pleinement nos aspirations.

Comment ça ?

Avec mon mari nous avons un van pour voyager, mon rêve était de faire un road trip en Suède et Norvège, ce que nous avons fait. Ce n’était pas la première fois que l’on partait avec le van, mais là ça a été comme une évidence. On s’est sentis libres, un sentiment de bien-être. On s’est rappelés l’importance de prendre le temps de vivre, de faire ce qui nous fait vibrer.

On a décidé de retourner en Suède, cette fois-ci en hiver et dans une ville, pour voir comment on vivait la situation. Une fois de plus on a adoré, la culture, l’ouverture d’esprit, le slow life, l’importance donnée au temps pour soi, au temps avec sa famille, tout ce qui nous manquait dans nos vies frénétiques en France.

Alors on a pris le pari de venir vivre ici. On a décidé de chercher du travail pour voir ce que ça donnerait, mon mari en un trouvé un et on a décidé de tout quitter pour partir vivre là-bas. Ça n’a pas été simple de tout quitter mais le bonheur de refaire sa vie en accord avec nos envies a pris le dessus.

Waouh, c’est vraiment inspirant ce que tu dis Marie ! Et alors quel a été le point de non-retour pour vous deux ?

Quand on a comparé notre vie maintenant et comment on pourrait vivre en Suède ! Quand on s’est rendu compte que finalement ce n’était pas si compliqué, qu’il fallait juste prendre le temps de le faire, de se faire confiance et de faire confiance en l’avenir.

Et ça t’a fait quoi de sauter le pas ?

J’ai ressenti beaucoup d’excitation !

Qu’est-ce-qui t’a fait choisir cet endroit dans le monde en particulier ?

La nature, l’espace, des villes à taille humaine, les lacs, les forêts, l’ouverture d’esprit, la place de la femme, la place à la différence, le slow life. On vit dans une ville magnifique, Göteborg, qui bouge mais en même temps qui n’étouffe pas. On est au bord de l’océan, près de la Norvège pays magnifique également.

Tu parles combien de langues ?

Anglais, espagnol, français (et un tout petit peu suédois)

Du coup tu ne connais pas véritablement le Suédois ?

Non, mais je l’apprends !

Tu penses que c’est mieux d’apprendre la langue avant de venir ou bien tu ne rencontres pas spécialement de difficultés ?

Ici tout le monde parle anglais, mais il est certain que c’est un plus de parler suédois. Ce n’est pas nécessaire de l’apprendre avant de venir.

Quelle a été la partie la plus difficile de ton expatriation ?

L’administratif en France ! (impôt, sécurité sociale, pôle emploi, …) Mais aussi tout quitter sans se retourner, laisser les amis, la famille, son confort.

Qu’est-ce-que tu aurais fait différemment pendant ta préparation à l’expatriation ?

Je suis hyper organisée ! Alors à part partir plus tôt dans ma vie c’est la seule chose que j’aurais fait différemment ! Si, peut-être apprendre plus tôt la langue pour être moins perdue.

Qu’est-ce-que tu aurais fait différemment à ton arrivée sur place ?

On est partis assez vite, donc sur place ça s’est bien passé, on a eu le temps de faire tout ce dont on avait besoin. J’aurais plutôt préféré prendre un peu plus de temps en France pour régler tout ce qu’il y avait à faire, car une fois partis c’est plus compliqué !

Où as-tu trouvé le plus d’infos et les meilleures infos sur la Suède ?

Il est difficile de trouver des informations, donc il y a pas un endroit en particulier mais plein ! Des blogs, forums, site de l’ambassade, site du gouvernement.

Le jour où tu es arrivée, est-ce-que tu t’es sentie perdue ?

Non, mais être à deux je pense que ça aide. Ici c’est très clair ce qu’il faut faire administrativement parlant, cela prend du temps mais on sait ce qu’il faut faire. Après ce qui peut perturber c’est le fonctionnement en général, pour le logement, le numéro d’identification suédois, le pays fonctionne différemment et parfois on a du mal à savoir si on va y arriver !

Est-ce-que tu as réussi à te faire facilement des amis ?

Je viens d’arriver, mais on a déjà un cercle d’expatriés français parce que c’est le plus simple pour commencer, mais on espère tisser des liens avec des locaux.

Est-ce-que tu dirais qu’il est facile de se fondre dans la masse en Suède ?

Oui et non ! Oui parce que c’est une grande ville cosmopolite, on est loin d’être les seuls ! Après je pense que pour rencontrer des locaux et tisser des liens c’est plus compliqué mais ce n’est pas propre au pays, je pense que c’est général.

Quels conseils tu donnerais à quiconque voudrait venir vivre en tant qu’expatrié là où tu es ?

Se donner les conditions de réussite, prendre le temps de réfléchir à ce que l’on est prêt à sacrifier et ce que l’on ne veut pas sacrifier ! En fonction de ça prendre le temps de s’organiser pour que le départ se passe le mieux possible.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la nourriture ?

Non au contraire, nous sommes vegan et ici c’est beaucoup plus simple, il y a des options vegan partout, et même dans une petite supérette de centre ville il y a un rayon vegan, ils sont plus ouverts qu’en France sur ce point.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster aux gens ?

Forcément un peu, les français sont des latins, les suédois des nordiques, nous n’avons pas le même savoir vivre, l’un n’est pas mieux que l’autre c’est juste assez différent. Ici il faut savoir respecter la zone d’intimité des autres, ne pas exclamer son point de vue, tout doit se faire dans la mesure, dans le respect des autres. Moi qui suit très expressive, j’ai du apprendre à me mesurer ! Mais je trouve que cela m’a beaucoup appris sur moi et sur les autres.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la législation ?

Etant un pays de l’Union européenne, de ce point de vue là ça reste raisonnable. Il faut juste un numéro d’identification, le personumer, c’est le saint graal ici, une fois que tu as ça toutes les portes s’ouvrent !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster au climat ?

C’est certain… surtout où je suis, c’est la côte ouest donc en gros c’est le climat de la Bretagne avec plus de pluie, de la neige et des températures plus basses ! D’ailleurs les locaux sont assez surpris de voir des gens comme nous qui ont choisi de venir vivre ici, on a pas été mutés c’est un choix en toute conscience !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à l’habillement ?

J’aime beaucoup une citation du pays qui dit : “il n’y a pas de mauvais temps, il n’y a que des mauvais vêtements !” Alors oui un peu c’est sûr, je me suis équipée en parka, vêtements chauds, chaussures de pluie, sac imperméable, mais pas de gros investissements.

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster aux coutumes ?

Pas vraiment, ici c’est très cosmopolites, mais il y a quelques règles du quotidien ; on ne fait pas la bise et on ne serre pas la main, on dit juste bonjour et si l’on est vraiment proche on fait un câlin. Noël n’est pas à la même période. Ici le “fika” est très important, une vraie institution, c’est la pause café, et si on t’invite à un fika c’est très mal vu de refuser ! Rien de très violent 🙂

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la façon de vivre ?

Oui, dans le sens positif ! Ici on est investi dans son travail, mais personne n’attend que tu fasses des heures supplémentaires, tu as du temps pour te consacrer à tes activités personnelles. En général, ici on est proche de la nature, le weekend tu pars te balader. Il y a le fika comme j’en ai déjà parlé mais aussi les after work qui sont très appréciés. De manière général ici c’est : bien être, sport, slow life, donc l’adaptation n’était pas difficile !

Est-ce-que tu as dû t’ajuster à la façon de travailler ?

Je ne travaille pas encore, mais mon mari oui et j’ai eu pas mal d’entretiens donc je peux dire que c’est assez différent de la France. Ici c’est en mode flat management, pas beaucoup de hiérarchie et quand il y en a on ne la sent pas, tu peux aller frapper au bureau de CEO, cela ne choque pas ! C’est beaucoup dans le consensus, alors les décisions prennent du temps à être actées, mais une fois que c’est fait pas de retour en arrière. Pas de compétition entre les gens, tout le monde a à peu près le même statut, et c’est poussé par le fait que les impôts sur le revenus sont très élevés donc parfois une augmentation ne vaut vraiment pas le coup !

Est-ce que tu as dû t’ajuster à quoi que ce soit d’autre ?

La patience en général ! Le slow life a du bon, parfois on a du mal, on aurait envie que ça aille plus vite : l’administratif, les décisions au travail, cela va jusque dans les files d’attentes ou tu dois prendre un ticket avec un numéro même dans certains magasins pour payer à la caisse ! Il faut être patient ici.

Le mot de la fin ? 🙂

Je n’ai aucun regret, c’est une expérience fabuleuse, même si finalement on se serait dit que ce pays n’était pas fait pour nous j’aurais été heureuse de l’avoir fait !


Marie partage au quotidien son expérience de la vie d’expatriée en Suède sur son blog, sa chaîne YouTube et son compte Instagram ! N’hésites pas à aller la suivre dès maintenant :

Son blog : Affrenchie

Sa chaîne YouTube : Affrenchie blog

Son compte Instagram : @affrenchie

Son compte Pinterest : Affrenchie


Si toi aussi tu es expat’ ou que tu l’as été, participe à mon projet et raconte ton histoire en remplissant le questionnaire qui se trouve sur cet article pour avoir l’opportunité d’être publié sur mon blog !


*© Photos : Marie, Affrenchie.

The Next Chapter Of My Life | Thoughts On Expatriation #1

It’s all about opportunities” … or character. In a couple months I will turn 25, aka a ‘quarter of a century‘. Here are my thoughts on how I’ve always intended to live my life and how I’ve been able to fulfill my dream: living an expatriate life.


I’m that annoying person who’s always claimed:

If you want, you can

This French saying basically reminds you that if you really want something, you can get it, or do it. Nobody or nothing should ever stop you from reaching your goals. And I’m the living proof that that motto isn’t only motivational talk. So, when it comes to my love of travelling, I always knew where I was going.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone Is The Hardest Part

As a kid, who did you find most inspiring? Astronauts? Scientists? F1 drivers? Firefighters? For me it was travelers. You know, real backpackers, wanderers, international reporters, professional translators travelling around the world… really anyone that could travel full time, either through their work or on savings, allowing them to discover new cultures, customs and languages.

This seemed like the dream life to me.

I don’t remember exactly when I first discovered it was actually possible not only to visit other countries but actually live there, as an expatriate. But it must have been when I was 7 or 8, through a movie or a book. What I do remember is what I thought to myself that day: I would give anything to live this kind of life.

Little did I know at that moment what my future life would be like.

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Me then, quietly enjoying the Irish landscapes – © Gilles Gautier

Pretty soon, life answered me.

Right after finishing high school, when I was only seventeen years-old, I got accepted into a very selective university program, allowing me to study law in Dublin, Ireland for two years.

Those two years were absolutely incredible, but to be honest, I didn’t enjoy them as much as I should have, because at the time, I struggled with my anxiety a lot: getting out of my comfort zone wasn’t easy at first, but I’ve learned then to enjoy and control it.

The Courage To Lose Sight Of The Shore

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – André Gide

This perfectly sums up the most important lessons I’ve learned from life so far: you will never do anything in life, unless you make a leap of faith.

I’m not saying you should take such leaps every minute of every hour of every day of your life. What I’m saying is to take a leap from time to time, when you want and are able to take it. And this does not only apply to travelling: the same goes for everything in life.

Your life can radically change from one minute to the next, so why not control those changes as much as you can?

Why wait to experience new things when you don’t know how much time is on your hands?

Think about what you’ll say to your children and grandchildren: do you want to say “I’ve always wanted to do it, but I never found the time and the courage“? Or do you want them to know you’ve done everything in your power to live your dreams and always come up with new ones?

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Me now, living my best life in Japan.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

Defying All Odds

My main point here is this: I was not predetermined to live the life I’m currently living.

I’m a only child. My whole family is French and doesn’t speak any other language than French, except my father who speaks English in his work. I’m from a rather small city in Southeast France, Lyon. My father is an IT consultant, my mother’s an accountant. I didn’t learn any English before I was 11 years old, and even then it was only through school. I never went to any prep schools, or took international classes. I never traveled outside France during my childhood.

But: I doubled my efforts to learn English by myself. In high school, I worked much harder to get into a selective university program. Then I worked harder to stay in the university path I’d chosen. Then I worked even harder to pass the French bar exam. And for the last 4 years, I worked my a** off to be the best intern possible.

So today, I’m almost 25. I’ll be graduating as a lawyer in a month. I’ve lived in Ireland for 2 years and I’ve traveled to 3 continents and more than 10 countries. I’m learning Japanese, Chinese and Korean, and I’m getting ready to expatriate myself in Asia to work for a multinational company.

What were the chances? You tell me!

If I hadn’t doubled my efforts, I would not be where I am today in my life, but I was willing to put everything I had into it to follow my dream!

So stay tuned to my blog to follow me on my next adventures, because let me tell you right away: there will be a lot more!


This is one of the most personal blog posts I’ve written on this blog. This subject was not easy to write about. I’ve carefully chosen every single one of my words here, and I hope it inspires you to take a leap of faith, just like me!

Signing off,

Lilly, aka The French Hat