Happy New Year! As always, Sydney is one of the first cities to enter the New Year and the cable networks are awash with clips of the fireworks over Sydney Harbour. It’s still a couple of hours until Istanbul follows. Turkish TV, evidently not as squeamish as CNN or BBC, has been showing uncensored clips of Saddam’s execution.
We flew in from Paris this afternoon. Paris was overcast and dreary, but despite the grey pall, it still had loads of charm. I managed to visit a few extra places this time around. Saint-Chapelle (just around the corner from the Notre-Dame Cathedral) was particularly spectacular. It’s a small Gothic chapel split into two levels. Soaring stained-glass windows form the walls of the upper level and the effect is amazing, even in the murky Winter light. The Arc de Triomphe has many imitators around the world, but like the city it resides in, none really comes close. Incidentally, l’Arc is second in size only to the Triumphal Arch in, of all places, Pyongyang. The North Koreans intentionally constructed their arch to be slightly larger than its Parisienne counterpart in the early 1980s to commemorate Dear Leader Kim Il Sung.
As for Turkey, only been here for a couple hours, but I like it already.