About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I love you till the end

I just want to see you
When youre all alone
I just want to catch you if I can
I just want to be there
When the morning light explodes
On your face it radiates
I cant escape
I love you till the end

I just want to tell you nothing
You dont want to hear
All I want is for you to say
Why dont you just take me
Where Ive never been before
I know you want to hear me
Catch my breath
I love you till the end

I just want to be there
When were caught in the rain
I just want to see you laugh not cry
I just want to feel you
When the night puts on its cloak
Im lost for words dont tell me
All I can say
I love you till the end

Take care and be well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ear Barotrauma

My left ear has not popped since my flight from Poland.

It has caused some significant amount of pain and discomfort.

I tried a number of things to get it popped - all the usual things and some unusual ones - but to no avail.

In actual fact, these things caused the ear to become inflamed a little.

So, I find out that I have Ear barotrauma

Ear barotrauma is discomfort and possible damage in the ear due to pressure differences between the inside and outside of the eardrum.

It is caused by the air pressure in the middle ear is usually the same as the air pressure outside of the body. The Eustachian tube is a connection between the middle ear and the back of the nose and upper throat.

Swallowing or yawning opens the Eustachian tube and allows air to flow into or out of the middle ear, keeping the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum equal. If the Eustachian tube is blocked, the air pressure in the middle ear is different than the pressure on the outside of the eardrum. This causes barotrauma.

Many people experience barotrauma at some time. Barotrauma commonly occurs with altitude changes, such as flying, scuba diving, or driving in the mountains. If you have a congested nose from allergies, colds, or an upper respiratory infection, you are more likely to develop barotrauma.

Blockage of the Eustachian tube could also be present before birth (congenital), or it may occur because of swelling in the throat.

My personal symptoms have been dizziness, ear discomfort or pain in the left ear, slight loss of hearing and sensation of fullness or stuffiness in the ears.

The treatment I have tried to relieve ear pain or discomfort or try to open the Eustachian tube and relieve the pressure:

1. Chew gum
2. Inhale, and then gently exhale while holding the nostrils closed and the mouth shut
3. Suck on candy
4. Yawn
5. Clasping my ear with my palm and trying to pop it like a toilet plunger.

When flying, do not sleep during the descent. Use these measures frequently to open the Eustachian tube. Allow infants and children to nurse or sip a drink during descent.

Since my self-care attempts did not relieve my discomfort within a few hours, I sought medical intervention.

I was given some decongestants taken by a nose spray without steroids.

These medication I was told may relieve nasal congestion and allow the Eustachian tube to open.

Well, after about 3 times of spraying it up my nose, the ear has finally popped and I feel relieved but there is a slight discomfort which is likely now due to the slight inflammation that I have caused by trying to unclog my ears like a toilet plunger.

All is well now though.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cracowia, Polska - Tatanka, Zubrowka to Na zdrowie

Cracowia, Polska (Krakow, Poland) - 27 March to 30 March

Tatanka - a drink made with Zubrowka and apple juice nicknamed the apple pie
Zubrowka - a popular Bison grass vodka made in Poland.
Na zdrowie - To health - something said while drinking i.e. cheers or yam seng.

Arrived in Krakow at around 2:30pm, Stel came to airport to pick me up and then we took the taxi to the hotel - should have taken the train but still taxi was significantly cheaper then in Netherlands. Train would have been 6 zloty which is like RM6 and the taxi was 80 zloty.

Arrived in the hotel, checked in and then just rested for a while before going out for a walk to the main square at Rynek Glowny which was just a slow 10 minute walk. Then went back to hotel and took a real quick nap.

Went out for dinner in this restaurant which is in an underground cellar and had some nice risotto.

Then met up with some friends from Shell in Krakow like Dagmara and her friends took me out to a pub and then to a pub/club called Beautiful Dog (in Polish it is Piekny Pies). It was nice to be out in a club that played some decent real music for once and it is frequented by the artists etc of Poland. Was out until 3am or so drinking Tatanka's.

Got up around 8:30am on Saturday, had breakfast and then went up to Wavel hill for a nice walk and back down to the Wisla river and then slowly back to the main square.

Had some beet soup and pierogi which is basically a ravioli Polish style.

Also had these bread and cheese sold on the streets.

In the afternoon, Dagmara, who is also my travel advisor for the STIA, came by and took me to Kazimierz which is the Jewish sector of Krakow. We went to a Cuban pub in the Jewish sector and had an interesting pink beer, a drink with grenadine syrup, beer and orange juice.

Later, we walked backed with Dagmara to the square then the train station. And bid her goodbye, she was not to well and it would be good for her to rest.

Stel and I sat down near the park to enjoy the nice weather that I had brought to Poland. The weather was really bad before I came and even snowed on Wednesday but was perfect when I arrived and remained great until I left.

Later in the night we went for a nice vegetarian restaurant nearby the square and very near where I was staying, the food was good and surprisingly the place was really crowded.

Had a nice long discussion and then headed back to the hotel for an early night after the late night the previous day.

On Sunday, got up for breakfast, packed up, went for a walk around. Then headed back, took the bags and went to the train station for an early ride to the airport and flight back to The Netherlands.

I had a good time with family and friends like Stel, Dagmara and her other friends like Joanna and Arthur. They were great company and it was nice to go somewhere in my trips where I was never alone walking around.

But such is not always the case, so this coming week, a trip to London to turn 40. I guess I have to go to Motherland for my birthday.

Until then, Na zdrowie, go have a tatanka and enjoy life while you live, when else can you do so.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Vanderfull Home Cooked Meal

I am very grateful today for I had my first home cooked meal of my trip here.

I did not cook, God forbid.

I was invited for dinner at a friend/colleagues house in Delft Zuid (south). Peter Van V (a Dutch) and his wife Anne(of Indian origin) and their daughter Queen Tessa were gracious enough to host me for dinner today at their lovely home.

And the best part, a nice hot home cooked vegetarian meal .... ahhhh the pleasure.

So, had some Egyptian bread, similar to Naan roti, some nice pulao, an egg curry, a vegetable curry, some yogurt raita and nice Indian pickles. YUMMY.

And their 3.5 year old daughter Tessa is just so adorable and so well behaved. And of course she played with me and likes me. She is just a doll. And the hosts Peter and Anne are so nice as well.

God bless them and thanks for the lovely food.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What is with guys and red light districts

Pretty much every Malaysian (mainly male) I have talked to or chatted with online keeps asking me about the infamous Amsterdam Red Light district.

And some even ask me if I have gone to their coffee shops in Amsterdam and smoked some weed.

Guys and others who may want to know, the Red Light district is not that exciting, stimulating or even sexy.

The prostitutes on "display" are old, fat and not really that beautiful or sexy.

The district has quite nice architecture and it is near many other historical stuff.

Recently, there has been talk of moving the district away mainly because similar to Malaysia's red light areas all over, there has been a lot of people smuggling and women from Asia and Russia being forced into prostitution.

You see, unlike our wonderful country where prostitution exists everywhere illegally, over here, such things are frowned upon. Activities have to be legal, taxed etc.

So, if you do come to Amsterdam, go see the district, and you will know it is not what it is cut out to be. These legal prostitution exists pretty much in every European city as well as some American ones.

Now about weed, drugs are illegal in The Netherlands. They have just been tolerated for a long period of time. Lately, laws against the heavy drugs usage has been enforced but weed, marijuana, hashish or ganja - whatever you may call it - is easily available and tolerated. However, the cops are ready to question anyone behaving suspiciously.

As for me, I don't even like cigarette smell, what more the smell from weed. It is nauseating. I have seen it being sold, I have inhaled the bloody second hand smoke and felt nauseated but have not had the desire to try it on my own. I do not thing that there is anything wrong with it, it is just I have not had the strong urge or desire to try it myself.

However, I did go to the Hashish Museum, it was rather interesting.

What is interesting here is the architecture, the museums, the art, the canals, the windmills, the cheese, the scenery in general.

So, if you are coming to The Netherlands for some marijuana and the Red Light District, you will be awfully disappointed.

Take care and be well.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thunder, lightning, rain and sunshine

The Netherlands is famous for rain but more the type of rain that in Malaysia we would call a light rain but it would last for hours, even for days or weeks, consistently raining.

However, yesterday we had Malaysian rain.

Really heavy downpour, thunder and lightning (which is not so common here) and lasted like it does at home, for about an hour or two, then stopped.

Started again late at night and stopped again.

Then again for another 30 minutes or so.

Then finally some sunshine.

Ah, I feel so at home now, only if the temperature was 25 to 30 degree Celsius. And all I could think of was to be cuddled up with loved ones and a warm black carpet ;)

Take care and be well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Of airports, dogs and Jai Ho

This morning I actually got up relatively early for a Sunday and had a nice breakfast at the hotel.

Wanting to take things easy but not remain in quiet Rijswijk, I decided to check out the airport. I had heard that the airport was busy. Since I was doing trips away and Sarah was planning to come here sometime, I decided to see the convenience of taking a train and checking out the Malaysian Airlines counter, the Lufthansa counter, the EasyJet counter and others.

Also, checked out how much excess luggage costs (€64 per kilogram on Malaysian airlines, thank God that Shell pays for additional 15 kilograms).

I also just checked out some of the shops. The Schipol airport is a hive of activity, even on a Sunday and a welcome change from quiet Rijswijk and The Hague where everything is closed.

Then I returned and talked to wifey and of course part of our discussion was about our boy, Al E and how affectionate he was today. He got a rare treat from wifey, he got to sleep in the bedroom mainly because the house was smelling of turpentine. But our boy was oh ever so grateful to get this opportunity to sleep in the room with wifey and slobbered her with kisses in the morning and remained a good boy today.

After our discussion, I decided not to remain in the room, so went to Rotterdam. Even in Rotterdam the shops are open on Sunday.

I decided to see a movie and ended up with 2 movies. Marley and Me to begin with. Having read the book, I would say the book was a lot better than the movie. Nevertheless, just as the book did, the movie did bring a lump in my throat and a tear in my eyes at the end.

Just made me miss Al E boy a little more.

After that, finally got a chance to watch Slumdog Millionaire. What a great, happy, inspiring, sad, everything movie. Even claps all around at the end. Jai Ho!

This movie well deserves all the awards it got for all the award shows including the Academy Award, really brings a happy feeling.

So, that's is how I spent a rather relaxing Sunday.

Jai Ho.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Out on a Friday night

I walked into my room at 6 this morning, undressed and plopped into the bed to sleep. I got up at 10:45am and took a nice hot shower after that.

I took the 4:45am train from Amsterdam to Den Haag HS, but overslept in the train, so only got off at Delft. This was close to 5:45am.

In Delft, I quickly boarded another train, going to Rijswijk and finally got home.

In the Netherlands, unlike Germany and Poland and possibly other countries as well, trains do not function through the night.

So, when the Friday night of going out with a friend was done, I had to wait a couple of hours for the 4:45am train. I slept sitting down at the train station for a couple of hours. Nearly missed the train too.

Nevertheless, the evening was interesting. We had a really good Mexican meal, with surprisingly excellent service.

Drank quite a few Mexican beers, then went to shoot some American pool and finally ended up in a club.

So, the night was fun and the trip back from Amsterdam was an adventure.

Take care and be well.

Friday, March 20, 2009

MY country politics - State of Intelligence

A friend forwarded this old joke which I have reworded a little for obvious reasons, main being that the freedom of speech does not exist.

Najis was visiting Singapore and during a meeting with PM Lee, he commented to him that he was so disappointed with his cabinet people for being stupid, and asked him how he managed to have such an efficient cabinet in Singapore .

PM Lee said, 'Simple, Najis, I choose able men for my cabinet.'

Najis asked, 'Yes, but how do you know that they are able?'

PM Lee replied : Just ask them simple questions to test their intelligence. They don't need to be too difficult. Let me illustrate to you.

Just then, DPM Tony Tan was walking by, PM Lee called out to him, 'Hey Tan, come over here.'

Tan walked briskly over and PM Lee asked, 'Tell me, Tony, who is your father's son ?'

Tan immediately replied, 'Me ! Of course.'

PM Lee turned to Najis and said, 'See, all my ministers can answer such questions. Why don't you go back and try?'

Najis thanked PM Lee and left for Putra Jaya.

Once he was back, he immediately summoned his right hand man MuhyDon, and shot the question at him, 'Tell me, MuhyDon, who is your father's son?'

MuhyDon was shocked beyond words and did not know the answer.

After a while, he recovered and said, 'Boss, let me find out and I'll tell you tomorrow.'

Najis, a bit disappointed, agreed, hoping that MuhyDon will give him the answer the next day.

Meanwhile, MuhyDon was panicking that the PM was testing him. He tried desperately to find out the answer from his staff, but none of them knew the answer.

The next morning, he thought a smart guy like Anwar must know the answer. So he phoned and when Anwar picked up the phone,

MuhyDon said: 'Hello, Anwar !!, I want to ask you a question. If you do not willingly give me the answer, I shall have you detained under the ISA.'

Anwar then agreed reluctantly and MuhyDon asked: "Tell me, who is your father's son?'

Anwar who was fuming at having been threatened over such a trivial question replied: 'Of course it's me, you stupid!' and he slammed the phone down.

Satisfied that he got the answer, MuhyDon confidently walked into Najis' office and said: 'Boss, I've got the answer to your question.'

Najis, happy that his minister wasn't that dumb, said, 'So tell me quickly MuhyDon, who is your father's son?'

MuhyDon confidently replied, 'It's ANWAR!'

Najis slapped his own forehead in disgust and said: "No you stupid ! It's TONY TAN!'

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Berlin Pictures

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day

So, it was St. Patrick's Day and I happened to go to my usual place in The Hague called The Fiddler and lo and behold, they were having a celebration with live music and quizzes and all.

And I actually had a draft Guinness and it was quite nice and smooth - I must be getting old if I am starting to like what my old man likes.

Also had some Jami and coke (Jamison's whiskey and coke) and got a free t-shirt reading "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!" - nobody did though.

Nevertheless, quite a nice lively night and back to the room by 10:30pm, so not too late a night.

Take care and be well.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I got it for my Ammaaa

Well, I got it for my Ammaaa in Law anyways. Easter is coming up and thought this would be something that Ammaaa would appreciate anyways.

(For those of you who may not know, Ammaaa is a term of endearment for mother in Tamil and not your housekeeper. I don't really understand why a lot of people especially expats in Miri call their housekeepers amah)

5 easter eggs that fit in each other with a very Catholic theme.

These were bought in Berlin but are from either Ukraine or Russia, not sure exactly where but definitely not China.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend in Berlin

Saturday 14 April
Arrived at around 5am in Berlin. Dark and cold but as soon as I got into Berlin main station Hautbanhof, it was a mecca of activity.

Got directions to get to my hotel, just 2 stops down to the east. I stayed in the center of what was East Berlin near between Hackescher Market and Alexander Platz.

As I get out of the Hackesher Market train station around 5:15am, I see my hotel already. And I hear this loud music from 2 bars at the bottom of the station. I peep in and see a really large crown still partying away.

I get to my hotel and decide to leave my luggage there and as I cannot check in so early, I take a walk out. And I find restaurants and deli's still open - this is at 5:30am.

I grab a hummus sandwich and a drink and eat with gusto. Then I look for things to do and see that there is a Insider Guide walking tour available but starts at 10:30.

So I head back to the hotel and sit in the lounge to charge my phone as well as a quick snooze to charge myself. Barely 30 minutes into my nap, the nice hotel staff allows me to have my room early, at 7am or so.

I go to the room and continue my snooze until about 9am. Get up and freshen up. Then go out, eat some more and get to this meeting point for the tour. The weather is fantastic, nice and warm with sunny skies.

A five hour tour for €12 is fantastic. We go walking and see the most interesting sites in Berlin. The walk takes us from Hackesher Market to the central station with all the main sites covered. Our guide is a Scott who has been in Berlin for 10 years and knows a lot about this place.

The museum island is just a stones throw from my place and our guides tells us about all the museums there. Of course if we want to go in, it would have to be at out own time. The we head down to see all the building around east Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler's bunker / aka car parking lot, Brandenburg gate, the Berlin Wall, the Jewish memorial, the parliament and the Chancellor's washing machine.

There is quite a lot we did in the 5 hours that my writing would likely not do justice to it, so, I will not try to describe it in detail. But I had a great time.

After the tour, I take my personal guide (my Garmin GPS device) and head to the west. Hard Rock Cafe, Sony Center, Erotic Museum etc. After being in the East, the West just seems a little too modern but nevertheless nice enough.

I head back to my hotel, freshen up, eat something nearby and head out again for the night bar crawl with Insider guides starting at 8:30pm.

Berlin allows drinking on the streets, anywhere including smoking everywhere. We first go to a cheap nice Soviet relic bar near the train station.

The temperature starts to drop and the rain starts but the crawl continues.

Then to another modern clean cocktail bar, then to a live Reggae music bar. Finally we head to a club. All these places are only frequented by few tourists, so mostly local hangouts.

I had worn this cool t-shirt and got the attention of everyone in pretty much every place we went. Basically this shirt has a synthesizer on it that reacts to music, so, I was sort of lighted.

Sunday 15 April
By the time I come out of the club, time has passed, I don't feel tired nor drunk because I did not drink too much. It is 3:30am. It is still raining.

I stop by a deli to have a meal and some juice and water and get back to the hotel around 4am and go to bed.

I get up by 8:30am, have breakfast and head towards the direction of the Star Wars Death Star. Well, basically the TV tower which has an observation area that looks like the Start Wars Death Star and even has a nickname as such.

But on the way there, I end up in a Anglican church - among the oldest in Berlin. It has a service so I sit in for the service and leave when they start a baptism ceremony for a new born.

On my way out, I remember I left something in the hotel and rush back to get it.

Then I head to the Death Star .... I wonder if Lucas was inspired by this East German TV tower when he made his movie considering that some of the bad guys were uncannily similar to the Nazi's.

On my way down, I buy some souvenirs and come out with this German rickshaw guy greeting me and offering to take me places where I have been. So instead, I ask him to take me to the East Side Gallery, where I have not yet been.

The East Side Gallery is a part of the Berlin Wall still intact and was used as a canvas. Renowned artists worldwide were invited to paint something on it. I tried to look for some Lat's cartoon on it but alas to no avail, guess he was not invited.

It is close to 2:30pm when I head back towards the hotel. A few more pics around the place.

You will see a lot of Bear statues in Berlin because it is named after a Bear. Frederick the Bear. Well Birl also means a swamp which Berlin was at that time. But the bears statues you see everywhere are basically in regards Frederick.

I headed to the central station and bid goodbye to Berlin, a city that has changed so much in 20 years, once divided and now united.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

ICE to Berlin

Some 20 years back, I came to Berlin for a Pink Floyd concert when the Berlin Wall came down.

It was a historic moment and I was just a student.

Today, I arrived in Berlin, in the wee hours of the morning, on a night train from The Netherlands. I took the trains to Germany which are called ICE, basdically the Inter-City Express.

Berlin has definitely changed a lot in 20 years, a complete transformation of a city, once divided by communist/socialist East and democratic/free trade West and now united as one.

Just before my trip, I was watching a documentary on the Berlin Wall and how it started - initially as a picket fence and evolved through many evolutions to become The Wall and how it crumbled eventually.

I wish I could have made different plans and be in this historic and wonderful city longer, but I know I will come back again.

As such, I will truly enjoy the next 36 hours or so in Berlin before taking the Sunday afternoon train back to The Netherlands.

And I will post more stories and pictures when I am back.

Take care and be well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Boo Hoo Clapping Song

Carburetor Dung is a Malaysian punk rock band formed in 1991 in Kuala Lumpur. Formed by bassist Fendi as a band called Stormfish but later changed its name to Carburetor Dung when guitarist Joe Kidd joined the fold. The name came from Lester Bangs' book Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung.

I came across Carburetor Dung in 1993 when I worked for The Sun newspaper in Malaysia and Joe Kidd actually worked there for a while.

So, why is my post about Carburetor Dung. Well, at lunch we were talking about different type of music we listen to and all the different concerts on going. Like a friend who went for Pink concert, and another going for AC/DC concert and myself going for Jason Mraz concert in April.

And I just remembered my old colleague Joe from the Carburetor Dung.

This evening, I will be taking a 9 hour train ride to a place I have not been in nearly 20 years and that was also when I went for one of my first concerts by a now retired band called Pink Floyd singing songs from their ever popular album on site.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A wasted second chance

I always give a place a second chance especially restaurants etc.

But I now live to regret the 2nd chance given to this restaurant.


I went to this place on Sunday and did not get my food.

So, I thought, I want to give this place a second chance.

The 1st time, I got my drinks and despite asking at least twice for my food, I was informed only 1 hour later that the kitchen screwed up.

The 2nd time, I forewarned them of my past experience. I got my food really fast but this time, I did not get my drink. And the order was taken by the manager.

When I told her about it, and told her how the place screwed up a second time, I got this for a reply:

"Well, this is not something that I can do anything about."

What the F***. She is the bloody manager and not even bothered to apologise.

Service in The Netherlands sucks, but service in Popocatepetl is by far the worse, hopeless and the worse restaurant service I have had in all my travels around the world.

I was also informed by a colleague that he and his friends went there some months back and also some items ordered were never delivered.

Please, if you are ever in The Hague, avoid this place and you will avoid some anger rilling up.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alma Mater

Most schools probably have a school song, mostly I guess now it is in Malay. But the school I went to had this song that somehow you just cannot get it out of your mind, especially the first verse.

So why do I remember this now, well St Xavier's Institution in Penang, Malaysia is 222 years old.

All through our college a voice is resounding,
Promptly respond to your duty's sweet call,
Hearken you all for the trumpet is sounding,
Your mater's proclaiming her watchwords to all

Forward her children dear,
Ever with hearts sincere,
Render with joy to your mater her due,
All that is vile reject,
Heaven will e'er protect,
Sons of St Xavier's valiant and true,

Labour will conquer your motto still bearing,
Forward with courage in ways that are just,
True to your standard, be doing and daring,
As faithful Xaverians in Heaven your trust

Forward her children dear,
Ever with hearts sincere,
Render with joy to your mater her due,
All that is vile reject,
Heaven will e'er protect,
Sons of St Xavier's valiant and true!

Once a saint, always a saint. I studied in the school from 1976 to 1987.

Take care and be well.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A hungry man is an angry man

After my trip back from Antwerp, I was a little tired, so I took a quick nap.

Then I was hungry, so as usual, decided to head out to The Hague.

Walked around a bit, thought maybe go watch a movie but there were none playing after 6pm on a Sunday.

Finally, settled on going to this Mexican restaurant that I have been wanting to try.

I think the name is Popocatepetl and is smack in the middle of the town not to far from the parliament.

Anyway, I go in and the decor is nice and service seemed quite alright.

But you know, the service industry in The Netherlands and somewhat even in Antwerp is like non existent in general. I have been to some restaurants with great service but very few here, so far, only 2.

So, I ordered a Margarita classic, which I got quite speedily.

I also saw that other tables had tortilla chips with salsa, but mine did not. It is standard on all tables but I had to ask for mine.

I also ordered a mushroom soup, a vegetarian fajita and a bottle of water.

I got the mushroom soup but it was very salty, but I was hungry, so I downed most of it.

I had to wait nearly 15 minutes for my water, seeing it on the bartenders area waiting to be picked up. And I get frizzy water instead of still. Then it takes me another 5 minutes to get it changed.

Then waiting for my simple vegetarian fajitas, 20 mins, 25 mins, 30 mins, 35 mins, 40 mins, 45 mins, 50 mins and no fajitas.

People around me got their food and even left but I was waiting.

I asked but waiters and waitresses would just pass by and when asked will disappear and never come back with the status.

Finally, the waitress I ordered food from said there was some screw up in the kitchen and they were only now making it. I told her forget it, I am tired of waiting, nobody came and gave me any status.

I was tired and hungry and getting really upset.

I honestly think it was a screw up in ordering rather than a screw up in the kitchen but I really could not care. I had come from Rijswijk to The Hague just for dinner, it was raining, it was cold, I was tired, I was hungry and it just made me angry.

I asked for the bill and decided to leave but the manager came to me and apologised and said I did not have to pay for the things I had. I said fine, and walked out.

Into the rain, still cold, still tired and still hungry. Just took the tram back to Rijswijk and decided to just take a Domino's pizza back.

In Domino's this young attendant who was friendly took my order but another one just refused/ I was ready to choke this young punk but just calmed myself down and just took my pizza and ate it in the room while on the Internet and watching television.

So, a hungry man was an angry man.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A weekend in Antwerp

Went to Antwerp, the 1st of 5 cities I plan to visit around Europe.

Antwerp is in Northern Belgium and just about 2.5 hours away from The Hague. A train ride, a bus ride (because there were some ongoing repairs on the tracks) and a train ride again and I was there late morning on Saturday.

I thought Amsterdam station was huge but Antwerp station was 4 levels deep and had more than 25 platforms.

Walked from the central station to the hotel which I was living in. It is an old monastery, so it was beautiful to say the least and had a very interesting garden with very interesting statues like below.

The room I booked was small and I felt like a Gregorian Monk on a silent vow when I was in the room. But it served the purpose and it was really clean and nice with all the amenities. Furthermore, the "monastery" was smack in the centre of Antwerp with everything within a walking distance.

Among things in walking distance was Peter Paul Rubens house. Rubens is a famous Flemish artist and he sure lived in a beautiful house.

Pictures below are from the garden and outside as we are not allowed to take pictures inside.

Outside the Rubens house, there were a few statues amongst which this caught my eye. Mainly because it is actually smiling. How many statues have you seen clearly smiling?

In the evening, I went to the square which is all around this huge cathedral which is called Onze Lieve Vrouw van Antwerpen. It is a 16th century building and basically translates in English as Our Lady of Antwerp Cathedral.

The Belgians are big fans of comics and Belgium is known to have many many comic bookshops of which I went to one yesterday. I nearly bought some Tin Tin merchandise until I saw the price, and quietly put it back down.

On my walk in the evening, I came across this street and thought hmmmm, Superman Street, only in Belgium. By the way, it is a graffiti on Suderman street. After this, I actually had some hot chocolate with chili powder, very interesting flavor.

Why do I put up this Cathedral again? Well, I went for Sunday Mass at the church this morning. Very nice choir and simple service. They actually had written translation of the readings and therefore it was easy to follow although the readings and prayers and songs were all in Flemish.

And walking around the square, I meet my good friends the horsies which I cannot resist but to take a picture. I just like to take pictures with animals.

Was not feeling to great yesterday evening, so did not have a Belgian beer. So, today, made sure I had one. Babar Bok beer with 2.5% honey and 8% alcohol. Initially did not like it but it sort of grew on me. I also bought some beer from a shop.

The place where I had the beer had very interesting statues all around the restaurant but the service at the places here are not very good.

After my beer, decided to do what also seems to be very popular here, eating fries. So bought some fries and a vege burger and ate them with some samurai sauce which is their spicy sauce and it was quite spicy.

After this, went back to the hotel, checked out and packed my bags with all the beer purchased. Decided to take the 3pm train which I managed to catch. And arrived back in Rijswijk just before 6pm.

So, a weekend this time outside of The Netherlands, the first amongst many.

Take care and be well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

European Holiday Plans

I am tired of visits around The Netherlands, been most interesting places and even been places where even locals have not been yet.

However, when wifey comes here, there will be trips around The Netherlands especially to see tulip fields and to see some Dutch/Flemish masters paintings like Vincent Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Peter Paul Rubens amongst others.

That trip will also include a trip to Brugge, Belgium; Luxembourg and Cologne, Germany.

Tulip fields

Vincent Van Gogh




I hope we will enjoy our holidays in Europe this time as well.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

5 weekends 5 cities

Plan to go to 5 cities in Europe in 5 weekends. Ambitious goals, yes, but it's done, and planned.

Where: Antwerp, Belgium
How: Normal train, hourly intercity.

Where: Berlin, Germany
How: Speed train, overnight to go; daytime to return.

Where: Krakow, Poland
How: Flight, Austrian Airlines.

Where: London, England
How: Flight, Jet Airways.

Where: Vienna, Austria
How: Flight, Austrian Airlines.

I have seen enough of The Netherlands for now.

Will post my adventures on my blog as soon as I am able.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My boy

This is my boy, Al E Baba.

I miss him.

Today, my boy underwent a minor surgery. He had to be under general anaesthetic, which means he is knocked out.

He is out of surgery, and groggy. I know how he feels, because I have undergone a surgery under general anaesthesia and I knew how I felt after the surgery.

I know he will recover and at least his mommy (wifey) is there with him and will help him to recover.

But I truly wish I was there for him too.

If you had a baby, some below 1 year old, your own son, going through a surgery, would you not be there for him?

So, I am a bit emotionally torn. And I am so grateful for wifey to be there.

Al E, take care, you have daddy's prayers and meditation for your swift recovery and I am sure mommy will help you to heal faster as well.

Take care and be well.

Monday, March 2, 2009


The devil seems to be doing great work over the weekend.

I have had a headache since last night and like a hangover although I had nothing more than fruit juice to drink over the weekend.

And going into work, we were unable to access quite a number of our systems/programs - as such, not much could be done either.

So, a headache physically and a big big headache at work trying to get anything done.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Night Ride Home

Another lazy Sunday, went to The Hague for a while but bored of it real fast. Then went to Delft which was livelier. Walked around among the young crowds, bumped into a collegue from work who lives there and bought some CD's.

This is an great performance of Joni Mitchell singing Night Ride Home and was recorded at the banks of the river Amstel in Amsterdam for a Dutch music programme.

Another classic from Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi.

Don't it always seem to go.
That you don't know what you've got til it's gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Bought some CD's - Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Johnny Cash and the new U2 album. Looking for Trio but unsuccessful so far ... but at least this was the 1st CD shop that has heard about it and willing to order it in.

Take care and be well.