Saturday, 28 February 2009

Hotel Saskia

One of the great things of living abroad, is having friends over, and spend more time with them than normally in the Dam. And Hotel Saskia is busy the coming months. A snapshot:
10-12 March, cousin Michiel and his gf
13-15 March, Mary
17-18 April, bro and gf
29 Apr - 2 May, colleague Jaap and gf
25-27 May, Sandra

And I am not only having friends over, I have some trips planned as well!
30 Apr - 4 May, Lisbon with Heather and Trangh
23-25 May, Copenhagen by myself
23 December - 15 January, Australia, visiting Ems and Caroline and hopefully a trip to Tassie with Ems

And those are only the foreign trips, excluding Amsterdam! On top of that, there are Oxford with Zoe in March, cricket in Kent with Remy and Nicole at the end of August, and a trip to York with Zoe somewhere in between. Something tells me my camera will be used a hell of a lot the coming months!!

Monday, 23 February 2009

A good day for film

British film that is. I have to admit, I haven't seen any of the succesful films. I salute Kate for her looks and style but have only ever seen her in one flick (no, not that one...Hideous Kinky it was). As for Slumdog - I read the book (Q&A), but haven't seen the film yet. Still, I feel pretty proud for the brits. Or maybe Europeans, as Penelope Cruz won a well deserved Oscar for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (at least she did for the first 50 minutes of so, after which the plane landed and the screen switched off). But I do not think anyone is as proud as the people in Garibnagar, the colony where the kids in Slumdog are from. How weird it must be, going from the slums to Hollywood and back to the slums. The photo shows the Garibnagarians (if that is a word) celebrating the Oscar win. A beautiful pic.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Fun packed weekend

Man, this weekend was awesome. Fri nite Chantal and I had dinner in a wee French place near Covent Garden that's been around for fifty years and where the staff speak french. It was a very early quick theatre menu as we were going to see ballet afterwards in the ROH. Seven Deadly sins with Martha Wainwright singing, Mats Ek's Carmen and the amazing Dance Grande Vitesse, that Chantal wasn't too fond off, but I had been watching with open mouth. Loved it. A quick glass of vino in the pub afterwards was all we could fit in before taking the last tube home.

Yesterday I went to Borough Market to buy some veg (and unplanned Turkish Delight, damn Cranberry stall staff) and orchids. A one km swim (44 laps) in the arvo was enough to knock me out for the night.

This morning I went to the gym in preparation of my four course lunch at Foliage, a michelin star resto in the Mandarin Hotel. Thanks to the credit crunch you can now get some amazing deals in those places. I had scallops, sole, john dory and a calvados with apple sorbet dessert. Small portions accompanied by beautiful wines and nice bread. Food heaven. Heather and I had dressed up for the occasion, Trang had kinda missed the type of resto. Lucky girl still looks amazing in a garbage bag I'm sure so no frowning wait staff. Just a beautiful afternoon, great food, great convo, and great views of Hyde Park. Reality is going to kick in hard tomorrow!

Friday, 20 February 2009


Jade Goody is dying of cancer. She's only 28 so it's very sad, especially as she leaves two young kids behind. And loads of women started taking their smear tests since her illness was announced, which is good of course. Jade is all over the news, and tries to make as much money out of her illness, upcoming wedding, and the christening of her sons. Good on her she can provide the kids with some money for their future.

The one thing I do not get though, is why people find her even remotely interesting. She was on Big Brother 3, than proved a racist in Celebrity Big Brother, and isn't known for anything she is good at other than being famous. The English seem just obsessed with celebrities. Some of them can actually sing, act, model, or present. But some others are just fampous for being famous. A concept very, very alien to me.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Confessions of a shopaholic

Right. I spent four or five hours in Soho today. Saw loooooooads of little shops and bought three vests at Sweaty Betty, a body scrub at Liberty's (designer clothes heaven, omg, but not quite for my wallet), and multigrain bread at Wholefoods. Then I got home and bought new trainers (the current ones are about seven years past their use by date), gym shorts and socks at Sweaty Betty online, a camera tripod at some Bristol camerashop and a Vanity Fair subscription. Nothing extravagant but adding it all up, that's a serious day of shopping....

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


I am not the most organised person in the world. Plane and concert tickets are about as much as I can handle in the organised department. And work if I am lucky. My friends are a bit better tho. Two weeks ago Chantal sent me the link for the ballot of the Leeds test. Monday nite I went out with Zoe, who had entered the Wimbledon ballot and asked if I wanted to come if she got tickets. And yesterday's Chantal's ex Mark, who I also consider a friend, emailed me to ask if I knew the Lord's ballot had opened. So....with a bit of luck Zoe gets me into Wimbledon, and I get some cricket tix. And Mark's mate Hodge is even so organised that he sent an email to the MCC (the cricket club that hosts the Lord's test match), quoting our order numbers, and asking if we could be sat together if we got tickets. Now that is organised. For that alone, I think we deserve to get tickets.

Monday, 9 February 2009


For the first time since I moved here and spent a few days in the Dam, it didn't feel like home anymore. I noticed how grumpy I got when trying to get some information on how to get to Arena from Schiphol - an almost impossible task, and so completely different from the service I have become used to. Hearing Dutch was weird, as was grabbing lunch on the go on Saturday. Being spoilt with Pret and cheap sushi bars, I felt a bit lost.

Then again, seeing my close friends, made me realise that the basics haven't changed. I still love them to bits and know those feelings are mutual. When sitting around the table in cafe De Jaren, I looked at the friends I have known for 8 to 15 years and knew we could well be sitting in that same setting again years from now, and the basis would be as strong. Mary, Martin and Elena are friends of more recent times, but the strong bond of friendship I feel, is the same.

But it is weird. I always thought Amsterdam would never cease to feel like home. This weekend, it were the people he made me come home - not the city, despite its beauty and vibrance.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

When I was holidaying in Asia I was secretly gutted I missed all the winter fun and frozen canals. And I hoped to get some winter days after coming back. Well, I did. The weekend was crispy cold and Saturday was very sunny. I went to Broadway Market (a bit like Noordermarkt) and bought organic kale and chipolatas to make stampot boerenkool at night. How enjoyable it is to have a coffee in the cold winter sun. Yesterday, it was red wine in the pub watching the footy, getting nice and warm knowing it is snowing outside. Today there is so much snow in London that the buses aren't running, the tubes are partly suspended and my bike (that has been on the balcony since I moved in) is covered in snow. My mate Sat couldn't get home from City last nite and will try again from Heathrow this morning, but that might be challenging as well as a runway is closed. Let's see what the rest of today has in store. One thing's for sure: I'm not going anywhere that I can't walk to!