Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sissy-Boy, more food, fire, biking in the rain and Maastricht!

Word of the day: prijs = price

Oritey. I have a BUNCH of photos to post here, but they were taken over a span of a few weeks, and it's gonna be super tedious to place them in chronological order, AND remember why they were taken. But I shall give it a try.

Here are yet two more photos from Scheveningen and Madurodam. Last batch, I promise. Forgot these were in my email, taken by Schrobbenmaster's mum.

Walking on the beach.

Me picking up my ceramic clogs souvenir from the little truck that delivered it from the little factory.

And for those of you who are interested, here's a photo of me on most days, being a nerdo.

Three screens in front of me... power!

A couple posts previously, I wrote about going to Amsterdam with Schrobbenmaster cuz he had a meeting. Which is where I was left to roam about on my own for a couple hours. After shopping, I decided that I'd had enough of walking alone, and looked for a place to have coffee. From experience, there aren't many to be found around here, compared to KL. So I stopped at the first decent-looking venue.

Sat at Sissy-Boy, which sells furniture and home decor. Cool stuff. Attempted reading the Dutch food menu, but decided not to eat in the end. For the record, I did manage to settle on a ham and cheese croissant, so yes, I did succeed in tackling the all-Dutch menu.

Some of the wares around me in Sissy-Boy.

And that's the counter where I ordered my drink. But I think the way it's done here is that you sit at your table and they come to you. Not used to that.

After Schrobbenmaster joined me, we walked around the city where he bought an autumn/winter jacket at a skateboard shop, and wandered around a bookstore with really cheap books. I didn't buy any, but he bought two cute cartoon books, one about evil penguins doing evil things, and another about bunny suicides.

Saw a traditional music organ box kinda contraption, where old men wheel the music-playing contraption around the city and go around with cups getting coins. Kind of an old tradition here, I think. I gave 50 cents (apparently, the norm) and took a photo.

And this is the leather jacket I bought there.

Now, some food photos. What post of mine is complete without dinner photos?

Schrobbenmaster calls these "Patented Hamburgers". Very modest-sounding name, doncha think? Very tasty too.

Another Schrobbenmaster creation of meatballs, potatoes and leek. Yummy!

I tried another Japanese dish after the Gyu Don. Been craving Jap food so much, and after buying Jap rice and all the necessary dashi, mirin and sakes, I just couldn't stop looking for Jap dishes to make. Tried chicken katsu don here. The chicken was good, but sauce was a bit too salty.

This is our new bowl! We only ever had one big bowl, and that got taken away during the *ahem* custody battle (don't ask), so we went out to buy two new bowls, which frankly, are much better than the old one anyway!

For dessert, we sometimes make brownies, have some fruits (rarely), crisps or vla.

Here's me eating vla in bed. Slurp!

Some weeks ago, we were watching a video when we heard some commotion outside. Went to the window and saw this:

A garbage skip was on fire! The fire brigade was there and setting up, and there were a couple of fat men on the pavement looking on. Then a few hippie youths appeared on the other side of the pavement and stayed a bit. It wasn't really all that interesting actually, and I got bored quickly. So went back to the sofa.

It sometimes get a little stale staying at home all day and night here, so we sometimes head out on the bike to see the city. Schrobbenmaster took me to the park near the Euromast, next to the river.

Me looking out at the ships sailing by and the jet skiiers harassing them.

Kinda liked this photo, hair blown in the wind and a kind of serene feel to it.

Earlier this week, Schrobbenmaster and I visited eenbrauw Ruben at his home. Ten minutes into the journey, it started drizzling and we had to stop by the roadside to take shelter under 10cm of doorway ledge.

Still smiling through the rain.

My wet bike. I had a raincoat to protect me, although the macho man decided not to bring his even with the dark clouds overhead.

On Wednesday this week, we took a day trip down south to Maastricht, right at the south eastern tip of the country. Really nice town, and definitely worth a visit for the quaint lanes and really nice boutiques and shops (that didn't turn out too expensive after all, but still too expensive for me).

Posing on the bridge.

Bunch of cafes next to each other looking all touristy. We decided to go somewhere else for coffee...

... and ended up in another touristy cafe/bar. But at least this was just standing on its own, unlike the ones by the bridge, which are just so obviously touristy, right? Ahem.

Cappuccino and Hoegaarden. I've given up on looking for Cafe Mocha or a Mochaccino here.

His new pink best friend.

My Blue Piece. Also notice the blue ornament in the first floor window that completes my masterpiece of monochrome.

After walking by several Indonesian restaurants in Rotterdam and drooling, we decided to eat at one in Maastricht. The food here was rather tasty, but sambal udang is definitely better Nyonya-style.

Houses by the river. Must be really serene.

Shops by evening light. Hung around town while waiting for the long train ride home.

Finally used up all my photos that were pending! Wow, my fingers are tired. frachely, I don't know how you can write posts on Italy that were from months ago and put up all the photos and stuff. Phew!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Photos for Scheveningen, Madurodam and Den Haag

Word of the day: beker = mug

Okay, so about a week ago I wrote about going to the beach with Schrobbenmaster's parents. We first went to Scheveningen to walk on the beach.

This looks pretty exotic (à la Europe, not in the tropical island sense obviously), kinda like what Agatha Christie would've written about in her books of crime on the beach.

Seagull burying his legs in the sand.

After Scheveningen, we went to Madurodam, to visit the little models of Dutch cities. A must-see for tourists. Although I must warn that a round of the little cities take longer than expected because the place is bigger (heheh) than meets the eye.

Nice architecture for Mumsy Bumsy to see that Netherlands can be quaint and pretty too, despite all my complaints.

Giant crow staking claim to the city.

After Madurodam, we went into Den Haag (The Hague) city centre to hunt for a place to have dinner. As mentioned previously, we had a really nice one at La Connaisseur, and then a stroll back to the car.

Oh, this was before dinner, just in front of the Prime Minister's office. Kind of a reluctant photo op on my part.

And after dinner, the van der Kroons looking into a shop.

That's it for now, folks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Biking hurts, weather obsessions and Zeppelins

Word of the day: chocolademelk = chocolate milk

Right now, my nether regions hurt because of my biking excursion yesterday (which was, as usual, full of mishaps). Either I'm not sitting on the bike right, or the saddle doesn't suit me. What can be done about it??

On Friday, we went to Amsterdam again cuz Schrobbenmaster had a meeting. So I wandered around on my own, trying not to get lost and at the same time, keep an eye open for good shops. In the end, I wound up at Mango anyway. Bought myself a nice black leather jacket, which I've yet to wear out since it's been so hot here. According to the weather forecast, tomorrow will be a cooler 24℃, so maybe I'll have a chance.

Honestly, the Dutch are as weather-obsessed as the British are. I still don't see the point in checking for rain every 10 minutes. If you're out and about, and see dark clouds, just head home, or make plans to take shelter in a cafe or something. Okay, check the weather forecast to see if temperatures or rain will ease up in the coming days, but seriously, every 10 minutes?

I've been trying to find out how many passengers a Zeppelin, or airship, can carry. Tried Wikipedia, but it doesn't seem to state there. I've only just tweeted it to see if anyone replies.

I guess it's chicken again tonight for dinner since we bought 1 kg of it a few days ago. At least today I remembered to take it out of the freezer to defrost.

Okay, that's enough rambling. Can't be bothered to post photos at the moment, so just be happy with words for today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hot days, few choices, insulting Asians, Scheveningen, Madurodam and Den Haag

Word of the day: ijs = ice cream

What a freakin hot day it was today! It almost felt like being back in KL. Had a huge battle after lunch with the mountain of dishes in the sink, resulting in wrinkly fingers. Boooooo. Got too warm and stuffy in the house after a while, so went out for a walk in the city and to get some coffee.

One thing I'm learning about this country. I used to think Europe (or at least Western Europe) had so much more things and better things than in Malaysia. I'm slowly realising that I can't get a lot of things after all. One of them being Cafe Mocha. Or any type of mocha drink, except at Bagels n Beans. Another thing is that you only get ONE type of iced coffee. The blended kind. And even then, I can't get iced coffee in a cafe/bar that supposedly has the best cappuccino in the city. Also that if one supermarket sells green peppers, another will only have red peppers. However, today I saw that Albert Heijn had all three colours... shock, horror, gasp!

Anyway, sitting at Spiegel having hot cappuccino on a hot summer's day... hot drink on a hot day, not so cool. But, well, I don't drink beer, and I didn't feel like a juice. We were there for some time, talking about the country, the people, the culture and the eventual lifestyle I might have, of a 9 to 5 day. SIGH. How depressing. I feel like an island in this place, all alone, not understanding anyone or anything. Why, the other day, some Asians even spoke Dutch to each other, commenting on how I looked strange. Strange! While they're dressed up like Filipino maids on their day off. How insulting is that??

On the upside, I made a smashing Gyu Don, courtesy of frachely's recipe recommendation. The ingredients were so expensive though, having to get proper Jap stuff from a proper Jap shop.

Worth the expense! Not even much prep at all, compared to the other dishes I've made.

I also tried something spontaneous a few days before that. Found an idea for bacon and cabbage, so decided to throw in some meehoon and seasoning. Yum!

And tonight, a simple pasta dinner. Good portions and nice-tasting, albeit a little dull (since it's spaghetti and nothing really special... pooh).

Another highlight of the week was meeting Schrobbenmaster's parents for the first time. They took us to Scheveningen, to the beach, where we played around in the sand for a bit, then adjourned to Madurodam for the miniature Holland. In there, you can see models of various cities in the country and I guess then decide where you want to visit. The models were really, really good, with moving vehicles, puppets... even Schiphol airport had airplanes the size of a 6 year old, moving up and down the runways courtesy of mini computers and magnetic systems.

After the lengthy visit - Madurodam is huge, bigger than meets the eye - we went in search for dinner in The Hague. Nice place, with some pretty old buildings among big ministry offices. Using the iPhone for navigation, we found out after 30 minutes of walking that El Sombrero was closed for a private function. So we retraced our steps back round the corner and went into Le Connaisseur.

Nice gezellige place, decorated in the style of an old study, with bookshelves, dim lighting and wood panelling. After perusing the menu for a while, we all realised that we were ordering 4 tomato soups for starters, and 4 teriyaki chickens for mains. How coincidental is that? Schrobbenmaster's dad decided to make us less freaky and changed his starter to jambon and melon. The food was delicious, and after skimming down the dessert list, I decided I already knew what I wanted. And guess what? The others had also decided to have the Ladykiller. A warm chocolate fondant (which was absolutely excellent, by the way). This time, it was Schrobbenmaster's mum who became the odd one and had ice cream instead.

Really good food. If anyone is in The Hague and looking for a place to eat, go look for Le Connaisseur, near the big candy building.

Will post photos from the beach and Madurodam up shortly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cats and fooood

Word of the day: dikke man = fat man

We visited the animal shelter a few days ago cuz Schrobbenmaster is thinking of getting a cat. It was a nice bike ride!

An almost completely shaven Persian kitty. Really cute and sweet, following us around looking for pats on the head.

Black cat hanging out in the sink.

This is Eef, a sweet, attention-loving cat who has the best chances of coming back with us.

Food photos!!

My version of pad thai with beehoon... yummy!!

Another version of my chicken basil, except with pork, beans and fried egg. An attempt at imitating the yummy Chicken Basil and rice in Basil, Bangsar Village.

Schrobbenmaster's sweet chilli chicken!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hot days in Rotterdam, Montie and the new keuken

Dutch products for you blog readers.

Vla - a sort of yogurt/cream food/mousse. People normally buy the vanille and chocolade separately and pour them in together. I just like the chocolade (as usual). Schrobbenmaster has the vanille with apple sauce when I've finished all the chocolade vla heehee.

Okay now my photos are gonna be a bit jumbled up because I've amassed such a lot of them and have obviously been slacking in posting them up on the blog. So just bear with the mess in chronological order. Not that it should bother anyone since no one but me knows when these pictures were taken. Bah, I'm rambling. Must be my bloatedness driving me a little cuckoo.

Finally, a picture of the finished kitchen blackboard, and the cleaned-up mess.

Felt like something western-y, so we made pork ribs and broccoli with kerrie sauce. I think kerrie is curry, though. Non-spicy.

Last week was a really hot week in Rotterdam. A real summer's week. We went out on Wednesday for Schrobbenmaster's hair appointment with Montie.

Nice little salon with a huge mirror and silver/black accessories. He provides tea and pastries (I assume so, since there was only one pastry left on the silver tray), how cosy! Random music playing though.

A hot, sunny day attracts all the mat sallehs out to get sunburnt.

New haircut boy explaining the old photos of Rotterdam city centre.

Need shade! Need shade! And ice coffee...

Mmm...! Ice coffee and cooling down...

Upside-down special pork with rice. I'd made it the night before and then packed it into tupperwares, so we just turned them over and had a nice meal.