Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the brink of a new year!

Apologies for the thousandth time for not updating in a while. I've been so busy with Christmas shopping and generally catching up with life back home in KL for the past two and a half weeks that I've had hardly any time to catch my breath. And when I do get to sit in front of the computer, I have to do work for back in Amsterdam (the perils of being the only graphic designer in the company).

Christmas was a fun affair - we did the usual church and family thing. I spent loads on Christmas presents, and although I got less than half in return, I did enjoy shopping for the presents and just the whole fun of spending money for a purpose instead of just buying more clothes. Which I also did, of course.

I've spent way too much on clothes for myself, but I'm actually restocking for spring and summer in NL. I brought back old clothes that I want to give away and had already planned to stock my wardrobe with new things from here. But it's just that spending a whole lot of money in one day makes me feel terrible, even if it is for things that I will wear for a whole season (or two).

I'm also happy to say that my eczema is cured except for one or two patches here and there. And I no longer feel the need to scratch all night (phew!). It's been so good as well to catch up with my dogs and give them the attention they need. I missed them! They're so cute and they actually look quite tiny now that I've been living with a humongous cat for the past 5 months. It just makes them look cuter :P

I'll stop here with the updates, need to get ready to head to Dan the Drinker's place for some dinner. When Schrobbenmaster was staying with him, they used to have dinner delivered from a place called Puzzini's, which Schrobbenmaster has been missing a lot. So tonight's the night we reenact the old times.

Till next time...!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Food for thought: Foreign languages

You know, the funny thing about foreign languages is that the words don't really mean anything to you even if you know how to say it.

How easy is it to say "Je t'aime" or "Ik hou van jou" to someone you don't love? In this case, please assume that your native language is not French or Dutch. And yet it's so hard to say it in English. Again, please assume that your native language is English.

It's pretty much something I realised when I first started learning Dutch. Right now, it's become a little more imprinted in my being, so it's more meaningful, but in the beginning, whenever I stayed the night at Schrobbenmaster's parents' house, everyone would say "Welterusten!" and then go to bed. And even though I also cheerily said "Welterusten!" to everyone, it never felt right, like I was just finishing a conversation halfway and then turning my back on them.

Same thing when we used to say goodbye to each other by saying "Doei!". I was always so tempted to add a "Bye!" as well, because it didn't feel right to just yell out a meaningless word and leave.


Anyway, this is my last work day before going home for the hols. There are officially 23 minutes left!

It's gonna be a little strange, I think, to be holidaying at home. I've never stayed so long away from KL before, and I'm really curious to find out how I'll feel, roaming my old haunts. The awesome thing is that I can now have as much and whatever sushi I like without caring about the price, haha. Euro, come on!

My luggage is completely packed to the brim and I hope the stroopwafels don't break too badly or spill their crumbs all over my clothes. Also hoping that my favourite shoes won't be squashed. Thank goodness it's made of well-formed and slightly hard leather and suede, so it's a little protected that way.

The next time I write, I will be in warm and humid KL!


Friday, December 03, 2010

5 little things to be thankful for

Sometimes, little things make a big difference in our lives. There are some things here in NL that really put a smile on my face and make me thankful. Yes, indeed, we should be more thankful about things that make our lives just that bit easier.

  1. Drink cartons really ARE no-spill.
  2. Food is as fresh as morning dew.
  3. Drivers are courteous and law-abiding.
  4. Pork is easily obtainable.
  5. Moleskines and Brabantias are affordable.
It is now approaching crunch time! I have to buck up and buy all the souvenirs and gifts to bring home to KL. And it's not ideal weather for going out.

Tonight, we had dinner in a really cosy place on Hoofddorpplein in Amsterdam called Kek, which is a colloquial word for "sweet and cool". We found it through Google Maps (one more thing to be thankful for) because we had planned a dinner with one of my ex-colleagues, Danny Lim (and the guy he's staying with in Amsterdam, Joao), and because of the snow, we didn't want to drive through the centre of Amsterdam. This restaurant is only 10 minutes from our office and in a nice, quiet neighbourhood.

Danny is in Amsterdam for a few days en route to Kuala Lumpur from London, via Madrid, Munich, Budapest, Vienna and a hundred other cities up till Tehran and then the journey stops abruptly only because there are no proper rail transfers across India and Iran.

What an exciting journey!

He's doing it all by rail as well. What a wonderful way to really explore and discover yourself, with all those hours alone. I think it's just great.

Anyway, the past 2 weeks have been really full of 2 or 3-course dinners at lavish restaurants and I'm feeling like I'm gonna be heading back to KL having put on weight that I never had before. I enjoyed all these dinners, experiencing more of the Amsterdam lifestyle. Too bad that it had to be at a time when my skin is really acting up and making me very self-conscious. Thankfully most gezellig places are dim indoors, which makes it easier to hide flaws :P

So back to the point of this post, the next time you encounter something that helps make your life that little bit easier (for me it's definitely the no-spill cartons), remember to pause and smile in appreciation!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The unbearable sickness of being.

I'm suffering right now.

I knew when I came here that I would have to suffer through this thing called Winter. But I was totally not expecting this thing called Eczema From The Very Dry House Because Of The Heating.

My whole body is affected by little mosquito bite looking thingies, which keep me awake all night because they're so bloody friggin itchy. But the worst part? The worst part is that it has also affected my face! My whole face is dry, red and itchy. When I wash my face, my hands aren't touching what is called My Face, but what is called The Gravelly Road.

Which brings me to a point that I hate about this country. What's new, you say? Well, I've been gradually getting used to and accepting the way of life here, but this point is really, really annoying.

The doctors.

First, let me point out the good thing about going to the doctors here is that you can walk in and out without paying or sitting around for medicine because it's all covered by a mandatory medical insurance (which you have to pay for, of course). And they send the prescription straight to the pharmacy near your house, where you can pick it up for no cost either.

The bad thing?

You have to call to make an appointment with the doctor, which you will usually only get at the shortest, 3 days later. I called two Thursdays ago, and found out that the whole clinic was away for a convention and I could only call on Monday if it wasn't an emergency. So I called on Monday and could only get an appointment on Friday. This is 9 whole days after I needed to see the doctor!

I should explain that this visit is actually a follow-up visit. I saw the doctor 4 weeks before to check a rash, and she gave me a cream for it then asked me to check back in 4 weeks. Three and a half weeks later, the rash has grown and is even worse. So I was actually pretty worried and desperate to get it checked out again.

Anyway, I finally saw the doctor on the Friday, and she took photos of the old rash to send to the dermatologist. When I asked her about the new eczema itches, she barely glanced at them and just pronounced that it is eczema and said she'd give me cream to moisturise my body with. All fine and dandy.

But 3 days later and 3 sleepless nights later, I'm getting really annoyed, because I don't see or feel any improvement. Makes me really REALLY miss my doctor in KL, who would have, first of all, got my first rash fixed or at least diagnosed by now, without it growing so serious and bothersome. And second of all, she would have prescribed not only moisture cream, but anti-histamines to take away the itch and maybe also a cream to calm the eczema. I've barely slept in the past 3 nights! I'm just guessing here, but I think because the medical is covered by insurance, they only prescribe the bare minimum that they have to. Well, I don't want the friggin bare minimum, I want to be cured!!!

When your whole body is red, lumpy and itchy, your face is rough, dry and ugly and your eyes are small and swollen, believe me, there is nothing about the medical system in this country that you can feel you will ever get used to or accept.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Netherlands vs Malaysia

Just a quick one while I can still remember what's in my head...

It's a colleague's birthday today, and as she was walking around giving muffins to everyone in the office, I couldn't help thinking of how it's completely the opposite in Malaysia.

In NL, when it's your birthday, you are the one who brings goodies for everyone and goes around getting wished "Gefeliciteerd!".

In Malaysia, you come into the office (or wherever), and people come to wish you "Happy Birthday!" instead, and probably bring you out to lunch that day, some closer colleagues even buying you a present.

In one situation, you are making everyone else happy, and in the other, everyone else is making you happy.

Got me wondering why the Dutch have to work so hard on their birthdays, when the rest of the year, they're pretty self-centred and individualistic.

And then I realised that perhaps that's how it works...

In NL, 364 days of the year, you are being self-centred and taking care of number one. So when it is your birthday, you give back and be a nice, giving person, making everyone around you feel special for once.

In Malaysia, however, you spend so much time belonging to the group and (usually) giving in to the group's majority decision, that when it's your birthday, the group gives back to you and makes you feel like the only one that counts.

I kinda like that everything balances out in the end :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Started drawing again

A quick update for those who are interested in what happened at the embassy...

It's a good thing I read Mumsy Bumsy's comment about printing out all the emails before going to the embassy, because when I got there and explained my business, Mr Bangla Bastard (who is actually a Malay dude) repeated the same thing to me as he did on the phone. Oh boy, do I know his voice really well now.

So I dug into my hat of tricks and pulled out the printouts of the emails. Mr Bangla-Malay read them in silence, then told me to pass him my police report and also to let him take these emails with him to check with Mr Jamal.

In the end, everything worked out, thankfully. Mr Bangla-Malay turned out to be a nice, talkative dude, albeit still having a sort of Melayu manner (more social than work-minded, but that's fine since I don't work with him) even though he's lived in NL for over 30 years.

My translation only cost € 35 (phew!) and although Schrobbenmaster and I waited all morning, Mr Jamal could only work on my report in the afternoon because he had a particularly difficult case to handle before ours. So we were advised to go home and wait for the post to deliver my translation.

It came 2 days later (yay!). So now I'm all set to get the remainder of my life back.


On another note, although I hated having Schrobbenmaster away from me most of the month of October for the festival, it was a good time for me to start looking into myself again and explore what I like. I decided to start drawing again. It's been awesome therapy and it's great to see a style emerging.

I'm planning to make a recipe book for the kitchen here. A homemade one with blank pages to fill in. Right now we're just using a plastic folder with ugly black and white printouts from Textedit (Notepad for you Windows dinosaurs). I just need to find a lovely, cute, LARGE kitchen hook to hang the recipe book on. (Big hint for my Christmas wish list, anyone?).

Maybe I'll make my own Christmas cards this year. Or if I'm lazy again, Christmas tags like last year.

I have more sketches in my sketchbook at home, but I'm not sure what I wanna do with them. Whether to show them to anyone or just keep them as exercises in expression. Schrobbenmaster calls it my Tree Book, cuz I only draw trees in it :S

Btw, I started a new page on Tumblr to collect designs I find inspiring. Visit it here: goodputty.tumblr.com

Monday, November 01, 2010

Embassies! Ugh!! Malaysian embassy FAIL.

So here goes another embassy rant, except this time, it's not about the Dutch embassy in Malaysia, but about the Malaysian embassy in The Netherlands.

I don't know if I wrote about this before - possibly not, as I've been pretty traumatised by the incident and I didn't want to think about it - but I was pickpocketed at Schiphol Airport when picking frachely up. I believe I did mention a little about it and then linked to frachely's post, but if not, then here it is: Black Friday in Amsterdam.

So with my wallet (if I mention, a brand new, very expensive Lacoste, will I get more sympathy?) gone, gone too were the most important things to carry - my Dutch ID, my Malaysian ID and my driver's license.

Hence, my contacting the Malaysian embassy.

I had already made my police report, but it was in Dutch and I obviously can't send in a Dutch report to get a new Malaysian ID card. So I emailed the embassy to ask if they could translate the document for me. Of all places, you'd think they'd be the first to offer it, right?

First, they took almost 2 weeks to reply. In that time, I even gave them a call directly and was told by some Indian/Bangladeshi accented man that *cue Bangla accent* "No, you kenot translate from Dutch at the embassy, only English to Malay or Malay to English".

So I asked him where I could translate from Dutch to English, as it would have to be an official translation accepted by the embassy and the Malaysian police and government. And he goes, "No, we don't know, you have to search the internet and find an official translation yourself. Official translation, ya!".

*cue an irritated me*

I said thanks and hung up and started searching Google for translation services. Found one (although in the US) and emailed them. They replied the next day, quoting me $ 0.10 - 0.20 per word. Whooooaaaaa... I have 5 A4 sized pages in my report and this was gonna cost me easily a few hundred dollars that I'm not willing to part with!

I left it for a while, when one day I received the long-awaited email from the Malaysian embassy. It said:

Yes, we can help you with the translation. You can call the Embassy at: 070-350 6506 to make an appointment with Mr. Jamal from the Consular section.

So this morning, I called the embassy again to look for Mr Jamal. Unfortunately, the same Bangla-accented guy picked up the phone, told me, "No, you kenot talk to Mr Jamal, he has a visiter.". So I asked if I could just make an appointment with him for translation. And he goes, "No, we kenot do translation from Dutch. Only English to Malay or Malay to English. You have to look for official translation in the Yellow Book.". To which I asked if he at least had any recommendations of companies, I mean, this CANNOT BE THE FIRST TIME SOMEONE NEEDED TRANSLATION SERVICES FROM DUTCH? Of course, the bastard went, "No, you must look in the Yellow Book for an official translater.".

After politely saying thank you and hanging up (hey, I was brought up well), I directly emailed the embassy again to clarify this whole bloody situation, why they tell me one thing, but the guy on the phone tells me something else. I also told them that I'm on a time crunch as I'm flying back to Malaysia soon.

Then I look in the Goudengids (the famous "Yellow Book") online for a translator. Schrobbenmaster helps me call a company near our house and they're very helpful, but they say that their official translators are registered in a database which is accessible by people who need to check, but which is probably not accessible in Malaysia. And that I would therefore need to bring my translated document to a court and make an appointment with a judge for him to stamp the document, making it official. And an appointment with a judge normally takes 2-4 weeks!!!

Devastated, I felt like emailing the embassy again to ask for help, when Schrobbenmaster suggested emailing the Dutch embassy in Malaysia as well. I figured it was a good idea, as embassies SHOULD charge less for translation than external business companies.

I emailed the Dutch embassy for help and advice, and a few minutes later, I receive an extremely speedy response from the Malaysian embassy:

Please come to the Embassy tomorrow or Wednesday before 12.00 for the translation.


As relieved as I was to receive it, I can't help thinking, what the hell are they doing? By email they're telling me that they're my saviours, and by phone, a Bangla-accented bastard is telling me that they're idiots.

Anyhow, I will be heading to the embassy on Wednesday morning to hopefully get my translation done. And hopefully for not too much money. I did email them back straightaway to ask who I should look for, because I didn't want to come face-to-face with the Bangla-accented bastard who will probably tell me to go home because they "kenot do translation from Dutch here". In fact, I think I might bring my own "Yellow Book" to bash him on the head if he does say that.

Wish me luck!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's getting colder!

And I'm not looking forward to it :(

Cold means bulky and layered clothes and coats that make you move about like a robot. Cold means wearing hats or beanies that protect your ears from dropping off, thus making you look like you have no hair. Cold means looking at the shower in dread. Cold means not wanting to move around much, thus making you fat, lazy and achey.

The only thing I can look forward to now is the trip back to KL... paradise! Every day I think about it more and more. But it also makes me wonder how much of a paradise it is. What about when I move back? Will I then be as dissatisfied with the way things are done as I was before I left? And can they pleasseeee fix the stupid broadband service problems before I get back? And Malaysian attitudes in general?

At least I have one fun thing to do here before I go back, which is celebrate my very first Sinterklaas. It's kinda like Christmas, but without the baby Jesus. It's more focused on the saint and his little black helper called Piet.

On December 5th, I'll go to Moeder Irma and Papa Bert's home with Schrobbenmaster, and there we'll exchange gifts, Secret Santa-style (I already know who I have to shop for - the lottery is all done digitally, man). But the hardest and probably the most unique part of this is that we also have to make 'surprises' (pronounced Dutch way, since it's a Dutch thing - "soo-pree-ses"). A 'surprise' is something you make yourself to house the gift, and it's based upon what the giftee likes. As Moeder Irma writes: For example, if someone likes to use computers a lot, then you can build a computer out of boxes and hide the gift inside.

It sounds bloody difficult and it IS bloody difficult. Add to that the necessary poem about the person or gift inside, and this 'surprise' sounds a whole lot more like a 'pain in the ass'. I think you need to take a week off from work just to set this up! And what happens if you get the same person more than one year in a row? Not that difficult considering there are only 4 of us (and before this, only 3 of them). It's gonna be doubly difficult to build another 'surprise' based on another 'like' of theirs.

It's too much work, I tell ya. Granted, it must be super fun to finally be there on the night, with your proud work of art being 'unwrapped', but wow, some traditions really require you to have an old-fashioned lifestyle of only working a few hours a day and the rest of the time locked up in your house with only cooking and knitting to do.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In bed at 20.30? I'm a freak!

I'm sitting on the bed now in shorts and fuzzy socks, Schrobbenmaster chatting away in the background to his parents about money and savings, and two half-used tissues beside the laptop, ready to be used for either the annoying chin on my pimple or my occasionally runny nose.

Okay, that was too strange to erase... did any of you notice that I typed "chin on my pimple"? Geez, the pimple is not that big, JY!

I've been doing a bit of indulgent shopping these few days. Been looking at clothes websites like Mango and Topshop and even went to the final step of adding items to my shopping bag, then leaving the page. A bit of fake retail therapy. But it did make me clothes-hungry again, so on Saturday, I went out on my own to look for new clothes. It helped that I haven't spent much this month, so I felt kinda rich. I should really save, though. Really.

I just stumbled upon a new website today, which inspires me to make our home nicer. It's not really the items in the photos that I want, but more the 'feeling' that the pictures invoke. Check convoy out.

I can't wait till the NS Try Out Festival is over. Schrobbenmaster is already getting weaker and weaker by the day because of the long days and drinking at nights with the team. Seriously, how do these people do it? Waking up before 8am and then having drinks at the end of the day till 2am? To be honest, I find it kinda inconsiderate to expect everyone on the team to be able to keep up with that. And after the 3-day festival, they still expect everyone to be able to party it up till 6am. Wow. Maybe I'm just getting old. Or maybe they just don't have a happy life at home like I do.

Time to stop thinking about annoying things and going back to looking at pretty pictures, JY.

Nitey nites! xx.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Making my mark in Rotterdam

So here it is, I'm starting to make my mark on this little city of Rotterdam!

(I say 'little' because we checked the other day and Rotterdam has approximately 600,000 people, whereas KL has approximately 4 million. Everyone says it's only because all the other little towns and cities want to be independent and refuse to be sucked into one of the 4 randstad - Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Rotterdam is the second most populated city in NL btw.)

Anyways, back from that little educational minute...

These are my boxes!

Well, they are following the KPN house style to a point, but the marketing material for the Pink Ribbon campaign by KPN has been pretty much done by us, ie. me. Can't be too crazy and I do get strict instructions on what to do, but it's still pretty exciting to see my stuff all printed out and in the shops!

And this is the shopfront with my boxes at the entrance. Niiiiiiiice. Now people will glance at these boxes and it won't even register in their little heads, but they will see MY WORK.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Schrobbenmaster's birthday!!

Last Sunday was Schrobbenmaster's birthday, and although we had to work all night on Saturday and had to stay the night in Amersfoort for the festival we were working at, we ended up having fun that night with our colleagues.

It was the last night of the festival in Amersfoort, so everyone wanted to unwind and have fun, but the only place nearby was a 'bruincafe', a very Dutch pub/bar where they play crappy Dutch folk music and have live lounge singers (I'm no stranger to that one, growing up with a dad who likes that sorta thing).

Our colleagues had secretly compiled a box of 'goodies' at the last minute, consisting of the sponsored stuff we got from the festival. And at my recommendation, they included an Apple store voucher for € 30. Endearingly, one of the women used Microsoft Word to create a fake voucher until they got a real one. I thought about saying that I could use Illustrator to create something nice, but decided that it would be even cuter if they actually worked at making something in Word. Haha.

That's the Microsoft Word-made voucher under there.

The night before, someone had found a small bag of weed at the station. And we now miraculously found it in one of the goodie bags for Schrobbenmaster, planted there by the boss. It wasn't good weed though, according to Schrobbenmaster, so he let the others have their fun with it.

All our colleagues were already really smashed even before the bruincafe, having started drinking wine before leaving the station. They were creating havoc in the little bar. Really funny watching them!

It was a little annoying that they still allowed smoking in that bar, so for the second night in a row, I smelt like smoke (I had gone clubbing the night before in Rotterdam). I haven't smelt like smoke so consistently since I left KL.

The next day, Schrobbenmaster's actual birthday, we drove back to Rotterdam then got ready to head out to enjoy the unusually extremely comfortable weather. Felt just like summer again!

Of course, we headed to Bagels n Beans. Where I overheard the waitress telling a customer that it was her last work day there, before she heads over to Asia for 5 weeks and then on to Australia for 8 months for a working holiday. Then she said she would be going via Kuala Lumpur, and the customer said, "Kuala Lumpur is heel leuk!", meaning that it's really nice there. And then someone else walked by and agreed with her that it is "heel leuk".

After hearing that, I just couldn't contain my pleasure, and I went "I'M from Kuala Lumpur!" and the customer said that she likes the twin towers etc etc etc. And I was feeling so proud that people would say that my city is such a nice city even when they didn't know there was a Malaysian nearby. Nice!!!

After that, we went to Selexyz to look for a Moleskine for me. And that's where we bumped into Hanselm (*not his real name). I invited him for a drink with us and we walked to Cafe Stalles on the Nieuwe Binnenweg, where we had ice tea. Ice tea in autumn! Amazing.

Sucks that this is the only picture of me, which is from the waist up cuz I totally dug my whole outfit that day.

Me and Hanselm (*not his real name).

That night, we met up with a couple more friends for drinks nearby at Level.

Looks like a happy, cosy time, but two of those 5 drinks you see are actually mocktails! Boooooo...

Mai Tai and a Chocolate Martini. Harry insisted that Mai Tai is also one of the most lethal martial arts from Thailand *ahem*.

Interior of Level. Yes, Prison Break guy was there that night, but he was behind the bar and we got a very slow but okay-friendly waitress.

Looking quite cosmopolitan here! It's nice to not always have pictures of only one of us at a time ;)

Joel and Harry. Mocktail drinkers.

Harry left earlier, so it was just four of us by the end of the night. Again no picture of my whole outfit (although it was slightly different, waist down, from the daytime one).

It was a good ending to a good birthday, with friends and excellent weather. What more could Schrobbenmaster ask for...?

... Oh yes, of course, my presents to him! He's been looking for a sugar pot for a long time, and the milk jug came with it, okay, so don't go teasing me for giving such a domestic present. Included in the package were also boxers and socks from Paris.

Hope you had a wonderful time on your birthday this year, Schrobbenmaster! xoxo!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

An expat's shopping trolley and the Rotterdam pancake boat!

About once a month or two months, Schrobbenmaster and I drop by the Wah Nam Hong Superstore in Amsterdam to get our stock of Asian groceries.

There is also a Wah Nam Hong supermarket in Rotterdam, but check out the size of this warehouse!!! We actually buy our Indomie in those big cardboard boxes. We brought home 3 boxes of noodles that day, 3 boxes of Mountain Dew, 7 cartons of soya bean and 2 Milo tins (Milo is really expensive here).

Then we keep them in our basement like it's our little minimarket. There's the Mountain Dew on the left corner.

Anyway, some weeks ago, when it was still nice and summery (actually today and yesterday were really awesome, incredibly summery days in autumn. Very weird! But very great since it was Schrobbenmaster's birthday on October 3rd. Happy Birthday, Schrobbenmaster!!)... okay I've digressed a lot, let me begin again.

We went on a pancake boat in Rotterdam where you can eat an unlimited number of pancakes while on the cruise. We went for the 1-hour cruise up and down the river Maas and I only managed to fit in three pancakes.

Carolina and an angry man behind her. Probably didn't wanna come out with all the kids today and skip his golf.

A Chinese-looking building which is actually a boat with a hotel and restaurant. It doesn't look as awesome as it sounds though. Looks rundown.

It was finally time to stand in line for the pancakes! You can choose a plain pancake or a bacon pancake.

Then you walk over to the buffet table...

Where there are loads of savoury or sweet toppings for you to choose from! Yum yum yum...

My first pancake is with bacon, cheese and egg. And stroop. Absolutely lekker!

After that I had just plain with icing sugar, which was incredibly tricky because of all the wind blowing the icing sugar away while I was shaking it onto my pancake. Then with under 10 minutes of sailing time left, I raced down to get one more pancake with chocolate ice cream. Had to wolf it down, but completely worth it!

Now for some random shots (again) of Pim, this time doing what he does best - hunting insects in the summer.

He had been chasing a moth all over the room and now it was hiding in a small space where Pim couldn't reach.

In a different small space that Pim can't reach.

For the grand finale, watch as he goes in for the kill! Do watch, it's really funny :D

Friday, October 01, 2010

Supperclub Amsterdam and a day trip to Bruges/Brugge

For the first time ever, frachely is really up-to-date with blogging about her travels! Read about her journey in NL here: http://frachely.blogspot.com/2010/09/autumn-fling-in-rotterdam.html

For now, here are some pics from when Mumsy Bumsy and Yelleh Belleh were here. I didn't take many pictures cuz I knew that both of them would be snapping away on their holiday.

This is when we were at Supperclub in Amsterdam. It's a really cool place! I didn't know it was a dinner place as well - I knew they served meals, but this was like a whole performance. You have to make a reservation and come at the allotted time. So you basically have the same companions all night.

Firstly, Supperclub is down this really small lane and you can basically walk past it every day and not realise that it's there. That's the first cool thing about it. The only way you know it's Supperclub is if you look into the doorway and up the stairs, and see a man in a nightgown standing behind a podium with a big 'S' (copyright) on it. The Supperclub logo.

Then you go downstairs and have a drink at Le Bar Rouge downstairs (where everything is black and red) while waiting for the other guests. When dinnertime arrives, veryone walks together in a line down corridors, past a really weird Clockwork Orange type toilet (yes, you can see into it from the corridor!) and up again to La Salle Neige, a big white hall-like room with a mezzanine floor on the left and right (geez, I should've taken more pictures).

Our place was upstairs on big beds joined together. It's cosy if there are only two of you, but when there are more, it becomes a little tricky, as you can't lean back on the cushions without squeezing a stranger beside you.

So from the top, we get a view of the people opposite us and below us. There are also a few tables for people who are not so comfortable eating on beds. There was an Asian couple below who made the move. The lady was wearing an elegant black dress and pearls and she looked very uncomfortable indeed, sitting on the bed, legs stretched out.

All we have for our plates and glasses is this small metal table placed on the bed.

They have projections on the wall at the end of the room. Lots of film noir imagery really set the mood. Too bad there were only around 20 images on a loop all night.

And the dinner... the dinner was amazing!!! It was a 5-course dinner and every, single, friggin, course was perfect! The service was also excellent. The waitress assigned to our table was attentive, always smiling and very professional. She was also wearing a tight white singlet with men's white y-front briefs.

It was a really enjoyable night out, thanks to Mumsy Bumsy!

And of course, everyone who comes to visit has to go to our local Bagels n Beans :P

Having breakfast, yum.

We also took a day trip to Bruges (English/French) or Brugge (Dutch). Bruges is more Dutch than Brussels, so maybe I should be using the Dutch name for it instead. By the way, the French name for Brussels is Bruxelles. Just so you know.

Schrobbenmaster and I rented a tandem bike. We had initially wanted to rent two with the both of us biking Mumsy Bumsy and Yelleh Belleh, but they backed out cuz they don't know how to bike (gasp!). Mumsy Bumsy's mother makes fishballs from scratch and she herself doesn't know how to bike? Tsk tsk.

In the end, we were all pretty fortunate they declined the offer because when I tried sitting in front to control the bike, I just couldn't! Leading a tandem bike is way harder than it looks, don't let any of those French films fool you.

(See, we did do lots of things when you guys were here!)

Anyway, it's time for bed now. Tomorrow evening is my first proper Dutch class. Not looking forward to it as it's for FOUR FRIGGIN HOURS. And because I haven't been there before, so have to bike there on my own with Google maps. PLUS, I have another FOUR FRIGGIN HOURS the next morning early! Why four hours? Why? Why?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brussels (Part 3)

I'm on a roll!!! I'm so determined to clear my old photos and get up-to-date, it's criminal, I tell ya.

I know some of you *ahemfrachelyandmumsybumsyahem* are tired of seeing Brussels photos, but here's the last batch. They're really nice, so I couldn't bear to just delete them.

At the famous Manneken Pis fountain. Not easy to get a photo there, I tell ya.

Just an example of how crowded Brussels is on a hot summer's day.

Better than television, she says.

Santé! You can't spend a weekend in Brussels and not enjoy their Belgian beer! We hunted up and down for a cosy bar and our efforts were rewarded. The sun sets late in summer and we just ordered untasted-before Belgian beers till late. It was really fun. I chose the fruitier beers as I'm not much of a beer drinker. I must say though, that Belgian beers are still nicer than the common ones we find in KL bars/clubs.

The view from our bar. Doesn't it look like a film set??

Self-control is key.

But letting go is much more fun!

The very flamboyant gay young waiter took this for us.

Back at the hotel, HAD to take a photo of this segment on MTV called 'Shake ton booty'. Hahaha.

Next day, Sunday, the roads are quiet as a cemetery. Bloody difficult to find a lunch place!

So thirsty that I see a vision of a cup of tea and drink it.

Finally find a taxi driver's cafe/bar which serves lunch. Wonderful! Hearty amounts of spaghetti on a bright summer's Sunday. Mmmmmm.

I don't know either.

I can't resist wandering into a park when I see one. Especially when it's a hot day.

I guess if we were of a more similar height, we'd be able to get our whole heads in pictures.

I like seeing families and couples enjoy the sun in a park.

And the freestylin' of musicians and artists.

I also love how you can stumble on nice surprises in a park. Like how this gazebo around the corner had a high school orchestra performing.

Schrobbenmaster's wonderful photography skills.

So sneaky.

Nice old building in front.

We shouldn't really complain about having so many languages on signboards in Malaysia. Even Belgium has their dilemmas.

One of the best buys ever! A vintage/rustic bathroom shelf that is now proudly hanging on our bathroom door.

Very nice, quaint street with cafes. Most importantly, shaded from the blinding sun.

Another showcase of their comic-loving culture.

Sat down for tea and saw they had scones... how could I resist!

I feel like having a scone right now. I wonder where they have good ones in Rotterdam?

This is just so unique I keep having to take photos! I've never seen so many comic influences on huge display in a city.

Not long after, we headed back on our first class train to Rotterdam Centraal :) What a wonderful weekend away!