Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Feliz Año 2009

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Next year: Taipei


RI is back home in Taipei for the holidays and he sent me some pictures of the "white winter party". It is about time I return to Taipei!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Cold

Halfway through my shower this morning there was no more warm water. I checked the central heating (which also takes care of the warm water) and I couldn't find the problem. Called the dealer who (surprisingly on Boxing Day which is a public holiday here) came within an hour and concluded the entire installation is broken beyond repair and needs replacement. They can do it on Monday and it will cost €2.5K - yuck...Of course this happens at the beginning of a major cold spell here with temperatures well below zero. Must find a way to keep warm until Monday.
Christmas dinner was nice though stressful. Cooking a 5 course dinner for 9 is quite some work, but all food and drinks were well received and we had a great day.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

What do rainforests and gays have in common?

Speaking on Monday, Roman Catholic Pope Benedict said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was as important as saving the rainforests. Look at the video: the Chief Hypocrite is addressing a group of old men the majority of which have molested young boys. After all, one of the Church's core competencies is sexual abuse of children. Isn't it sickening that once again, the Church is an instrument of hate and rejection? Yuck yuck yuck. In the mean time, I wish you all a very merry mid-winter festival.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Pink Xmas

Amsterdam hosted a Christmas celebration for its gay community on Sunday featuring a nativity tableau with a male Mary in drag that church organizations denounced as an affront to traditional values. A male entertainer posed as Mary in a blonde wig and high-heeled black boots while holding a plastic doll. Another man played Joseph in black leather trunks and a silver shawl.
Of course some conservative Christians were displaying their usual hate again and denounced the event. Don't they know that Christmas is just another name for the pagan Mid-Winter festival?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Sick of being sick

I have been sick since Wednesday - just a bad flu with fever, coughing, muscle pains, etc. I must have gotten it when cycling to work earlier in the week - it is so cold, dark, damp and miserable this time of the year that it is easy to catch something. Quite boring to not be able to get out of the house and do things. Reading books, surfing the internet and watching TV can only kill so much time. It doesn't help that today is the shortest day of the year with sunrise only at 8:46am and sunset at 4:31pm. I am feeling a little better today and have decided to go back to work tomorrow: enough is enough.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

"Swaffelen" elected as "new word of the year" 2008

In the annual contest for "new word of the year", the Dutch have elected a verb – swaffelen - as the word of the year. It netted 57 percent of the 16,000 votes on the website hosted by Van Dale Publishers, renowned for its authoritative dictionaries. Swaffelen is something only men can do. I really didn't know, but apparently, it means to swing one's penis, making it bump against something, in order to stimulate either oneself or someone else. I found out that Dutch youths are holding contests to swaffel important buildings. Dutch lexicologist Ton den Boon says that etymologically, swaffelen is thought to be linked to the Dutch equivalents of swing, sway and sweep, and to the German equivalent of tail or penis (schwaf and schweif). There is also a Flemish dialect word known as zwaffelen. The word gained notoriety through a video posted on YouTube, in which a Dutch student got arrested for swaffling against the Taj Mahal in India. As voters did not have to justify their choice of nomination in the event, it remains a mystery why the Dutch chose this word. The numbers two and three Dutch words of the year are wiiën (playing on a Wii game console) and bankendomino (banks falling over like dominoes).

Monday, 15 December 2008

A serious conversation


I had a serious conversation on Friday in Soho with YY (not his real name). YY is a fellow-Cancerian and he was complaining about his boyfriend ZZ (not his real name). ZZ is intelligent, funny, good-looking, the life of every party, so you would say what is YY complaining about? Well, apparently ZZ is not "sweet" and doesn't have empathy: "the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this".
YY was explaining that he needs more small things from ZZ, such as when YY is cooking ZZ would open the wine or lay the table. Just these small daily things are lacking in their relationship, and YY is missing them a lot. I could so understand what he was saying - I know guys who are like ZZ and while it is always fun to be with them, I would not be happy in a relationship with them. For me, my man needs to be sweet and indeed have empathy.....
Anyway, I think YY needed a listening ear and I provided one, I was totally sober as I was driving because I promised to pick up OS from the airport in the middle of the night.
On Saturday my brother and his family were visiting and sleeping over. I am always a bit tense when my brother is around because he has very strong opinions and you need to be careful that discussions with him don't get unpleasant. But he behaved well and we had a good time.
Sunday was spent on the Christmas decorations (see pictures) and, finally, beer in Soho. All were there and I had to force myself to go home at midnight as I was having loads of fun.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Cows


I received a joke from RM this morning which I forwarded to my colleagues. I could hear my bosses laugh until suddenly they went silent. I wonder at which point hehe:

Economic Models explained with Cows


SOCIALISM
You have 2 cows
You give 1 to your neighbour

COMMUNISM
You have 2 cows
The State takes both and gives you some milk

FASCISM
You have 2 cows
The State takes both and sells you some milk

NAZISM
You have 2 cows
The State takes both and shoots you

BUREAUCRATISM
You have 2 cows
The State takes both, shoots 1, milks the other and then throws the milk away

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM
You have 2 cows
You sell 1 and buy a bull
Your herd multiplies and the economy grows
You sell them and retire nicely on the income

AMERICAN SYSTEM
You have 2 cows
You sell 1 and force the other to produce the milk of 4 cows
You then hire a consultant to analyse why the single cow has dropped dead

LEHMAN BROTHERS VENTURE CAPITALISM
You have 2 cows
You sell 3 of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your mother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all 4 cows back, with a tax exemption for 5 cows. The milk rights of the 6 cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all 7 cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns 8 cows, with an option on one more. You sell 1 cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with 9 cows. The public then buys your bull.

FRENCH SYSTEM
You have 2 cows.
They are the most important cows in the world

JAPANESE SYSTEM
You have 2 cows
You genetically modify them so they are 1/10 the size of an ordinary cow and produce 20 times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon' and market it worldwide

GERMAN SYSTEM
You have 2 cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month and milk themselves

ITALIAN SYSTEM
You have 2 cows, but you haven’t a clue where they are?
So you decide to invite all your family memebers over for a very long spaghetti lunch

RUSSIAN SYSTEM
You have 2 cows.
You count them and learn you have 5 cows
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows
You count them again and find it’s actually just 17 cows
You stop counting cows and open your 4th bottle of Vodka this morning

SWISS - SINGAPOREAN SYSTEM
You have 7,500 cows - none of them belong to you
You charge the owners for storing them, and you are very good at laundering the milk

CHINESE SYSTEM
You have 2 cows.
You have 300 people milk them
You claim that you have full employment and high Bovine productivity
You arrest the journalist who reports the real situation!

INDIAN SYSTEM
You have 2 cows... you worship them...

BRITISH SYSTEM
You have 2 cows
Both are mad

NEW ZEALAND SYSTEM
You have 2 cows
The one on the left looks very attractive...

AUSTRALIAN SYSTEM
You have 2 cows...business seems pretty good
You close the office, go off for a few beers with the boyz to celebrate!

DUTCH SYSTEM
You have one cow.
You marry her.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A good night

A couple of weeks ago OS suddenly had the urge to see the pyramids, he booked himself a trip and yesterday I dropped him off at Schiphol for his one-week vacation to the land of the Pharaohs. So I have the house all to myself until next week Saturday.
Friday was a fun-packed day. First I had a few beers and smokes with KE, after which I made my way to meet GZ at Central Station for dinner at New King and drinks at De Engel van Amsterdam, where I had been only once before. It is a small gay bar with a nice crowd and very good 70's and 80's music. We had already had quite some beers when MA texted that he had arrived in Soho, so we made our way over, met up with MA, HE, RO and RM and from there it all went downward. Everybody felt obliged to buy a round of drinks and I was hardly able to keep up with the pace. Just before closing time HI and AL arrived and we all went to Exit. AL asked me to accompany him to the dancefloor. It had been a long time that I was dancing so much and I was enjoying it. Around 4am RO and GZ left (not together but we all know what happened hehe), MA and HI went to the darkroom but MA was not happy when they came back, and finally at 5am AL wanted to come with me to my place. He was making strange noises in the taxi already and I was afraid he was going to puke in the taxi, but fortunately he was able to postpone it until he reached my toilet. I fell into a coma and woke up at 1pm with a huge headache, I had a shower and felt a little bit better but still very tired so I went back to bed and slept. Around 4pm both AL and I woke up and I can now officially testify that WI's description of AL's sexual behaviour (see here) is 100% correct. We got up, had a nice dinner at home, we watched two movies and I was glad when he wanted to go out again so that I can have a peaceful night by myself.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Hit me baby one more time

Cachorro

It is very predictable: it was the first Wednesday of the month and the gang went to the gay movie night. We had dinner first and as I was a bit early I went to Soho for a drink. It was very quiet: I saw sgboy's friend WL who looked like he gained 20 kg since I last saw him, and there were two cute young boys. Britney Spears came on and I think I blurted "hit me baby one more time" a bit too loud, and one of the boys joked that they could take me home and spank me. If only he had been serious...
Anyway, the movie was Cachorro, about a gay guy, Pedro, who agrees to take care of his sister's 9 year old son, Bernardo, for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately the sister gets arrested in India for drugs smuggling, and it looks like Bernardo will stay much longer. Pedro is a cute bear, as are most of his friends, hence the English title of this movie "Bear Cub". The first part of the movie is quite funny as we see that Pedro needs to completely change his lifestyle. Predictably the man and the boy get very close and the movie is somewhat melodramatic towards the end. Still very much worth seeing.
After the movie we moved our asses to Exit Bar where GO and WI joined us. They came home early from their vacation in Portugal because they suddenly could sell their investment property in Amsterdam for a very good price. Crisis, what crisis?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Too old to be a sugar daddy

I got a "heart" on Fridae today from a guy from China who writes: "looking for an old man (38-48) to fund me". OMG, life is almost over if I am close to being too old to be a sugar daddy.

Monday, 1 December 2008

It is a strange world, life continues

We live in a strange world. Terrorists strike Mumbai, the Thais are on the brink of a civil war and are destroying their economy in the process, the Americans are going to subsidize people who live beyond their means, the Dutch are making magic mushrooms illegal, and a major Singaporean bank is donating money to a hard-core Christian hate group.
In the mean time, I had a nice weekend with a visit to MR, RB and their daughter ML in their recently completed house, I helped OS with the Christmas decorations at home, I relaxed with KE and spent 3 nights in the bar. But I was wise and drove 2 of the 3 nights so I couldn't drink alcohol. All very decent. Had a very nice conversation with our local Obama look-alike AL and I think WI is jealous when I talk too much with him, as he mentioned several times that sex with AL is very bad. ("he just lies there as a corpse")
If you read this in Singapore, please do not use your DBS credit card until the bank apologizes for supporting a hate group.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A visit in transit

I had dinner with ED in Thai restaurant Chao Phraya. The lucky bastard is going to a conference on Aruba, and he decided to take the Seoul - Amsterdam - Aruba flights on KLM and spend a night in Amsterdam. I have known ED for at least 15 years and we have previously met in Amsterdam (where we first met in Exit disco), Paris (where ED lived in the early 90's), Washington DC (where he lived in the late 90's), we took a trip together in 1996 to Florida and a mini-cruise to the Bahamas, Seoul (where he currently lives) and Singapore (where he visited me in 2006).
It was nice to see him again. ED is a spoilt bitch (his parents are very rich) but the good thing is that I can tell him in his face that he is a spoilt bitch and he will agree with me. This time he was telling me stories about his latest 3 boyfriends and from the second sentence in each story I knew there was not going to be a happy ending.
ED was also the first one to ever fuck me which he also remembered and reminded me of. Are you still friends with your first fuck? Hehe

Monday, 24 November 2008

Addicted to sex and total abstinence

The weekend was good. On Friday I had the usual drinks with the gang and was happy to see the Taiwanese muscle boys after quite a while. Better, BR forgot his sweater in the bar and he called me to collect it, so now I have an excuse to visit him. Had a nice talk with NK about his (potential) new job, and about his sex life. He is amazing: meeting at least 5 and often more new guys every week. He told me he had a date some day last week at 1am, and then again at 330am the same night, and this on a weekday so he had to get up at 8 or so to go to work. Even sometimes when he is in the bar he looks very tired and he also tells us he is tired but he will still go to the sauna for sex. We all think he is attracted to the "wrong" types, but hey, nothing wrong with that, as long as he likes them. I am not going to judge NK but can't help to think that his sex addiction is a symptom of some psychological issue.
On Saturday had a family dinner in the North, the occasion being the 15th anniversary of my dad's passing. FL made a DVD with some old movies of my mom and dad visiting the grandchildren, and it was strange to see my dad and listen to him talk on TV. Because of the bad weather I slept over at my mom's and stepdad's house which had been a long time. Of course they gave me a huge breakfast on Sunday morning which will take 2 months of exercise to get rid of.
On Sunday I went to see Dutch comedian Herman Finkers in Carré theatre with MI and his friends AD and MN. The show was quite funny, although he mixes his humour with serious messages now (understandable as he is sick) so it wasn't non-stop laughing. During dinner we got to speak about MI's sex life and it is still non-existent. MI doesn't like gay bars, he doesn't want to date just for sex, so he is (and has been) waiting for his dream man for the last 15 years or so. I wouldn't be surprised if he hadn't had sex in 5 years or longer. He is totally out to his family and friends and at work, so he is not hiding that he is gay - he is just not interested in casual sex. A total opposite of sex-addicted NK. After having talked with NK and MI, I think I am happy to be at neither extreme.......

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A guy I feel sorry for....

I was browsing through some gay dating profiles and chanced upon this one: (emphasis mine)
"I am just another closet gay, living a secret life beneath the fake facade. Have no openly gay friends and till today have no intension or guts to own up to the fact that he is just another gay. One thing for sure is as my life span get shorter, my idealistic dream of having a normal gay life diminish. So plse, till tis point, if you even bother to read tis profile, NO face pix or meet up with me. With the realistic part out of the way, I can get on to my fantasy world.
Why do I even want to be in tis site than? Well, realistically I don't meet up but in today's advance technology, I do cam and have my own kind of kinky fun in a small way.
No experience in gay life but learned from the web. I know what I like and what I dislike.
Likes:
1. Men with great body (who don't) but again I can appreciate other body types too cos the world is not perfect and neither am I.
2. Cock of all shape and sizes.
3. Kinky but safe fun.
4. Into undies, boxers, cock rings and shaving.
5. Listening and sharing. Quiet by nature but when I open up, I tend to talk a lot.
6. People who accept me as myself, as I try to accommodate you and your lifestyle too."
According to his profile, the guy is 42. Sad.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Inferiority complex

It was another drunken night in Soho yesterday. For some reason they stayed open late, and I was shocked to see it was almost 5am when I got home. There was a guy I vaguely recognized so I walked over and we talked for a while. RL is one of those Asian guys that believe it is necessary to stress that they have a good job and are financially independent. Which is all good of course but the assumption is that all white guys think that every Asian is poor and looking for a sugar daddy. What nonsense. RL is a nice guy but him assuming that I think he is a money-boy is just ridiculous. Does this feeling come from an inferiority complex? I was getting tired with RL so I went over to HI, a Japanese guy who I had met earlier. As we both live at the East side of Amsterdam I cycled home with him, and, decent as I am, said goodbye with a little kiss at his doorstep. A good night that was worth the slight headache this morning....

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Alpha men

On November 11th , seventy four male top executives signed their names to a full page advertisement in a Dutch financial newspaper. The ad is a call for more women to be appointed to boardroom positions in Dutch businesses, specifically in the distressed financial institutions. This summons by men makes mention of the fact that women in both executive and non-executive positions contribute to the balanced view in boardrooms and have a positive influence on the culture and the management of organisations. The summons is intended to ensure that women are included in the new boards that will run the financial sector companies. The underlying reasoning is that the current crisis calls for "the best teams we have" and that these teams should be comprised of both men and women.
Throughout my career I have wondered what is driving the typical "alpha men", who are competing in the meeting rooms for power, money and influence. I have attended many hours of useless meetings where a group of men basically tried to prove that their prick is bigger than the other guys'. So I fully support the call for more women in top executive positions. I believe that mixed male/female boardrooms will produce much better decisions, and may have prevented the current economic meltdown. I like the Norwegian law which makes it compulsory for boards to have at least 40% female members.
Now the big question is: what about the gays? Most likely the tops are like the alpha men, and the bottoms are with the wiser females. Hehe

At the traffic light (2)

I am cycling home and waiting for the traffic light, next to me is an older lady. A cute, young man crosses the street in front of us, he looks at me, and before I know it the words "lekker ding" (Dutch slang normally used when you see someone who you find (sexually) attractive) slip out of my mouth. The lady looks at me, laughs and comments "yes, he is indeed handsome".

Monday, 10 November 2008

Blogger or Facebook

I don't blog as much as I used to. The reason is that I have become an active member of Facebook. I had been a "sleeping member" of Facebook for a while, but since several good friends have created profiles as well, I check in to see what's new several times per day. I must admit that some people post too many boring messages on Facebook (such as in the status updates "XX is having a coffee" or "YY is going to bed"), but on the other hand I like to have access to friends' photo albums, their whereabouts and activities. It is a very good way to remain close to friends who are far away. The disadvantage of Facebook is that it is not anonymous, so I will continue to use blogger for some stories.........
In other news:
- the "all gays are paedophiles" guy is coming to the office tomorrow. I'll make the coffee extra hot and strong.
- CH introduced a new guy to the gang last night. AL is half (American) black/half (British) white so we call him "our little Obama". He is smart, cute and friendly, and I hope he'll like us enough to join our gang.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

We are not immortal

Yesterday I said my last good-byes to MJ. She was one of my classmates from high school and I guess a member of our "gang" during those days in 1973 - 1979. A month ago, I (and all other gang members) received an e-mail in which she wrote: "Attached are scans of some papers from our high school days. I have been producing a lot of waste paper recently, because soon I will be going back to where I came from, and I can't take the papers with me." In a follow-up e-mail she told us that she had been diagnosed with a malign tumor, and it was too late for treatment and she'd be leaving this world soon. I was not particularly close to MJ, but I remember her as a very clever girl with a great sense of humour.
Seven members of our high school gang showed up for the cremation ceremony yesterday. It was good to be together and share our loss and share stories about MJ. And as JC said, this was not only saying goodbye to a dear friend, but also a realization that our generation is not immortal.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Finally, a Prince (King) for me

Many of my Asian friends are always looking to marry a prince - (we all know Asians are interested in the $$ hehe) - and Europe having so many royal families I was often jealous of them. So I was delighted when I read the news about Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan being crowned a King yesterday. The Prince is well-educated, handsome and single! He is 28 years old so if I stick to the old truth "any decent looking guy above 30 who is not married is gay" I need to wait 2 years before I can make advances.....
By the way, the Netherlands doesn't have any cute, single Princes. Most of them are mediocre looking - the best looking is Prince Maurits (pictured below) who is happily married with 3 children.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Garçon stupide


It was gay movie night again and our gang just routinely went without even checking the movie. A big mistake as yesterday's movie, Garçon stupide (Stupid boy, a Swiss-French co-production) was very boring.
This French language film tells the story of 18 year old Loic, who works by day in a chocolate factory, and by night cruises the internet for sex with men. His life is a series of anonymous sexual encounters until he meets one man who appears to be interested in him for himself, and not just his body. Loic's journey to self awareness is told through a series of episodic events, such as the suicide of his best friend, his growing infatuation with a local team's soccer star, a car accident and subsequent hospitalisation which uncomfortably reunites him with his parents. At the end of the film he realizes that he can be his own person and he recites a list of things he will never do in order to fit in and belong.
Many people left the cinema during the movie, and just before the end I heard some snoring behind me. What a waste of time.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A good weekend

It is Sunday evening and I just came home from a visit to my youngest niece who celebrated her 14th birthday. Most of the family was there - always good catching up. The weekend started Friday after work with a visit to KE which whom I shared a few beers and joints. I think I still suffered from jet lag as I was so tired that evening. Yesterday was the "Religion is fun" party hosted by DV and DAA which also doubled as a surprise birthday party for DV's boyfriend CH. I didn't have much inspiration for the costume so I was glad that WI called and suggested we go as orthodox Jews. The party was fun, I got to know some new people and remember talking to a young straight Irish guy who was curious about gay sex.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Costume advice needed

Tomorrow DV and DAA are throwing a party. The theme is "religion" and the invitation says: "so get yourself dressed as a suicide bomber, Jesus or a Hare Krishna or whatever you can think of."
What shall I do? I think suicide bomber is easiest given the size of my waistline. I could also use the Thai monk robe from RO's party again, but half of the guests would think I am very cheap.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

"All gays are paedophiles"

Our company is working with an American guy who is often visiting us. I knew that he is a rather conservative Republican, but yesterday I heard a story that showed that he is also a right-wing Christian nutcase.
One of my female colleagues had dinner with the guy a few weeks ago and she told me he drank a little bit too much that evening and started revealing his true personality: divorce is a "sin", abortion is "murder" and the icing on the cake: "all homosexuals are paedophiles".
My bosses are trying to do more business with the guy and are clearly unhappy with this story. As for myself, I am wondering if I can still shake hands with such an evil person next time he visits us. His ideas may be rather mainstream in the USA heartlands, but he should know that they are unwelcome here. Or perhaps I will just spill a large cup of hot coffee on his shirt and pants.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Consoled by a Singapore boy

I fell asleep before leaving Singapore airspace yesterday and woke up some 7 hours later above Afghanistan. RO had been telling us during the holiday that he watched Mamma Mia 4 times so I didn't feel bad seeing it for a 2nd time. And then, listening to the lyrics of SOS, not a little tear appeared, but a whole bucket (borrowing a word I had read earlier that night) left my eyes. One of the SQ boys must have seen me as he walked over and asked "Are you OK, Sir?" A few hours later while serving me breakfast he made sure my tray was neatly arranged and in the process gently touched my crotch. It was a memorable flight.
Fortunately, it was a sunny day in Amsterdam and I took a deep breath of fresh air when biking to work later. Is it me or is there more oxygen in the air in cooler climates?

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Holiday over

I am at Changi Airport where my flight to Amsterdam should board in 20 minutes. Am tired and drained after not sleeping for some 40 hours and going through a lot of emotions today. All in all a very good day here in Singapore.
I think tonight on the plane, before (hopefully) falling asleep, I will have a smile on my face, and will also plonk a little tear.
Whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see.

Monday, 27 October 2008

A natural shower and Singapore muscle boys

I have never seen it so busy at Callego beach. The waves were fantastic and we spent a lot of the time in the water body-surfing. Around 5pm there was a heavy downpour and GI, MA and I enjoyed a natural shower while the rest of the gays were more worried about their make-up and stayed under the roof.
We keep on running into a group (8 of them) of very cute, muscular Chinese men. They were in the bar on Saturday night, we saw them in the restaurant on Sunday, and then again in Mixwell bar on Sunday night. They are very sticky-group, which means I didn't see them interact at all with either the Indonesians, the bulehs, nor with other Asian tourists. Finally yesterday while queuing for the toilet I got a chance to ask where they were from and I got a very curt answer: Singapore. I never saw them before so I wonder where they normally hang out in Singapore.
I am developing some serious shortage of sleep with all the partying we have been doing, combined with RO's organizational talents which means we are constantly doing something. In an hour we go to a famous, non hanky-panky massage, followed by a quick trip to the beach for a dive, a seafood dinner at Jimbaran bay, and more partying tonight.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Humid Bali

Hello from humid and hot Bali where MA, GI and I arrived last night after a long flight from Chiang Mai via Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia. Our flight from Chiang Mai to KL was delayed so we had to run at KL Airport to make the connection.
The last day in Chiang Mai was nice: we drove to the Doi Inthanon National park where we did a short trek around the Mae Klang waterfall. Unfortunately it was raining and the drive took longer than expected so we didn't make it all the way to the summit of Thailand's highest mountain. Next time!
In the evening we had another massage and were ready to retire early after a quick drink in the bars when we met TR. WI's local friend Sak (pronounce "Suck") from two nights before was in the bar and he introduced us to his friend TR which whom he had just returned from a two-day gambling trip to Myanmar. TR turned out to be very witty, funny and nice, fluent in English and we were all having a great time with him and Sak. They convinced us to join them to Mandalay disco. This is what a website has to say:
"Just inside the old-city limits, this hangar-sized space south of Thapae Gate is your entry into kitsch-tastic Thai nightlife. Bring a sense of humor to this contemporary warehouse space with its towering ceilings, limited seating, and a sound system with amplifiers that go to 11. Forget about striking up a conversation; the thunderous volume of the live music swallows everything but text messages. The house band cranks out an endless stream of cheesy covers while the rotating Thai vocalists try their hand at everything from Shakira to hip hop to power ballads. Be forewarned, foreigners must pay inflated cover charges, usually nearly triple what locals are charged. Take care in the restrooms, where overzealous attendants descend to massage your back and calves—and to flush your urinal. Awkward."
While the comment about the restrooms is correct, we found Mandalay to be an excellent place with good music, a nice crowd, many gays and no money-boys. We talked and danced until 5am at which time we were all sad to say good-bye to TR and Sak. MA and I had to wake up at 8am for our flight while WI spent Saturday in Chiang Mai before flying back to Amsterdam.
So not surprisingly I was very tired last night here in Bali. It didn't help that it is very hot and humid and the bars have insufficient air conditioning. I saw JA again, a very good-looking muscular guy I had met on my previous trip in March this year, and we had the following conversation:
JA: Hey, you came back to Bali? When did you arrive?
Me: Three hours ago.
JA: Welcome back. Where are you staying this time?
Me: Down the road in a villa.
JA: I see. I will drive you back later.
Me: Maybe not.
I will regret refusing the hottest guy in Bali for the next couple of years......hehe

Friday, 24 October 2008

The worst bar in the world

We were comparing notes on Bangkok vs. Chiang Mai and agreed that Chiang Mai is so much nicer as there is much more to do in and around the city. The rafting yesterday was fantastic - we all got very wet during the exciting ride. Today we will use our car to go to a national park for some more jungle trekking. RO left for Bali this morning, BI is back to Bangkok so there are only 3 of us left here in Chiang Mai.
After the rafting yesterday we made our way to the local sauna House Of Male. MA is a real sauna man and he disappeared as soon as we arrived re-appearing two hours and fifteen minutes later with a huge smile on his face. RO and BI had their fun together and WI and I just stayed at the pool as we both don't like sauna sex - we actually like to talk to our men first. After the sauna we had a massage at Classic House. They have gorgeous masseurs and mine was just fantastic and his activities included some that are not normally expected when having a massage.
The bar scene in Chiang Mai is very disappointing. There are two rows of gay bars where the minimum age is 21 (fine with me) but the maximum age for locals seems to be 21 as well. (not fine with me). All the boys are too small and too young. I talked to the owner of one of the bars (a cute guy maybe 40 years old who kept on saying he is old and ugly) and asked him where the more mature guys are. He directed us to Spicy which turned out to be easily the worst bar I have ever been to. The smell was almost unbearable (WI said it reminded him of the smell in a zoo), the place was full with the lowest class female hookers and men who were just wrong, and I was glad to leave after two drinks.
If Chiang Mai added a DJStation and a G.O.D. there would not be a reason to go back to Bangkok anymore.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Thursday morning in Chiang Mai

I don't know why, but this holiday I am an early riser and I am ready most mornings before the rest of the gang have had enough sleep. We agreed to meet for breakfast at 945am, I was there at 930 and by 10 I had finished and the others are nowhere in sight. Gives me a chance to sit down behind a computer for a while. At 11 we will all be picked up for white water rafting which should be exciting after yesterday's downpour.
The road trip is fantastic so far! We went to a Bird park between Bangkok and Sukothai which was surprisingly good, we toured the monuments at Sukothai, the highlight was the trek we did in the Taksin Maharat National Park where we almost got lost and were back to the car just before total darkness. RO surprised us all that with this 108kgs he was the fastest climber uphill! Well, he is 7 years younger than I am so that must be the difference.
The last night in Bangkok I met a cute, tall Thai guy and we had some fun. The next morning he turned out to be a total drama queen so I quickly said goodbye to him - and was complimented by GI for doing so. And yesterday it was very quiet in the bars here in Chiang Mai (it was raining heavily all evening). RO had paid for a plane ticket for his Bangkok sweetie BI to fly to Chiang Mai, and BI brought a local friend who was very weird. When we left the bars around 3am, he asked me if he could sleep in my room as his house is far away and he is on a motorbike and it was still raining. I said "OK, sleep only" (yes, I know a bit naive), when he got to my room he wanted to suck me but I was so tired I said please no, let's sleep and he suddenly panicked, remembered a work appointment early in the morning and quickly left. So nice to sleep alone in the big bed. WI put a lot of effort in a very cute young man but in the end he didn't want to come, and MA already regretted his choice when we got back to the hotel - will be interesting to hear his night-time stories later. So you all see we are behaving very well.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Feeling strange in Bangkok

I am in an Internet cafe in the heart of Patpong (having made my way through herdes of girls offering me massage and "sek") killing some time before dinner with the gang at 9pm. This "morning" I was the first to wake up at 2pm - I had been tired after a good meal at Vertigo, drinks at Balcony and dancing at DJ Station. I didn't meet anyone nice, and was not in the mood to pick up a random Thai money boy, so I slept alone.
Today was just as relaxing as the night before. The gang went to Babylon but I decided to stay at the (new) pool at the hotel with my book. I was supposed to meet CH but he cancelled which was fine with me. I only went out at 630pm for a massage which came with a rather good happy ending. I am feeling quite refreshed now - let's see what the night will bring. Anyway, can't stay out too late as tomorrow morning we will be renting our car and start driving North.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Red as a lobster

I am at Kuala Lumpur Airport's Low Cost Terminal waiting for our Air Asia flight to Bangkok. We had a great time at Redang, which is a beautiful little place far away from it all. No Internet and e-mail for 3 full days - now that is what I call relaxing! I tried to stay in the shadow but to no avail: red skin allover. Must be careful with those massages in Bangkok now!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A very good time in my 2nd hometown

I am at Changi Airport waiting for my flight to Kuala Lumpur. Singapore Airlines was overbooked so they put me on a later Malaysian Airlines flight and gave me SGD 150 for the inconvenience!
I had a great time in Singapore mainly thanks to ER. We spent a lot of time together and I enjoyed every minute of it. Had breakfasts, lunches and dinners and a lot of other fun, too! It was also nice to see AN and the gang and it was a pity that it was raining cats and dogs at the time we were supposed to play tennis. I will be back in Singapore in two weeks time for exactly 10 hours. In the mean time, I am looking forward to the relaxing beach and snorkeling at Redang island.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

It is hot in Singapore

The sun is shining without mercy this morning. Walking the short distance from my hotel in Bencoolen Street to the Internet shop I could feel my skin turn red.
The flight over was full but good: I watched three movies: When did you last see your father? with Colin Firth which was good, Baby Mama with Tina Fey which was a waste of time, and Fuera de Carta ("Outside the menu") with Javier Cámara which all you gay guys must see. It is hilarious. "He didn't come out of the closet, he was kicked out of the closet."
Fortunately my room was already ready when I arrived at the hotel at 7am on Saturday, I texted ER as agreed to meet for breakfast which we eventually had. After ER left for work I managed to sleep some 5 hours and get rid of the jet lag. We had a late dinner at a chicken rice place in Novena before joining AN, JO, JE and RU at Tantric where they all had heavy spirits (with quite disastrous consequences for RU) while I was sane and only drank beer and fruit punch. It felt as if I had never been away. Good to see the gang from my days here in Sngapore in 2005-6. Around 2am AN suggested we all go to Maxwell for food but as I need to keep my good shape and late night eating is the worst, I declined and went back to the hotel for a hot and sweaty night.
I will now go to the heartlands (Toa Payoh) to meet CO for lunch.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Time for a trip

Tomorrow morning I'll leave my work, the financial crisis and my laptop behind and will board a flight to Singapore. Other destinations on this trip will be Malaysia (Redang Island), Thailand (by car from Bangkok to Chiang Mai) and Bali. I think I'll bring a lot of cash just in case the financial system stops functioning and my credit cards and debit cards are useless......

No comment

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

I need help......

.....with the following problem:
1. 18 day trip;
2. need to bring suit, shirts, tie, business shoes for a few meetings with potential clients;
3. will be constantly on the road so little time for laundry;
4. most of the trip is leisure so need to bring vacation clothes;
5. need to bring sneakers for tennis game;
6. luggage needs to fit in car (together with 3 other guys and their luggage);
7. I am getting older and much less wild so I want to bring laptop computer and books for quiet evenings;
8. it is cold here so need warm clothes for trips to and from the airport in Amsterdam;
9. Air Asia limit is 15kg.

So the question is: how to pack?

P.S. Don't expect any gifts - I am sorry but no space in suitcase. I'll buy you a meal/drinks.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Tonight in the disco

Me: "Hey, how are you? Long time no see".
He: "I am fine, I don't go out much."
Me: "I see. How long have you been here now?"
He: "Two years."
Me: "Do you like it here? Are we Dutch treating you well?"
He: "It is OK, just that everybody tries to get me in bed."
Me: "Really? Well, I didn't try...."
He: "True"
Me: "Is that positive or negative?"
He: "Positive."
Me: "................"

Friday, 3 October 2008

What if Sarah Palin worked in our office

Me: "Good morning, Sarah. Can you please get me a coffee?"
.......
Sarah: "Here's your tea, Sir."

Me: "Sarah, listen, Pete and I will be having lunch with our clients. We don't have much time, please book a table for 4 at the Chinese Dim Sum place around the corner."
.......
Sarah: "I got you a table at the TexMex place at the other end of town, Sir."

Me: "Sarah, please get me a copy of our latest annual report."
.......
Sarah: "Here is the resume that you didn't ask for Sir."

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Carel Kraayenhof on bandoneón

I just came home from the Concertgebouw where we listened to Carel Kraayenhof and the Metropole Orchestra playing Cuban music. Carel plays the bandoneón and is famous in this country because he performed at the wedding of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his Argentine bride Princess Maxima. Even if you don't like this music, watch the video from the 2:50 mark to see pure emotions and love.

Joint statement by Senators Obama and McCain

Ladies and Gentlemen. Our fellow Americans.
We live in challenging times. Financial markets in this country and around the world are significantly down, many people have lost money in bank failures, and people are forced to leave their homes because they can no longer afford their mortgage payments.
We have decided that, for once, we will be honest with you. Yeah, we are politicians but in these difficult times even politicians need to tell you the truth. And the truth is that we, all together and as a country, have been living beyond our means. For the last couple of decades, we have spent more than we were making. Too many people were taking the American Dream too literally. What were they thinking when they dreamt that they could afford a 400,000 dollar home with a 15,000 dollar salary? What were they thinking when they paid off their Mastercard with their Visa? What were they dreaming when they bought a car for every member of their household?
The problem was exacerbated by unscrupulous people in the banking industry. They initiated, organized, facilitated and managed the greatest transfer of wealth from the pockets of investors to the pockets of borrowers, and made sure they got a huge chunk of the pie. How, you may ask, did they do this?
The answer is marketing. There is one area in which even our foreign friends will admit that America is the best in the world: marketing. We Americans can sell the greatest crap. It doesn’t matter who we sell to: individuals, businesses, in the USA or abroad. We are the best in marketing. You want proof? Two words: McDonalds and Starbucks.
So the big marketing machine was used to tell investors, people who saved some money for a rainy day, that they shouldn’t be happy with a 3% return on a savings account or a certificate of deposit. You know, there is a bit of greed in every human being so if you are told you can make 10% or even 20% it is only human to accept the offer. The financial industry mafia, from the big guys in Wall Street all the way to the financial planners in Main Street, managed to convince ordinary investors to put their money in instruments that they didn’t understand. These investment vehicles were made complicated on purpose. It was basically one big scam.
The government made matters worse. Mr Greenspan kept interest rates too low, making it easier for people to borrow too much, making it easier for the financial mafia to sell fancy products. And then we lowered your taxes at the time we should have increased them. You know what, running two wars is not cheap.
For a long time the system worked like a pyramid scheme. It is called the “bigger fool theory”. As long as there are “bigger fools” who are willing to pay inflated prices for investment vehicles, all’s well. The financial industry found a lot of big fools. Ordinary investors here in the USA, pension funds at home and abroad, the Chinese government, Arab oil sheiks, German regional banks: we never knew there were so many fools.
However, it seems we can not find bigger fools anymore. The investment balloons are rapidly deflating.
Our fellow Americans: these are difficult times. We will need to increase your taxes. Your loans will get a lot more expensive, if you still can get a loan. Your pension fund may not be able to honor its obligations. In short, it is time to tighten our belts.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

RO's birthday party

I just came home from RO's 40th birthday party. It was an excellent party. RO being RO, the theme of the party was "AsiaVaganza" and we were all supposed to dress in an Asian style. WI, MA, FR, BV, HE and I decided to go as Thai monks. The dress was quite inconvenient on the bicycle but we managed to get to the venue safely. RO being the King of the Amsterdam rice queens meant that the party was at least 50% Asians. I am not so sure that RO's family and his straight friends were having a good time, but for the gays it was just a perfect party. It felt strange to cycle home in the cool night dressed in an orange dress - maybe I should do it more often.

Friday, 26 September 2008

A spam e-mail

Dear Friend:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January under President McCain. You may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account and other fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully,

Minister of Treasury Paulson

(thanks Talking Cock)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Socialism, capitalism and greed

My grandfather was an old-fashioned socialist and an active member of the Social Democratic Workers' Party for most of his life. After he died in 1976, the family found a note "I wish my grandchildren will live in a peaceful world where wealth will be distributed more evenly". He was cremated so he can't turn in his grave but I am quite sure he would have if he would have known about the current financial market meltdown.
The most ridiculous action so far is the current US government's US$ 700 billion bailout plan. The Treasury's plan, the most sweeping federal intervention in the financial markets since the Great Depression, calls for the government to buy from firms up to $700 billion in troubled assets - mainly mortgage-backed securities - whose values have declined as the housing market imploded. The goal is to stabilize the companies and prompt them to lend again.
This is basically paying out a bonus to failed companies and managers. It is rewarding the greed, mis-management, thievery and extreme capitalism of the Wall Street bankers. These people should be in prison and not in their villa in the Bahamas.It is a shame that the US government even dares to present such a plan. As always, the little people will be suffering: higher inflation, higher taxes, they will still be kicked out of their homes when they can't afford a mortgage - while the top earners will be getting their fat bonus checks.
If the US government wants to save the economy, they'd better subsidize the little people who can no longer afford their mortgage payments.
In the mean time, we all better fasten our seat belts as the crisis is far from over, the levels of public and private debt in the US are unsustainable, the credit card crisis hasn't even begun yet and there are rumours that the Chinese will soon say "enough is enough" and dump massive amounts of US paper on the market.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Wanted

Yesterday I watched "Wanted" which I quite liked, despite it being a very violent film. A young nerdy man named Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) works at a dead-end job with an overbearing boss. He takes depressant when he feels stressed out. His girlfriend is sleeping with his best friend. One night at a pharmacy, Gibson meets a mysterious woman who tells him his father was an elite assassin who had been killed the day before. The woman brings Gibson to the headquarters of The Fraternity, a thousand-year-old secret society of assassins. The group's leader, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), formally introduces Gibson to Fox (Angelina Jolie), the woman from the night before, and invites him to follow in his father's footsteps as an assassin.
We see Wesley being trained in many violent (and sometimes funny) scenes, until he is ready to kill.
An action-packed movie that didn't bore me. And James is rather attractive when he takes his shirt of.
After the movie the entire gang was in Soho and I stayed way too long and had way too many beers. Maybe I'll change my schedule at work to have Monday mornings off!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Alles is liefde


Last night I watched "Alles is liefde" ("Everything is love"), one of the most successful Dutch movies ever. Set in Amsterdam the week before Sinterklaas, the movie is about finding, losing, experiencing, enjoying, looking forward to, forgetting and regretting love. A sweet and funny movie which also features young actor Valerio Zeno who I personally know.
"Can I give you a ride home?
No. I'm actually waiting for my true love.
Who isn't? Now the question is. What do we do in the mean time?
"

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Of dirty and clean bars

It had been a long time since I had visited Cuckoo's Nest - in fact now that I think about it the last time must have been when GZ forced me to go there in March. Anyway, the same guys as always were there and the place doesn't seem to get any cleaner. I met PH who told me he quit his job and decided to live from social security. He realized that he would get only 100 euro less per month and now doesn't have to wake up at 7am every working day. This country is very good at turning otherwise hard-working people into profiteers.
After 30 minutes I had seen enough and went to Soho. The gang was there to celebrate CC's graduation from University to which I contributed a little by offering him a traineeship at our company. GR introduced his friend JM to us - a Malaysian-Chinese living in Sydney who is on holiday in Europe. We clicked immediately and it turns out we both used to work for the same company. JM was quite touchy-feely but I could see GR was paying close attention so I decided to be a gentleman. At 3am I biked home a happy man, helped by the very nice clear, crisp weather that we have enjoyed the last week or so.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A letter to the future


Today was the final day of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. It is a shame that the attention paid to the Paralympics is so much less than the attention that the "normal" Olympics get, as the athletes in the Paralympics have more challenges to overcome. Two friends told me about the closing ceremony "A letter to the Future" which they said was extraordinary. The full ceremony is available on Youtube and is worth watching. Thank you, Beijing!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

All's well here


Every year on the third Tuesday in September the Queen reads the so-called "Troonrede" ("Talk from the throne") in which the government presents the plans and the budget for the year ahead.
This year, they decided to ignore the financial sector bankruptcies in the US and the high inflation everywhere, to present a budget that makes everybody happy: lower taxes, higher spending on medical care, education and other stuff that makes us smile, and a lower government debt as icing on the cake. All made possible by creative bookkeeping and spending the additional income from our natural gas reserves.
In the mean time, the meeting that I had in The Hague this afternoon started late because people were stuck in the Queen's carriage's traffic jam.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Flamenco and mojito

I just came home from the bars after a very international day: Spanish Flamenco, Cuban mojitos, Chinese food and Dutch beers. We watched Carmen by Compañia Antonio Gades which was great. I love these macho Spanish dancers and those very powerful Spanish women: a fantastic show. After the show all of us went to Prik where they have cheap cocktails on Sundays - we had a couple of mojitos. The weather was nice so we all sat on the terrace. After the bar Chinese food at New King followed by old fashioned beer in Soho with the entire gang. There should be more Sundays in the week.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Why McCain will be the next president of the USA

Here are the reasons why I think that John McCain and his lipstick wearing toy-girl will be the next presidents of the US of A:
1. The US is fundamentally a very conservative country. There are some relatively liberal spots on the East and West coasts, but the majority of Americans are god-fearing, conservative, and narrow minded rednecks. See this excellent write-up.
2. Money rules the world. Big money interests are influencing politics all over the place, and certainly in the USA. Big businesses like McCain more than they like Obama, and they will make sure he will get elected.
3. There is some truth in the Republicans' claim that Obama is all show and no content. Furthermore, in his quest for votes Obama is moving to the right which makes him a less attractive candidate for truly liberal people who will stay home.
4. Karl Rove is still alive, and the Republicans will use his dirty tactics to make Obama a little blacker than he already is. With 99.99% certainty we will see Obama's reverend Wright ("God damn America") a few days before the elections in a TV commercial. Easy points for the Republicans. Or big business and the Pentagon are also capable of staging a small terrorist attack to make sure the hard line candidate wins.
Iran and Russia better start building those bomb shelters.........

Calls from the past

As a Cancerian, I am known to hold on to the past. According to this page, "Cancerians are remarkably good at accumulating things; indeed, you can be unwilling to throw anything out, even relationships that have passed their use-by date."
But I am not the only one: the last few weeks I have been getting a couple of messages from guys who I used to know but didn't really keep in touch with:
First, there was an e-mail from JA from Taipei. We met twice (if I remember correctly) in 2002 and 2003 and from what I remember he is a nice and friendly guy. We had sex, but I can't remember if it was any good so most likely not....So suddenly I get this e-mail asking if I still travel to Taipei.
Then, a few days later an e-mail from AT from Canada. We have known each other for 10 years or so and have visited each other's cities. Recently, we haven't been keeping in touch so it was good to hear from him.
And lastly, an e-mail from TT from Singapore informing me he is in Rotterdam this weekend and can we meet there? It would have been nice, but today I need to stay home waiting for the cooking plate repair man, and tomorrow I have other plans.

Friday, 12 September 2008

A New York travelogue

As promised, here is a short summary of our trip to New York. It was the first visit to the Big Apple for WI, GO and OS, so we did quite a few of the tourist-must-sees including a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, a visit to Ground Zero, an extensive tour of the Metropolitan Museum, a trip up the Empire State Building to enjoy the views, a walk around the Times Square/Broadway area, a quick walk through Central Park....
The weather was excellent except for Saturday when we had planned to see the exhibitions in the Metropolitan Museum anyway. That evening we watched Xanadu which turned out to be a simple but very fun show. (think Mamma Mia mixed with Saturday Night Fever)
In terms of gay bars, we were mostly disappointed. The ones we liked were Therapy and Hiro. Still, for some strange reason the gay scene in NY is not very happening and quite old-fashioned. One bar was actually quite hostile, and The Web which was recommended to us as admirers of Asian men was a 100% whore-house.......
MA wanted to eat real American food but after one lunch and one dinner of too much, too fat, too bad we changed to French and Thai. The Thai food was way too bland, but the French food (in 3 different restaurants) was excellent. For some reason, the French restaurants in big cities in the USA are always very good. I think the best French chefs and waiters are all in America!! In general, every other person in New York is a European - the place is packed with tourists from the old continent.
I bought some jeans and shirts at Macy's - jeans are a lot cheaper than in Europe. So at least I got one good deal money-wise, as everything else was so expensive.
All in all an excellent trip - this is a good group to travel with (all of us easy-going) and we are already planning our next trip, most likely to Barcelona / Sitges.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

No pictures from New York

We arrived back in Amsterdam an hour ago. I discovered they have pickpockets in New York, too - my camera gone. The flight was extremely fast: 6 hours 11 minutes so after the American style meal (too much) there was hardly any time to sleep. I'll go to work now jet-lagged and will report about the NY adventures soon.

Friday, 5 September 2008

McCain unfit as leader

Someone who says, and I quote, "I'm going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I'm an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth", is totally unfit to be a leader of a country. Maybe Madonna was right when she put McCain and Hitler in one video clip: "Deutschland über alles" (Germany above all) doesn't sound very different from "the greatest country on Earth". Yuck.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

New York first impressions

Well, not really first impressions as I have been here before in 1999 and 2003. It is now Thursday morning 715am and I just woke up in the Big Apple. The flight over on Delta Airlines was smooth - I decided to cash come SkyTeam miles as you never know if they will keep their value, and we were in business class. In the old days Asian airlines were the best, followed by European airlines and then in the far distance came the Americans. Asian and European airlines have slowly deteriorated and it seems that the Americans (at least Delta) have improved. Great service, good food and very comfortable seats.
JFK Airport is still a dump: one hour wait for immigration in a hot holding area with people shouting at poor travellers many of whom didn't speak English. Another 45minutes before the van we hired was out of the parking area. And the ride to Manhattan took 70 minutes and was more like a rollercoaster ride due to the poor quality of the roads. America definitely needs some investments in public facilities.
We are right at the center of Manhattan at 5th Ave and 40th Street. Walked around last night and had some drinks in a nice bar. Also went to Macy's to look at the clothes and prices. Even at current exchange rates, New York is still extremely expensive. Easily twice as expensive as Amsterdam!! Well, I'll forget about money for this trip and am going to enjoy this city.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Going to New York

In a few hours I will be on plane to New York. Six members of our gang will help the US economy by spending (too) much money on the hotel, sightseeing, partying and shopping. Our hotel is next to Times Square and we also hope to catch a Broadway show or two. If the weather is nice (currently 30C and sunny in NY) we will also visit Fire Island on Sunday.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Madonna - una fiesta de colores y musica

So tonight Madonna was in the Amsterdam Arena for her "sticky and sweet" performance. There were some 15 of us and it was a real party. MA had arranged for us to be very close to the stage - he has worked in the entertainment industry and still has some friends who can do him a favour. We were some 15 meters from the stage and it was great to see Madonna and her dancers from up-close. I particularly liked the colourful lightshow which was spectacular. It was a good mix of old and new songs including Borderline, Express Yourself, La Isla Bonita and Time stood still. However, her political statements are a bit over the top: a video with "evil" people such as Hitler, Mugabe, Hu Jintao and McCain followed by "holy" people such as Mother Theresa, John F. Kennedy, Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Barack Obama?????? For the rest, it was a very professional show and she managed to make us all dance and sing.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

On the beach

Today was the last day of the meteorological summer in the Northern Hemisphere. We had a disappointing summer with many grey and/or rainy days. However, this weekend the weather was brilliant and I spent most of it outside. Yesterday I biked to and from town three times for shopping, a hair cut and for a night out with the gang. And today I went to get a sun tan at the beach for the first time this year. I texted everybody in the gang, but in the end only OS, WI and GO joined. We went to Zandvoort early to beat the traffic jam and spent most of the day getting a tan, eating, drinking, reading and chit-chatting. We always go to the nudist beach which gets a nice mix of naturists and gays. Early in the morning you mostly get the older straight people whereas late in the afternoon the gays have woken up from a night of partying and will show their gym bodies.
RE and SO called if we wanted to join them for a BBQ at SO's family estate on the banks of the river Amstel (picture) which was an excellent way to finish a weekend full of sun and fun.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Restaurant De Ondeugd - not

I have a few principles in life and one of them is that I will never queue for more than 10 or 15 minutes to get a table in a restaurant. And certainly not when I have reserved a table and am still made to wait. Yesterday GO had reserved Restaurant De Ondeugd for our gang (group of 10) for a late 9pm dinner. We arrived, the place was packed, hot, it all looked chaotic, people were standing all over the place between the diners, and nobody came to us to give us information. Most of us walked out immediately while GO was trying to find out how long we'd have to wait. "Ten minutes", was the news and of course 10 minutes became 20 became 30. JE had already left as he needed to wake up at 4am to go to work, and when 35 minutes after our reserved time we still didn't have our table, I left too.
I was tired anyway as I had spent the afternoon with KE smoking some joints and drinking beer, followed by more pre-dinner drinks with the gang. The left-over pasta at home tasted wonderful and I am sure that I enjoyed my food more than those gang-members who decided to stay in the restaurant.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Flirting with friends

It is restaurant week again (special cheap menus at good restaurants) here in Amsterdam and GO has been arranging our gang's meals. Yesterday we went to Restaurant Envy which was very very good. Our only complaint was that the portions were a bit small and we were actually a bit hungry when we left. It might have been the many bottles of Italian wine, but GO was quite a flirt during the meal. I felt honoured as GO is such a cutie and fun guy. After we were done we decided to go to Prik, a relatively new gay bar, for some drinks. GO bought a fancy scooter recently and he asked me to ride with him. On our way he suggested we leave the rest of the gang and go to Cuckoo's Nest. I thought a bit about it but decided no. Flirting with friends is OK, but it is better to remain friends than to spoil it all in 5 minutes.

Who won the Olympics?

So it is a few days after the closing ceremony and the important question must be asked: who won the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games?
According to the official website of the Beijing Olympics, China clearly is the winner. 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze. I believe this ranking is the most common that is used all over the world: ranking by number of gold medals, with silver / bronze medals only of importance if number of gold medals is the same.
Of course the Americans weren't happy with their second place, so most (all?) American websites ranked according to total medal count. A creative way to make sure you win!
Not to be outdone, some guy calculated the medals for the entire European Union. The EU now clearly wins by a very large margin. Hoorah!
In the mean time, the Dutch medalists (7 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze with a 12th place overall according to the official ranking) were received by Queen Beatrix in The Hague today. Picture below is of the Queen touching Maarten van der Weijden who is a real winner. Read his story!
So what trics did your country use to come out on top?

Monday, 25 August 2008

Blogger's block

I am suffering a little bit from what might be called "blogger's block". Blogger's block is a phenomenon involving temporary (?) loss of ability to begin or continue blogging, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity.
I was just thinking why anyone would be interested to hear about my illness during the last few days (started with food poisoning, followed by diarrhea, followed by constipation after I took too many charcoal pills. Looking around Wikipedia I even discovered that there is a kind of periodic system for poop: the Bristol Stool Chart.
The Bristol Stool Scale or Bristol Stool Chart is a medical aid designed to classify the form of human feces into seven categories. It was developed by Heaton and Lewis at the University of Bristol and was first published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997. The form of the stool depends on the time it spends in the colon.
The seven types of stool are:
* Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
* Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
* Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
* Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
* Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
* Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
* Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces (entirely liquid)

Well, during the last 4 days I went all the way from Type 7 via 6 and 5 to nothing at all.
Anyway, I will keep the more interesting topics such as the Australian gay gold medalist, the best example of motherly love, and the reasons why John McCain will be the next US president, for another time.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Imagine the smell

By now most of us will have heard about the fake fireworks and the chubby girl with uneven teeth who wasn't allowed on-stage during the Olympics Opening ceremony. What was news for me today and what we couldn't smell on our TVs was the stench in the stadium. Read this:
BEIJING - Soldiers operating the huge scroll that formed the centrepiece of last week's Olympic opening ceremony had to stay hidden under the structure for up to seven hours, wearing nappies because they were not allowed toilet breaks, state media reported on Friday. Nearly 900 soldiers were hidden underneath the scroll, many of them moving giant printing blocks with Chinese characters, the Beijing News reported.
"The performers for Chinese character parts went into the models underground at 2 pm, and after getting in there they could not come out," the newspaper quoted choreographer Han Lixun as saying. "The underground area was so hot, there were 897 people there, and they had to wait until they finished their performance," Han said. "So altogether they had to stay there for six to seven hours, and they could not even go to the toilet, so they all wore nappies," Han said.
897 soldiers in nappies. This must have been watersports-lovers paradise.

Foreign talent



Sport is quite racist: guys who run fast are often black, guys who swim fast are almost always white, and girls who can play ping-pong well are likely to be Chinese. So I wasn't surprised that our all-Dutch girl Li Jie (top picture) beat typical Spanish chica Zhu Fang (middle picture) today and will face Austrian Mädchen Liu Jia (bottom picture) tomorrow.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Simon - the movie

On Saturday RE and I watched "Simon", a Dutch movie about the unlikely friendship between a shy gay dentist Camiel (right on picture) and a very straight drugs dealer and ladies' man, Simon (left on picture). They meet when they are in their 20's, and become friends - probably because opposites attract. Simon likes to make fun of Camiel and Camiel is attracted to the joie de vivre of Simon and his many lady friends. One drunken night Camiel is seduced by Simon's girl of the week, and the friendship is brutally interrupted. Fast forward 14 years, and they meet again when Simon is suffering from an incurable cancer. Their friendship grows stronger and Camiel asks Simon to be his best man at his (gay) wedding. In the mean time, Simon is planning his death (euthanasia) and asks Camiel to take care of his teenage children. A beautiful movie about friendship, life and death.

Chen Yibing - worth watching the Olympics

So far, I haven't watched much of the Olympics. I was away last weekend, and I was quite busy last week so I didn't have a lot of time to watch the events. The Beijing summaries in the news here highlight the successes of the Dutch athletes (so far a bit disappointing at only 3 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals). Tonight, however, I had time to watch some of today's events and one guy was worth watching: Chinese gymnast Chen Yibing who won the gold medal on the rings. His routine was flawless. And it definitely helps that he is a pleasant guy to look at.
In the mean time, the expected photo finish between China and the USA in terms of the medal score doesn't seem to materialize. China is far ahead and will most likely show the world that, at least in sports and helped by the "home advantage", it is ready to be the next world superpower.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The bungalow where I lived age 9-12

We are back from our bike tour, which was nice. The weather was perfect for biking, sunny and about 22C. We managed to find all 3 of the houses where I lived from birth until age 12. A trip down memory lane. Next year, I should take pictures of the 5 houses where I lived between ages 12 and 32, when I moved to my current house.

The house where I lived age 4-9

On our way from Almelo to Emmen (via Germany)