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)

The house where I was born (in Almelo)

Thursday, 14 August 2008

My annual bike trip

Tomorrow morning I will leave early for my annual bike trip with RE. This year the theme of the trip is: my childhood houses. I want to have a look at the three houses where I lived between birth and the age of 12. I was born in Almelo, a sleepy town in the province of Overijssel. Almelo was made famous by Dutch comedian Herman Finkers who wrote:
"Het licht springt op rood, het licht springt op groen
In Almelo is altijd wat te doen."
which can be translated as
"The (traffic) light turns red, the light turns green
There is always something happening in Almelo."
The next day we will go to Emmen where I spent my primary school years.
RE and I have done these bike trips for many, many years and it is one of the good traditions in my life. We are very similar in character as we both are easy-going, gay and happy (hehe), which makes it a pleasure to spend time with RE.

In memoriam Percy Irausquin

Dutch fashion designer Percy Irausquin died today, aged 39. I had met him a few times some 10 years ago when he was part of OS' gang that spent most weekends in iT, at that time Europe's prime gay club. (the link leads to the original 1996 website). OS tells me that Percy was a very sweet man. He died of a freak accident: he slipped in his bathroom this morning. May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill

A song that always sends a chill through my bones.

A guest from Australia

AR from OZ was here in Amsterdam yesterday and today. Last night, OS and I had dinner with him at Restaurant De Belhamel where I liked the food, where the view (for OS and AR) was good, and the conversation flowed nicely.
I decided not to go to work today and joined AR who wanted to visit Haarlem. Haarlem is only 15 minutes away from Amsterdam but I seldom visit so it was good to be back there after quite some time.
We visited the Grote of Sint Bavo Kerk (a church), the Teylers Museum, and finally the Corrie ten Boom Museum
which was AR's main reason to visit Haarlem. Cornelia Johanna Arnolda ten Boom, generally known as Corrie ten Boom, (April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983) was a Dutch, Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. Ten Boom co-wrote her autobiography, The Hiding Place, which was later made into a movie of the same name.
Unfortunately, our guide was a Christian preacher who proselytised a bit too much for my liking. I almost stood up and protested when she said: "The Ten Boom house was always open for everybody. When you needed something, you were always welcome to get a drink or some food. That's because they were Christians." Bullshit! That's because they were good people.
Anyway, it was nice to spend time with AR and I wish him a good trip to Indonesia where he will arrive tomorrow for a surprise visit to his parents.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Singapore government improving its propaganda

A rather clever piece of propaganda from the Straits Times today, which I will reproduce below with my comments in italics:

Why they hate Singapore
Western detractors are getting the jitters as others copy our model
By Chua Lee Hoong, Political Editor

Very clever title. Of course, very few people hate Singapore. They may not like or perhaps even hate Singapore's current leadership, but that is (very) different from hating Singapore as a country.

SINGAPORE is small enough to be a suburb in Beijing, but it has something in common with the mammoth People's Republic. The little red dot and Red China are both countries the West loves to hate. There are those who wish bad things to happen to the Beijing Olympics. Likewise, there are those who have had it in for the Lion City for years.

The hate argument again, see above. The propaganda people are trying to benefit from the success of the Olympic Opening Ceremony by associating with China. Clever.

What's eating them? The easy answer is that both China and Singapore are authoritarian states. The freedoms taken for granted in the West - freedom of speech and assembly - come with more caveats in these two places. But things are not so simple. There are plenty of authoritarian states around, but most do not attract as much attention as Singapore and China.

I hate to break the news, but there is very little attention for Singapore abroad. This piece is clearly written for a domestic audience that likes to think that people are as interested in Singapore as they are in China.

As Madam Yeong Yoon Ying, press secretary to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, said last month: 'Singapore is an example to other countries of how the free market plus the rule of law, and stable macro-economic policies, can lead to progress and success, but without Western-style 'liberal' democracy.'

Better text: Singapore is an example to non-democratic rulers of other countries how they can survive many years of authocratic rule.

Don't believe her words? Read these lines from British journalist John Kampfner, writing in The Guardian last month, lamenting the spread of what he calls the Singapore model.
'Why is it that a growing number of highly-educated and well-travelled people are willing to hand over several of their freedoms in return for prosperity or security? This question has been exercising me for months as I work on a book about what I call the 'pact'.
'The model for this is Singapore, where repression is highly selective. It is confined to those who take a conscious decision openly to challenge the authorities. If you do not, you enjoy freedom to travel, to live more or less as you wish, and - perhaps most important - to make money. Under Lee Kuan Yew, this city-state built on a swamp has flourished economically.
'I was born in Singapore and have over the years been fascinated by my Chinese Singaporean friends. Doctors, financiers and lawyers, they have studied in London, Oxford, Harvard and Sydney. They have travelled across all continents; they are well-versed in international politics, but are perfectly content with the situation back home. I used to reassure myself with the old certainty that this model was not applicable to larger, more diverse states. I now believe this to be incorrect."

Another clever move. Use the words (let's assume they were honestly quoted) from someone who doesn't believe in the Singapore model to make your point.

'Provincial governments in China send their brightest officials to Singapore to learn the secrets of its 'success'. For Russian politicians it too provides a useful model. These countries, and others in Asia and the Middle East are proving that the free market does not require a free society in which to thrive, and that in any battle between politics and economics, it is the latter that will win out.'

Small mistake by the propaganda people here. "Provincial governments in China" and "Russian politicians" use Singapore as a model which may very well be true. (after all, wouldn't these people aspire to Singapore government level salaries?)

Mr Kampfner seems in a genuine intellectual funk. He cannot quite understand why otherwise normal, intelligent Singaporeans would trade certain freedoms for economic progress, and accept the Singapore political system for what it is. But perhaps he has got the wrong end of the stick. The problem lies not in the Singaporeans, but in his own assumptions. Namely: If you speak English, if you are well-educated and well-travelled, you must also believe in Western-style democracy. They are a package.
I was on the receiving end of similar assumptions when I was in the United States in 1991-1992. When Americans asked me, 'Why is your English so good?', often it was not out of admiration but bewilderment. Their next question revealed all: 'Why then do you (i.e. your Government) ban chewing gum?' Another telling indicator of Western assumptions about Singapore comes from a remark by Singapore's Ambassador to Washington, Professor Chan Heng Chee, who went to the US at the tail end of the Michael Fay saga. One year into her posting there, in 1997, she arranged for a retrospective of the late choreographer Goh Choo San's works. Her Washington audience was awed.
'People suddenly remembered Choo San was a Singaporean. They may have known about Goh Choo San, but to connect him with Singapore was not so obvious for them,' she said.
Sub-text: World-class choreography does not fit their image of a country with corporal punishment.

Let's have a look at where we can read that Goh left Singapore at the age of 22 and was trained and worked in Amsterdam, Washington DC, Houston, Boston and other Western cities. Furthermore, "on 28 November 1987, Goh's career was sadly curtailed when he died of an AIDS-related disease, viral colitis, in his Manhattan home in New York, at the age of 39. In his will, Goh left a US$500,00 legacy to create the Choo San Goh & H. Robert McGee Foundation for young dancers and choreographers. Henry Robert McGee was Goh's business manager and close friend, looking after his legal matters. He died of an illness six months before Goh's death." So most likely Goh was gay and McGee was his partner. Isn't gay sex still a crime in Singapore? Enough said.

So the real difficulty for the West is this: We are so like them, and yet so not like them. We speak, dress, do business and do up our homes very much the same way as them. Yet when it comes to political values, we settle - apparently - for much less.
One observer draws an analogy with Pavlovian behavioural conditioning. So conditioned have Westerners become to associating cosmopolitan progress with certain political parameters, they do not know how to react when they encounter a creature - Singapore - that has one but not the other. So they chide and berate us, as if we have betrayed a sacred covenant.

Note the clever use of "us" as if the evil Westerners chide and berate all Singaporeans. No, who are chided and berated are the Singapore leaders, and nobody else.

Adding to the iniquity is the fact that countries - rich and powerful ones too, like Russia and the Gulf states - are looking to the Singaporean way of doing things to pick up a tip or two. I can imagine the shudders of Singapore's Western detractors should they read about a suggestion made by Mr Kenichi Ohmae this week. In an interview with Business Times, the Japanese management consultant who first became famous as author of The Borderless World, said Singapore should 'replicate' itself in other parts of the world. What he meant was that Singapore should use its IQ, and IT prowess, to help organise effective economies in other regions, as its own had succeeded so well. To be sure, his reasoning was economic, not political. But for those who hate Singapore, a Pax Singaporeana would be something to work against and head off.

Nobody is saying that Singapore isn't successful economically. The propaganda people even admit this here. ("To be sure, his reasoning was economic, not political.") The conclusion "for those who hate Singapore, a Pax Singaporeana would be something to work against and head off" doesn't logically follow from the rest of the article. However, in terms of the propaganda quality of this article, my compliments to the Singapore government. If you can't win with arguments, stir up nationalism by suggesting that your opponents "hate" the country. Well done.

Do you suffer from nomophobia?

I learnt a new word today: "nomophobia". Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. According to this article: "Getting married, starting a job or going to the dentist have long been recognised as sources of great stress. But it seems they are now matched by a new, peculiarly 21st century affliction - the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. Millions apparently suffer from "no mobile phobia" which has been given the name nomophobia. They have become so dependent on their mobile that discovering it is out of charge or simply misplacing it sends stress levels soaring."
I believe I can still do without my mobile phone. I definitely switch it off at night and when I go to the movies or theatre. And the few times I forgot my phone at home I didn't panick and just checked my messages (if any) after I returned home. Thinking back, I didn't even have a telephone at all for a year or so in 1986. My brother lived upstairs from me and we shared one telephone line (to save money) and as the subscription was on his name when he moved out the line was cancelled. I was relatively poor at the time and never bothered to get a new phone line until I moved a year later. For all you children, in those days there were telephone booths all over the place and it was easy for me to call. And when people needed something from me, they just wrote a card via snail mail with guaranteed delivery the next day. No, I don't think I will ever suffer from nomophobia.

The Dark Knight

So you would think that if a movie is the nr. 2 or nr. 3 money-making film of all times that it is a very good movie, right? Well, you are wrong. I have seldom seen a more pretentious piece of amateur-psycho-analysis-cum-medioacre-acting as The Dark Knight. I had problems staying awake at times. Perhaps Heath Ledger's death was good marketing for the film, and ofcourse I respect "De mortuis nil nisi bonum" ("Of the dead [say] nothing but good" (Horace)) so I'll stop here.
After the film I went for drinks at Soho where we enjoyed some of the rare beams of sunlight this summer. And we finished the night on a high note in Restaurant New King which has the best oysters and shrimps in Amsterdam, and possibly the world.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Singapore pays most for Olympic medals

Singapore again got the #1 position in an international ranking: this time in the ranking of countries that pay most for a Beijing Olympic medal. Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant did an article today on the amounts of money the athletes from various countries would get if they win Olympic Gold, and here are the results: (all amounts are in euros)
1. Singapore € 500,000
2. Philippines € 222,000
3. Malaysia € 200,000
4. Greece € 190,000
5. Thailand € 180,000
6. United Arab Emirates € 176,000
7. China € 150,000
8. Russia € 100,000
9. Lithuania € 64,500 (and a BMW)
10. France € 50,000
11. Netherlands € 27,500
12. United Kingdom € 25,000
13. Japan € 19,000
14. United States € 15,730
15. Canada € 13,500
16. Australia € 12,500

So in addition to the best paid government in the world, Singapore will soon have the best paid athletes. Well, at least the sportsmen and sportswomen will have done something extraordinary to deserve their pay!

An Olympic Day

It was not so busy in the office yesterday so I decided to take the afternoon off. I had hoped to meet KE for some fun in the afternoon but unfortunately he was not available so instead I went home to watch the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony. Zhang Yimou did a great job and created a spectacular show. I particularly liked the drummers and the performance that symbolized printing. Very, very, very, nice. This is one event that is watched by billions all over the world: OS called his brother in Colombia who woke up at 5am to watch the opening ceremony.
The parade of the athletes was a bit too long and boring (can't we just have one team for "Islands Far Away That Nobody Has Ever Heard Of"?). On the other hand, I was impressed that the Chinese TV people found our Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima in the crowd when the Dutch team made its appearance. Now let's wait what the sports will bring us: people here are hoping that the Dutch will improve on the Sydney Olympics medal count (12 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze) which won't be easy.
GO came to pick up an old table that was collecting dust here at home and that they can use for their Bed and Breakfast, and we watched part of the Olympics together while sharing a glass of wine. I first met GO through OS in 1996 (they came to this country at the same time and took Dutch language classes together) and I immediately liked GO - a lot. He is everything that a man wants: intelligent, masculine, funny and with so much energy. Well, perhaps he is not so sweet but nobody is perfect! Anyway, he forgot his wallet when he left the house so we agreed to meet in the bars at night so I could return his wallet to him. MA, JE, RO, RM and AA were also there so it was the usual drinking extravaganza again. Around 330am I had had enough and when walking to my bike I received an SMS from GO "where are you, let's go to Eagle". I hesitated but decided that I was too tired and drunk for that kind of fun.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Where to go?

After my trip to New York, I still have 3 weeks of annual leave to clear in 2008. MA and RO have asked me to join them for their Thailand/Indonesia trip in October. I am hesitating to do so, and add a few days in Singapore to the trip to see the "new Singapore" (read: casinos) take shape. Alternatively, I'd like to go on a safari in East Africa, or go to Brazil or Chile. Or stay closer to home somewhere in Southern Europe. Choices, choices. Any advice you want to give me?


As every first Wednesday of the month it was gay film night yesterday and GO had been so nice to get tickets for all of the gang. There were 10 of us to watch "Reinas" ("Queens"), a hilarious Spanish movie about the eve of the first day on which same-sex marriages were allowed in Spain. The movie is about the (complicated) relationships between several gay couples and their mothers, and after seeing the movie you'll understand that the "Queens" are the mothers, not the sons. Great uncomplicated fun.
After the movie there were two-for-one drinks at Exit café, and FA showed up with two bottles of champagne to celebrate his birthday at midnight.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Beijing 2008 - shame on China

In 3 days the 2008 Olympics will start. China is hoping to show itself as a modern nation to the world capable of organizing a huge event like the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, in the process of trying to have smooth Olympics they trampled many human rights. We should all read the latest Amnesty International report which highlights deteriorating human right conditions in China. These include persecution of human rights activists, detention without trial, censorship and the death penalty. In the run-up to the Olympics, the Chinese authorities have locked up, put under house arrest and forcibly removed individuals they believe may threaten the image of “stability” and “harmony” they want to present to the world.
Im the West, every evening we currently see negative stories about China on TV. What was a chance for China to really get a better image is already turning into a public relations disaster. Well, they deserve to be criticized. I still hope we will witness great sports events, but in the mean time: shame on China.

Cultural differences

I have worked, traveled and lived in different cultures for many years, but today I was surprised again by cultural differences.
Dutch people are known to be very blunt, we call it "honest" but I know that in many other cultures we are known as "rude". For instance, when a Dutch person says "hey, when you are in the area next time you should visit my house", he actually means it, whereas in other cultures from America to Thailand it could mean as much as "I hate you and I never want to see your face again." On the other hand, a Dutch person will seldom give a positive compliment if he doesn't mean it and will even say "what an ugly tie are you wearing".
Anyway, I received an e-mail last week from an Indian guy that we have worked with informing me that he will be in Amsterdam (as a tourist) on Monday and Tuesday and if we could meet. I wrote back "that would be nice, I am free Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning". I didn't hear anything yesterday, and finally this morning around 10am he called asking me if we could meet around 11am. I said "yes, perfect as I have another appointment in the afternoon." So 11am he doesn't show up, 11:30, 12, 1230 still nobody and I am literally packing my bag around 1pm when he calls "I am on my way now I will be there in 20 minutes." So I say "I am very sorry, but I really need to run for my other appointment and I will be out of here in 5 minutes". He gets angry telling me he is coming all the way from India and it is a shame and blah blah blah. In my cultural context, I have informed him several times very clearly that I can meet him in the morning, so why doesn't he get the message?

Monday, 4 August 2008

Two fathers

I am not very nationalistic, but this song (from a popular Dutch children's TV program) makes me proud to be from this place.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Gay pride - relaxed fun

It is Sunday morning. Gay pride is not over yet, but later today I need to drive North for a family event so I will unfortunately miss the closing party.
On Friday was at Amstel around 8pm. Slowly, most of the gang showed up (and some other friends and acquaintances) and we shared the usual beers, and EL brought some weed too which he shared with the other addicts hehe. WI told me I was dancing in a wild and silly way so I must have been drunk. He also told me he had filmed me but fortunately that turned out to be a lie. We also met CO from Singapore and his partner ST who joined the partying (although CO looked as if he found us a very strange group of people). Around 1am I could not add one and one together anymore so I decided to go home. I collapsed into a coma the minute I hit the bed and when I woke up on Saturday I had a HUGE hangover. Bang, bang, bang in my head. Of course, I couldn't miss the parade so I forced myself into the shower. Just when I was done showering I had to throw up, so I had a second shower to clean up. The good thing about vomiting is that I normally feel much better afterwards, and it worked yesterday, too. All in all I made it to the little boat that WI and GO had arranged just in time at 1pm. We found a good spot close to the action and enjoyed the parade. This year, many politicians were in the parade such as the Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen (in light-coloured suit) and the Dutch Education and Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk. (with hat)
At the end of the parade we cruised along. The stars of our boat were RA who was dressed as an Egyptian Pharaoh , and WI who wore underwear with an enormous dick printed on it. It was difficult to find a place to dock but finally around 7pm we could leave the boat. Some more partying followed but we were all knackered so one after the other left to get some rest. A great day, and I must say I am proud of the relaxed and friendly, mellow atmosphere.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Gay Pride Pictures

Here are some pictures of today's Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade. It was a great party as usual. I will write more later, I am too tired now.