Sunday, 31 May 2009


It is a beautiful weekend here, weather-wise, so when KE called yesterday afternoon if I wanted to join him at Spijker Bar my first reaction was no. Come on, it is not like it is always sunny here so why disappear into one of the darkest bars on a sunny afternoon. On second thought, however, it has been such a long time that I was in Spijker I decided to join him. They had a bingo game on so we all joined and played. Bingo is, of course, normally associated with old ladies in retirement homes, but it was also fun to play it with a group of gay men.
After the game ended, we decided to enjoy the sun some more on a terrace. One of KE's friends, KH joined. He is a nice Irishman - just one negative about him is that he talks with a lot of saliva leaving his mouth......
When I got home SA called and came for a few drinks (the Porto freshly imported from Portugal served us well). An unexpectedly nice day.
Now I am waiting for MI from Toronto to call - he is in Amsterdam for only 4 hours this morning (he is boarding a cruise ship here) and it would be great to see him after... what? eight years?

Monday, 25 May 2009

Beautiful Portugal

The trip to Portugal was very nice. The scenery was great, especially the grapevines in the region of the Douro river (where the Port wine is produced) and in the extreme North East of the country, which is very sparsely populated and "rough". Furthermore, every town and village had some nice church or castle, the food was simple but good, the wines excellent and everything (very) cheap. A beer for 70 cents and a 3-course meal with wine for 4 for 60 euro!
Somehow I didn't travel much in Europe during the last 10 years or so, which is a shame as there is so much to see and enjoy here so close to home.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Going to Portugal

In a few hours I will be going to the airport to fly to Porto, where we will rent a car and drive around Northern Portugal for a week. Like last year, I am taking my mom, stepfather and OS on a trip. We'll sleep in Pousadas (historical buildings turned into hotels) which should be nice.
I was sick and tired of work yesterday so it will be good to switch off for a week.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Someone sent me this:

Golden rules for finding your life partner by Dov Heller, M.A

When it comes to making the decision about choosing a life partner, no one wants to make a mistake. Yet, with a divorce rate of close to 50%, it appears that many are making serious mistakes in their approach to finding Mr. /Miss. Right!

If you ask most couples who are engaged why they're getting married, they'll say: "We're in love". I believe this is the #1 mistake people make when they date. Choosing a life partner should never be based on love.

Though this may sound "not politically correct", there's a profound truth here. Love is not the basis for getting married. Rather, love is the result of a good marriage. When the other ingredients are right, then the love will come. Let me say it again: "You can't build a lifetime relationship on love alone". You need a lot more!!!

Here are five questions you must ask yourself if you're serious about finding and keeping a life partner.

QUESTION 1: Do we share a common life purpose?
Why is this so important? Let me put it this way: If you're married for 20 or 30 years, that's a long time to live with someone. What do you plan to do with each other all that time? Travel, eat and jog together? You need to share something deeper and more meaningful. You need a common life purpose.
Two things can happen in a marriage:
(1) You can grow together, or
(2) You can grow apart.
50% of the people out there are growing apart. To make a marriage work, you need to know what you want out of life! Bottom line; and marry someone who wants the same thing.

QUESTION 2: Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with this
This question goes to the core of the quality of your relationship. Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person. The basis of having good communication is trust - i.e. trust that I won't get "punished"; or hurt for expressing my honest thoughts and feelings. A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone with whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with yourself on this one. Make sure you feel emotionally safe with the person you plan to marry.

QUESTION 3: Is he/she a mensch?
A mensch is someone who is a refined and sensitive person. How can you
test? Here are some suggestions.
Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis?
Are they serious about improving themselves?
A teacher of mine defines a good person as "someone who is always striving to be good and do the right". So ask your significant other what do they do with their time? Is this person materialistic? Usually a materialistic person is not someone whose top priority is character refinement.

There are essentially two types of people in the world:
(1) People who are dedicated to personal growth, and
(2) People who are dedicated to seeking comfort.
Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal comfort ahead of doing the right thing. You need to know that before walking down the aisle.

QUESTION 4: How does he/she treat other people?
The one most important thing that makes any relationship work is the ability to give. By giving, we mean the ability to give another person pleasure.
Ask: Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or are they wrapped up in themselves and self-absorbed?
To measure this, think about the following:
· How do they treat people whom they do not have to be nice to, such as waiters, bus boys, taxi drivers, etc.
· How do they treat their parents and siblings?
Do they have gratitude and appreciation? If they don't have gratitude for the people who have given them everything; can you do nearly as much for them? You can be sure that someone who treats others poorly will eventually treat you poorly as well.

QUESTION 5: Is there anything I'm hoping to change about this person after we're married?
Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention of trying to "improve" them after they're married. As a colleague of mine puts it, "You can probably expect someone to change after marriage for the worse". If you cannot fully accept this person the way they are now, then you are not ready to marry them.

In conclusion, dating doesn't have to be difficult and treacherous. The key is to try leading a little more with your head and less with your heart. It pays to be as objective as possible when you are dating; so be sure to ask questions that will help you get to the key issues. Falling in love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your finger, you don't want to find yourself in trouble because you didn't do your homework.

I fully agree with the reasoning after questions 2, 4 and 5, and mostly agree with 1 and 3.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The end of blogging

During the last few years, I was a regular reader of some of my friends' blogs. However, it seems that the fashion for blogging has evaporated as quickly as it emerged.
DA from SF informed me he has closed his blog, he says: "don't have many things to write about and it is time to move to other projects."
Sgboy has password-protected his blog, and it seems that ever since he met his fairy tale (and he supposedly is monogamous) he doesn't know what to write about.
AgentX hasn't updated his blog in a long time, but he is very active on Facebook just like CO from SIN, so these people seem to have replaced blogging by Facebooking.
So that leaves just AR from OZ who is as active as before in blog-land.
As for myself, we'll see.....

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Duke

We had our annual reunion of University friends this weekend and JA arranged a nice walk through the forests in Noord Drenthe, followed by drinks and dinner in Groningen. When he gave me the address of the restaurant, the street name sounded vaguely familiar, but didn't immediately ring a bell. It was only when I arrived at the restaurant that I remembered that this was the location of the first gay bar I ever went to, The Duke. I must have been 18, having just arrived as a freshman at Groningen University, that I dared to set foot in this gay bar. I remember ordering a beer, and when I just took my first sip was approached by a very old man, who must have been at least 30..... memories....
The Duke no longer exists, and we had a very enjoyable dinner at the same location where long ago, I ran away before even finishing my beer........

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Waiting to go home

I am in my hotel room in Tbilisi - it is almost midnight and I am killing time until the taxi will pick me and my colleague up at 2am for our 4am flight via Prague to Amsterdam. I don't know why, but flights from this part of the world always leave in the middle of the night which of course is horrible. If all goes well I'll be in Amsterdam at 9am, a quick shower and to the office again.
I had an OK time here, work was interesting and perhaps we will have a project here. There is a very unstable political situation here in Georgia and on Tuesday there was a rumour about a military coup d'etat which was surpressed. However, I am more than ready to go home and sleep in my own bed again. Not this weekend because we have our annual reunion of Uni friends so more travelling on Saturday and Sunday.....

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Going to თბილისი

I just came home from a nice dinner in Restaurant De Belhamel with CA. The restaurant is becoming one of my favourites and today they had the special fresh asparagus menu which we took. I had planned to take CA to a vegetarian restaurant but this turned out to be an excellent alternative. It had been a while since I saw CA and she updated me about her husband, daughter, job, family and friends. The good thing about CA is that there is no need to say much as she will talk incessantly. ;-)
And now, once again, I am packing my bag for my business trip to თბილისი this coming week. It is a last minute thing, I had hardly any time to prepare so we'll see what happens there. Anyway, it is my first trip to თბილისი which is the capital of საქართველო, so it will be an interesting experience.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A strange Queen's Day

It was a strange Queen's Day this year. Queen's Night was great, the entire gang was out and we were on the streets until 1am when it got too cold and we escaped inside to Amstel 54. The crowd was good, crowded but not too busy. RM was very drunk and I got to know him a little bit better, LE and his bf ED from Manila were in town - LE sure added a few pounds in the Far East.
On Queen's Day OS wanted to go into town (too) early, we started at De Engel which was fun but not crowded yet at 2pm. Around 430 we ended up at Amstel and one after the other the gang showed up. We should have stayed there but somehow DA convinced us all to move around the corner where there was more "danceable" music. However, the atmosphere there was not as nice and around 730pm I called it a day. Once home, I saw the car attack on TV and only then realized that most Queen's Day festivities had been cancelled. Only in Amsterdam they didn't dare to stop the party as there were 650,000 people in town and they were afraid of chaos should they have stopped the party early.
Picture: Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima watch in horror when a car crashes through a crowd of people, killing 7.