Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Hot in Sitges, hot in Amsterdam

Pffff - it is very hot here and humid. If felt like Singapore when I was cycling home today.
The trip to Sitges was nice. The weather was perfect, around 25C and sunny. Unfortunately, WI had an infection in his shoulder and hand and he had to visit a hospital on Friday, and was feeling bad for the remainder of the trip. Still, we had drinks every day with the gang, late Spanish-style dinners and clubbing until 3am for some of us (like me) and until 8am or 9am for the wilder members of the gang. I liked Sitges which is small enough that you can walk everywhere and big enough that there is a wide choice of bars, restaurants and clubs. And the sea was very blue, the sand very white and the waves very big.
On Sunday we went to see the Barcelona Gay Pride parade - the venue for the after-parade party and events was particularly impressive.
All in all a good trip.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Going to Barcelona / Sitges

Finally! Tomorrow (almost) the entire gang will fly to Barcelona where we will take a train to Sitges, which is the gay friendly beach resort 30 minutes South of Barcelona. There will be some 15 close friends and some 10 fringe friends, so we will be taking over town for a few days. I am looking forward to spending time on the beach, in the bars, eating tapas, visiting the sights of Barcelona and forgetting about work until Monday.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mixed feelings about China

I am back in Amsterdam after a quick day-flight today - only 9 hours 20 minutes. The project in Tangshan was weird: it is all very old-fashioned there and even our Beijing-based interpreters and assistants were amazed how provincial and backward everything was. There is not much to see or do in Tangshan, and the best hotel is only so-so with inadequate airconditioning, so I was happy to go to Beijing on Friday. Via Facebook DE found out that we would be in Beijing the same day, so I met up with him and his friends WO and RI. They showed me around in the gay-yuppie area of Beijing which was very nice. The modern Chinese are creating a fusion culture just like their counterparts in HK, Singapore and Taipei. We had a great fusion dinner, followed by drinks in a bar called The Boat which is on...a boat, and some clubbing at Beijing's only gay club Destination. As I read before the BJ guys are indeed very reserved, at first I thought it is me, but also WO who is very cute and 20 years younger than I didn't get the attention that he would get in -say- Singapore.
I may have to go back to Tangshan soon. If that is the case I will try to spend a full weekend in Beijing and finally see the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
But first, my family will be here tomorrow to celebrate my birthday prematurely.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Going to China

Another last minute business trip, this time to Tangshan, China. Later today I will fly to Beijing where I will meet with two colleagues and will go by car to Tangshan. We have a small project there and it is our task if we can get a business plan together to turn it into something big. We will be joined by a few translators / interpreters from our Chinese partner firm - we will see how difficult communication will be but I fear the worst.
I am afraid there won't be any time left to see the Great Wall or other sights - one day I must return to China and actually see something!

Monday, 8 June 2009

An unexpected visitor

Yesterday was a nice day. First, I went to see the World Press Photo Exhibition where some 200, mostly impressive, photos were shown. Here are two of the winners in the category "sport". After the exhibition we went to see Terminator Salvation (the only movie for which tickets were available that we could squeeze in between the exhibition and the happy hour), which was not as bad as suspected.
After a quick Thai dinner the entire gang met in Soho and moved to Rouge after the happy hour ended. Suddenly, BY walked in who I hadn't seen in 2 years. He more or less disappeared from Amsterdam and I found out yesterday that he has been living in Spain. Officially, he is still together with his Dutch ex-boyfriend and he came to Amsterdam to do the paperwork which will get him a Dutch passport soon. Yesterday he had just arrived from Spain (by bus!) and he was looking for a place to sleep, so unexpectedly we have a guest in the house for a couple of days. Well, BY is a nice guy so don't mind him occupying some space here - for a while. I jokingly asked him how many months he is planning to stay, and fortunately he said "just a couple of days".
In other news, Singapore Airlines is running a promotion: only € 599 for a return ticket. I should make some plans soon.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Miscellaneous news

1. A team of Australian military cooks has been rushed to Afghanistan after troops deployed there complained about the Dutch food they are being served. The Dutch are in charge of the mess and the Aussies are less than happy about the food. There have been so many complaints about the Dutch food being “tasteless” and “not fresh” that the issue has been raised in the parliament in Canberra.
At a special defence budget hearing, Australia’s military commander air chief marshall Angus Houston commented: “It’s not Aussie food, it’s European food. People have been quite strong in their views about the European food”. Senator David Johnston said, “I think it was an insult to them. The least they could expect when they are deployed for six months is that they can eat proper food”.

2. Childless men tend to be happier, according to research by the Dutch demographic institute NIDI. Fathers have less time to spend with their wives or doing their own thing, which they experience as a negative factor.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A sunny day on the beach

I spent most of yesterday on the beach with the gang - it was a national holiday here (the last one until Christmas!) and the weather was perfect for sun, sand and sangria. We had been partying on Sunday night, so most of the gang fell asleep which gave me a chance to read my book while keeping an eye on a group of boys playing football.
Sunday night finally DAZ came to the bar - ever since he is playing dad to his two children he hardly comes out. It was good to catch up with him and getting to know his boyfriend who turns out to be a nice guy. Also, TD who used to be my hairdresser before I knew OS made an appearance. It is amazing how he can look like 35 when he is in his early 50s. Me jealous.....
So now it is work with no special holidays until Christmas. Well, I have some 4 weeks of vacation left this year which will be put to excellent use.