Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Cycling weekend and 50th birthday party

The annual cycling weekend took RE and myself along the banks of the River Rhine to Düsseldorf. The weather was perfect for cycling and as usual we had a good time. Düsseldorf turned out to be a very nice city with lots of good modern architecture, and nice people as it is the fashion and media capital of Germany. Here is a picture of the morning sun on the Rhine near Xanten.
Yesterday HE celebrated his 50th birthday (the first to turn 50 of the core members of the gang). It was a good party and even though is was Tuesday we all drank too much. I vaguely remember chatting up a very cute, drunk, young Italian tourist who was agressively taken from the scene by his angry and jealous girlfriend.

Monday, 17 August 2009

A missed opportunity

I was having a good time at JI's party last Saturday when CA suddenly called me over and said "there is someone here who wants to meet you". A cute young Asian guy smiled and said "don't you remember me?" and to be honest I had to think long and hard...his face looked familiar but I couldn't immediately "place" him. Turns out it is GA - someone I worked with when I was at XYZ Bank in Singapore - he did a small project for me at the time and we met just a few times at work. I never knew that he was gay and suddenly 4 years later we meet at a party in Amsterdam. He now works for XYZ Bank in Amsterdam, and I was also introduced to his bf. As MA said: another missed opportunity.

Monday, 3 August 2009

The curious life of Ferdi E.

The news this country talked about today was the death (in a traffic accident) of Ferdi E. The man became famous in 1988 when he admitted the kidnapping and murder of business man Gerrit-Jan Heijn, brother of supermarket magnate Albert Heijn whose family owns the shops where most of the country do their daily grocery shopping. In late 1988, Ferdi E was sentenced to 20 years in prison and psychiatric treatment. He was declared "no danger to society" and released on parole in 2001.
At the time he committed his crime in 1987, he was enjoying a disability social security payment. This payment was stopped when he was sentenced guilty. However, according to the laws valid in 1987/8, the social security payment should not have been stopped. Some clever lawyers offered Ferdi E assistance to get his rights, and the courts awarded him € 350,000 in arrears payments. Even here, this raised a storm and the law was changed so that prisoners could not keep their social security payments and leave prison as a rich man. But Ferdi E got to keep his money and bought a nice villa in a village in the East.
Today Gerrit Jan Heijn's widow, Hank Heijn, offered her condolences to her husband's murderer's family, saying "it is always sad when a widow has to miss her partner, and children their father. This is true for Ferdi E's family as well." She is the hero of this story.