Sunday, May 29, 2005

Saturday in Bunnik

Yesterday was beautiful weather vacillating between 25C and 30C, an ideal day to stay outdoors. And like half of what the population in Holland would do, we grabbed our fiets (bikes) and pedaled ourselves under the warm rays of the sun. Heerlijk! (Nice!)

We cycled to another town called Bunnik (in Utrecht) and visited a fort, a small castle, and a pancake restaurant.

On the way to Fort Vechten with colossal trees festooned along the driveway. This is by the way, typical Dutch. The Dutch likes everything organized, and I mean everything, even the trees.

FORT bij VECHTEN in Bunnik

Before the Blitskrieg technology, the Dutch used the water together with the fort as a defense weapon in fighting against their enemies. I am not adept to explain further the details of their strategy but it said that they can submerge a whole area, for example Bunnik-Utrecht, with the use of the fortress and the waterline around it. The enemies will have to go through the water and capturing them would be quite easy.

Fort bij Vechten was built between 1867 and 1870.

This is just one of the MANY fortresses in the area... and I guess it has something to do with the terrain. The Dutch indeed used their landscape much to their advantage in protecting themselves against the enemy.

And Eons ago, well approximately 2,000 years, the Romans settled in diverse locations in the Netherlands. It was alleged that there once stood a huge Roman Palace in the outer entrance of this fort.

This is in the inner entrance of the Fort. See those 3 small windows? Those are window canons. Watch out!

We didn’t stay long in the fort because there was an ongoing private event. The area is open for theater shows, cultural presentations and excursions, and I believe can also be rented out for private parties.

Here I am, on my bike to Rhijnauwen.

RHIJNAUWEN in Bunnik

This is the perfect spot for nature lovers. The place is situated in the middle of the farmlands and forests along the Kromme Rijn river (a water line that goes through Germany). On a sunny day, like yesterday, the whole area can be seen ransacked by many Dutchies, and even tourists, all of them saddling on their ubiquituos bikes.

The Dutchman wanted to do some canoeing, but we arrived in Rhijnauwen a bit late. And as a matter of fact, I was not really up for it. I prefer the boat than the canoe! So we strolled a bit and found this... a small castle dated back in 1394, called the Rhijnauwen Castle. It is currently being used as a Youth Hostel.

The small Rhijnauwen castle with people partying in the front yard.

The Rhijnauwen castle’s poortgebouw (gateway) is now transformed into a lively Café.

We decided not to take our drinks here, but left our bikes instead in the corner of the gateway. We then walked through the arched entrance towards the direction of the forest to the Theehuis Rhijnauwen (Tea House Rhijnauwen), specializing in the lekkerst (delicious), well most likely, pancakes in Holland. It was past 5PM on our watch, not bad to have an early pancake dinner.

This is the other side of the castle’s poortgebouw (gateway) from the side of the forest.

The entrance of Theehuis Rhijnauwen... notice the bikes? In the other side of the road, hundreds of bikes were parked.

Pancake houses are typical family restaurants in the Netherlands. If McDonalds is to other countries’ family eating places, Pancake houses is equivalent to the Dutch. They abound in every nook in this country from north to south. In fact, I have been to a few others, but certainly, this one in Rhijnauwen has to be the best... serving only the finest pancakes I have ever tasted.

Theehuis Rhijnauwen’s backyard facing the Kromme Rijn river (you can't see the river in this picture, darn).

There were very few people sitting inside the restaurant, I guess everyone wants to sit under the shining sun. You also have the option to rent a canoe (or a boat) and sail through the whole stretch of the Kromme Rijn river, which actually was the Dutchman's idea for the day, but...

And the Dutch are nature junkies. You can visibly see how they preserved the life-breathing surroundings in these pictures.

The Dutchman’s dinner. He took a half-half pancake: Apple with powdered sugar and Cheese with Bacon strips.

My dinner, Fresh Fruit pancake with powdered sugar. Take note that the size can be deceiving because these pancakes are THIN!

Weekend BAZAAR in Vleuten

And today (Sunday), we went to the Utrechtse Bazaar in Vleuten. To get inside the bazaar, you have to pay € 2,50 per person. We didn’t expect it to be druk (busy) with shoppers, but it was.

As soon as we stepped in, I bid goodbye and separated ways with the Dutchman because he is such a pain in the butt to be with when shopping. I bought those chic ankle length farm-maid-gypsy-latin inspired skirts (a white and a chocolate brown), the trend this summer. They are oh-so damn hot sexy by the way...

Then we had some Shaormas which surprisingly was really appetizing and not heavy. And the Turkish bread was... ah, still hot. Yum!

All in all, the whole weekend was an active and a pleasant one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Thailand: Whet my appetite!

I haven’t really started keyboard pushing for my Encounter with a Thai LadyBoy Part III, because I need to have the right enthusiasm to do the deed. It’s basically the pinnacle of encounters and I don’t want to disappoint anybody nor even myself. I have yet to regain my high moments, so please bear with me.

On the other hand, Thailand had more surprising treats to scandalize the appetite in us. I know, I just gave an entry on my scrumptious home cooked cuisine... but let’s take the cat out of the bag.

Khao San Road, October 2001

Ah, it brought me back memories, colorful memories of the hot hectic sweaty street scene, an experience that I will never forget, never ever.

It was quite a sight. The whole long stretch of Khao San was filled with different colors of hair, from brunettes, to blonds, to reds. Basically it’s THE meeting point for a great number of tourists, the back packers and economy travelers. Standing there, I felt like I was uprooted from Asia to a western country whilst watching the traffic flow of colored haired people passing by. I mean, there were very few black haired Asian people around?

Our challenge: Change our money. I have US$ (I didn’t bring Pesos because I knew it will be devalued) and the Dutchman had Dutch Guilders (this was year 2001 before the €uro). Before we decided to subject ourselves to the long merciless queue, Dutchman suggested that it is best to canvas other money changers. Typical Dutch by the way… canvassing.

So off we went further down the road. The Dutchman was busy checking the rates of the money changers, while me, as usual nothing new, was ogling at the shops and sampling the delicacies of the street food vendors. I thought it was quite safe for me to chomp on any food that I find lekker (delicious) in the streets, because I still live in the Philippines, thus I still have the Philippine bacteria... Dutchman and I was just rendezvousing (part of the LDR routine). Now is different. I can’t eat anything from the streets in Asia or wherever, because I have the different kind of bacteria, European germs, hehe. The last time I did, in December 2004, I got sick! Lesson learned.

Anywho… while I was enjoying the Pad Thai (Thai snack) that I just bought, Dutchman and I came across, TO MY FRIGHT, this…


Bugs…. FRIED GRASSHOPPERS, but for a second there, they look like fried shrimps! Foto courtesy of H.A.A. from Vught, NL.
And more bugs, varieties of bugs… LEECHES(?), BEETLE BUGS(?), C-ROACHES(?), LIZARDS(?), WORMS(?). Anyone want these crunchy fried yummy creatures? Foto courtesy of H.A.A. from Vught, NL.
Do Thai people actually eat this? Heck, Y-E-A-H!
I don’t know if I wanted to stop eating my Pad Thai and throw it away, or I take a photo of them freaking bugs. I kept staring at the toasted creatures in disbelief. It was just plain EW! My eyes were probably immobile for awhile as big as an owl and my mouth gaping wide open… that the bug vendor moved away, giving me a sarcastic mean look. Would have wanted to take pictures, but with the way the bug vendor discriminated me, I decided to back off.

But thanks to a Dutch internet acquaintance, he let me borrow some of the photos he took during his vacation in Thailand in 2004. Thanks H.A.A.!

Alright, I hope I didn’t SCREW someone’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Or did I? Sorry! Hehe.

Here is another funny thing… Dutchman and I got tired from walking so we took shelter in one of the eateries along the road for a drink. I decided to call my mother and tell her that I am safe in Thailand. She was so worried (though I didn’t live with her anymore, she still wants to know what I am doing from time to time) about me traveling with a WHITE BLOND MAN, well it was the height of the 9/11 crisis, actually 3 weeks from the tragedy. Insane rumors were spreading like fire, such as: Foreign white people are vulnerable targets for kidnapping, ransom, and revenge. People were supposed to stay at home, and lock their doors... but here I am, gallivanting with the Dutchman in exotic Thailand.

I want to speak to the Dutchman”, ordered my mom into the phone.

The mother wants to speak to you”, I said, winking.

The Dutchman was puzzled but he let out a shy smile. You know, putting your best foot forward with the family. He better...

Hello”, says the Dutchman into the receiver.

Blah… Blah… Blah… in other words: W%F$I#R@U*B&{G^!

What did my mother say to you?” I asked after he put down the phone.

Your mother said, YOU ARE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY! BEWARE, THEY ARE ALL HUNTING WHITE PEOPLE!!!!!!” says the Dutchman raising his arms mimicking a tribal warrior in g-string with a huge spear.

I couldn’t help but laugh. The thought of the tribal warrior with a huge spear hunting white people brought me to recollect the BUGS that I recently saw. What would those tribal people do after catching (or hunting) a white man? Fry them like the bugs?

Such a morbid thought!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Domestic and Culinary Life

My weekend was rustig (relaxed) because I didn’t do much. The Dutchman did as a matter of fact, most of the house chores except for cooking. He had always told me… and my relatives, his relatives, my friends, his friends, and yes, even acquaintances… that I, failed gratuitously in the housekeeping department. He will not even let me get near to the darn vacuum cleaner…

J put that thing (vacuum cleaner) down! I don’t trust you with these things, you know nothing about cleaning”, scolds the Dutchman.

*Me pouting*

Whatever you clean always has some traces left the next day!” he continues.

Alright, alright… you take care of cleaning the whole flat then!” I muttered in resignation.

On second thought, I think I am such a bloody lucky woman. Ah, life!

What I need to do to make up for my domestic deficiency is to beseech his manly stomach. Amusingly though, the Dutchman thinks that food is just a matter of and for SURVIVAL. Don’t worry, I am currently evangelizing and sensitizing his faculties to take pleasure in the joys of culinary world, and all the assortment of healthy and palatable nourishments that I provide with zest on the table.

While I stayed at home bumming last Sunday, the Dutchman was mowing his parent’s yard, they are now in Italy for a few months on vacation, and their backyard badly need reinforcement, if not it will turn fast into a wild jungle.

The salad greens, Krullend Andijvie (Curly Endive) and Kropsla (Butterhead lettuce) from my father in law’s home greenhouse. Gardening is his hobby. He also has a separate garden, a few kilometers away from home, where he plants more vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

For you...” he grinned as he handed me a plastic bag upon arriving home and stepping inside the foyer. Um, well, he laid it down on the floor. Ugh, Dutch-Men…

I took a peek. “Oh nice, salad greens!” I said in surprise.

Took it from my father’s garden.” Dutchman added.

Mm, I am going to make them into yummy salads this week.

On another note, I have decided to make a weekly entry about food since it’s part of my life’s passion, not eating though, but the making and experimenting of delectable cuisine.

Ever since I was a teenager, ‘twas when I learned how to cook and bake, my family back in the Philippines had always preferred that I stand behind the kitchen’s cooking burner. I didn’t mind because I loved doing it. The home cooking performance didn’t last long though, at 22, I left home to seek a life for myself, so no more feeling chef nights!

Here’s a preview of the palatable chows I whipped up last week.



Sauteed Beef Tagliatelli

A different version from the usual pasta served with sauce and topped with cheese. Cooked with pure olive oil... spiced and cured up beef sauteed with brocolli, carrots, and herbs.


Radish Sun Dried Tomato Garden Salad
I got inspired by some of the creamy Dutch salads using radish in it, so I whipped this up. Take out the cream (or mayo) and replace it with healthy olive oil please!


Pork Asparagus
It is asparagus season and they are relatively cheap! Notice how small the grilled cured pork is? Well this is my plate not the Dutchmans =). Grilled is healthier, you take the fat out during the process.


Apple Bell Pepper Salad
I had enough of using salad greens, so I mixed up the tricolor bell peppers: yellow, green, and red with the rest of the apples. I say, CRUNCHY!


Tex-Mex Nachos
This so far is the unhealthiest I ever cooked last week, but as they say... from time to time, we just have to indulge. Ground beef cooked with Italian mix herbs, tomatoes, spring onions, chicory, and corn.


Ceasar Salad
This is still the Dutchmans favorite but I go easy on this because the creamy dressing, parmesan cheese, and boiled eggs are fattening. But it sure always is a nice variety to olive oil based salads.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Women in their 30’s and their Breasts


Is it coincidental that most women diagnosed with Breast Cancer are women in their 30’s?
In today’s news, the petite and peppery Australian pop singer, Kylie Minogue, who’s also very popular in Europe, was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She’s 36 years old. Kylie has canceled her Australian tour and will soon start breast cancer treatments. For the full report, check this NEWS LINK.


And by chance, this morning, I, together with the Dutchman just came from an appointment with our general doctor. I have a tiny lump in between my shoulders and breasts. I was not really worried about it, but I thought it was best to go see a doctor and have the little knob verified. And because of this, we had to cancel our Portugal holiday, which was supposedly planned this week, since we were not really sure if I would have to undergo further medical exams.


Well, with much anticipation, we came out of the doctor’s office with a huge sigh of relief. The tiny lump was just a Sebaceous Cyst, a benign cyst that can be left ignored, says the doctor. Now we can go to Portugal with our minds at peace!

Nonetheless, it was quite a story coming from there, to arrive at work, check my usual daily news read, and learn of Kylie’s crisis. I don’t know, I feel bad for her but I felt lucky for myself that the doctor’s diagnosis were negative.

With this entry, I encourage women entering the adolescence stage to always pay attention to your breasts. Check if you have small lumps around your breasts and under your arms, or if there are any physical changes that you noticed, not only with your breasts but also with your nipples. It is very important to report real quick any known modification of whatsoever form to your doctor. Most especially if you have a family history of breast cancer. This isn’t a simple matter… many women died of breast cancer or have suffered with it.

For more information:


Sebaceous Cysts

Breast Cancer

Have them checked. NOW.

Monday, May 16, 2005

What to do on Pinksterdag?

Yesterday Sunday and today Monday is the Dutch’s version of Pentecost Day, fondly called Pinksterdag in the Netherlands. I have no clue why it is called that way, nor does the Dutchman know. All I care is that we have NO WORK!

A typical thing here in NL, which could be a European characteristic, Christian holidays are always celebrated 2x. We have FIRST Christmas Day and SECOND Christmas Day, FIRST Easter Day and SECOND Easter Day, and now, FIRST Pentecost Day and SECOND Pentecost Day. The explanation for this strange observance can be found HERE.It refers to certain articles of religious orders, but I dare not explain anything, it’s quite complicated for the non-religious me.

When I asked Dutchman what the Dutch usually do on days like this, he casually said, “They go to attraction parks, to the home boulevard, visit friends and relatives, or go to concerts, such as PinkPop”

PinkPop is a big concert event here in NL, some kind of a rock ritual celebrated during Pentecost, with the presence of famed bands, coming to play solely for this special day, from all over the world. This year it was held in Landgraaf, Maastricht (south of NL).

“What about going to church? It’s Pentecost for crying out loud?” I said.

“Oh yeah, the religious people, they do go to church.” corrects the Dutchman.

FACTS: About 52% of the Dutch population doesn’t believe in God, says a survey I think in the Time Magazine (or Wall Street Journal) I read on board to Manila last December (2004). OK, I hope no one is scandalized with this stirring revelation...

A quick stop on the road for a quick photo shoot. That’s my precious bike, a homecoming gift I received from the Dutchman in 2002.

We previously planned to take our bikes to nearby Rhijnauwen in Bunnik, a quaint town, which I have been to in the past, and where you can find this cozy pannenkoekhuis (pancake house) and sample their finger licking delicious pancakes. It was not the pancakes we were eyeing for, just had to mention that since it’s the specialty of the place, but we badly need BIKE THERAPY. We ate yesterday 300g sack of Bolognese Lay’s potato chips! Boy, do I feel guilty with that...

Taken in Nedereindseplas, an open nature park in Nieuwegein en-route to IJsselstein. See that tall tower in the photo... that is our destination. During Christmas, they transform the tower into a huge lighted Christmas tree.

On our way back to Utrecht, with trees lining up on each side of the road.

Much to our disappointment, the weather didn’t cooperate. It was quite cold, the sun was timid hiding from the clouds, and the wind... bloody wicked. But I surprised myself with the stamina I had, cycling up and down the bridges, and even with the wind against me, it was relatively easy. The Dutchman was fairly impressed. He didn’t have to push me from behind like a little kid, hehe.

We made quick change of plans, decided to skip Bunnik, and took a shorter cycling course to IJsselstein via Nieuwegein (where we used to live) and visited the two sisters in laws. We were welcomed with tea. That was refreshing.

Hmm, maybe we should kick ourselves out of our lazy routine and do the biking exercise every weekend. It feels really good to have biked for more than an hour. Not only that, it is healthy, especially for us being 30-something.

Tomorrow Tuesday, it’s back to work... oh well...

Visit Period: May 2005

Friday, May 13, 2005

Strappy wedges and Spectacles


I am lying low for a little bit *snicker*, ha-ha, just a little bit, because my blog has been greatly SEXED UP and INTOXICATED for this whole week. From ladyboy’s to hookers to dildo’s and live sex show poses in Amsterdam’s RLD. Man, just reading that makes some people sweat. It just gets better and better! Well, not that there’s anything wrong with that… but, my brains right now are clogged up to the 7th heaven from much stress at work.

I need some light subject, such as ---
FASHION.

Long voluminous hair... strappy platform wedges... and check this out, the come back... Jackie O spectacles, they are in!

I am a person who has no paramour loyalty to a specific brand. I buy any brand --- the never-heard-of-brand, the signature-brand of course, and the what-have-you-brand. To me, it doesn’t really matter what logo sticks out of my body. I am more particular with fashion justice, if the damn thing looks good on me.


Spectacles, its real purpose is to screen myself from the sun but they are practical and cute to use as a head band. Dutchman thinks its classy?

Well I bought a cheapo €10 1970’s style oversized owl spectacles last February in Madrid. I saw them in the downtown alleys of Puerto de Sol. Just the right timing since these eye accessories are now “in”, says the fashion gurus. Before I bought them, I was for a moment, a bit unsure --- Should I buy the chic D&G I saw earlier? Or should I settle for this €10 one?


*tries to debate internally with herself* (yeah, don’t we girls do this when shopping?!)

Must I rejoice? I have been bitten by the Dutch bug for I have settled for price.

In addition, I have also learned cunningly the art of announcing to family and friends any value for money or I-bough-it-cheap purchases. Believe me, they are an absolute stimulating discussion during Dutch birthday parties.

Here is the drift: the cheaper you bought an item, the more you are obligated to tell everyone!

Quite ironic isn’t it? But in this society, bragging about how expensive you bought your Armani tight pants means you are just a plain bah hambug retard. But to proclaim your € 10 clearance sale skirt is a profound consumer accomplishment!


Yeah, yeah, right.

On the other hand, when the weather here in NL gets better, I’ve got to start hunting those strappy platform wedges and sandals. They are just oh so smashing perfect for holidays. Dutchman and I have decided to go to Portugal for our beach holiday this summer, so I better get ready with all the girly paraphernalia’s.

What Cosmo is suggesting this season...

I would not tarry! Grab those 1970’s spectacles, they really look groovy this spring, what more when its summer when you need it the most?


And when you buy them strappy wedges and sandals, please do not forget to pedicure, lol.

***

Coming up for this weekend! I will pick up from where I left everyone off with the part I and II of the --- “An encounter with a Thai Ladyboy, Part III!” (think this is the sauciest part, lol).

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Foodies


I am tired today, had a really lame day in the office. I wish I win the lotto so I don’t have to work.

Anywho… am not in the mood to write, but would like to share some of the foodies I made last week. Enjoy the pictures!


Mustard soup with toasted brown wheat bread


Balsamic tortellini with broccoli


Dry noodles, my version


2 servings of Greek salad


Asian fried rice with chorizo and egg

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Check THESE BLOGS!


A pre-view of what you will see….

Rik imported from Italy, Mrs. Frivolity from the U.K. and Me

For more juicy tidbits, visit these sites:

Rik’s Bella Italia

The Frivolity File
Snowflakes in NL

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Booze, Red Light District, Booze


I still have a little bit of the hang-over from the Amsterdam Saturday night-out. Well, I mixed beer and wine. How stupid can that be? Anywho, I will let the pictures do the talking. I am sure, our very dear guests, Rik da Man and Mrs. Frivolity will do better with the coverage! (Check their blogs for MORE PICTURES and Graceys too!) So Euroweenies, here are the pics, I will not be emailing them anymore. Enjoy!

THE MEET in Leidseplein

We just need to grab some drinks first! Heineken rules!

At the Heineken Hoek Bar & Café in Leidseplein. Me and Rik, aren’t we sweet? Haha.

Cee with her luscious pouting lips!
ON THE WAY
In the streets of Amsterdam… got to walk faster, we are hungry. We want our Thai dinner!
The Dutchman teasing me again with the camera…
LET’S EAT! BANGKOK RESTAURANT

The food was really good, but we had to sit in this long table and every time someone has to get out to pee… everyone has to stand up and get out of his seat. Ugh.

Cee, lemme borrow Bill for a sec!

The man who horded, during dinner, all the penisauce, ooops pindasaus! (pindasaus means peanutbutter sauce)
Lovely smile there Gracey =)

Thai food... my favorite was the seafood dish, 2nd to the left.

Foto shoot - Amsterdam dinner class 2005!
THE THREE SISTERS BAR in Rembrandtplein
A really cool pub… The first time I have been here was in March 2001 when I visited the Dutchman in Holland.

Rik at it again with his Guinness! That’s me and Bill with our pretty backs, hehe.


Busy at the Three Sisters Bar.

The Lovebirds.

Me and Rik, our adopted American Euroweenie who kept complaining the whole evening why there are many giants in Holland.
Me enjoying my beer while Cee enjoying her butt move.
A candid shot. I look funny, I look drunk.

The gangsta PEACE men! Rik and Mike.

AMSTERDAM’S RED LIGHT DISTRICT

You would not believe this but there are sooo many ladyboys behind the red lighted windows! The Englishman disappeared for 5 minutes, or did he do it on purpose? Cee? *wink*

Rik and the Dutchman can’t stop ogling at the ladies of the night. Yeah, MEN.

Oh my!!! Cee is so naughty! Think the guy on the left wants to join us. LOL. Here's more, CLICK THIS.


Got to pose and do the vogue!
Prostitute’s behind the red windows. Did you see that guy going in???
Perusing the fuschia prize… if it’s soft enough, and if the size fits?
Whee... I take it home!!!

BAR HOP in ZEEDIJK near the RLD
We were clueless that we were in a gay bar. But Bill knew it quick. As usual Rik got “hit” in the loo!
We could not find any windows available to wait on customers in the RLD, so we settled for this door-window by the gay bar. Anyone want us? Hehe
The freak in the Drink & Sink Bar who kept whispering on Rik’s ear inviting him to go to the next bar where naked girls are dancing. Haha.
TOO MUCH BEER? TAKE IT HERE!

The Amsterdam men’s “loo” at 3 o’clock in the morning…

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