Friday, September 30, 2005

Expatriation Blues

My acclimatization in the Netherlands was a love and hate engagement. There were times I cursed this country, f***ing Dutch! Other times, I display real admiration, I would even coddle in their ways. What I went through was just normal, and still going through, I think [eyebrows meeting each other].

Most expatriates that I know of, usually experiences this mother of all setbacks, “homesickness and loneliness”. In all honesty, I have never really suffered with these types of quandary.

For almost 10 years, I lived on my own alone in the survival jungles of Manila’s Metropolis. I guess I have developed a hideous hide, a raw hide as thick as an alligator’s. This could be the reason why I barely got homesick and lonely. Hmm...

There are things though that I kind of miss, nothing sentimental [that would not be me haha] and not on the league of homesickness [means you are sick, that is serious!], but still quite endearing to me and well some, shall I say, funny.

The Ortigas view that I miss from my flat in WackWack, Greenhills. I wake up to this everyday...
[click to enlarge the picture]

Well here they are, some of the things, events, people, and whatever… that I would gladly swap in just a split of a second to have them all NOW.

Let me revel in just one day of homesickness!!!


Oh god, how I long for this, I could scream! Driving in unadulterated Metro Manila traffic is adrenalin pumping!

*Sigh*, I miss my daily route in the mornings to Makati via the Mandaluyong Bridge coming from Greenhills. The traffic in this direction starting from the Mandaluyong Bridge all the way to Makati Avenue bottleneck is an Oscar winner!

Give me the bumper to bumper pandemonium! Oh, such lovely tune singing in my ears when I hear the jeepney drivers curse on top of their lungs “putang ina mo” [mother f***er]! To see cabbies screeching their tires whilst trailing their backs with black soot, the pedestrians squirreling away too scared to be the next recipient of “hit and run” and let’s not forget, the wild honking of our fellow traffic participants, just because the driver before the traffic light took 5 seconds to respond to the green light.

Chaos… I miss it.

In contrast, drivers here in the Netherlands are seen as cowards without good muscle reflex, and I tell you, they must have never seen an action movie in their entire life! Like robots, they are very stiff in driving. The drill: look into the inside mirror, to the outside mirror, turn your back for that dead corner, give the signal, and go.

Plus you always have to be careful for these hidden paparazzi who will graciously take your photo without your knowledge and send you a bill of statement. Is this a scam? A modus operandi?

Shall we say traffic here is uneventful? Too regulated? Boring? [I hear the Dutchman whispering, “safety my dear”... Hhrmp!]


Still fresh and vivid...

At home, on a weekend, working [I pretend sometimes] or chatting with friends on the net late into the night [better], burning my fingers into my laptop’s keyboards whilst watching TV [usually BBC or Discovery Channel] with my back towards it or listening to loud music [usually alternative] to accompany me until the break of dawn... but then hunger pangs strikes…

So at 3AM, a swift decision of a noodle break has to be made but a quick look inside my cupboards proved to be a futile situation. I ran out of noodles, damn. But you see, in the Philippines, this isn’t a problem. I just have to go down the lift, hop on the car and drive to the nearest 24 hour convenience shop, which is actually 5 minutes away. Handy!

In less than 15 minutes, I have my hot Nissin cup noodles in my hand, back in my chair, in front of my laptop.

Quick and convenient… I miss that.

There is nothing like this in Holland [or in Europe]. The Eurocrats think that working your ass off into the ungodly hours is a form of modern day slavery and opening your business 24 x 7 is just plain egocentricity. The culture is supposed to be FOR the people, family first and leisure second. Comprende? Begrijp je?

Alright that is indeed very admirable for the government to care. I get the point, but I just want to rant!!! GGGRRRR…


It’s been so suicidal depressing this week, except for Monday which was a nice 18C with intermittent sun, but the rest of the week was like a dull early winter prognosis.

I see now the horizon covered in mist, the cold seeping through the doors and windows, the on and off rain showers, the pesky wind and uh well, the bleak grey skies *heavy sigh*. With this mood, I can join Cinderella and cry a bucket.

Oh my feet are cold. Yeah it’s time to wear socks. I will have to take out my thick Ugg boots from the closet. And I am afraid my allergies have started tapping my shoulders. I might have to welcome them, again *more heavy sigh*.

But on the other side of the world, at this very moment, I could have basked under the warm rays of the sun or under the cool moon of the night [18C-22C]. Ah, where are you my paradise…

Warmth… I miss this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Efteling Adventure

Dutchman and I had a spill over weekend and we went to Efteling in Loon op Zand near Tilburg down south in North Brabant.

Efteling is an attraction park just like Disneyland. The differences are: Efteling is the Dutch version (it is in Dutch of course and there is no Mickey Mouse), older in history (50+ years already, original concept of a sports park born in 1933) and perhaps not as large in size, although in my opinion it’s just enough for a day of fun and leisure.

Moi in the Goblin’s little village.

Python roller coaster.

Frankly, I am not crazy about attraction or theme parks. I have always thought they’re best for family outings with kids. Well it took me three years to go to Efteling! I even had the chance to go to Euro Disney in Paris years ago when I first visited Europe, but it’s not my cup of tea. The Enchanted Kingdom in the Philippines I did visit after a month it opened, not because it was my choice, but we had a company outing there, haha.

Just a quick picture with the tall pine trees.

On top of the Pagoda.

Anyway, the day at Efteling was fun although quite tiresome. We walked from one park to the other, hopped on rides that scared the wits out of me, and for just a whole day, we behaved like little spoiled kids.

What impresses me though with Efteling is the nature around it. The lush of greens greets you everywhere you go. It’s like the Efteling park, the rides, attractions and facilities were built around nature and not vice versa which sadly is quite common with any adventure and theme park. Thumbs up for Efteling!

Visit Period: September 2005
Destination: Efteling (Loon op Zand - North Brabant), The Netherlands

Sunday, September 25, 2005

City Spotting:`s-Hertogenbosch, The Invincible Dragon of the Marshes

I was in `s-Hertogenbosch [popularly known as Den Bosch by the Dutch] last Friday for an international job interview with a software applications company. The talk lasted almost two hours and I had the chance to chat with the COO himself.

This isn’t really the first time I have been to Den Bosch. Two years ago, I visited the city for the same reason, a job interview, which didn’t materialize into anything. So this time, I promised to reward myself [just in case I dont get the job], a treat to explore the city’s old Centrum, something that I have never done in the past.


The symbol of the city… the dragon monument located right in front of the train station.

Den Bosch is a fortified city nestled in the midst of the north Brabant swampland [in the south of the Netherlands] and a Delta series of rivers, making the town invincible from any outside attack in the past. Because of this, the metropolis has earned the coveted title of “The Invincible Dragon of the Marshes” and thankfully, much of the original medieval city center is intact until this day.


Clockwise from top: The Knillispoort near the Market Square; My favorite Bosschenaar, The Pissing Boy, hehe and the narrow alley going to the Knillispoort; Boats for rent; and De Citadel, still in tact from the 16th century.

History said that town rights were bestowed upon Den Bosch as early as 1185. Hmm, sometimes I wonder what it is like to live in those days[?].


The Driehoekige Markt [The Triangular Market]

As everyone might have already noticed, market squares are the typical European conurbation. A place where centuries ago, everyone sells their goods and at the same time gather for special events. They are usually designed in four corners, thus a square, but surprise… this one is quite different, it’s oddly shaped as a triangle.

The Bossche Bol. Too sweet for me!

The Markt is probably the best and gezellig [cozy] place to people watch, enjoy a warm cup of coffee, and snack on the celebrated Bossche Bol. A traditional Den Bosch sweet delicacy: chocolate covered whipped cream pastry.

I will try it next time, OK?


The beautiful Sint Janskathedraal...

The Saint John’s Cathedral is a gothic inspired church built between 1380 and 1530.

I have seen many churches and this one is indeed quite interesting. The outside structure of the building particularly near the entrances and it’s pillars, were creatively garlanded with many sculptures of saints. They looked like sentinels, always on the lookout for thieves and prowlers.

Having a warm cup of coffee in the café called Hart van Brabant right across the Cathedral. Perfect after a tiring city exploration on foot, er in high heels!
[not a very nice pic though]

The row of cafés is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the medieval view on the other side of the road.

A Shopping Mecca

Hinthammerstraat one of the big and busy shopping lanes in Den Bosch.

Although the city had so much to offer to any woman, I prudently employed some self restraint. I do not want to play local tourist whilst juggling with large bags in both hands! But it was tempting… *sigh*… I went home empty handed.

For more sights of Den Bosch, please visit my HOLLAND PHOTO ALBUM [the photos are under construction and are not yet properly labeled].

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fresh produce from my father in law's garden

The in laws are back in Italy for their second vacation leg this year. They usually spend four to five months every year hopping all over the country, experiencing how the locals live, sampling their cuisine, visiting quaint villages, and basking in the rich culture, art, history and the last rays of sun.

So when they are away, it is the Dutchman’s task by default to conscientiously mow the grass in their backyard. I have no role there but Dutchman reminded me that his father told him I can harvest anything I want in his little greenhouse. So I took a peek and before me were ripe tomatoes and peppers!

I also thought it would be nice to pick some flowers and plants to liven up our white and earthen abode.

Clockwise from top, all the fresh produce and flowers, lovely plump tomatoes [vleestomaten], cherry tomatoes [or trostomaten?], and huge chili peppers.

If I had known that we’re going tomato picking on a Sunday, I would have saved myself the effort and money from buying some last Saturday in the supermarket. But anyway, the new set of tomatoes offered the best excuse in making some tasty and healthy Bruschetta. A nice treat for our Sunday afternoon siesta.

I bet the chili peppers would do well with stuffed couscous [with a mix of vegies and a little ground meat]. A friend told me that I might have to steam it a bit before loading in the couscous concoction. Hmm, I could do that.

The cherry tomatoes will obviously be best for salads.

The FINISHED product

And after much labor, voila.....

My home made Bruschetta with toasted French bread, a very delightful treat together with our Royal Blend English tea on a Sunday.

The Dutchman could not stop announcing that it was very delicious. Like a dog, he slurped and licked the last drop and morsel of the Bruschetta. Ah great, I am very well pleased with the results.

And here is the flower arrangement…

Lovely isn’t it? I stared at them for hours, hehe.

And to think these flowers were free! If you buy a bunch of mix flowers just like this in the market or flowershop, it will cost between € 8 and € 12.

The arrangement is a combination of five flowers and plants [do not ask their names because I have no clue!]. They were carefully picked in my father in law’s garden, taking into mind that all of them must harmonize together in a nice camaraderie bunch. Well lo and behold, it turned out just perfect. A splendid colorful addition to our home ;-)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

How snooty are you?

I have been reading an old rap editorial of Youp van’t Hek, a roguish Dutch columnist who writes for the NRC Handelsblad [a Dutch newspaper].

This editorial collection, written between 1993 and 1994, are zipped in a thin paperback. It was given to me by Dutchman when I protested -- “I must start reading Dutch books!” [insert frustrated look here]. Thankfully, he had taste and knew exactly how to amuse me, lol. This author proved to be a winner, a real entertainment albeit sardonic in his views, which makes him a very good read.

AMAH HOELA, one of his old columns, which incidentally is also the title of the book, is our read for today.

An amah means “Au Pair” and in other words, “Nanny”. Therefore I am guessing, Hoela is a name of a person, and in most cases, a woman.

Before I go on writing this entry, I would like to give my excuses to the Au Pair community, their loved ones, or whoever related who might be reading this entry and may find it offensive. This has nothing to do with you (although in reality, life isn’t fair), but this is merely an insight of our struggle on Human Rights and Equality, particularly in the Dutch culture setting.

In 1993-1994, Youp van’t Hek successfully dismembered the Dutch elite’s ego in the alleged rousing of the inevitable -hell, god forbid- trend in the Netherlands: AMAHS or AU PAIRS.

Amah Hoela excerpt in Dutch I:Wat is een amah? Een amah is een derdewereldmevrouw met veel honger en weinig financiele eisen, die voor een kleine vijfhonderd gulden per maand de kinderen doet, wast, kookt, strijkt en in datzelfde bedrag zit ook nog drie avonden per week oppassen... Veelal zijn het Filippijnsen, maar ook de Poolse en Tsjechische dames doen het heel erg goed.

English translation: “What is an amah? An amah is a poverty(-hunger) stricken woman coming from the third world country with very little financial demands. For 500 guilders [€ 227] a month, she would take care of your kids, wash, cook, iron; and with that same money will also baby sit your kids for 3 nights a week.

Most are Filipinos, but there are also Polish and Czech ladies that do the job really well.” ***

The third world country phrase in there is quite rude, but nonetheless, it’s true, so I won’t wager any argument and nitpick about it. € 227 would be roughly PHP 15,580 monthly salary and I assume with living in arrangements [remember this is more than 10 years ago].

Amah Hoela Dutch excerpt II: “Een amah heeft natuurlijk veel voordelen. Ze is niet alleen feodaal goedkoop maar meestal ook erg gelovig en dat houdt in dat ze ’s nachts niet gaat sloeren en slempen in de plaatselijke discotheek. Daarbij stuurt ze al het geld naar haar vaderland en daar kunnen ze een paar dubbeltjes meer zeker goed gebruiken. Dus nog even vijf uurtjes extra oppassen voor een tientje doet ze graag. En het belangrijkste: ze klaagt niet. Niet alleen omdat haar Engels daar te gebrekkig voor is, maar ze is ook veel te bang dat ze weer naar huis wordt gestuurd... Ik ben bang dat er op de Larensche Mixed Hockey Club een broekrok tegen haar vriendin durft te bekennen dat hun amah gewoon mee aan tafel zit en dit onder het motto: wij zijn niet zo erg als de rest.”

English translation II: “An amah of course has many advantages. She is not only scandalously cheap but most of the time she is very religious. Because of that, she does not frequent the local disco in town and corrupt herself until the wee hours of the mornings. Besides, she sends all her money to her homeland where for a few more cents her family can make real good use of the money. So a little extra 5 hours of baby sitting for just 10 guilders [€ 5.00], she will gladly do. And what’s most important: she does not whine. Not only because her English is too limited; but she’s also very afraid of being sent back home.

I am afraid that in the Laren Mixed Hockey Club, she [the employer of the amah] will have the audacity to profess to her girl friend that their amah sits normally together with the family in the dinner table, and with the belief of: we are not so bad like the rest.” ***

Now, isn’t this so true about our poor countrymen? They would do anything within their power to walk the extra mile and earn the extra money no matter how little it is, just so they can send a little bit more back home to their impoverished families. Sad, but true.

But what did these rich bogus personalities do?

Sarcasm check: Will you, with your high buying power status, exploit people for cheap labor, for their lack of intelligence, for their weak confidence, and take advantage of their poverty stricken situations back home because they have little or no choice?

And what really riled me up is this. How these types of elites try to reassure themselves through their dim-witted flimsy excuse of - they are not so bad like the rest [read how au pairs in Asia and Middle East are treated].

Amah Hoela Dutch excerpt III:Op de Hilversumsche Golfclub schijnt al een echtpaar met twee amah’s rond te lopen en ik ben bang dat dat binnenkort de trend wordt. Een amaatje extra... Als de amah binnenkort met handen en voeten vertelt over haar broers die in de sloppen van Manilla wonen, komt ongetwijfeld de vraag of er daar ook niet eentje van deze kant uit wil komen. Voor de tuin en voor de klusjes. Wij willen jouw broer best helpen!!!... Dronken grapje op de herenplee van de Kennemer: wat is het verschil tussen een amah en een Golden Retriever? De hond kom niet als je fluit.

English translation III: “In the Hilversum Golf Club, there was already a couple spotted walking around with their two au pairs. I am afraid this will soon become a trend. An extra au pair...

And then, when the au pair, with hands and feet tells about her brothers [she had to use her hands when talking because of her limited communication skills] living in the slums of Manila; came the undisputable question of -- will one of her brothers come to Holland too? He can do the gardening and the other house chores. Hey, we just want to help your brother!!!

Drunkard jokes in the male toilet of the Kennemer: What is the difference between an au pair and a Golden Retriever? The dog doesn’t always come to you when you whistle.” ***

Well, I hope you saw the sarcasm of the author. He basically criticized the show off rich for pompously parading their au pairs in these exclusive hobby clubs. A bah! hambug exploitation act, for such little price to publicly display these naive poor women to support their haughty egos and high hat social status in the society. He stomped on the noses of this so-called cream of the crop, and since then the elite society in the Netherlands squirreled away from parading their amahs in public.

Well that’s the Netherlands, a country where showing off your riches and social status is frowned upon. How about in other places? Such as in other EU countries, in Hongkong, in Singapore, and in the Middle East [where there are a lot of Filipina domestic helpers/au pairs]?

In the Philippines, many of the stuck-up elites deliberately exercise this. They parade their domestic helpers in public without contempt. Rather, they do it with much gusto, with much pride, as if flaunting their newest expensive hand bag or jewelry for people to see is next to godliness – so people know they are rich and think they are above the rest.

I don’t know, but, I don’t think it’s the Dutch influence in me, but back home, every time I see nannies and maids garbed in their white uniforms and towed by their chin-high-up bosses, it just makes me cringe with disgust and my teeth grate. I just find this preposterous. It makes you wonder if these people are sick (in the mind perhaps, lol!) that they need a nurse look-alike following them around. Can I say I am just so embarrassed for them?

Growing up, we had maids with us and far be it that my parents would dress them up in uniforms. I also had a call-in maid myself back in Manila who comes in during weekends. I always cooked for her while she does the cleaning, washing, and ironing.

I just simply do not understand the inequality many people give to and label on helpers. Why create a big chasm between the employer and helper status? It’s a decent job.


A shameful social disease -- “Hey look at me, I am one of the few privilege; my nanny’s and maids are clothed in crisp white uniforms. In just a click of my finger, they fulfill whatever I demand. I rock!”

*Dutch excerpts taken from Amah Hoela by Youp van’t Hek, 1994

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Effects of Greed

I have been sinning gratuitously in the last two days. I couldn’t control myself and indulged in my feral addiction. I gorged 3 dried sausages! The Spanish Fuet, Italian Cacciatore and Spianata Romana all went down to my greedy stomach. If you are familiar with European cured and dried sausages, I am sure you will say its too much.

I know it’s insanely blasphemous to my so-called living a healthy lifestyle. Such a shame, I am a weak human being, flaws and all, destined to trap and fall.

The Spanish Fuet [the small oblong cuts], Italian Cacciatore [the round cuts] and Spianata Romana [the large square cuts] cured and dried sausages.

Don’t be fooled, the photo only showed a little part of the total servings I ate. I think I ate six or more servings of these in just a matter of two days. *Cry*

Well, after eating all those and having my fill, I woke up today feeling sick and groggy. The culprit must have been all those pork fats swimming now inside my intestines. I guess my worms are not used to the sudden surge of meat so it’s begging my insides to scream. I badly need to wash away these freaking wretched fats.

I am actually having some strange side effects reaction. I seem to think I am not breathing properly, my shoulders have pain and my stomach is always full? Am I paranoid? I know I am not anorexic. I am far from that though I’d wish to be at this very moment.

Abstinence here I come, but only for a few months...

Monday, September 12, 2005

City Spotting: Köln [Cologne], Germany’s Oldest and Holiest City

Founded by the Romans in 50 A.D. by the Rhine river banks, the city of Colonia is definitely Germany’s oldest thriving and 4th largest. There is a German adage popularized by the Romans during the earlier times, “You haven’t been to Germany if you haven’t seen Cologne”.

Today, the metropolis is the home to close to one million inhabitants. It has its own special dialect called Kolsch and is still proud to hold the Roman Catholic seat of Germany.

This is one of the three Roman Tower remains left in the city located right in front of the Dome cathedral entrance. That’s the great Rhine river and the Hohenzollern bridge on the second photo.

I am actually here to meet my cousin from the Philippines who is on her European tour. We are staying in Cologne for a few days afterwhich I will bring her with me back to the Netherlands. She wants to see Amsterdam.

Cologne’s Pride and Insignia: St. Peter’s Dome Cathedral

One can just gaze at its magnificence and be amazed at how intricate and luxurious architecture was in the past.

The impressive and mammoth gothic St. Peter’s Dome cathedral [Kölner Dom to the Germans], is nestled nearby the Rhine river waterfronts. The construction of this great church began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880. Wow, it took them eons to finish!

The Dome cathedral also shelters the legendary Magi’s Shrine secured in the center isle of the church. I actually had the chance to take a photo of it but it was too far and too dark from where I stood. Helaas, I could not get closer, there were 2 priests guarding the area making sure that the crowd who got in only have the intention to pray or attend mass.

Cologne’s nickname: The Holy City

Gross St. Martin by the Altstadt [Old town] and the St. Kolumba church. The Gross St. Martin is the most prominent of all Cologne’s Romanesque inspired churches. At first glance, I thought it was a castle!

So why holy? Could it be because of the 250[!] churches on domicile in the city? I have read that the locals in the past were devout religious followers, so no wonder. I guess times have undoubtedly changed. The Cologne of today that we know is a much more laid back and entertaining urban complex.

The city also recently hosted Vatican’s 20th World Youth Day. A large part of the attraction during the event was the visit of the new German pope.

Cologne’s Gastronomy: Kolsch Beer and Pretzels

Lecker! [means delicious]. In Dutch we say it the same but with a different spelling. Lekker!

One must try the local beer. It’s a way of respecting your host city, most especially when Germans take beer brewing seriously. I ordered it with my dinner and it did taste good. Light and bubbly, it was more than what I had expected. I highly recommend it.

Another must try is their yummy pretzels. Chocolate coated, sugar glazed and topped with almonds! I’m not really a sweet tooth person so instead I bought three as a present for the Dutchman.

The Altstadt [Old Town]

The Old Town is the most attractive part of Cologne. A nice quarter to wander around and even get lost on a lazy afternoon. To the budget traveler, the Altstadt [Old Town] is a tourist trap but to the connoisseur traveler, this is the perfect place to sit and relax.

The Fischmarkt> [Fish Market] area sits close to the Rhine river embankments.

Its old conspicuous gable roof burgher German buildings are very pleasant to the eye. My cousin who was with me during my entire stay at Cologne thought they looked like pastel colored paper toy buildings. My cousin and I concluded that they were candy houses from the Grimm brothers fairy tale book.

That’s me in the Heumarkt [Hay Market] square on a bright sunny day.

Later in the afternoon, after hours of walking, we sat down in one of the many café terraces in Heumarkt [Hay Market] for some cold bitter lemon and a green salad with feta cheese. The Heumarkt [Hay Market] square used to hold trading of goods centuries ago and is said to be the largest in Cologne.

Altstadt [Old Town] and its small and narrow alleys...

A peek at the Gross St. Martin, a lovely Romanesque styled church; and Lintgasse, a charming passage from the Altermarkt [Old Market] that exits to the Fischmarkt [Fish Market] and then down to the Rhine river banks.

Eau de Cologne trivia

Souvenirs and the first “Eau de Cologne” retail shop.

Did you know that “Eau de Cologne” originally come from Cologne, Germany? The Farinas who discovered this legendary scent marketed the perfume in the same spot in 1709, making it the oldest Fragrance company in the world. They also say that the French popularized its name.

Cologne Train Station

The beautiful Köln train station.

In German, it is called Köln Hauptbahnhof or Köln Hbf. I gather this train station is not that old, but sure it does look ancient enough. And its design goes well with the Dome church too.

The nice thing about traveling in Germany is the language. With my Dutch, I can get by with Deutsch, at least with the written one. Come November, Cologne will celebrate the “Carnival”, its most popular event and inviting tourist attraction.

Ah, time flew so fast. There were many other things to do in Cologne, but alas, my time came to an end. I must now bid goodbye to my new found German bf. Shhh, do not ever tell the Dutchman =)


Travel Period: August 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My feet and My spinach salad

My feet are both aching ever so terribly! I have survived a full 3 days non stop cobbled road walk-a-thon. The horrible truth: sightseeing in most city centers [Centrums] in Europe is only possible by foot. This time, the Omega pain killer, a mentholated liniment, really did justice to me.

Stay tuned for my next entry, City spotting: Cologne [Köln], Germany

Tonight, we had a nice salad treat for our Chicken Shoarmas...

Spinach Salad

Lekker! Yummy!

Ingredients: Fresh spinach, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts, olives, dash of 4 seasons pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and parmesan cheese [best option is the thinly sliced not the powder].

Monday, September 05, 2005

My first Ski lesson

I finally did it! My arms, not my butt, are suffering from muscle pain as we speak because I fell down a couple of times [I think 3x] from yesterday’s test run.

I should enlarge this foto and frame it. Don’t you think? That’s my instructor who was very patient with me.

The first trial lesson was surprisingly easy. I had a good “feel” of the thick ski blades and those sturdy monster ski boots locking my feet.

I learned how to glide down and how to move my hands up on the air down to my knees. The instructor also taught me how to slow down and brake by using the wide “V” method and also by slightly jumping off. Another thing I learned is how to glide and curve. You know, those nice choreographed ski stunts we see on TV with professional skiers parading down the slope in a “to-the-left and “to-the-right rhythm... ah, wish I can do that soon. The technique was bending the knee which I enthusiastically tried but this 35 year old bone coupled with my less daring stamina spells a very challenging combination.

Lights, camera, action! Hehe.

My formal ski lessons [actually a group class] will start 2 weeks from now until December. It will be a package of 13 lessons [13th lesson is free] which is 50 minutes per session, and once a week every Sunday. It isn’t cheap but I need it if I want to survive the winter sport holiday come January.

Dutchman says, if I give up 1 day of skiing in the Austrian alps, he will have no choice but to cash in the € 200 from me. Heaven forbid!

Check this out for more foto’s of the Skipiste and Nedereindse Plas [nature’s park] in Nieuwegein.

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