Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Expatica Article: Getting inside Dutch humor

“A week from now begins the World Cup in Germany and I am quite curious how far and hard the Dutch will thrust their sense of humour down the throats of the Germans. Are we then going to witness a sacrilege; a sea of orange Nazi helmets flooding the German football stadiums?”

“When I first listened to Hans Teeuwen, a famous Dutch stand-up comedian, his exaggerated pumping adrenalin-rush sexual monologues left me in a bemused state. One of his exceptionally popular stage parodies was about women. In general, he said, all women are "kuthoeren" (cunt whores). I felt, in the most literal sense, like I was in a tug-of-war; part of me wanted to laugh out loud while the other part was totally appalled. --- Hilarious, definitely, but the insults and sexually explicit rant were way below the belt.

To add abnormality to the insult, the reaction of our Dutch women friends was a huge surprise; they laughed their hearts out and didn't feel put out at all.”

To continue reading the article, please click: Expatica - Getting inside Dutch humor or click the Dutched Pinay logo on the side bar just below the shoutbox.

Tags: Dutch humor at work (05/2005), Bubble wrap and some humor (04/2005), Expatica Main, Expatica Netherlands, Netherlands Expat Blog

Monday, May 29, 2006

Summer Vacation

The original plan was to spend a week or two in the Brazilian coast for this years summer holiday but the paranoid Dutchman raised a very valid point: the country is currently plagued with social unrest due to the Brazilian crime gang problem in the cities.

I tried using my negotiation tactics, explaining that Brazil is a huge country and that the problem areas are pretty much isolated within the urban districts. We can always elect to keep away from the metropolis and off the beaten tracks, and stay within the coastline and touristy spots perimeter. Still, the Dutchman insisted it is unsafe.

Anyway, I checked the news and indeed there are presently close to 125,000 crime gang members in the country. So, with a heavy heart, I took heed.

Oh well, such a pity. We will just have to wait and do sexy Brazil another time.

So my back-up summer holiday choices: the mythical Greek Cyclades or Dodecanese islands... or the sultry Spanish Balearic islands.

1st foto: One of the Dodecanese islands in Greece. I think this is Rhodes Island.

2nd foto: Mallorca Island in the Spanish Balearics, the biggest island within the group.

Hmm, which is which...?

We have just started checking holiday packages so we still don’t know which island to pick. Looking at the pictures above, the looming task can indeed be difficult.

One thing we do know --- we can’t wait to escape damp and dreary Holland and lose ourselves in wanton holiday enjoyment, and most importantly, leave behind all the cares and current pressures in life... well, at least temporarily.

Ah, hopefully very soon...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dutch weather and holiday

Spring, why have you forsaken me? Summer, where are you?

Dutch weather

It’s already been a whole week of depressing wringing-wet 11C by day in the flatlands. How can one have a positive charming disposition with this kind of soppy weather? The week before this, the temperatures were quite high; high enough to make me sweat under my duvets in the morning.

As I have said a bazillion times in this blog, the weather in this country is like a scorned woman having her pre-menstrual syndrome. It spells erratic.

Being a tropical duckling born in the exotic islands, I had always taken the warm and sunny weather for granted, but not until I lived here... in wet, windy, grey and cold Netherlands. I realized that weather can totally influence your activity each day and even your state of mind.

This is probably the reason why there are many suicides in this part of the world. Scandinavia I believe leads the statistics. In Nieuwegein where we used to live, we had 2 neighbors both males who committed suicide... and they all happened during winter between January and February.

Anyway, enough of those dreadful stories.... I just want to rant – because this is all that I can, uh sadly, do.

Dutch holiday

Thursday 25 May is Hemelvaartsdag [Assumption Day] holiday here.

For a country that is known to be by far - the most notorious secular country in the world, the public holiday ruling of Hemelvaartsdag, meaning no work, borders on sarcasm [read: Christianity is a waning sect in Holland]. Or perhaps this is just one of those instituted national conspiracy exploits so the average Dutch can have their fancy little indispensable vacations or hog that much required trip to the woonboulevard [home boulevard]?

The highways were reported to have been besieged with Hemelvaart holidaymakers since Wednesday and the woonboulevards on Thursday were crammed with shoppers.

I am guessing, only half --- or perhaps lesser than half, will go back to work on Friday.

The Dutchman is also back from his 3.5 weeks (darn it, almost a month gone!) business trip. He brought with him some awesome pictures of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Hongkong. I will post a few later.

Tags: Weathering the weather, Act of nature, Poignant truth about weather

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Expatica Article: Dutch Proverbs

“I was goofing around one afternoon with a colleague. Let's just say that he didn't expect me to bite and pull his leg in return. He complained, ‘Heb je vandaag een klap van de molen gekregen?’

Huh, what do you mean?

Literal translation: were you struck by a windmill today?

Translation: a person is not being himself or herself today.

And here is my favorite saying of the country, ‘God schiep de aarde, de Hollanders schiepen Holland.’

Literal translation: God made the earth, the Dutch made Holland.

Translation: the Dutch are known for its pioneering technology in water defense and land reclamation.

Here's an apt story about this...

When I was a kid, I read about the legend of the brave little Dutch boy called Hans Brinker. He allegedly saved his whole town from the devastating flood waters by inserting his finger into the small hole of the dike to stop the waters gushing through.

Since it's a typical Dutch story, I assumed my in-laws knew Hans Brinker. Upon giving my enthusiastic review of the tale, I was met with blank stares, instead of hearing the familiar nods and “oh yes” from them. On a positive note, they welcomed the story with great interest.

I realized later that the brave little Dutch boy was just a figment of a creative imagination by a non-Dutch fiction writer. The story actually never existed in the Netherlands.”

To continue reading the article, please click: Expatica - Dutch Proverbs or click the Dutched Pinay logo on the side bar just below the shoutbox.

Tags: -20C and Dutch Cabarets (03/2005), Learning the Gargoylic Dutch (04/2005), Expatica Main, Expatica Netherlands, Netherlands Expat Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Caught in the act

In the Dutch-Belgian border:

Troep maken is boete betalen means in English: LITTERING IS PENALIZED.

So... can you spot the caught in the act irony? Who wants to cash in the € 50?

Oh another irony, er no, mockery that is --- the Eurovision Song Festival.

Hypothetically the battle of European singing talents, uh-huh, but since all contestant countries is at the mercy of other countries for votes, the whole show in my opinion has sourly digressed - from a classic European talent exhibition into a pseudo European circus act. It escapes me why organizers of this event cannot see the voting procedure as a form of unmitigated allied cronyism = kissing each others countries asses?

I got no beef to fry against Finland but one word to describe the Finnish rock group, LORDI that won last night’s competition: V-R-E-S-E-L-I-J-K! (check babelfish if you do not know what that means)

Last year, Ruslana in her Amazon-tribal-warrior-getup and her cannibal looking troupe from Ukraine won. This year, the less desired characters of Star Wars conquered the stage. Think along this grotesque breed: a cross between Jabba the Hut, Chewbacca and Darth Sidius in Finish Viking packaging.

Here’s a tip for the Netherlands contenders: Next year, please come to the Eurovision Song Festival as LIVING ZOMBIES. As the phlegmatics would put it, “It just gets better...nope worse, each year.”

Tags: BBC - Finnish monsters rock Eurovision (English), NU news - Finland wint Eurovisie Songfestival (Dutch)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Baguettes and Lovers

I’ve told myself one time that I do not see myself blogging until the age of 40 and that one day I will wake up and say --- I have had enough of blogging! LOL

Well lately, I have been lazy to write, not to mention I was busy with many urgent matters to attend to... but then again, I always find time to write... just not recently.

On the other hand, the Dutchman is still across the globe and its been 3 weeks long already. This is so far the longest business trip he ever made, well in years. Maybe I am just missing him.

Anyway, I have here some interesting pictures of baguettes and lovers in Paris, taken a week and a half ago.

1st Photo: Old Parisian women chatting in the corner of the street, one holding a baguette. MadamE and I had dirty minds; we broke out into fits of laughter because the old woman holding the baguette kept pointing it to the other old woman below her waist! Didn’t I say before that these French breads looked like oversized phalluses?

2nd Photo: A hunk Parisian guy walking in the streets of Montmartre with a baguette. I’ve wanted to take a picture of him facing the camera but when he passed by he was grinning ear to ear at my direction. Because of that I became suddenly conscious --- oops I got shy, ha-ha.

3rd Photo: A cute Parisian couple, each with a lavender flower bouquet in their hands and the guy with what else, a baguette.

1st Photo: A tourist couple sitting in the bench under the Eiffel Tower while the neighbor at their back is enveloped in his own world, totally mindless of his surroundings – notice how he comfortably displayed his right foot out of his sandal?

2nd Photo: Another tourist couple stopping by to watch the scenic river Seine in the middle of a bridge.

1st Photo: An intimate couple, the guy standing and holding the girl propped up nicely on the ledge balustrade of the Louvre. They’ve been necking at each other the whole time but helaas my hands weren’t fast enough to capture them in the torrid love scene act.

2nd Photo: Another couple reading magazines while sitting on top of the balustrades in Pompidou. Both are definitely oblivious to their surroundings and also to each other.

3rd Photo: Two couples by the Metro (subway) entrance along the Rue de Rivoli.

2nd Photo: Couples having dinner and drinks in a charming cafe in Place du Tetre in Montmartre.

1st Photo: That’s me spying them, he-he.

1st Photo: More couples having drinks in a café by the Place du Tetre in Montmartre. This is also the cafe where Dutchman and I sat down 5 years ago.

2nd Photo: MadamE and I in Pompidou taking pictures in front of this interesting art in the form of a star and made of glass mirrors. The stars art exhibition in the grounds of Pompidou represents all the EU member countries.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Expatica Article: Summer Pressures

“Have you ever tried holding off buying new clothes for summer hoping that the struggling diet will, maybe, just maybe, finally work, asks blogger Dutched Pinay.”

“There are also many women who do not really care at all. Huge flab handles, hairs whisking out from their armpits or patches of corns and calluses protruding from their sandals, they are just not bothered. Bless them. I wish I have such courage.”

To continue reading, click: Expatica - Summer Pressures or click the Dutched Pinay logo on the side bar just below the shoutbox.

Tags: Spring and Dutch gardens (03/2006), Expatica Main, Expatica Netherlands, Netherlands Expat Blog

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Groping to speak

A week and a half ago, I spent a wonderful time with a beautiful couple from New Zealand in Gouda. Yes, Gouda the cheese brand is also a name of a town here in Holland, about 20 minutes from Utrecht. Their 5-week holiday in Europe was spent staying with Dutch relatives, meeting friends and visiting several pockets of the Netherlands, a few cities in Germany and Barcelona, Spain.

Well what can I say? Meneer B and Chef Doll are like ultimate gifts of spring to mankind. With the years tucked under their belts (both are way over 50), combined with the colorful varied life experiences they’ve earned and the wisdom too that they’ve gained, they charge at life with a very cheerful outlook. They frolic and enjoy life’s adventures to the fullest, eagerly waiting on what’s next on the list. So full of vibrant and contaminating zest; at my almost 36 age, I am ashamed, I have to keep up. Their friendliness too, is like staring through the bottom quilt of white sugary sand beneath the crystal blue waters of Boracay.

When I met them, it rained. Ah well, nothing surprising really, this is Holland.

Upon recommendation by someone, we took refuge in this small cozy café called Grand Café Central in the Gouda market square. The café was very inviting, its interior decorated in Art deco style. It was a busy day as it was packed with many patrons. We later learned that this café has been standing in its original location since 1916.

Since Meneer B was once Dutch in his past life (now he is a Kiwi), I asked him how he is getting along with his Dutch.

He explained to me that it took him a few days to simmer down with the Dutch language. Even though he speaks from time to time on the telephone with his Dutch sisters living here in the Netherlands in Dutch, it was still an effort for him to join in an instant all the conversations in Dutch. Switching his tongue to the native mode didn’t come out naturally. But after a day or two, he was surely back on track.

The switching part was the challenge. An example was, when the waiter came to our table to take our order in Dutch --- well I was not surprised, he responded in English! Ha-ha! I find it quite cute because we were just conversing in Dutch, but his reflex overtook him unconsciously. At a later part though, he switched to Dutch, that is, when he felt comfortable speaking to the Dutch waiter, who I think was partly amused.

He also told me that he can speak Indonesian because he lived in Indonesia for 3 years, but just like the Dutch-English situation, it takes him awhile to jump into the bandwagon and speak like the locals.

The skill to switch conversations with different people in different languages are helaas not always programmed in our meak human heads (as we would like to believe), unless we are that gifted or we are professional linguists or our work calls us to practice several languages, every single day.

To switch from one language to another is a state of mind and utterly requires focus and intellectual activity. All those behind the scenes; the translations, grammar check and groping for words that seemed so familiar but you just can’t grasp and put your finger at, are part of the complicated process.

If a metal is not (regularly) used and oiled properly, it will show signs of rust... but that doesn’t mean it is not anymore useful.

Dutchman’s uncle is Scottish and he humbly admits of struggling for a few days to speak again his native tongue, Scots (Gaelic?), and also English when he visits Scotland and England. His supposedly native language skills were put to the test with his co-native speakers. I guess that is how integrated he is with the Dutch language in the Netherlands.

Additionally, it is very easy to say we can speak the -this- and -that- language, but not until we are put at par in the same room with a real native person of that language, then we start to feel the following: awareness, the stiff competition, the lack of skills and insecurity.

Well, I can actually relate to Meneer B and to this uncle.

I grew up with Cebuano/Bisaya as my mother tongue and English as my second mother tongue.

We were fined heartlessly by the Catholic nuns if we spoke any other language or dialect besides English inside the school premises. I studied Tagalog, the country’s national language (very different from Cebuano/Bisaya which is a mix of indigenous dialects, Indo-Malay and Spanish) and even if I spent years in school learning Tagalog and watching Tagalog programs on TV, I never really learned to speak it until I moved to Manila.

Given that the country’s medium of instruction within the government and business sectors is English (I do not actually support this, i.e. government documents in English – hello?), it made it hard for me to learn Tagalog the right way. I always resort to speaking in English. I may speak a few sentences in Tagalog but eventually I digress into English, if not Cebuano/Bisaya.

And now, living in the Netherlands, I am faced with another language to adapt.

Since I am not the type to go out and socialize with people, even fellow Filipinos, then keeping fit with Tagalog and Cebuano/Bisaya languages is not easy. The Dutchman speaks 90% of the time in Dutch to me and only knows 3 Filipino words: salamat [thank you], ate [how an older sister is called] and putang ina [a curse word, which is also Spanish that means mother fucker – he wanted to use it as a joke when he found out that there was a Filipino in the company where he worked].

If not because of MadamE (and her deep Cebuano/Bisaya vocabulary), who is consistent in wielding the Cebuano/Bisaya language with me, I would have felt like a woman left in a Dutch-English island.

MadamE has the luxury of speaking Tagalog and Cebuano/Bisaya at home because her husband is a Filipino too, who speaks Tagalog, Waray-Waray and Cebuano/Bisaya. Their kids however are fluent in Dutch (without the accent, I am damn envious!) only after 1 year of living in Holland. The drawback to this is the kids cannot anymore speak Tagalog or Cebuano/Bisaya and are groping to even understand some words. So instead, the kids speak English to their parents while they speak Dutch with each other, at school and everywhere.

English was the best solution at home since MadamE and her husband are still struggling with their Dutch. They are knowledge migrants and are not part of the duty roll call of the Immigration Department to integrate and learn the Dutch language. They have a choice.

Thus considering my present scenario of communication, my train of thoughts has become quite fixed, either: straight English or straight Dutch.

I remember someone saying that we are creatures of habit. Upon reflection of Meneer B, the Scottish uncle, the kids of MadamE and myself, I quite agree.

FACT: There are 170 dialects/languages in the Philippines and most of these belong to the Astronesian language family. The Netherlands I think has 14 or 15 only.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Expatica Column: Dutch Consumerism 101

And I still remember the time when ‘the Dutchman’ first saw my checkbook; he broke out in a huge mocking grin. And with the chutzpah meter running up high to his ears, he declared that the check system is primitive, inefficient, fraud-sensitive and, to his Dutch sensibilities, expensive.

Furthermore, I have always tried to live below my means and have proactively shied away from the mob of credit card worshippers.

It was a sacred code I lived by each day; seeing people drowning in debt, their lives hijacked by banks and credit card companies was a sure-fire motivation indeed. However, being put into the same polder with the generic Dutch population has not only opened up my eyes to many unimaginable parsimonious ways of living, but I realized that my economizing standards are too low, in fact nothing compared to the Dutch!”

To continue reading, click: Expatica - Dutch Consumerism 101 or click the Dutched Pinay logo on the side bar just below the shoutbox.

Tags: Internet banking (03/2005), The mighty Euro (09/2004), Expatica Main, Expatica Netherlands, Netherlands Expat Blog

Monday, May 08, 2006

Paris review

I’m just back from a 3-day Paris get-away weekend with MadamE.

Weather conditions were fine, fluctuating between 18C to 24C but on Saturday evening, our moods were heavily dampened as we were met with what every tourist on a short holiday would fear: The Parisian weather turned its back on us and poured its lack of sympathy the whole night. Ugh, the terrible rain never stopped, worse it killed my blow-dry hair day! GGRRR...

Our plans of taking a long walk along the famous and grand Champs-Elysées avenue, all the way to the Arc de Triomphe, and a detour stop at the Eiffel Tower, was dumped mercilessly down the drain. Under the weather circumstances, there is no way we can enjoy the stroll, plus it was freezing cold and we only had a petite umbrella --- a lifesaver I decided to pack on the last minute, thinking that perhaps we may need it, and eventually we did.

We did a lot of things though; we went with the guided Paris tour, took many pictures here there and just everywhere, ate crepes while we walked, shopped – went practically agog and crazy at all the gorgeous-looking bag offerings (waah, we want to buy them all!), sat in parks and watched lovers making out in public, drank wine for lunch, enjoyed our café au lait in the cafés while people-fashion watching, and even though this isn’t my first time in Paris and it rained pretty bad, I still enjoyed the weekend very much.

Since the Dutchman took our camera and camera cable with him to his business trip, I had to borrow my sister-in-law’s. Today, I just realized that I cannot upload pictures because there is no cable, so I guess it will take me a few days before I can post pictures of Paris here.

An installment, I got these pictures from MadamE (the rest will come later):

The first picture was taken in the restaurant where we had dinner in Montmartre. The next is a candid shot in Pont Neuf bridge by the river Seine (that's the Saint Chapelle I think). The photographer was photographed, ha-ha

Our reviews of Paris and the Parisians:

(1) It seems that everyone is eating a baguette for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner in Paris. Yeah, all throughout the day.

(2) Fact is, we saw many Parisians walking in the street with a baguette in their hands. A very charming everyday scene actually: old women, young handsome guy, business man, lovers hand in hand, all of them with a baguette... and get this, the oversized phallus looking bread isn’t wrapped or packed in a paper or plastic bag. They are bare for the dust to bite, but then again, Paris isn’t like Manila where public exposure would mean a gratis soot foundation coated liberally on your face.

(3) Everywhere in Paris is THE CENTER (says our tour guide). So everywhere we went in the city, we were supposed to be in the center.

(4) We were shocked at how unsafe biking is in Paris. Perhaps due to the years of living in Holland, we became a bit spoiled; bikers in Holland indulge in having their own special bike lane, special bike traffic lights and special bike priority rules. Thus we made a conclusion that Paris was a crazy unsafe city, unfit for biking.

(5) Additionally, we took turns in pointing out that the cars in Paris were deformed, taking note of their somewhat ramshackle front and back bumpers and their accompanying dents on the sides. It seems that parking an inch away from the next car is normal and that brushing its bumper when getting away isn’t an insurance case. If this happens in the Philippines, be prepared to be screamed at... at gunpoint. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it did happen.

(6) MadamE thinks the French elite are the ultimate unfeigned narcissists... as everything in Paris seemed to be pompous, aristocratic, grandiose, exalting, extravagant and monumental as represented in their buildings, art and decorations.

(7) Of course, we all know that the French always prefers to speak French, but we did encounter quite a number of Parisians who tried to speak English with us. There was this particular charming young lady in the gift shop who chatted away her Paris experience with me. She lived in the outskirts of Paris and confessed that she has never visited any of the famous Parisian tourist spots, not until recently when a friend dragged her to the Louvre. Incidentally, the Louvre is just a 15 minute walk from where the shop is.

(8) As compared to Amsterdam, we thought Paris was dirtier. Luckily we didn’t step on any dog poop.

(9) Parisian ladies have style. It seemed to me that no matter what and how they dress up, they always exude a certain aura of class. I guess MadamE and I had too much of the Dutch grunge and layer upon layer of clothing fashion in Amsterdam. It was a breath of fresh air indeed.

(10) Nightlife in Paris is quite boring. I do not know if the French are missing a lot in life but there are not many pubs and bars open to hang out in the city. Notwithstanding the theatrical and cabaret shows, the bistro-café and dining out in restaurants are the city’s main culture of hanging out in the evening. Such a contrast to the upbeat and sleepless Amsterdam.

(11) We were quite used to the Dutch style of eating early too, so by 10PM, we were done and walking aimlessly in the streets looking for some action. Quite interesting, but apart from finding a bar with the adage of a needle in a haystack hunt, it seemed that everyone is yet to order their dinner. The restaurants were still brimming with hungry patrons at 11PM.

(12) Since everywhere in Paris is supposed to be the center, we encountered many signature shops [read: Max Mara and Salvatore Ferragamo] scattered in different areas. Unlike in Amsterdam, these signature shops can only be found in PC Hooftstraat, the expensive street that houses the elite names, and in Manila, in the high-end malls.

(13) Gourmet everywhere so we feasted, especially the dried and cured sausages. We bought a lot of them (well me actually) since we cannot find them in Holland.

(14) Being a realist, I can sometimes become too impervious in my perspective of things but I really do not understand why Paris is the love and romance capital of the world? I saw more musicians serenading here in the streets of Utrecht. I thought this is more romantic? Or perhaps the idea of love and romance has something to do with design & architecture, opera, the savvy French language and fine dining? Or is it just marketing and psychology?

(15) And just like the patriotic Americans, the French too love displaying their flag.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The different flavors of men

Here are some interesting snippets of my male experience:

While walking in the streets of Makati, I came across a tall nice looking guy who deliberately stopped me on my tracks...

English guy (pretending he was lost and scratching his head): “Hi, do you know where [insert any street name here] is? I seem to be lost!”

“It’s over there, on the right corner.”

English guy: “I’m quite new in Manila...” --- And he further rattled off eloquently albeit with style (ah, a typical Brit, good thing he didn’t start calling me darling, love and sweetheart). “Do you by any chance have a calling card?”

Something tells me he is a playboy. Later, I found out that he actually worked in the building right across the street, for a year already.

And while passing by a busy construction site full of sweat drenched Filipino workers...

“Pssst! Pssst! Miss! Psssssssssssttt................!”

Goofing around with not-so-sober-yet wannabe quids, as Limoncello would succintly put it, in Leidseplein Amsterdam, right in front of the Boom Chicago Theater.

This was taken more than 2 weeks ago when we went out with American friends.

At work with a colleague...

American guy (again pretending he had something to do in the floor where my office is and was passing restlessly by my cubicle area): “Hey, that’s a nice picture.”

I turned around, “Uh, what?”

“I mean that picture… hanging above your desk...”

Okay, the poor guy was actually trying to make some small talk. I dated him a few times and found out later that he was divorced and with a kid. Let’s just say I prefer a bachelor without a kid.

Another colleague at work...

Filipino guy (his cubicle is on the other side, we are neighbors): “Have you checked your e-mail this morning?” he mumbled shyly when I ran into him in the copier room.

“No, I just got in and need these copied first.”

Then I checked my e-mail and saw a bouquet of red roses --- virtual bouquet of red roses. I really did not know if I should laugh. I never knew he had something with me. Guffaw.

And here is another colleague who was visiting from our Malaysia office...

At Hardrock Café during dinner and after a few hours of trivial chit-chatting and flirting, he started to digress.

Malaysian guy (he is actually Eurasian): “I am having problems with my girlfriend...” and he babbled on backbiting his supposedly monster-eyed freak of a girlfriend and that he is seriously thinking of giving her the bad news (read: I am dumping you) when he gets back to Malaysia.

Hmm, I am not an expert of the male psyche but surely I am not naive. Does he really think slamming his girlfriend will make me want to have a one-night-stand with him? He must be dreaming. Time to wake up. Where’s that damn alarm clock!

Having dinner in Shangri-la [lobby restaurant] with a girl friend...

A tall Arab looking guy approached and bowed in front of us, “Good evening, His Excellency would like to buy you a drink.”

Perplexed, my friend and I were throwing weird glances at each other. We were caught off-guard and tongue-tied, I mean... what did he say again? -His Excellency? Huh, what or who is that?

Anyway, we found out that the main Arab figure who eyed us was a high profile minister of one of the Arabian countries. He actually had a band of bodyguards trailing behind him. I guess he fancies a sultry hanky-panky ladies’ company that night. Too bad, we were the -quite prude- types. After an hour of excessive bantering-flirting with us, he gave up and left me with his calling card (he was indeed a minister) with his hotel room number scribbled in it, while his head bodyguard left his too with my friend.

Uh, the bastards were horny. If they wanted sex, they should have gone direct to the prostitutes! ---You think because of your stature, power and money, you can sweep us both off our feet? Here is a big -DUH- for you.

While shopping in the Turkish market...

We heard clapping of hands and shouts of “Hoi!” (or it sounded like hey) in the background.

Then I saw a group of Turk guys across the street waving their hands franctically and flashing a huge grin at us.


My American girl friend said, “Let’s ignore them and they will hopefully stop.”

Oh yeah right.

While doing shopping in Hoog Catharijne, supposedly the biggest mall in the whole of the Netherlands (yeah it’s a joke if you see it)...

Dutch guy: “Hallo Miss… ” He said in a somewhat fluttering tone while side stepping and joining me in my walking rhythm. “Woon je hier in Utrecht?” [Do you live here in Utrecht?”]


Dutch guy: “Ik ook. Ik woon alleen... maar ik heb een hond op thuis.” [Me too… I live alone but I have a dog at home].

“Okee...” *thinking* - What are you up to now?

Dutch guy: “Mag ik jouw telefoon nummer hebben?” [Can I have your telephone number?]

I stopped and faced him, “Ik heb een vriend...” [I have a boyfriend…] And before I could finish my sentence...

Dutch guy: “Oh sorry!” And he was gone in a split of a second.

I stood there just shaking my head. He was fast!!!

While sitting inside the train...

Afghan guy beside me was checking me out. I then saw him took out a chewing gum. He chewed on it for a minute or two before throwing it into the trash bin.

Afghan guy: “Hallo, wat is jouw naam?” [Hello, what is your name?]

Okay, I thought I will be friendly and gave him my name.

The next thing was he started talking about where he lives, that he has a job, that he has enough money, and that --- he is interested with me. Yeah after meeting me for just... what... 5 minutes? To top it all, he kept blowing his breath against my face as if telling me, -hey baby I have nice smelling breath (thank you chewing gum), so take me.

I’ve told him NO many times, yet he still kept going on like a fully charged energizer bunny. Perhaps he doesn’t want no for an answer?

Well I was pretty damn sure the other passengers were secretly laughing.

While walking alone in the streets of Spain...

I noticed that someone was following me and when I reached the pedestrian stoplight, true enough the culprit emerged behind my back.

Spanish guy: “Buenas tardes senyorita bonita...”

“No habla espanol!” I said shaking my head.

Ignoring what I said, he continued his discourse in Spanish.

“I said, NO HABLA ESPANOL! Adios!” and off I scurried away. I understand Spanish a little bit though.

I don’t know but for some reason, the Spanish guys especially the older ones are really very assertive. It seems that hitting women is the national sport in Spain. If say, you are standing in a busy street corner, waiting for a friend, they will not waste their time to approach and befriend you.

And let me say this too, they aren’t frugal in the women appreciation department.


Some men indeed have their rear-ends up on their heads. More to come.... soon.

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