Sunday, May 27, 2007

Expatica blog and halfway through Pinksterdag

After blogging weekly for Expatica early last year, which then turned into a monthly update, I am now blogging for them as a Guest Blogger, which is more like an every few month blog posting. Given the fact that I have my own busy yard to tend to, the schedule is just perfect.

Expatica also have new expat bloggers in the Netherlands. You can read their stories by clicking on the Dutched Pinay logo below the chatbox.

And my newest blog entry in Expatica is about the strange behavior of the Dutch and what they meant by fresh bread. To read the article, go here: Don’t freeze my bread!

This is our frozen sliced bread inside the freezer.

Come Monday is Pinksterdag (Pentecost), 2nd Pentecost Day that is, ergo no work. This weekend is another one of the long series of weekends here in Europe, albeit the last long weekend for us here in the Netherlands since the next holidays will be 25 and 26 December, Christmas Days.

I think I have written a few times in this blog that religious holidays in this country have a thin sheath of deception covering them; a smoke screen per se. These religious holidays represent a historical-spiritual segment of world Christendom but the way I see it, they are just faux holidays in Holland. Many have left the faith. Some are in deep limbo state - not having any religious or spiritual standpoint, while others just don’t care at all.

The locals don’t even go to church during Pinksterdag (or Hemelvaartsdag and Paasdag), except for a handful few, which I believe are bound to extinction very, very soon. Instead, if the weather is nice, they pack the beaches or drive to neighboring Germany, Belgium and France to spend the weekend, and the remaining locals hunt for bargains at the woonboulevard (home boulevard) during the 2nd day of Pentecost.

People just want to keep the religious holidays in the calendar to have extra days off from work, which of course I won’t dare protest. I will be stupid if I would.

So I gave Dutchman two options:

Option ONE: Let’s go to Reims in France. Visit the Champagne region, enjoy the views of the breathtaking rolling vineyards, and be wine connoisseurs for the weekend.

Option TWO: Let’s go to Hameln, the town of the Pied Piper in Germany (of the Grimm Brothers stories I read as a kid in school). Follow a historical and cultural trail in the old center then drop in to see the beautiful Hamelschenburg Castle or the Buckeburg Castle 15 minutes away near Hildesheim.

His answer: None of the above.

*heavy dejected sigh*

Said he has been rigorously immersed in the so-called Old Europe culture – he claims to have had suffered severe psychological overdosage of it, and have seen so many castles, driven through scenic little villages, and spent days at ruins and museums during his childhood days that it would take another decade or two before he would be sober enough to visit one. True enough, when we travel within Europe, he always prefers to remain outside the castle or museum while waiting for me to finish my history and culture educational tour.

So, okay, fine... but my feet are still itching to go and I’m thinking if I should drag him by the throat, maybe charm him up, ah, perhaps bribe him! But, looking outside the window and seeing the grey boring skies, I reflected -- nah, I am not in the mood to go through all these.

Well anyway, good news - yesterday, Dutchman offered a truce. He said we will watch a movie in the city center and come Sunday or Monday, we will go somewhere, but not outside Holland. He said he has a surprise for me, a nice place that I haven’t been to, yet. Now, I am curious what and where this place is?

So last night we went to the city center (to watch the movie, Last King of Scotland) saddled on a bike – the typical Dutch manner. Dutchman on the bicycle steering wheel with me perched royally at the back. The steely bar I am sitting on was too sharp for my little butt though. However, after a few minutes of wiggling and waggling I figured the balance of my weight and found a comfortable way of sitting. What a feat. I am a fast learner, ha-ha!

We biked through the Centrum, Dutchman pedaling his 2nd owned rickety bike for city purposes, and this strange eerie feeling - an abstract mixture of euphoria and dreaminess enveloped me. Ethereal I must say; a cross between discovering the city as a tourist and reliving it as a local. Maybe because this is the first time (I am not joking after 4+ years!) I have traversed and seen Utrecht Centrum from the back of Dutchman’s moving bike. Dutchman on the other hand was in high spirits. He said proudly and loudly, as if he just discovered a new patent in biking technology, “This is the fastest and most efficient way to get to and move around the city center - biking.” I could clearly tell he is enjoying immensely the Dutchness in him.

My movie review for the Last King of Scotland is 4 stars out of 5. It’s a good film. Political in nature; some scenes were pretty disturbing. Idi Amin has been known to have tortured and massacred the Ugandan people, even his own confidants.

There was also an open-air street party, more like a musical gig, at the Neude square: Festival a/d Werf. A huge stage prepped up with colorful disco lights graced the bustling place. Hundreds of people, mostly young kids (remember Utrecht is home to the largest university of the Netherlands) swarmed the area with beer cups in their hands. Ah nice, we just arrived on time. So we stayed around a little bit to watch the lively street party scene.

Later, we moved to a café nearby to relax and sit down, and read through the stacks of newspapers and magazines they have. I ordered dry white wine and he a beer. Just half past 1AM, we decided to go home but when we got out of the café, the dark skies were pouring mad. Bad, bad weather, she ruined the whole festival. But, I guess, the Dutch are so used to the rain, it doesn’t bother them anymore. It did bothered the Dutchman though because we are going home by bike!

Today Sunday, the skies are still dull and grey. It looks cold outside. Maybe we will go to that “surprise” place tomorrow. Hopefully it will be better weather, although, to be honest, I have my sincere doubts.

Link Within

Related Posts with Thumbnails