Thursday, January 01, 2009

What a great way to start 2009!!!

The fireworks I think were a bit less spectacular this year. Maybe I am just getting old (I will be 39 in 6 months and Dutchman will turn 42 next week), but it seems to me the display of fireworks this New Years was less extravagant and impressive which does not really tally up when the Dutch are literally known for their hardcore fireworks obsession.

Anyway, New Years Eve -- I slept on Dutchman’s shoulders in the couch while watching the Dutch New Year’s Eve live entertainment programs on TV, not that I am saying the live programs were boring, but I guess I was just tired. I woke up a quarter past 11PM which luckily was great timing. Of course, I don’t want to sleep through the change of the year, that would have been a bad omen for me, lol. While waiting for the countdown to twelve, we opened the bottle of champagne that has been sitting on the fridge for ages and ate warm oliebollen with poeder suiker, yummy. Then on the strike of midnight, we turned off the lights and watched the fireworks exploding in bright colours outside. Beautiful.

Later, and this is after an hour, I fell asleep again, and this time on Dutchman’s lap. I woke up the next day in the bedroom under the balmy duvets. Huh, I have no clue how I got my way to the bedroom? Think I have had too much champagne!

Here is a family with the kids enjoying skating on the frozen canal. It is always so that if you want to learn to skate, you use a chair to guide as you glide. Check out the mother in high heels on ice, he-he. This foto was taken before the bike fall on our way to the Dutch parents.

Anyway, it’s been freezing like the arctic in the Netherlands. With below zero -1C to -7C temperatures by day and night, for sure the canals, swamps, and lakes all over the country are frozen! If only I could skate I would have been one of the first ones to glide down the ice.

Here, an older sister is helping her two younger sisters to skate, cute!

Ice skating is the national sport in the Netherlands, and it’s quite sad that it rarely freezes here nowadays but in the last two weeks, the weather has been very wintry. Twenty years ago, freezing temperatures during this time of the year is the normal temperature in this country. Umm, climate change, a very interesting topic to discuss and debate, I reckon.

It’s also been the yearly tradition to visit the Dutch parents on the 1st of January so Dutchman and I thought we will go by bike. You see, I just bought a new bike (YEAH! After 3 years without a bike!) from Hema (the Dutch version of UK’s Marks and Spencers). It was on sale and silly me I bought it right there and then even if the Dutchman was on the telephone screaming, “Do not buy the bike! Wait for me!” I went ahead and bought it anyway.

He kept telling me that Hema is not a bike shop. He is a skeptical bloke after all, but my biggest mistake was I forgot to give him the instructions that went with the bike, they were in my bag. I mean I thought it was a kant-n-klaar (ready to use) bike, as most bikes in the shops are anyway. The Hema sales attendant even asked me if I am going to bike home. She fears it’s not possible as the wheels were soft and needed to be pumped up. That gave the indication that the bike is ready to use. I told the lady my partner is picking me up, so no worries.

Anywho, today, while we get ready for the bike ride to the Dutch parents, I dressed myself very warm – I have my wool gloves on, my wool scarf, my mutts, my leg warmers and my earmuffs too that I bought in NYC two years ago. It is interesting that earmuffs are not a fashion eyesore here in the Netherlands unlike in the USA.

In the three years that I did not own a bike – my previous bike was stolen during the second day of Christmas while I parked it outside the Woon Boulevard in Utrecht scavenging for Christmas decors on sale, I only biked once, and that was a few months ago when we went to Texel for a weekend getaway. Today was the second time I have biked in three years time. So, you can imagine I am so excited and very much looking forward – woohoo, finally, I am riding my new bike after three long years!

Our bikes, mine is the one on the left - see the headset of my bike, it is twisted... and the bandaged knee, I tore my stockings open.

Halfway to the Dutch parents, with the Dutchman pedaling before me, my bike wiggled. It caught me by surprise. I tried to control the handle bars but it joggled all the more. So I maneuvered the bike’s headset with the handle bars to a straight position and was about to pull the brake levers when the bike jolted on me again. OMG! My bike’s headset, the stem that holds the handle bars is loose! I panicked a bit as there were cars passing by on the left. Although I am on the bike path, with a loose bike headset, I could easily sway towards the street and could be run over by a moving car! Oh no! I lost control of the bike, and the next thing I know I was thrown down to the grassy ground with my knee forward.

Excruciating pain ensued. I just lay down squealing, and Dutchman quickly rushed to me. A father and daughter saw us and came over offering help. We told them we are OK and that someone is coming over to pick us up.

Oh well, I injured my right knee, right. The sides of the wound are blue and it’s throbbing every now and then.

Next week I am flying to the Caribbean and the last thing I want is a bandage on my knee on the beach, and the week thereafter, we will be skiing and snowboarding in the Alps and I don’t want a miserable stiff knee!

ARGHHHH – this is definitely not on my plan! What a great way to start 2009 =( 

January 2009
Nieuwegein, The Netherlands

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