Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I'll be brief. Just want to wish everyone a merry Christmas!

Feliz navidad, joyeux noël, fröhe Weihnachten, vrolijk kerstfeest!

Don't stuff yourself with turkey, don't sell your Christmas present on e-bay tomorrow and try to keep the Scrooge at bay!

Remember that Christmas is about spending quality time with your loved ones, that the presents don't have to be prestige and that we're all blessed in so many ways.

Everyone, have a great Christmas and start thinking about those New Year's resolutions you know you won't keep. :P

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Country Bumpkin in Egypt

So I went to Egypt this summer for a week. It certainly was an interesting holiday - the kind that makes you rethink what you know. Although it only lasted a meagre 8 days, it felt like an eternity. I've learned to appreciate the strange Muslim chanting to announce prayer and the funny guttural language that surrounded me. It was my first visit to Africa and it definitely left an impression. I thought it interesting to stand face-to-sand with the pyramids and crawl down the stairs into the empty treasure chamber. The crowds, the smells, the emptiness. It's nothing like in the movies and that's how it should be.

Hot is another word that comes to mind when describing Egypt in August. 46 degrees hot one unfortunate afternoon. Also, camels, not a very comfortable means of transportation. Those creatures are in desperate need of a seatbelt up there to stop you from gliding down again. We travelled in a luxurious cruise ship complete with paddling pool (advertised as a small swimming pool) and hunky Egyptian crew in hormone overdrive.

While there, we engaged in many excursions to the ancient temples built by the Pharaohs of Egypt. Luckily, we did not encounter any mummies (except in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo). The holiday had many highlights and few low points, most of which were self-inflicted (we arrived a tad late at the airport and had to have our luggage sent after us on a later plane which forced us to borrow someone else's clothes for several days) so all in all, the experience was very satisfying.

The only real nuisance on the trip were the pesky salesmen one met with all over the place - mostly at the tourist hot spots, admittedly. We found ourself cornered, chased and tempted with phrases such as: "Beautiful girl! Everything is free here!" Many seemed to think that complimenting our appearance would open up our wallets but they were out of luck with our group. We rarely even acknowledged their request with a response and simply soldiered on. Ignoring them seemed the best solution. The locals themselves were all friendliness. The children, from a young age, happily greet the tourists with a bubbly "Hello!" and an old man helped us cross the street in a busy area.

We discussed religion, marriage and relationships with the crew of the boat (not with the hormone-driven ones mentioned before) and learned to put aside our differences and become friends. In a sense, this holiday taught me that no matter where we come from, what we believe in and how we dress, we're all the same in essentials. I now look at the Muslims in my country through new eyes - more critically than before because my expectations are raised due to the decent Egyptians I met and befriended. Maybe we all need to travel to different continents once in a while - to get out of our comfort zone and expand our horizons. Plus, it's a nice excuse to dabble in exotic fashion, try to learn a new language (they will undoubtedly teach you the bad words first as the rules of language acquisition dictates) and meet new friends in unexpected places.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Strawberry Picnics

It's a bit of a thing in my families to refer to regular country picnics as strawberry picnics and there is rarely a strawberry in sight. Then again, we do have an abundance of fruit present at these occasions. We are also a fan of the pretty, in the sense of putting rose petals in bowls. Now that summer has officially arrived (although Dutch summers tend to be of the fleeting, unpredictable kind), we have already planned this year's first strawberry picnic - next week to celebrate my sister's birthday - which was last month. Really, it's just an excuse to gorge on fruity treats and traipse around the country with a camera. At any rate, I shall report on the sweet tooth event and to sustain everyone till then, marvel over these pictures of a previous outing (in our back yard, admittedly).

And afterwards...

That was all that was left.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Floral Madness

I love flowers and what better way to celebrate that love is by sharing some photographs taken by my family and I. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I Love Nature

I was browsing through my archive of photography today and I realised something: I like the pictures where I'm in the middle of a landscape best. Whether I'm standing next to a rose, clinging to a tree or staring into the distance, there's something pure and haunting about placing someone in a natural setting. 
In these times of skyscrapers, too often does nature have to make way for man-made buildings - usually ugly ones, even that serve little purpose. There is no denying that there is some beautiful architecture out there, as I frequently observe and photograph in my travels around the globe, but for now, let us focus on the beauty of nature; man's natural habitat. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Stroll

I went for a summer stroll yesterday to enjoy the sunshine. I started out wearing a coat. haha. But I took it off quick enough and my aunt took some pictures. It was late in the evening so it might look a bit chilly but it was completely wind-free and pleasant.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If I were Prime Minister.....

1. Shops would be open on Sunday. Who needs rest when we need new boots?
2. Education would actually be fun and include more languages, cultural courses (architecture, literature, etc) and PE would be divided into different sports to cater to all sorts of people.
3. Health insurance would actually be affordable.
4. Punishments would be more severe rather than the slap on the wrist we have now.
5. All immigrants who get on the wrong side of the law would be sent back to their home country.
6. Criminals would be subject to medical experimentation if human guinea pigs were necessary.
7. All the R-rated nonsense on TV would be banned to stop the demoralisation of society.
8. They would be replaced with sophisticated, educational programmes (but still entertaining)
9. We would break away from the farce that has become the Eurovision Song Contest. Time for a separate one.
10. The taxes would be lower and the ministers and celebrities would make less money.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

10 reasons to watch the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games 2010 Vancounter
10 Reasons to watch

1. To check out the many cute boys and girls competing in tight outfits.
2. To cheer on our fellow countrymen and enjoy a rush of patriotic adrenaline.
3. To know what people are talking about and be able to join in the conversation.
4. As a distraction from a time of economical hardship.
5. For the thrill of watching an unknown win it all and know ''we were there from the beginning''.
6. To be reminded of our own dream and potential.
7. To keep an eye out for any scandal that might arise.
8. To broaden our horizons and explore different interests.
9. As an excuse to rub up against the boy/girl you like when your favourite wins.
10. Because it's the most exciting thing on TV right now!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 - a cold and snowy beginning

So far 2010 isn't too promising - snow dominates the globe and an unprecedented cold has mastered our once green fields without much intention of letting go. In the North of Holland, it has been a depressing few weeks and I am longing for spring.
What's not to like about spring? The weather starts to improve, cute lambs traipse about and colour returns to the earth in the form of flowers, plants and perfectly blue skies. Let us forget about the winter mists, the frozen earth, the empty streets and the grey landscapes that stretch out before us.

It has been the main reason for my hiatus regarding this blog. Who can write when winter dampens their spirits, transport stays asleep and the fireplace beckons? Such is my life at present and I am not alone in this predicament. Nevertheless, I will try to resume my weekly activities so I'll start 2010 with a few trailers for movies to watch this month. But first let's have some pretty pictures of the coming spring to prepare us for happier, sunnier times, wich are sure to come!

Don't you just feel the snow melting when you look at these pictures? Just close your eyes for a moment, visualise these images and imagine yourself there - between the flowers, taking in their scent, listening to the birds. We all need these small delights to look foward to; that rock concert next month, watching your favourite movie with friends or the coming spring. Happiness is in the small things.

Happiness is in watching a butterfly nourish itself from a flower or the clouds racing across the sky. It's not in winning 10 million, although it may seem that way at first. So does winter not offer any delights, then? Sure, it does. Drinking hot coacoa near the fire, cuddling on the sofa with that special someone when you're cold,  making photographs of a snow-coated landscape. But we get bored - it's what we do. Snow can only satisfy us for so long. The same cannot be said for spring. With its mild temperatures, it fails to annoy and with its pretty sights, it is sure to entertain.

It offers us many activities: going out for a picnic (how about trying high-tea British style?), exploring the woods to admire the waking wildlife, reading out of doors, painting some ridiculous stick-figure version of the family barbecue in the backyard, gardening or going hiking. So start planning, make a scrapbook of your spring plans and relish the anticipation. Before you'll know it, spring will come knocking on your door.