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Posted 1 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


Happy new year! And a happy new face to the PhotoLog. Hope you like it! If you want to read back to anything I wrote in 2005, please follow this link which will guide you back to all the photos I posted in 2005 (starting in August).

There are plenty of new things on the way: My brother is going to move to England in April and my sister is going to get married early summer. Jean will be moving out within a few days and Maaike is likely to move in sometime later. PhotoLogiX will contain even more photos and 'quant moi', I will work on the further professionalisation of my photography. Thank you all for your many visits in 2005 and keep track of the PhotoLog in 2006!


( Auvers s/ Oise - FR, January 2005)
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Posted 2 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


One more trend I expect for 2006: a self-proclaimed resurrection of Russia as a world power at the expense of the U.S. of A.


( Sofia - BG, April 2005)
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Posted 6 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


I have been postponing and postponing my postings about how annoyed I get by Dutch Railways. It's such a good example of non-news... Compared to other countries, we don't have much to complain about. But it's not so much about trains running late or not at all. It's mostly the whole philosophy (or rather: lack of it) behind it. Whenever something goes wrong - ranging from a cow on the track to power failure or 'logistic problems' - you can be sure that you will be left to despair. Wrong information, no information at all and/or surely no alternative transportation or a gentle excuse for the 'malheur' they bring about. Trains are never delayed, they tend to come in 'within 25 minutes from the original departure time'. The Dutch Railways (NS) make you feel like an absolute loser, success guaranteed. Sitting and waiting with nobody even wanting to tell you what's going on.

Last Friday, NS advised their passengers not to take trains after 4 o'clock because the weather conditions impossibilised the guarantee that services could be carried out appropriately. Also other forms of public transportation suffered from snow, temperatures of just below zero and moderate winds from the north - to the extent that no service was possible (photo below). Little after 6 o'clock, no more trams, no more buses, Amsterdam and Rotterdam already irreachable by train, but at the same time: 0 kilometers of traffic jam on the roads!

As a one time exception, this gesture of customer neglicence was picked up by the government of transportation, who concluded that all these problems could easily have been prevented if NS had paid any attention in the past 100-or-so winters. What we already know has finally been stated officially, NS does not give a damn about their clients.

This weekend, updatums may come in a bit later than usual, since I will experience low-connectivity due to my EGP (expected geographical position).


( The Hague - NL, 30 December 2005)
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Posted 7 January 2006 - Eerbeek (NL):


Yesterday, I had a day off work and spent it driving around Holland, hoping to find some interesting places. I spent most of the day in a small city which used to be quite rich during in the 17th century: Zutphen. Still today, it remains a very pittoresque place, which is remarkably similar to the city centre of Gdansk (Poland). Beside the city wall, cobble-stone streets and small shops, it has another combination that I have never encountered elsewhere before: an old church which is home to the main city library: a very relaxing and inspiring place!


( Zutphen - NL, 7 January 2006)
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Posted 8 January 2006 - Eerbeek (NL):


Until the end of this month, I will prepare my next photo expo 'Na Dato' which will be exhibited in the local library Segbroek. It will take some effort, because the Dutch Press Agency ANP would not let me use their archive photos for less than 350 € per photo (times 12, so that would pose quite a heavy burden on the budget..) I have to figure out an alternative, which probably means that I will opt for textual descriptions of the 'before' scene and my own photo's for the 'after' images. The exhibition will be open for public from 1 until 28 February of this year. More details can be found here.


( Screenshot from www.bibliotheekdenhaag.nl)
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Posted 9 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


This is what I did last weekend: family weekend in the Dutch 'Veluwe Forest' with quite some Catan games, some running and a city trip to Arnhem.


( Eerbeek - NL)
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Posted 10 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


Many people like France, but they don't like the French. I can perfectly understand that their perceived arrogance and their notorious rule-breaking can be an eyesore to foreign travelers and business people. Apart from the commercial perspectives, it may be worthwhile to look at how the French sometimes take more pride in HOW things are done, rather than appreciating what is actually being acheived. Style is everything, even when agreements are not met, rules are broken and projects remain unfinished. As long as you do things with style, savoir-vivre and bravoure, you're quite safe.

If you can't beat them, join them: just act like their president and say a lot of things that don't mean anything. Then find out is probably rather funny to 1) be the President of such a nation 2) present yourself as the serious version of Pinocchio and 3) look very serious while 4) just generating A.I.R.

By the way, doesn't A.I.R. happen to be a French band...


( Clermont-Ferrand - FR, August 2005)
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Posted 11 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


The original idea of this PhotoLog was to enforce myself to take at least one interesting photo per day and to tell about the exciting photo adventures of a wannabe-professional photographer... In the end, most of what you get served here are archive photos that match well with interesting items that are in the news. I simply do not have enough time (especially during daylight) to take photos every day, or it would have to be of rooftops of Hoofddorp office blocks.

Last Friday, I spent some time walking around on an almost deserted summer camp site. I was already anticipating trouble the moment my eye fell on a fresh head of lettuce that simply seemed to be out of place. I neglected it and took a photo of the scene. All of a sudden, something in the caravan started to move and little after, tried to get out of the caravan through an opening in the door. GUARD DOG ALERT!!! Loud barks scared the hell out of me. I didn't wait for the dog or its owner to come out; I simply ran off as quick as I could. My memory of this place is a little less relaxing than the photo may suggest..

Anyway, more exotic posts are on the way. I'm going to Honolulu next week and, via this log, will keep you updatumd on my adventures at the other end of the world.


( Reeuwijk - NL, 7 January 2006)
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Posted 12 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


I'm mentally preparing my third trip to the United States by re-reading the book "Put your best foot forward - USA - A Fearless guide to Understanding the United States of America", issued before Sep 2001 by the way. I was offered this interesting piece of litterature by my favourite colleague back at the State of Maryland - European Office. The book is full of interesting advices which should enable any visitor to survive US-specific obstacles. Below are some interesting quotations from the book:

- We have learned to see ourselves as a beacon for democracy and free markets;
- America is the land of endless opportunities;
- 'How are you?' is not a question;
- Americans smile and say 'hello' to strangers;
- Americans value good manners and proper social behaviour;
- Americans are very proud of their country and what they have been able to achieve;


Two more days to prepare myself...


( Washington DC - USA, May 2005)
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Posted 13 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


Writers of the Bible were well ahead of their time. Noah's idea to escape the Great Flood by collecting all kinds of animals is going to get sort-of copied by the Norwegian state. They plan to collect two million different seed types and ship them to a giant 'doomsday vault' on Spitsbergen, near the North Pole.


( Oslo - NO, December 2004)
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Posted 17 January 2006 - Honolulu (US):


Our second day on Hawaii has gone by. Time for a short summary of what life is like around here. Let me start with the good things: the weather is really nice, the air is fresh and it's full of tiny little birds with magnificent whistle tunes.

Less enjoyable is the sight of many overweight people who moreover seem to keep eating for ever and ever. Restaurants serve typical American food which is not necessarily a good thing. TV is not very inspiring and Amazing Discoveries sells even more ridiculous stuff then back home. Lowlight so far: a set of steps for overweight to be able to jump on a bed.


( Honolulu - US, 16 January 2006)
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Posted 18 January 2005 - Honolulu (US):


Most business presentations are boring and continuously chew and chew on already-familiar material. Only exceptionally, interesting people are allowed to grab the microphone and that's how we ended up listening to one of the "Founding fathers of the Internet". Vinton Cerf, recently hired by Google as Chief Internet Evangelist, informed us of the latest internet trends: interplanetary internet, internet-enabled socks and how George Orwell's 1984 is moving closer.


( Honolulu - US, 17 January 2005)
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Posted 21 January 2006 - Honolulu (US):


WAVES!! Giant ones on the island's North Shore, very impressive and I will certainly post more wave and surf photos when I'm back home on Monday.


( Waimea - US, 20 January 2006)
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Posted 22 January 2006 - Honolulu (US):


We're heading home sweet home! Expected time of arrival at Amsterdam Airport: 23 January, 08h00.


( Seattle - US, 14 January 2006)
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Posted 23 January 2006 - The Hague (NL)


Now that's more like it! I'm back home and it's cold here, just what winter is supposed to be like!


( Oudekerke - NL, 2004)
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Posted 24 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


A solution that doesn't exceed the problem will eventually nourish the problem rather than solve it. This happened when Russia liberated Germany from the Nazi's (see photo below) and it's still happening at many locations around the globe.


( Treptower Park Berlin - DE, October 2003)
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Posted 25 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


A business partner from Istanbul told me yesterday that hardly anybody still eats chicken in Turkey - a direct result of the fear for avian flu. It's good to know that they have plenty of tasty alternatives:


( Istanbul - TR, April 2005/January 1998)
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Posted 26 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


Within a few days, China will celebrate the start of a new year: The Year of the Dog. Interesting how they name years after their favourite food..


( Washington DC - USA, May 2005)
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Posted 28 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


Time for some relaxation this weekend - at last - and for socialising with friends. I haven't spent any normal weekend at home since the one before Christmas..


( Sarajevo - BA, April 2005)
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Posted 30 January 2006 - The Hague (NL):


Next trip ahead: 4 days in Berlin at the end of February.


( Berlin - DE, December 2004)
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