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Getting Poland on track

Posted 1 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Over the last few years, Polen has tried desperately to invent its new identity as a post-communist country. Both as a member of various international organisations (EU, NATO) and within the country itself.

In 2004, the year of Poland's entry to the EU, many formerly grey apartment buildings had been repainted in vivid colours. Aiming to cheer up the ambiance in the cities. Poland tried to phase out its health care system and replaced it with the German one (Krankenkasse). In the meanwhile, people in the street still find bribing an acceptable practice. Under many circumstances, it is perceived as the personal freedom to do somebody a favour in order to motivate him/her to do something.

Poland also makes headlines with unconventional and quite extreme quotes by its leaders: the twin brothers Kaczinsky and Kaczinksy. This time, they want to pass a vetting law, obliging a large number of people to testify about their role in communist Poland. That all seems rather reasonable, but the problem is that they are very likely to find out that almost all of these people (politicians, journalists, priests) have been involved in then-desired political actions during those 45(!!) years in some way or another..

(© Warsaw - PL, October 2004)
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FC Hollyhock players 3 and 4

Posted 2 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

The weekend has been very useful: I spent most of the time figuring out a script to make combined queries (type on the photolog database. After a lot of hassle, I did manage to get it right, and now it's just a matter of expanding it. I also had time to enjoy the nice spring weather: played tennis and did some cycling.

Beside that, it's Monday again so PhotoLogiX is presenting you another two members of FC Hollyhock:

Gert (left) is known for his gentle steps and moving hands when in possession of the ball. When NOT in posession of the ball and defending the goal, Gert positions himself as a the Dutch Atlantik Wall.

Danny (right, nickname: The Invincible) unluckily lost the first match of this season and will have to completely restart building his reputation as a tactic genius: a man of overview, vision and action.

(© The Hague - NL, March 2007)
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In Europa

Posted 3 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

One of my favourite books (there are not many because I don't like reading) is the fat documentary In Europa by Dutch writer Geert Mak. The book describes the condition of the European continent at the beginning of the 21st century. Mak travelled along locations where main historical events took place, in chronlogical order. For example: to Sarajevo (1914) describing the beginning of World War I, to St Petersburg (1917) describing the Russian Revolution, Warsaw (1944) Ghetto uprising.. up until 11 September 2001. During this 'time travel' he combines flashes of the past with reports of his actual trip in present time. Speaking to people and asking them + himself how the past of Europe explains its current state.

One of the reasons why I liked this book so much is because I happened to visit some places exactly while I was reading about them in the book. Reading about the Securitate and Ceaucescu when I was in Bucharest, about the uprising when I was in Warsaw, about the Balkan war when I was crossig ex-Yugoslavia. etc.

In Europa has been translated into English and was released last week. GBP 25 and you'll know all you need to know.

(© Bucharest - RO, October 2005)
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Global Village 2007

Posted 4 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

The dream of the 1990s was for the world to become a Global Village. Distances between nations, cultures and people seemed to get smaller. Major propellors of this development: the internet, infrastructural improvements, end of the Cold War as well as favourable political developments South Africa, Russia and Israel.

In the meanwhile, the Global Village is starting to fall apart before it even came into existence. Major threats to our beloved Global Village:

1) Politics: Rather than reducing barriers of entry, many countries are lifting them. Oftentimes through visa requirements, sometimes even by building physical walls (example 1, example 2);

2) Culture: Polarisation of religious/ideological extremes. The extremes are different (compared to the Cold War) but they are equally extreme and incompatible. Also gradually taking place: a return to nationalistic values, limiting the sphere of influence of internationally operating organisations like the UN and the possibility of exchange as a whole;

3) Infrastructure: Congestion all the way! It is no longer the maximum achievable speed of a transportation device that determines the duration of a trip - it's the space available for movement that dictates how quickly you get somewhere;

4) Information access: Internet in the early days provided a perfect way around traditional, possibly biased, news media. Nowadays, authorities are interfering in accessibility, aiming to regain control over the information flow, add to that illiteracy and the Digital Divide;

5) Environmental issues: Including the global warming and pollution plus the associated natural disasters, but also the depletion of natural reserves of water, food, air and energy;

6) Demographics: Too many people in a too crowded place, leading to quick and aggressive outbreak of diseases.

Anyway, here's a photo with a nice village atmosphere to make up for all the pessimism:

(© Clermont-Ferrand - FR, August 2005)
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Dependence vs. Independence 27-0

Posted 6 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

While the European Union is trying to block new countries from entry, one might wonder how long it will actually take before they will have to block countries from UNsubscribing. Many member states themselves have been faced with separatist regions within their own territory:

Bask country (FR, ES), Northern Ireland (UK, IE), Friesland (NL), Corsica (FR), Flanders and Wallony (BE). This week Scotland's independence was a hot topic again in the UK. Interesting they all want to have a country of their own, while their 'mother states' are standing in line to hand over more and more political power to Brussels and Strasbourg.

(© Edinburgh - UK, January 2001)
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Posted 7 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

It's not a village, it's not a detention centre, it's not a religious community.... It's a cramped camp site where people spend their weekends away from the stress of their daily lives. Even though there doesn't even seem to be enough space for everybody...

(© Katwijk - NL, 7 April 2007)
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Talking with the Amazone

Posted 8 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

"Just because I feel like it" is oftentimes not accepted as a motivation to do something random. Which is strange, because it should be the easiest and main reason to kick your own ass and do something exceptional. A Slovenian guy chose to swim the Amazone river - an amazing 5268km. Unfortunately, I only found out about his project after he completed, but here's a link that allows you to read back to the day he started his voyage, voyage.

Below photo shows an open air swimming contest in Dublin's River Liffey. Not exactly the same thing, but it's at least something..:

(© Dublin - IE, September 2006)
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FC Hollyhock portraits 5 and 6

Posted 9 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Another Monday and although I'm not joining tonight's match, here's another two FC Hollyhock players:

English Mark (not to be confused with Mark tout court) and Rody 'Quizmaster' Idema. You may recognise the latter from the 'Papers please' series, back in October 2006.

Tomorrow's updatum risks being a bit late and will come in from across the Atlantic. Expect me to write about the 747 flight..

(© The Hague - NL, March 2007)
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Flying West

Posted 10 April 2007 - Miami (US):

It's been a while since I last wrote a travel report. I used to do it all the time, but due to the many trips I've been making for work over the last few years, I have sort of forgotten about it. Time for a revival of a tradition! My first ever flight on a Boeing 747 proves to be a good incentive.

Yesterday night, I went to bed early after rescuing my bed linnen from a tree using a vacuum cleaner (no photos available, exciting project though). It had been there for the last couple of days but since no rain was expected, I thought it would not be such a problem. Anyway - the alarm rang at 4h30 this morning. I took a shower, grabbed my stuff and left with destination Miami. I parked my bike at Central Station, realising how awkward it would feel to cycle home on it only three days after. On such trips, it always seems like there's entire weeks inbetween leaving and getting back.

Schiphol was a barrier quickly taken. I thought back of my trip to Barcelona, of a sweet goodbye, but things were different this time and I didn't need to inform anybody that I made it to the airport in time. Mark joined me at the ticket counter, but we separated again at passport control since Mark is the proud owner of a Privium pass and does not have to wait in line. I don't mind waiting for a bit, but it did take really long this time. All the hassle, all your possessions scrapped off you and being scanned, then leaving you to put everything back together in order again. A laptop which they wish to investigate separately, liquids which pass separately, then a whole bunch of touching if you're unlucky but I must admit I escaped that part at least. After border control, we walked to gate B11 to catch the flight to Frankfurt. The Privium thing doesn't mean that he can resign from waiting for his colleague. So after all, he is waiting just as much as I am. Besides - although we do most meetings together, Mark and I do not fly together very often. I either leave earlier or later than he does, oftentimes take a train instead of flying, end zo ohn (German accent). This time I was thinking of quickly hopping over to Cuba, but that's not going to happen.

It was still dark outside when we got to the gate. Sunrise was emininent and at the time we boarded the plane to Frankfurt (Boeing 737-300) daytime had properly started. I was wondering what the -Hansa part in Lufthansa stood for. Luft, ok, that's probably just short for Luftwaffe ;) but Hansa to me refers to some kind of medieval get-together of villages and trade entities. Anyway, we were served well and I for sure had the best possible seat on the plane. Next to the window, next to the emergency exit with no seat in front of me. I stretched my legs as often as I could and then we got served a scarinly rectangle sandwich. Very German. Shortly after, we touched Frankfurt ground and headed for our connecting aircraft.

We only had a scarce 30 minutes to change planes and that proved only just enough. Not necessarily the distance between the gates was the main problem - the exaggerated border and immigration control made us wait in long lines. That's one of the reasons I dislike the phenomenon of flying. You basically spend your time waiting and waiting. Once you finished waiting for one thing, you need to rush to the next place where you will once again spend your time waiting. Border control, security check, luggage check, immigration check, waiting at the gate, preboarding, boarding, waiting in line, waiting to get seated, waiting for take-off, waiting for something to eat - if only to break up time - waiting for the start of the descend, waiting for landing, waiting to arrive at the gate, waiting for the doors to open, waiting for people to *(^^&*% get off the plane, waiting for immigration, waiting for your luggage, waiting for a taxi.... It's one big stop-and-go-penalty. As opposed to the train where you just jump on, watch out of the window, talk to people and arrive.

Our plane looked immense from the outside. Its nose was decorated as a giant football, probably still for the world championships of last summer. As large as it looked from the outside, so small it looked on the inside. Slight dissapointment there, since I expected to walk into something that would give me the size impression of a public swimming pool. Almost any other aircraft offers more individual space.. We had a small delay for technical reasons, then another delay for heavy traffic in the area. Waiting again. But then, finally the long awaited take-off! My seat location was far from ideal and I could only see wing surfaces on either side. We speeded up, not much quicker than on other type of planes though, and shaked off the runway. We were airborne nose-wise but it seemed to ages before the rest of the machine also lost contact with the ground. The climbing slope was slow, as expected. I could hardly see anything, just some houses swinging by during one of the steep curves. It made me feel a bit light in the head. I need to see what's happening, otherwise my sensatory system gets confused. Like it did.

I had 4 tv-screens in sight: one yellow, one de-saturated, one with pink spots and one normal. Maybe some special glasses would have helped me see things in 3D. The screens were showing our progress, indicating some random city names along the line. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Giethoorn. I got a bit annoyed when we flew only just south of The Hague, thinking of the detour we had made just to get there (again). We got our first drinks by 10h30 GMT, when flying over England. I noticed wodka and tomato juice on the lorry and happened to remember a tasty combination between the two. My memory proved right. Before reaching Cork, the German pilot updatumd us with the weather information from Miami, expected flying time and some random details like the weight of the fuel we had on board. Although pretty useless, I do like those pilot updatums. If they know -to-the-minute-precisely- at what time the plane is bound to arrive, they are apparently very confident that it shall arrive. Which is quite reassuring to slightly fly-o-phobic me. I did get better over the last few flights though. This trip is not bothering me as much as others have done in the past.

The remaining 7 hours of flying time seemed to take ages. I fell asleep every now and then, woke up, saw some unconvincing movie that was neither Bridget Jones (sweet) nor Forrest Gump (funny). I got up to look out the window, took a walk to see the business class area, got sent of, shot photos of sleeping people in the rear of the plane, and surprisingly did not get sent off then. I threw an entire cup of water over myself, walked off with my earphones clipped around my legs but did not cause anybody harm.

Bored with some animated pinguin movie - I don't like animated pinguins - I started thinking about my hair slowly turning white. That in itself is not a bad thing, but inspection learned that the grey hairs grow in any direction. Even more so that the rest of my hair does. Quite worrying: I may look like Einstein in only ten years from now.

The end of the trip was a bit bumpy but the landing almost perfect. I intended to take another photo of the plane, but it was hidden from us arriving passengers ever since we unboarded. The customs procedure was lengthy and complicated: left hand index finger print, right hand finger print, another passport photo, cross-check questions, forms to be handed in at various locations and then finally the taxi stop. A black / negro / afro-american man took us to the hotel and that was the end of today's big trip. I'll try to keep tomorrow's posting somewhat shorter :)

(© Frankfurt - DE / Above the Atlantic, 10 April 2007)
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Malaise photographique

Posted 11 April 2007 - Miami (US)

I keep finding it extremely hard to take meaningful photos in American cities. There's a serious lack of quiet squares with fountains (Rome), medieval staircases (Paris), city parks (London), historic buildings (Prague) etc.. And more importantly, public life is not really taking place in the street.

The area we stay in is downtown: office blocks all around. After arriving yesterday afternoon, we had some time to walk around but most shops were already closed or closing down. Below photo is the only result of a photo quest in vain. Sorry for it being such a photo club type of image.

(© Miami - US, 10 April 2007)
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Heading home

Posted 12 April 2007 - Miami (US):

Reporting from Miami, for the last time as we are flying home this afternoon, arriving tomorrow morning. Our meeting yesterday night was wortwhile, so all we've got left to do here is wait for the plane back.

A short description of today's photos: Taxis on Ocean Drive, happy Americans and the flying track of a Flinstone-like public transport system of Downtown Miami.

(© Miami - USA, April 2007)
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Triple A

Posted 13 April 1007 - The Hague (NL):

Barely back from Miami, I couldn't ignore this photo opportunity when cycling home: Crown Prince Willem Alexander being congratulated by the people, just after registering the birth of his third child. It's another daughter and she'll be called Princess Ariane.

And now it's time for some sleep, I'll post some more Miami photos tomorrow!

(© The Hague - NL, 13 April 2007)
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The Real and the Unreal

Posted 14 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Here's a list of some more things I noticed in Miami (in random order):

- A persistant vague area between reality and fiction is created in the media. Horrible news is brought in the same way a spectacular movie is advertised. Reality shows used to report about extreme and/or strange situations in real life, but in a way it also reshapes reality and makes the extremes acceptable. Also in the streets, many people are partly real and partly not-so-real, in the physical sense. Scary to see how normal it is to have a ... job (fill in body part of your choice, because it can be anything);

- Each and every road sign is in text, even speed limits signs explicitely define that the number on the sign is the 'SPEED LIMIT'. By the way, a lot here is 'explicit' in the sense that everything needs to be explained for everybody to understand and accept;

- Cars don't have license plates on the front;

- Lots of people speak South American Spanish which is definitely nicer to hear than Northern American English;

- People actually use doggybags, which reversely leads to giant meals that are impossible to devour (even to me who can take in quite some food in one go);

- Standard size for drinks is >0.5 liter and its served in massive cups with massive straws. Just like the exhaust pipes for cars, they are about twice the size in diameter compared to European ones;

- All the newspapers and talk shows are in some way or another related to the War against Terrorism and it's impossible to find your way around it.

Below photos show the weather conditions in Miami on two consecutive days. Current weather in Holland: sunny, >20°C - a perfect spring day. Quoi qu'il en soit, the best thing about visiting the USA is that it makes you very happy to go back home.

(© Miami - USA, April 2007)
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Fun on the beach

Posted 15 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

From South Beach to the North Sea shore.. Nice and warm, and lots of fun for those who make it through the traffic jams - or live very close to the beach :)

(© The Hague - NL, 15 April 2007)
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Hollyhock still going strong: 7 and 8

Posted 16 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Starring Harte (officially registered as Martin Harteveld) and Joao aka Che (Jean Midde). Both have very characteristic playing styles, as explained below:

Harte is the goal getter who plays on the cutting edge of off-side. He's working hard to become Hollyhock's quickest player but hasn't made it to that position yet. Don't take Harte's presence on the field lightly: his friendly smile masks his determination to convert every opportunity into a goal.

Joao is an ever-opportunistic killer who plays with the ball on a string. He has no respect for his physical superiours. Instead, he moves over, around or underneath them and operates in some kind of stealth mode. You may not understand his moves, but he scores in every single match he plays.

(© The Hague - NL, March 2007)
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People and Guns

Posted 17 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Tragedy in the USA, where the president rushed to the microphone to ask for God´s grace over the victims and all involved. While CNN keeps qualifying the shooting disaster in Virginia as a Developing Story, action groups are falling over each other claiming that possession of arms should or should not be allowed to civilians under the law.

While this battle in the United States is mainly fought in the political arena, Switzerland is trying to get public attention for the danger of public gun possession through a nationwide poster campaign.

(© Brzeg - PL, June 2002)
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Hollow conference phrases

Posted 18 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

I've been attending another telecom conference which will last until tomorrow and so far it has been 'business as usual'. Getting sleepy when attending presentations by dusty grey men, who oftentimes find only themselves interested to listen to their stories. I get particularly annoyed when people start using the same words over and over again. Imagine this artificial phase, that is a compilation of these words:

In my perspective - the fact of the matter is that it's - a tremendous - challenge - to leverage - your assets - in search for convergence and vertical integration - because at the end of the day - the EBITDA margin is the bottomline. And now we proceed to the Q&A Session - are there any questions from the floor?

This being said, I was very happy to hear KPN (Royal Dutch PTT)'s big boss call something a rather vague area, something else irrelevant and say that the end goal of everything was not for everybody to be fat and happy. To a question that did not make too much sense ("so who in the future will actually own the customer?"), he replied "I'd almost say: who cares?!". One of the scarce moments of hilarity throughout the day.

The good thing about this conference: it's being held in The Netherlands. So instead of photos from Dubai, Miami, Honolulu and/or where ever, today's photos are from Amsterdam!

(© Amsterdam - NL, 18 April 2007 )
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Tom Tom Tag

Posted 19 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

A new proposal from UK's Minister of Science:
Tag old people so they can be traced in case they seem to have disappeared. All satellite-enabled. Coming soon on your Google Earth. Look for the grey spots :)

(© Colchester - UK, June 2006)
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Visiting family abroad

Posted 20 April 2007, The Hague (NL):

Out of my generation of Van den Elshouts, I was probably the one who was most likely to move to France. I probably will though, one day. For now, only my cousin Arjan made it there. He exported himself to Normandy about 10 years ago, found himself a woman to marry (July of this year) and now runs his own animal farm (sheep and cows). I visit him about twice a year and will go say hello again next weekend, together with our other cousin Robin.

Below photo datums back from April of last year, when Robin and I also came over to visit.

(© Notre-Dame-d'Estrées - FR)
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Train bridge by night

Posted 21 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

This is a photo I took earlier tonight near Hollands Spoor station for a photo competition about water and bridges in The Hague:

(© The Hague - NL, 21 April 2007)
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Aux urnes citoyens!

Posted 22 February 2007 - The Hague (NL):

It's French Presidential Election Day today. Because of the leadership role France claims within Europe the outcome of the elections will be felt far beyond the French Territory. Below photo is the French Embassy in The Hague, where people are queuing up to cast their vote.

One thing I like best about the French, beside the way they think about food, is their flexibility with rules. When I asked whether I could take photos, I was told that photography was allowed as long as I tried not to include any voters. And so I tried... Although it was very busy and waiting times were long, most people seemed rather relaxed about it all. I particularly liked one remark I happened to capture: ça y est, j'ai voté, on peut aller manger (That's done, I voted, now let's go for dinner).

Read on for more info about the elections:

The process is fairly simple. At the end of today, all votes will be counted and any canditate who is voted by at least 50% of the voting population (absolute majority) will be president. Usually, no candidatum reached that barrier and the two canditates with the most votes will proceed to the second round. The one who wins more than 50% of the votes (ordinary majority) becomes president.

The following candidatums are in some way or another remarkable:

- Nicolas Sarkozy: right-wing, dominant personality, protectionist (economically), narcist and nationalist, yet favourite to win. Disliked in the outskirts of Paris for calling rebellious youngsters rabble;

- Segolène Royal: wants to be come the first French Madame la Présidente but is not very strong at producing and/or transmitting coherent ideas. Socialist candidatum nr. 1;

- Jean Marie Le Pen: nationalist, openly racist. Represents France's unhappiness with the country's current state of affaires and made it to the second round back in 2002, then got defeated by Chirac 80/20 %;

- José Bové is a anarchistic antiglobalist who already spent some time in prison for re-engineeing a local branch of McDonald's. He apparently likes good an honest food which in itself is something rather positive and very French. It'll probably give him some votes, but not too many;

- François Bayrou is the frontman of the center-democratic party UDF. Unlike the other candidatums, he does not think in extremes but in bridging the left-right divide, which to me seems to be the best way forward for France itself as well as its position within Europe.

(© The Hague - NL, 22 February 2007)
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Competitions and Hollyhock 9 and 10

Posted 23 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Yesterday's elections in France resulted in a massive turnout of 84% and a victory for Mr Narcism & Ms Incoherent. In the second round (6 May), they will battle one another for presidency. Sarkozy (Mr Narcism) is looking for ways to 'unite the people' against threats that he himself defines for them. Ségolène Royal (Ms Inconherent) is not focusing on the invisible enimy but on protection itself, especially on the social level. Neither candidatum is likely to be helpful for the position of France in Europe.

Luckily, life on the FC Hollyhock fields is much more simple and pleasant. And almost as exciting as the last day of this year's Dutch Premier League season. Another match is scheduled for tonight, here's photo number 9 and 10: Steve and Dutch Mark.

(© The Hague - NL, March 2007)
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Chaos and Dynamics

Posted 24 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

First Russian president Boris Jeltsin died yesterday in Moscow. In Europe and the US, state leaders declared admiration for Jeltsin having introduced democracy and improved traditional West-East relations. Domestically, Jeltsin will mostly be remembered for allowing a very small group of people to become impossibly rich and for turning the economy into chaos. Russia still is a very chaotic country today, as you can see in the photo below.

Current president Putin is working hard to stabilise the country, but he is doing so at the detriment of the personal freedom concept, introduced during Jeltsin's rule of the country. Which induces counterideological collectives like the one by former chess champion Kasparov and many others alike. Conclusion: Russia is a dynamic country..

(© Moscow - RU, February 2007 )
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More chaos

Posted 25 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Yesterday, I wrote about chaos in Russia. Today's article is about chaos in my head, which also made chaos out of my day. I accidentally left my keys in the train this morning and spent half a day tracing them, without any success. Next question was how to get into my own apartment, but all has been solved now. Quite an exciting adventure which comprised time pressure, risky guessing, physical excercise, mental perseverance, intelligent scenario-ing and social interaction skills. I hope the original keys will come back to me eventually but at least I'm safe for now - I am typing this story on my desktop PC at home.

This was the photo I intended to post today. A group of people enjoying the sun in front of their homes. Through all chaos, I can't remember what text I was going to post along with the photo, but it wasn't that interesting anyway.

My friends of Footsweep and Dirt de Luxe (no website) are playing the Paardcafé tonight. If you have nothing to do and are somewhere nearby - join the party.

(© The Hague - NL, April 2007)
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Voluntary work via Bouworde

Posted 26 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

I have been telling about the Internationale Bouworde organisation, which found Bas and me a voluntary work project in Poland back in 2002. And about how much fun and it is to participate in such a project and how it extends the duration of a long trip if you integrate it well. It's also a good opportunity to get your name published in foreign newspapers, like the one below which shows our team in the kitchen of Brzeg's children's home.

Last night, we had a small reunion with Martijn en Petra coming over. The reason we had the reunion today was Footsweep's new EP presentation, of which you can find photos here

(© Brzeg - PL, July 2002)
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Faire le pont

Posted 27 April 2007 - The Hague (NL):

Building bridges.. French usually do that when a public holiday falls on Tuesday or Thursday, meaning that they will claim the day that separates there holiday from the weekend as holiday as well. This year, Monday 30 April (day before Labour Day) will fall victim to this practice, like 'Ascension Friday' does year after year.

So the French are known for building bridges (see also Viaduc de Millau and Viaduc de Garabit), but not everything is what it seems. The Pont d'Avignon, famous from the song, doesn't reach from one bank of the river to the other. It collapsed during a flood in 1668 and was never repaired.

The most recent example of unfortunate bridge building was Mr Bayrou's run for French presidency. In a comment on the battle between the remaining two candidatums, he vowed to continue his efforts to create a bridge between left and right.

Along the line, he called Mr Sarkozy a man with a taste for intimidation and threats whose thirst for power puts French democracy at risk, and Ms Royal's plans a sure path towards increased government spending that would choke instead of stimulate badly needed growth. Which closely connects to what I wrote on 23 April, referring to the same two people as Mr Narcism and Ms Incoherent.

(© Avignon - FR, June 2007)
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Sponsored trip to France

Posted 28 April 2007 - ND d'Estrées (FR):

Despite heavy traffic and lack of navigation tools, we made it to Normandy before midnight last night. We were forced to take the tourist route (Brugge - Calais - Boulogne) and arrived two behind schedule. The car at our disposal was my uncle's company car, with our family name on clear display. Robin claimed it would help us promote my uncle's business, whereas my uncle said we were simply not allowed to take the other car. That one's my aunts and she's a horse driver so it "smells of horses anyway" (not my words).

So this is the three cousins Arjan, Bruno and Robin posing in front of our sponsored vehicle.

(© ND d'Estrées - FR, 28 April 2007)
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Green and quiet

Posted 29 April 2007 - ND D'Estrées (FR):

Holland today: PSV wins the Dutch Premier League by only one goal's difference with Ajax, Queen's Day and Night and persistant hot and dry weather. France today: quiet, relaxed and green. This is the church where Arjan and Olivia are going to get married in July.

(© Crêvecoeur en Auge - FR, 29 April 2007)
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Hollyhock 10 and 11

Posted 30 April 2007 - Paris (FR):

I'm in Paris, where I will stay until tomorrow. But Paris or no Paris, it's still Hollyhock Monday. Here's two more portraits: Bas and Mario.

(© The Hague - NL, March 2007)
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