Friday, April 27, 2007


After stupidly taking a chunk out of my thumb with a potato-peeler yesterday, I was required to join Mills and meet his boss for a department dinner. Obviously, I wanted to be at my hottest for this introduction - maybe a pretty unemployed trophy girlfriend will qualify for a raise in salary... (now is that pretty unemployed, trophy girlfriend or unemployed petty trophy girlfriend?)

Moving on. Getting ready was fun. Smart and sophisticated, not slutty and smutty. Hmmm, I don't have a wardrobe for that. My perfectly peeled digit was wrapped in a classy plastic plaster and my hair wasn't helping. After three weeks of sublime sleekness, it chose yesterday to pick a new direction... Electrified Socket UP. Awesome. Half a tub of silicone-sleekness later, I was on my way to dine with the boss.

Dinner was at his home and I was certainly not expecting to be greeted by a butler (sorry... sommelier) at the door. The really awesome thing was that Mills had been tasked with some random admin to finish, so I got to stand around awkwardly... until my second glass of champagne. Then the awkwardness abated and I was conversationalist-extraordinaire. Well, at least I thought so anyway.

Aside from the sommelier insisting on serving everything to me first (what the fek am I supposed to do with this pretentiously-presented mouthful? Is it fish? Is it soup? What fork do I use!?), and aside from me being placed next to the antithesis of conversation ("So where are you from originally?" England. "Oh really, whereabouts in England?" South East. "Where in the South East?" Just east of London. "Oh. Good luck with that online personality contest, I hope you win one."), and aside from two of Mills's colleagues trying to convince me that now is the perfect time for me to start breeding... the dinner went very smoothly. I didn't knock anything over, I didn't drop or break anything, I didn't spill anything down my top AND they were serving red wine. It should've been a disaster, but it wasn't.

That's not really much of a post, is it? I must be growing up. A few years ago, I would've said something inappropriate, dug myself a deeper hole by trying to talk my way around it and probably swearing loudly in the process, followed up with flinging food off my plate and into someone else's lap and conluded with half a glass of wine down the front of my white blouse.

I'm so boring these days.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh my aching bum-fat

Last night I joined a random hockey team for their training session. The club, Kleine Switzerland, is one of the many hockey clubs in our area and their grounds alone contain two water-based astros and three sand astros, plus a few practise pitches. That's a lot of turf in one place.

My introduction to the team wasn't overwhelming. I emailed the club and went to meet the ladies' thirds captain, who seemed to find it hard to believe that anyone from Africa actually played hockey. "Do you play hockey? Have you played nationally? And do you speak South African?" she asked me, brusquely.

Well, I know how to grip a tree branch, does that count? I haven't played nationally, but I was - once upon a time - selected for a reserve national squad and you're the third team so I'm doubting you've ever played nationally either, wench. And as to my national language... we're speaking it honey. Do you speak Netherlands? Ignoramous.

Moving on. I know the Dutch are good at hockey, so I can - to a degree - understand her questioning. Not just good... they're seriously about this sport. Five astros for one club? Clubs around the country vary from 30 to anything up to 70 sides... This sport is BIG. So I was a little nervous about going to play for a random team. I know I can play hockey of a decent level, but I also know that for the last few months I've done nothing but sit on my arse and moan about lack of internet access.

The ladies that I met were all very friendly (the captain wench wasn't there) and they welcomed me into their practice - some even showing a moderation of geographical knowledge, asking intelligent questions like, "Do you speak Afrikaans?" What a relief.

And then the running began. First an intensive indoor-paced game. Then a quick 400m. Then another indoor game. Then another 400m. Then another game followed by a shooting drill. Then another 400m followed by more running interspersed with 40 sit ups and 40 push ups (I cheated, dunno how many I did but it was nowhere near 40 each).

I haven't run that much since my days of varsity athletics. Fortunately, even at my unfittest I was keeping up with the top of the pack so I don't think I embarrassed myself completely - although my beet-red face at the end of it all might have told another story entirely.

So I still don't have a job, but I may have found a hockey club. Life's all about priorities. Now I'm going to get my aching arse back to the comfy couch... my show's about to start on Animal Planet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Going Dutch

My Dutch online is getting trickier. Gone are the days of reciting “een hond” into the microphone. Now it’s complete sentences with answers to repeat in order to keep my good grades up.

First let me set the scene… the (borrowed) laptop on which I work is balanced on our rickety old computer stand. This computer stand has made it from Joburg to Grahamstown, from Grahamstown to Cape Town, from Cape Town to Joburg and from Joburg to The Hague. The fact that we’ve still got all the pieces is a miracle in itself.

The stand is designed to fit (old) desktops, not laptops, so the seating arrangement is not ideal for my purposes. In order to type I have to stretch across the front of the stand to the keyboard and leaning forward ensures that my knees are constantly connecting with the board designed to protect a very old hardrive (hard drive? Harddrive? Whatever). And I can’t work with the laptop on my lap because of the previously mentioned problems of Ethernet connection and dodgy power connections.

So there I sit, crouched over like a osteo-patient struck down in their mid-twenties – shoulders thrust forward, my elbows leaning on a board that’s not meant to be leant on and my knees jutting away from each other like an unhappy couple – shouting into a microphone that registers exactly the same whether I announciate “een, twee, drie, vier” or hiss “een-fokken-twee-fokken-drie…” through clenched teeth. Same result.

Being a perfectionist, and with nothing else to do, I want to get it right. So I persevere. On the odd occasion I have actually managed to get the metre into the green levels (this is a good thing – it usually hovers in red or doesn’t register at all) and then I get the same rush as a good clean drive down the fairway. It’s fleeting, but damn it’s worth it.

And I do wonder what the neighbours must think. I figure enthusiasm must surely rate higher than actual pronounciation, so I up the volume in my attempts…

Computer: Staat daar een man op dit huis?
Koekie: Staaaaat daaar aaaa maaa… ah fuck.
Computer: Staat daar een man op dit huis?

At one stage, I was even lucky enough to record part of the computer stand collapsing. “Staat daaar ma… *thunkthunkthunk*… shitfuck!”

Pity I couldn’t actually save it. It made for good listening.

There will be no reference of the cricket until further notice. I’m hurting.

Distraction tactics

Hey Australia! Look over here! Yooo hooo... follow the sheep... away from the WI and all the way home...

Sigh. If only it could be that easy.
I'll be 'watching' the game via cricinfo: Refresh. Wait. Read. Exclaim in delight or disgust. Refresh. Wait. Read. Repeat and rinse.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Scairy Tales

WARNING: The following post contains references to menstruation and PMS. Adult supervision is advised for those who think they can’t handle the truth.

You want the truth? The truth is that Little Red Riding Hood is a tale of the 28 day cycle.

First and most obviously, the red hood. Red. Get it? ‘Nuff said.

Second, Little Miss Red Riding Hood follows a ‘path’, along which she meets the Big Bad Wolf (a premenstrual warning of what’s to come). Things come to a head in dear Grandmamma’s cottage: Grandma dies, Miss Red dies, the wolf dies… it’s just a good ol’ fashioned American college bloodbath, any way you look at it. Right at the end, Miss Red and Grandma are magically rescued, ensuring another visit down the same path in a few week’s time.

Okay, not so much a truth as psychotic ramblings of a mad woman. But hell, if people can read sexual innuendo into Noddy, then I’m going to jazz up a few fairy tales.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This story has been romantised. With her flaxen skin, black hair and blood-red lips (again with the blood-red), Snow White was nothing but a metaphor for female disparity. The original title (before the Brother’s Grimm got hold of it) was: The unpredictable nature of woman and her seven mood swings. Before the 1700s, children would merrily recite the well-known list of the seven aspects: Pissy, Soppy, Mopey, Gropey, Snappy, Happy and Bitch.

Snowy ended up in a deep slumber and was entombed in a glass grave above the ground. Read: everyone gave her a little space and Snow White took a time out for, say, about a week. After that she was a new woman.

Beauty and the Beast were actually the same person. Rapunzel was a cocktease. Hansel and Gretal was a self-help book on how to get rid of your kids.

I'm still working on the deconstruction of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


It was my dad's birthday on Friday, and my dad shares a birthday with Hitler (not to the year... I feel I should point that out). But I'm glad to say, no one in my family celebrated like this:

Man honours Hitler - naked

Vancouver - A Canadian man was arrested after he was found walking around naked with a swastika taped to his body to mark Adolf Hitler's birthday, police said on Friday.

The man told them he was "honouring Hitler's birthday". He was detained and would undergo a psychiatric assessment. Hitler was born April 20, 1889.

"Although the swastika symbol causes some concern and is usually associated with hate and the Nazi regime, in this instance this male posed no threat to the community," said police.

Shame, that last statement has got to be a blow to any (naked) man's ego...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bang on

Through the pretext of her work, Peaches has been kind enough to set me up with an online language learning account. So I've spent a large part of my morning, repeating into the computer's microphone: "De hond".... "De kat"... "Een meisje en een paard".

Part of the course relies on mimicking the exact sounds of the example voice - which on my course, is a 40-year-old man. My balls haven't dropped yet, so I'm struggling to get the pitch right. It took me a while to get the system to even register my voice, a bit longer because I had to time my recordings in between the hammering upstairs (the heaving thumping was scoring higher on the voice recognition than my attempts at gutteral Dutch). After 10 minutes of hyperventilation, I finally managed to register one sentence with satisfaction.

"De jongens rennen de meisje achtna..." which according to Peaches sounds something like 'ramming from behind'. Dirty!

Speaking of heaving thumping and ramming from behind (because we were), Mills and I had a great time going though all 300 of our new channels last night. To our delight, we have access to Playboy TV, Spice Platinum, Blue Hustler and the Sailing Channel. A little something for everyone there. We were disappointed to learn that most of these channels are only available after 11pm (the sailing channel is on 24/7 - who can ever get enough of yachting watching?), but the late porno would entail staying up past our flannel-pajama bedtime. One channel, however, is on all-day-everyday... as we flipped through, lamenting the lack of 7pm-porn viewing, three man-lollies, double penetration and a chick on a dog lead popped onto our screen. Hmmm, so much for social consciousness.

ps. The Nigerian phone scammers have been busy this morning. The calls started at 8:15 and have been going since then. I've managed to turn the sound down (thanks, Rev) so now I get a dull satisfaction from knowing that They WILL NOT drive me nuts today as I watch the busy-light flashing on the consol. At the end of the day I'll turn my phone back on to normal, but every time someone calls I'll be wondering... Is it Them? Are they watching me? What do they want from me? Can't I just sell them an ovary and get it over and done with? I DON'T HAVE A FAX!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tantalizing Vegetating

So far today, I've watched Bowfinger, Discovery Channel, BBC Prime, CNN and Al-Jazeera. We finally have TV!

Internet and TV in one week. It only took three months to get that sorted... two thumbs way up to the service industry.

I don't think we'll be able to keep all the channels - it's one of those "First 10 days free, thereafter you have to pay for the 260 channels, or lose 245 of them..." - but hey. TV, with sound, with Dutch subtitles. Does life get better than this?

Oh yes, and I still have no job. Thanks for reminding me. Now, if you'll excuse me, Turk TV is calling my name...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thinking about getting up

It's lunchtime and I'm still mooching around in my jim-jams. I'll admit this has got something to do with the fact that I have no pressing job to get to, but it's got a lot more to do with my internal organs.

They went on full strike last night - at around 3am, to be precise. I'm not talking go-slow protesting; I talking full on toyi-toyiing, kicking and screaming, Security Guard and members of Shoprite-Checkers strike. Crying "Unite the workers of the dissatisfied Bowel Movement!" at the top of their would-be lungs.

It could've been the second cup of milky milo that I had before supper yesterday. Or it could've been the cheese that I loving lash on every meal. It could've been the creamy soup that I made for dinner or the box of butter milk cookies that I devoured in my desperation over not having TV or internet access. It could've even been - in a true act of betrayal - the rich mayonnaise that I love so much. Or maybe, a little bit of everything. But at 3am this morning, by internal organs said, "I am Jack's disenchanted Gut. I have on a number of occassions hinted at a severe lactose intolerance, but Jack pays no heed. Here we go again..."

And so it was until 7am this morning, when I finally managed to get my stomach to calm down to a dull ache. Which is pretty much the exact time that that my neighbours upstairs decided (from the sound of it) to knock down their adjoining wall while drilling into their floor, through my ceiling and straight into my right temple.

I am Jack's aching head.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Getting TV and Internet access in the First World

Step One: Apply for TV and internet access. Wait at least one month for anything further to happen.

Step Two: Learn that SA TV's are not compatible with European cable signals. You get visuals but no sound.

Step Three: Get wireless, but no computer. Borrow laptop, which fails to recognise wireless network. Borrowed laptop is also set up in Dutch. Dutch is not Afrikaans.

Step Four: Get decoder to decode cable signal into both visual and audio. Set up decoder to learn that TV does not register decoder. Phone boyfriend and warn him that he may come home to find girlfriend with foot planted firmly through TV screen.

Step Five: Call TV help centre to speak to socially-impaired technician at TV store. Socially-impaired technician says to come back and pay more money for more cables to attach TV to cable to decoder. Put phone down and cry with frustration. Scream a little. Feel calmer.

Step Six: Call computer centre for help on connecting Dutch computer (in English) to wireless modem. Learn that wireless PC card must be reinstalled. Installation CD belongs to owner of computer who has just flown out to Australia for three months. Cry a little. Scream a little. Feel calmer.

Step Seven: Call boyfriend. Warn him that he might come home to find computer through the TV screen, complete with heavily sedated and unnerving grinning girlfriend.

Step Eight: Give up on wireless and connect laptop direct to modem via ethernet. This entails sitting at an angle and balancing computer on knees so that unpredictable power cord and ethernet can both just reach their connections on opposite sides of the room.

It hurts my back, but damn, the precarious angle is worth it. Internet access. Sweet, unadulterated internet access.

One more frustration: Since getting our landline, on random days at random hours, the phone rings. Seeing as I'm home all day, I answer it. The answered phone does nothing but beep in my ear, like a fax signal. I put the phone down. Three minutes later (I've timed it), it rings. I ignore it. Three minutes later, it rings. Repeat for at least the next 90 minutes.

Disconnecting the phone doesn't work because unfortunately the ringing actually originates from the consol. Disconnecting the line entirely would work, but then I would also lose my internet access - all too precious a commodity.

Nobody knows what I'm talking about when I try to explain it. I think it's just the gods of frustration making sure that I don't get through more than 5 days in a row without collapsing into a quivering, drooling, vegetative heap. Chinese torture has nothing on this cold-calling persistancy. OH LOOK IT'S RINGING AS I TYPE.

I've learnt from experience that if I ignore it for long enough then "they" (and if I ever find THEM, I'm going to take great delight in personally blocking every bodily orifice with any mobile phone I can get my hands on) are not likely to try calling again for at least a week.

Maybe somebody out there can suggest what these calls are in aid of? There's no one on the other line and I have no way of telling where they originate from. Who are these people and what do they want with me????

Monday, April 16, 2007

Operation Desert Storm

The cost of living on one salary is taking its toll. That, and the fact that of the last three weekends, we’ve been away three times.

This weekend we had the pleasure of joining Nix for her boyfriend’s fortieth celebration. It was in the south Netherlands in a little town called Valkenswaard – a name which I think sounds like it could translate to Eagle’s Fart. I haven’t told the locals that.

We spent the evening listening to a local band (and a number of guests, including the birthday boy himself) belt out cover versions of popular Dutch songs. It was Nooit-Vir-Nooit-meets-Colony-karaoke… although to be fair, most of the people could actually hold a good tune. We were staying in the hotel where the party was held, which meant that we didn’t have to worry about sorting out transport in the wee-hours of the morning, and it also meant that I could have a much-coveted bath.

I love bathing. I love wallowing in bubbled water like a happy hippo. Mills cannot see the delight because, as he points out, by the end of it you’re sitting a bath of dirty water. That doesn’t faze me. We don’t have a bath at home... We have a dishwasher, two washing machines, two fridges and two microwaves, but no bath. So when I get to stay in a hotel with a bath, it’s divine.

Anyway, back to Operation Desert Storm. So after flitting around Europe over the last three weeks, we’ve reassessed the finances and realized that there was not much to assess. A decision has been made that we are not to spend ANY money for the next week. And when I say ‘we’, I of course mean ‘I’ am not to spend any money for the next week. It’s going to be tough.

On the way home yesterday, I mentioned that ‘we’ (read: I) needed to buy more mayonnaise. Mills pointed out that mayonnaise does not fall under the list of essentials recommended in Operation Desert Storm. Well, not his list anyway.

Now let me explain to you about my mayonnaise fetish. Yes, I think it qualifies as a fetish. I eat mayonnaise with just about everything. I mix it with chutney and sweet-chili; any mayonnaise-based sauce is good in my books; I eat it with cheese, with rice, with any meat, with vegetables; I eat it as a spread on toast; I’ve even been known to eat a cement-like mixture of peas and mayo on toast… A few years ago, the Joyces gave me 3kg of mayonnaise for Christmas. It was a joke, they thought it would either put me off the stuff for life, or at least slow me down. By April that year, I had finished the entire tub. I. Like. Mayonnaise.

I am also living in the land of all things mayonnaissey. Dutch supermarkets have rows and rows of mayonnaise products – with different names and supposedly different uses. Garlic mayo, herb mayo, mustard mayo, frites saus, cooking mayo… ranging from 50c to a few euros each.

Then, with only four hours of sleep under my belt from the party on Saturday, Mills dared to suggest that mayonnaise is not a necessity. Metal grated against metal as the Iron Curtain of tension clanged down between us. I opened my mouth to speak but couldn’t find the words. A week without mayonnaise? That’s just silly talk.

I found the words and I told him so.

Mills didn’t agree. “All I’m saying is that it’s probably not something that should be our top priority,” he argued.
“Well, we’re either buying it now today, or I’m buying it tomorrow when you’re not with me. Either way, I’m getting mayonnaise,” I pouted and folded my arms defensively.
“For godsake, it’s not like I’m trying to starve you – it was just an opinion,” said the exasperated man, throwing his hands up in the air. “So then let’s get the flipping mayonnaise now before we go home.”

But it was too late. The damage was done. I was changing… I was going female on his ass.

“No,” I said, walking away, “I don’t want it now.”
“Koekie, let’s just get the mayonnaise now.”
“No, I don’t want it.”
“Faaaaak! You are unbelievable. You do want it and you’re going to sulk until you get it.”
“So let’s get the mayonnaise now,” Mills said through clenched teeth.
“No,” I replied as my bottom lip jutted further, “I don’t want to get it now.”

And so we stalked home, keeping an icy distance between us. About an hour later, I suggested that we go to the shops to get some mayonnaise. We don’t have much else to eat, but I have half a loaf of bread and 750ml of frites saus. I might just make it through this week.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Out for a romantic stroll...

Koekie to Mills [smacking him on the shoulder]: You know, you should let me walk through narrow walkways first.
Mills: What? Why?
Koekie: IF you were a gentleman, you would step back for me.
Mills: IF you were a lady, you wouldn't fart in front of me. Wanna keep playing this game?
Koekie: Damn.


Koekie [slips her arms into Mills's]: I burp too.
Mills: I know, that was going to be my next argument.
Koekie: I got nothing.

Equally un-genteel. What a touching moment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Call me Sophie

For some reason, my Blogger has randomly decided that because I've been logging in from the Netherlands for the last two months, I am now Dutch. Fortunately, I know where all the buttons are by habit, but if they have a sudden redesign on top of this change of language, I'm screwed.

Anywho, so today I cleaned Nicky's house.

It started off as a joke. Seeing as Nix has been in the country for longer than me, she took on the role of tour guide, guidance councillor and mother hen when I landed two months ago. She's coached me through low patches ("Belgium chocolate, that's what it's here for...") and she's shared in my joy at getting a work permit ("You bitch - it took me five months to get mine!"). Now she's leaving for a three-and-a-half month roadtrip around Australia with her boyfriend and they are renting out their flat while they're gone. This has meant pretty much packing up all their shit, cleaning the flat, etc.

Nix mentioned, in jest, that seeing as I've got nothing better to do, I should come clean their flat. I told her that I don't do windows, toilets, curtains, floors, carpets, blocked drains and cats. And I'm only available on Thursdays. This banter carried on for a while, but as Nix and her beau are jetting off on Monday, they're running out of time and I offered my services for real. It's not like I have bigger fish to fry during my hectic day of reading, watching DVDs, ironing and reading.

In return, Nix gave me a potplant of sunflower seeds (hah - like those are going to last until her return) and her boyfriend has offered to lend me his laptop while he's away. I think it was worth a day of elbow grease.

On the train trip home, I managed to attract a sweet freak, who took great delight in explaining his interests in applied mathematics and ballet (I don't think he does them at the same time). If there is a random conversation to be had, it will find me. According to Mills, I attract freaks and geeks like moths to a flame. Must be what drew us together then...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


This weekend, with nothing better to do, we pottered off to Antwerp – an hour and a half south by train. We really only decided to do this on Friday, so struggled a bit in finding accommodation – but I left the finer details up to my boyfriend and his colleague/cohort Ryan. More on that later.

The train trip was dominated by a fat, precocious snotface having a temper tantrum at full volume. I am the first to admit that I do not have patience with kids. But I can also understand that a child of two does not have the vocabulary (or string of swearwords) to express himself when he gets hurt, therefore he will scream. But when a child is screaming for the sake of screaming, and the adult he is traveling with cannot control him, then I become strongly in favour of child labour camps. The kid on the train would scream until his breath ran out, pause long enough to inhale and then start again. What truly amazed me was that when I have even a short emotional drizzle, I need a nap after twenty minutes. This kid was still going strong after forty. That's stamina.

At first I tried to ignore it. Then I tried to block it out – literally – by shoving my fingers as far into my ears as possible. This was a desperate measure as I hate having anything shoved into my earholes. We couldn't move seats because the train was so full that people were standing in the aisle. I think I can safely say if the train was even slightly emptier, this cursed spawn of Satan would've had the whole carriage to himself.

After forty minutes, I was fantisising about marching up to the father and informing him that if he didn't care enough to discipline his child, then I would take great delight in planting a pretty four-fingered print across the kid's face. Realising that this was not the way to handle the situation, I left the compartment and walked to the end of the train and back, counting to one hundred. On my return, the kid was slowing down, but still screaming enough to drive every other passenger to distraction. It wasn't just me.

I swear to all things mighty, when and if I ever reproduce, I'm traveling with a packet of sweets laced with sleeping pills. I might even start traveling with an emergency set now. The sweeties can be for me, or for the kiddies. I will be the dangerous auntie with the dangerous packet of sweets – except I won't be offering the sweets to lure them away, just to shut them up. I think it would be in everyone's best interests. Or – here's another idea – ban all kids on public transport.

Right, tangent over. Antwerp.

Our last minute booking had left us with one option – staying on a floating hotel. A floatel. To get there, we needed to catch a bus which terminated right near our lodgings – or so we were informed. We clambered on board our bus and I asked for three tickets to Rijkweik. The bus driver tersely informed me that despite every sign (including the one on top of his bus) stating that its destination was Rijkweik, the 501 did not go that way, but he would take as far as he could. As it turned out, he actually went off course and dropped us at the door of our floatel. We appreciated the gesture – there's nothing like arriving in a chauffeured bus in an old harbour.

At this point, I would've put pics up of our floatel, but this laptop has decided that it no longer recognized my camera. So I'll just look at all my pictures on the tiny digital screen on my camera, and you can all picture what our accommodation looked like. It was a ship, with a dodgy discotheque on the top level, a breakfast/dining room on the second and a warren of tiny bedrooms on the third (water) level.

Mills and my 'double' room consisted of two single beds pushed as far apart as possible in the tiny space, with a small shower/toilet in one. I didn't mind that – what I did mind was that we were in the middle of the ship, with no windows and no aircon, at water level. True, the ship had no engine and was definitely going nowhere, but I've just always been more comfortable on terra firma. More on this later.

We dumped our stuff and set off to explore the city. A few things I learnt: Antwerp is well-known for its diamonds, and its mussels. I had no idea. The food was good. Divine. Everywhere we went. Pancakes, chocolate, marzipan, waffles, scampi, mussels, all seafood… and lots and lots of different kinds of beer.

Coming out.

After a particularly good dinner, we decided we weren't quite ready for bed so strolled along the river front looking for a vibey bar to try out another few beers. We came across a place that I'd spotted early – it looked nice, not your average dingy pub – so I convinced the guys to go into Primus.

As we walked in, conversation pretty much stopped and we got a few looks, but that happens sometimes at small local pubs. We were served and things went back to normal, which seemed to be singing and dancing at top volume to old dance hits.

"You know," I started thinking out loud as took our first sips, "it's actually quite a weird crowd… you've got the older crowd, mostly men over 50, in that end of the bar – and then on the other side there are a bunch of really well dressed, young men… oh my god," I concluded, "…we're in a gay bar."

As the realization sunk in, we listened to the song playing in the background. "I'm coming out… I want the world to know, gotta let it show… I'm coming… out…"

I thought this was hysterical and I was loving the music. It's Raining Men followed shortly after, chased by Christina Aguilera, Britney, Rihana. I was also loving the old guys jamming away - the DJ must've been about 70 and was as bent as bent can get. Ryan and Mills weren't loving it quite as much. It turned out that our floatel was camped right in the middle of the pink light district. In fact, all signs pointed to the gay-orientation: she was called the Diamond PRINCESS and was covered in pink floodlights by night. Awesome.

Back to the ship...
..where I spent a sleepless night in our bunk. Being a light sleeper, I couldn't get much rest with the dik-sco thumping away above our room, and being prone to paranoia at 4am, I couldn't help thinking about the What-if situations… "What if there was a fire? Would we know about it? Our room is completely dark, we have no exit. What if the ship does sink? Will there be rats to follow to safety? Are there giant monsters lurking in the harbour? Why are these ceilings so damn low?"
As it turned out, the only situation in our room was a blocked drain – which meant that we were were upgraded to a room with: a double bed, natural light and windows that actually opened. Sufficiently placated, Polly Paranoia slept well the following night.
What to do in Antwerp: Walk, look at the pretty buildings, stop at a café, drink beer, eat. Move on. Walk, stop into an impressive museum (Ruben's old home, or the Diamond museum), step out, stop at a café, drink beer. Move on. Find waffles, eat. Wander in and out of the various districts: diamond, fashion, food, shopping, gay bars… A good – and entertaining – way to spend Easter.

ps. Mills is so going to regret taking me to the Antwerp diamond district. Before this weekend, I knew nothing about diamonds. Now I know all about the cut, clarity, colour and carat weight...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

All about Me

Okay, as Chewsy pointed out, I have nothing of interest to write about. I'm still unemployed. I still watch a lot of DVDs (Kath and Kim rock my world. Australian white trash. That is quality humour). And I'm actually starting to enjoy ironing - I think it's called repetitive conditioning.

So in lieu of an actual post, I've answered one of those annoying email questionaires. It'll alleviate some work day boredom (if you're desperate enough to read it) and it's about my favourite topic: Me.

Random things that you thought you'd never know about Me
(and some things you wished you'd never know, but you do now)

Bohemian Rhapsody. That's all I'm saying on that subject.

Couple of weeks ago, out of boredom and frustration (and a little PMS).

Yup, but I don't see it much - I mostly type.



Yes, but I'd wonder what I saw in me.

Like oxygen.

Yup, I keep them in my trophy cabinet. (Not really, they're still in the back of my throat)

Not a fekking chance in hell. I twist my ankle walking over a flat pavement, and now you're asking if I'd trust that same bone to support my full body weight against the might of earth's gravity? Not a chance. I'd fling myself out of a plane though.

Special K red berries

Nope. Don't you all feel better for knowing that?

No, but I like to think I could headbutt a horse.

Belgium Chocolate chip. Praise HaggenDaas.

Eyes and hands. Clean fingernails. CLEAN FINGERNAILS!

Charred burgundy. Seriously, what is the point of these questions?

I pick my cuticles (refer back to question 14 and my fixation with other people's fingernails)

My dogs

This is very very random. But my g-string is pink with brown lace and has chocolate written all over it. Interesting, huh? Does anyone actually read these things after question 3?

Den Haag Rock Classics, 98.0fm

Black. Black always waxes out all the other colours. MWAHAHAHA!

The tulips that my boyfriend bought for me this evening (bet you didn't see that one coming)

My boyfriend. I was moaning about something.


Grey with flecks of dark brown (Clairol's level 3: 120c)


No. But I love the fact that you're still reading this.


At this stage I'll watch anything with moving pictures. Did I mention that I'm unemployed?

In the last three days: Love Actually, Boondock Saints, Dodgeball, Fightclub, Chicago, Moulin Rouge, The Office (1 and 2 plus Xmas special), Futurama, Kath and Kim... okay, it was probably over the last week.

Just a firm handshake will suffice.

Chocolate mousse. Actually anything with chocolate is good. Just melt it down and inject.

George Orwell's 1984, two Terry Prachetts, and a number of books on the Netherlands.

We're too poor for a mouse pad.

We don't have sound on our TV signal yet. So we can watch TV with Dutch subtitles, or more DVDs. See question 33.

My boyfriend's keys in the door every evening. I'm like an excited golden retriever when he gets home. Yes, I just compared myself to a labrador.


Sydney, I guess.

I can remember very long numbers (like people's credit card details) but I tend to forget my own pin code.

Sandton, dahling.

And now, you're either dead from boredom or ye know tooo much...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

44 days and more

I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will start getting up before 11am. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will find a job. I will... find.... a.... job.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Never a dull moment

  1. On Friday, we almost missed our early morning train, which caused us to almost miss our early morning flight to London. In fact, we probably would've missed it - if the plane itself hadn't been delayed. Fortunately we were travelling with the national representation of Trailer Park Trash, so we weren't bored. There are truly chavs in every country. They all wear burberry, they just use different languages (although they all use the same types of words).
  2. Maybe it was the effect of being surrounded by the mouth-breathing trailer park contingency (who took pictures of the plane as it was arriving, applauded when we took off and killed themselves laughing because one of them had a ring tone of a sheep on his phone), but when it came to filling in the obligatory landing card, I got it wrong not once, but twice. First I filled in the wrong side (for official use only). I got a second card and in the space requesting "Forename", I wrote, Forename. A proud moment for all graduates.
  3. Landed, found our way to Clapham Junction, got lost finding our way around Avos council housing estate.
  4. Met up with the old gang for an ergte Souf Afriken braai in Souf West London. Unfortunately, Mills and I both managed to eat a piece or two of what turned out to be dodgy biltong, resulting in us both spending a large part of the night in the loo. But that's what friends are for, right? Hosting you when you're in town for a short weekend and you've got the squits. Right?
  5. Flying out again, we were armed to the teeth with English newspapers, English books, English DVDs and a cricket bat. The last item caused slight complications when it came to getting it on the plane. You think they're sticky about nose clippers and tweezers? Try a very heavy and blunt object.
  6. Finally home, we learnt that one of our balcony doors had swung open during the weekend. Oops. I really don't understand how this happened, seeing as when I actually WANT to open the door, I can't. I shove it from the inside, I tug it from the outside... I cannot budge that door. But apparently, a bloody strong and very well-angled gust of wind managed to do what I couldn't and the door then merrily banged against the railing for the next 48 hours. How to make friends and influence people.

    About half an hour after getting home and closing the door, our neighbour arrived to shit all over me - and rightly so - because of the banging door. I didn't protest, I didn't argue, I just tried to lean out of the direct line of her breath. The indignant neighbour must have been about two bottles of wine down. Expelling her very drunken breath at top volume, she told me (several times) that she did not appreciate having to listen to our door banging open for two nights - in fact, she'd even called the police. It was all I could do not to laugh. Do not smile. Just placate and slowly close the door.

    Fortunately, even in the Netherlands, the police have other things to deal with than doors that are standing open on a second story balcony in a gated area, so I don't think we'll be getting a warrant just yet.