Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Screw the shrimps

It's been a while (again), but there's been good reason for that. I just have a few nights of sleep and some correspondence to catch up on now. In the meantime, I had to bring your attention to this little treat. Yes, it's dated to the beginning of this month, but some pearlers are just timeless.

On a recent visit to Mexico, the Crown Prince of The Netherlands gave what he thought to be a erudite speech:
'Let me conclude by giving you a Mexican proverb: Cámaron que se duerme se lo lleva la chingada, or in English: a shrimp that sleeps gets carried by the tide,' the prince said.

However, the translator used the word chingada rather than corriente - so the prince actually said the shrimp got screwed.

To make things worse, while chingada is considered everyday language in most of South America, in Mexico it is considered extremely vulgar, a fact the Argentine translator was not apparently aware of."

Poor Prince Willem-Alexander... he thought that he was being all philosophical, but instead he was bamboozling his audience with misdirected connotations worthy of a script from 'Allo 'Allo.

Not only did he screw the shrimps, but he insulted them while doing it. Perhaps even more embarrassing is that his wife is of Argentine origin. It really does seem that someone on the prince's team should've picked that up earlier.

Political whoopsie, to say the least.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Meet Priscilla

I'm getting quite good at this cycling lark. I cycle to the station and back every day in the rain, sun or wind (the former and the latter more often than the mid-der). I hop on and off a still-moving bike with confidence... an amazing progression considering that I used to stop my bike, disembark and turn it around a corner manually. Now I love my bike, I talk to her. I've started calling her Priscilla - Prissy Priscilla - because I think she likes it.

When I first arrived in the country, I thought that Dutch women had an aversion to make up and hair stylists, now I realise that there's just no point. If you're cycling (no matter how far) chances are your hair is going to be mussed up and your make up smudged due to the afore-mentioned wind, rain and related watering eyes. So now I'm the same. Don't bother with straigthening the hair, get the station, give it a brush (optional) and do the make up on the train (again, optional).

I park my bike in the multi-storey parking lot and yes, I have lost it on ocassion. It's fine if you remember which level and on which side you parked. At least then you know where to start looking. I generally try to park on the same side, on the same level and try to remember which light/sign/distinguishing mark is closest. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and I forget. Fortunately, by the time I get home in the evenings the bikes have thinned out a bit, so I have less options to wander past before I get to mine. There is no reassuring 'bloop bloop' or tail lights flashing as you hit the remote key. I've found that calling out her name doesn't help either. Some people don their bikes with fake flowers, or paint it with flourescent colours. I can't say it's a bad idea.

Last night I got home to find that someone hadn't bothered to actually find a rack for their bike. They were clearly in too much of a hurry to actually park, so they just took their bike and RAMMED it in next to mine. When I got back to the my station, I found that Prissy was being indecently molested by some vulgarity. I had to wrench them apart and console my poor traumatised bike while I untangled the bike stand from the pedal (which had been wedged due to unnecessary roughness).

Once this was complete, I was free to go... but not before I took the offending bike (still locked by the back wheel - but this doesn't mean you can't pick it up and walk) and moved to some where completely different. Different level, different side, different rack.

Moral of the story? People park like dicks whether they're on a bike or in a car. Bikes are just easier to move.