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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Baby ducks following their mother in Utrecht

McFlurrys here are also €1, as part of the "Euroknallers" menu. I must've been missing something. Another Euroknaller is the Chili Chicken: a hamburger sized patty on a hamburger bun, with chili sauce and a few shreds of lettuce. Luckily the chili sauce was about as hot as most chili sauce here (even the "hot" sauce at the Vietnamese loempia stalls that they cunningly put in the bottle marked "zoet" ("sweet"), but which tastes and looks the same as the one marked "heet" ("hot")), or I'd have to ask for a Chili Chicken without Chili.

I bought a 45 strippenkart at the bus terminal and was surprised to get a free autoscan radio, with free earphones and even 2 AAA batteries as well. Looking at the batteries, I found that they were made in China (they had Chinese characters on them)! Shit. Maybe GVU (the bus company) is running a battery smuggling operation.

I smelled pee in a remote passageway below the train station. At least people here are less inclined than in Brussels to pay for toilets (or at least not to pee in places where people will smell it).

Printing here is quite screwed up. At one place you have to transfer your credit to the system before printing, but other places don't have access to this system so you have to pay on demand (despite using software programmed by the same company and being essentially the same except for payment). Meanwhile, when you release your print jobs the display doesn't tell you have many pages each print job is.

Kai lan in Dutch is "Gai lohn". Hah! And it's called "Chinese broccoli" in English. Meanwhile Chili is called "spaanse peper" (Spanish pepper). Wth?!

A soft drinks machine outside a Albert Heijn sold cans for €0,70 each. That's even lower than in school buildings. Damn, they gotta wake up their idea.

I saw a girl wearing a baby tee which read: "Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians". Uhh. If it comes in my size I should try wearing it, just for kicks.

I asked for "kerrie poeder geen chili" (curry powder without chili; too bad I can't speak Cantonese) at Toko Central but they didn't stock it. So I bought 35g in a glass bottle from Albert Heijn for €1,39. I have a feeling I got ripped off.

Dutch fries are less fattening then most people think - since they're cut very thickly, less oil goes in than with shoestring fries.

For some reason, on the two occasions when I've needed to talk to Aldi staff in English, they've been unable to respond in kind. Maybe they hire non-English speakers to cut costs.

The tudung women are starting to look very hot. Next month I'm going to be feeling sorry for them.

I like these ads. The last one reminds me of myself during SOC. But why is he holding on to the legs of a woman named "Stevens"? Did they get the Brits to train the Dutchies?

Orkestenserie 3: Internationaal Orkestenpalet / Serie Magistraal Vocaal
Brahms - Ein deutsches Requiem

Unlike the Esplanade, at Vredenburg, they don't bother to meticulously divide and subdivide the seating into 7 different price ranges, where 3 adjacent rows can have 3 different prices. Actually, hell, the Esplanade is the only place I know of where they do that. Unlike the previous day, on this performance I got a seat in the second row from the front. Once again, the crowd was very old, and for their age they coughed surprisingly little.

The orchestra was German and the choir Dutch, so despite what someone says there was a distinct difference in their looks. Even the choristers held their scores when they performed, so my theory is that if performers do not have their scores, it means they're using photocopied scores and can't show them in public!

Watching an orchestra perform a work is better than hearing a recording, because if you've an untrained ear (like me), you can see the orchestration - I was surprised to find that the violins were not utilised at all during the first movement, so you actually get to hear the violas for once. Also, there're not just 1 but *2* harps.

There was no message about not using your handphone (nor was there at the previous performance), but a handphone only rang once; IIRC in all the European concerts I've been to I hadn't yet heard a phone ring once, yet in Singapore a handphone will ring at least once during each concert. Oh well.

I'm not very familiar with the piece, yet the rendition managed to stir me. So someone is right - the German Requiem does rock. I see why someone likes it so much; the 2nd movement was especially moving.

During the third movement, the male soloist carried his score on the stage like some Chinese school teacher - the battered score was folded such that only one page was visible to him at any time (though he didn't fold that page in half again, as some Chinese school teachers do).

There're two types of cloakrooms at Vredenburg - one type is open and you can leave your coat there for free. At the other you pay €1 and have people minding it. This is good.

Beethoven - the funkiest I've ever seen his hair. A. bourdette, 1889/90


[Student's handphone rings: 'Anybody there? Anybody there?'] Anybody there? Yes I'm here.

[On the decline of manufacturing in Europe] I don't think so... For the car industry, I think Europe makes the best cars in the world. Maybe not the cheapest.

[On the '2 servings each of fruit and vegetables daily'] The Dutch don't eat properly, and they become too fat. That's why we have this campaign.
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